When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for January, 2013

Relief

Hiya Peeps. How y’all doing?

Third day when I haven’t been so depressed. It feels so great when it stops. Hasten to add I don’t feel particularly good. It’s just the self-attacking thoughts are giving me a break. Thank God for that.

My son J called the other night. Just hearing his voice (we talked for an hour) was a great relief. It was a good conversation, we both talked and listened. He was at his best. He can be great at times, and often impresses people by the way he talks. Unusual for a teen to be so eloquent.

I’ve always been quite a positive person considering everything. Just lately I’ve felt too angry with life to be very positive. There have been many suicidal thoughts.  It remains ‘not an option’ however. I’ve got my Mum and J to consider.

Best I can hope is that through this protracted depression I do manage to come to terms with the facts of my life. That it turns out to be a grieving process rather than something I’m just stuck with and can never really emerge from.  Depression is part of the grieving cycle as I understand it.

The loneliness has let up along with the depression, which probably demonstrates how interconnected they are… There definitely are people that care. And that I care about.

Not got much else to say but I wanted to just check in with you Peeps.

Oh, and crack out the party balloons and champers. This is my 500th post on this blog!

Zoe xx

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Better Day

Hi Peeps. A bit of an update is in order.

Today I felt better. Yay. My DRA meeting cheered me up. Yesterday I felt suicidal, and called the Samaritans twice in the last few days. The Home Treatment have been invoked, but I can tell they don’t want to work with me again. They feel surplus to requirements which in all honesty, they are. What can they do and how can they help? I’m lonely as all hell. I need a friend, not more professionals.

But when you’re down and out, what are you gonna do? Is it wrong to ask for help when your thoughts have become black, despairing and downright terrifying?

My so-called care coordinator sucks. She is bored and jaded by the mentally ill people she has to work with. She prefers to have flirtatious chats with colleagues on the phone than to talk to a client in distress. Sympathy? Don’t make me laugh. Compassion? Uh-uh.

I almost don’t wanna know about positive thinking right now. I’ve heard all of that. How I should volunteer, take up a hobby, go to a class blah blah blah. Stick it where the sun don’t shine. If you haven’t been where I am, just don’t talk to me. And be bloody grateful for what you have. (That’s a vent. You know I’m usually pretty positive, considering. I just want to discharge a bit of frustration).

M, the awful ex, is now in a forensic mental health ward, having been transferred from prison (he was previously banged up in the same place for the best part of ten years). I don’t want to go and visit. Can’t face going to such a place and listening to his inevitable tale of woe and self-pity. Besides he doesn’t give a tuppenny damn about me. It’s an index of my loneliness and desperation that I ever got caught up with him in the first place. I had doubts throughout but couldn’t face being alone. I was a sucker. He suckered me good and proper, dear reader.

Bad judgment on my part? Understatement of the year.

That’s all for now.

Love, Z xx

Hell-o

Hello. And it really has been hell-o.

But how are you dear reader?

I’m in one of my deep blue funks. 50 years old, partnerless, ex in prison, child languishing in foster care, just a few friends away from total isolation. I’m not that great a person to know, alas. I can probably bring little comfort or joy to anyone’s life right now. I’ve been better, that’s for sure.

Yet I’m somehow still here. Still battling. Not given up or retreated into a parallel dimension (psychosis). Things are going to get better. Right now, they’re as bad as it probably gets.

I went to open my mail this morning, and had had a copy of my last email sent from the prison. This has never happened before. What does it mean? Is he in trouble, ill, in solitary or been hurt in there? Has he just flipped (as I’m sure I would, in there)?

I’m seeing a friend for coffee then I’ve got my therapy group. Thank God for other people. Some lonely people get resentful of others, and I know how that is, but all in all, I find that other people are nicer than me. I’m in awe of many of them. How do they manage to take such a genuine and active interest in others? I’m self-obsessed and self-absorbed.

Thank God, as I say, for other people. Thank God for you, dear reader.

Zoe x

 

 

Good News

Well, things have moved on, as they have a habit of doing, if we wait for long enough.

At last, some good news about J. He was returned, unwillingly, to the foster placement. Soc Servs are not going to find him a new placement, so he had a stark choice of two options. The foster placement, or semi-independent living in London. Clearly he wasn’t going to choose that. He kicked up a hell of a stink and required two social workers, the foster carer, my Mum and eventually, two police to persuade him to return, but return he did.

Because he had been talking about suicide, a lady came from CAMHS to talk to him the same day, to make sure he was alright. A meeting for an assessment was set up at CAMHS and took place yesterday. He was up all day from breakfast to dinner. He did not raise objections to going to CAMHS, in fact he went willingly. He had been chatty at dinner. He’s OK. The fuss he had made was out of proportion, unsurprisingly.

And of course, I was proved right in retrospect that he shouldn’t be allowed to stay at my Mum’s any extra time. I had to call her every day, sometimes twice, to make sure she was alright, and he just regressed into the comatose state he’d been in for a year while living at hers before. So it didn’t do either of them any good.

We’re actually quite lucky with the foster carer in my opinion. She’s no fool. She’s very no-nonsense, mature and down-to-earth and seems to have a lot of commonsense and insight into the situation. He knows only too well that doing absolutely fxxx-all is not an option at her house. He will have his internet removed at night if he doesn’t play the game. He needs to leave the house sometimes, spend time downstairs, be a bit sociable, keep his room tidy, attend to his personal hygiene, get dressed in the morning and when an appointment is made for him, keep it.

I went down to see them last weekend. I was so worried and brooding over him that I just wanted to be close where I could see him and know that he was alright. He was quite chatty and sociable with me and my Mum. He showed his best side, asking an inordinate number of questions, including, at 6am in the morning, whether there was life after death, and if there was such a thing as spiritual healing (he was sceptical)!!

Mum and I went to Canterbury on Sunday for a mooch around the shops (window shopping really) and lunch out in Wagamama, my first time there. I thought the food was lovely, but felt overwhelmed by how full it was of those fearful creatures, other human beings. I don’t think I would willingly go back, and would certainly never eat there alone.

So at last, some positive news, and I am so relieved that he’s no longer at my Mum’s. She has gone off to Wales for a few days to stay with my aunt and uncle. The Bengal kittens are in care till she gets back. A total break for her and a much-needed change of scene. The stand-off with the police etc was terribly hard on her. I have never heard her so beaten down. She felt J was ‘a suffering creature’ and that she was a coward and could do nothing. She wanted to crash her car and just be out of the whole situation. That’s serious talk for my Mum.

As for me, I came back on the Sunday, thinking my presence at the stand-off would be surplus to requirements. I wished I could have somehow taken my mother’s place, but that was just not possible. I would be better able to cope, knowing in my heart of hearts that he was better off at the foster placement.

I love my son. I don’t always like him. But I will stand by him to the best of my ability. No one is more affected by his being and doing. Somewhere deep down he is still my beautiful boy.

It’s nice to be able to affirm that. I feel better today. This afternoon I am off to my Social Psychology course at the Mary Ward Centre. It’s even a sunny day as if to affirm my better mood.

I have help. And so does J. We can get through this. None of us is ever as alone as we may feel.

Lots of love folks. Zoe xxx

Navel-Gazing

Hello. It’s been a while.

I’m low-key today. Am I a human interest story, of the kind I love so well? An animal in a zoo, to be observed for my habits and behaviour? Is that why my dear readers come here?

Living with manic depression. As Jen over on Suicidal No More is ‘Living with Schizoaffective Disorder’?

I wonder if I’d get more readers, from Google searches etc if I were more specific about the illness in the title. No. Hey I’m talking absolute rubbish. There are LOADS of manic depressive bloggers!! We’re two a penny… our currency is inflated.

My readers come here for their own reasons. Some have experience of bipolar friends or family in their own lives, and may read to understand them better. Some are fellow mental health sufferers. Many, I have no idea why they come. It’s their business.

Besides, I am much more than a walking set of symptoms. I have what I laughingly call a personality! A life. Relationships. Struggles. Interests. Occasional epiphanies. A wide range of emotions. I am, in other words, much more like other people than I am different. People can relate.

I know I’m not always likeable. I can read that in other people’s reactions sometimes. They can see that I’m ill at ease with myself and therefore them as well. When I’m feeling comfortable with me (how rare that is nowadays), their reactions are different. I’m ambivalent on the subject of me. I push on through my resistances and fears as much as I can in the course of a day. This takes courage, and builds my self-esteem. If I get too full of myself, though, this is not a good sign when you have bipolar disorder. I’d rather be a bit down on myself, which is what I am, these days.

I’m pretty much permanently depressed, but I am able to function within limits, and I’m happy with that, most of the time.

This self-analysis – navel-gazing if you like – I seemed to have passed to my son whether through nature, nurture or both. He turns an unforgiving gaze upon himself. Sometimes he is grandiose. There is little evidence of compassion or empathy for himself or anyone else. Compassion and grandiosity don’t live together: they’re mututally exclusive. He picks himself apart forensically like a pathologist.

Self-incarceration in a room doesn’t (probably) lend itself to developing social virtues. Locking yourself away from the world is not a compassionate act.

My Mum has had a tendency to think my mental illness is ‘a fake’. She thinks I use it as an excuse. Many people (more than we think, I suspect) feel the same, especially when it comes to depression sufferers. I’ve been sectioned under the Mental Health Act (forced incarceration in a mental hospital) for approaching thirty times since I was diagnosed at 29. What went on? Was all of that a fake? A moral failing? An act, to get attention? If only the psychiatrists, police etc, had felt the same and just let me be! I could have happily done without the psychiatric abuse I endured regularly for so many years.

Please don’t think I am criticising my Mum. She meant no harm, and in recent years I think she has come to accept that there is something awry with the old brain chemistry. My Mum is loving, loyal to a fault, and never gives up. She is, in many ways, a fantastic role model, albeit one who I can never quite live up to. I would say ‘she’s better than me’, but comparisons, we are reliably informed, are odious.

I have no idea why I’m in forensic examination mode, except that I spend so much time obsessing about my son’s issues, I am showing similar traits by the power of suggestion. I’m also way more addicted to the internet and inclined to a fairly reclusive lifestyle, than before.

Well, on a lighter note, I’m off to the Mary Ward Centre today for a course I’ve signed up for in Social Psychology. I am absolutely dreading going out. If only I never had to go out ever again. I absolutely hate it. At times I can really understand my son.

Lots of love folks. Zoe xxx

For his own Good

My son was taken into care aged 8.

The social workers thought I had mental health problems plus drugs.

I never really had a drug problem. I was so devastated and distressed by my son being in care, and the hoops I was continually having to jump through to try and get him back, that I had two further breakdowns during which I got mixed up with a Class A drug user with whom I smoked crack for a couple of weeks. This naturally didn’t look good, but as I have found out since I’ve been using drug and alcohol services, I never really had a drug problem as such. I used drugs as one of my risky behaviours when manic.

At no time did social services offer me any significant level of support. What they offered me? Periodic visits from a social worker (to check on me), counselling for me and therapy for my son.

They exacerbated my mental health problems by their actions, the removal and drastic reduction of contact, etc. I was treated as if I was no longer my son’s mother. It was the worst time of my entire life.

Now my son is 17. He is depressed and anxious and barely leaves his room and laptop. He feels completely inadequate to live any kind of independent life and I don’t see that changing unless he gets over himself and starts participating in life again.

Sadly I am not alone.

I want him home, but I have made it clear to him that there are conditions. But J does not like conditions. The latest problems with the foster carer are that she removes the internet at night as a sanction to encourage him to participate more. Tough love does not seem to have worked for my son. He is very pig-headed and stubborn.

Social services intervention in our lives does not seem to have been for the best. If only they had listened to my calls for help in looking after my son, even prior to him being taken into care.

I think my son has some kind of attachment disorder. He lives in his own world and is blissfully unaware of the effects his behaviour has on those around him.

I don’t often go back over this stuff, thinking it would have been very difficult to bring him up as a single parent with no family anywhere nearby and with serious mental health problems. However seeing him now it’s hard to imagine how things could have been worse had he stayed with me. We would have been spared so much grief.

Social Services are crisis-driven. They will give no help until everything has broken down. I was always prepared to cooperate with them and even asked for help two days before my psychosis told me to run away to Paris in the middle of the night leaving my son at home with notes to call my then partner (which he did). I would have had to basically put my own son in care to get any help. I could not bring myself to do this and no one seemed to take seriously the fact that I was getting ill.

I’m in no way saying this was not an awful thing to do. I was psychotic and lost all judgment. I ended up totally manic in France and being incarcerated in a hospital there.

This is my story. In a nutshell.

XX

 

 

Son Trouble part 45

Hello. Well, here we are, it’s the New Year and the dreaded festive season over. I survived, and it wasn’t too bad. I’ve never been happier to see the members of my therapy group though! How I missed those guys.

Things re my son J are not good. The arrangement was he was to stay at my Mum’s for four nights and then go back to his foster placement. Guess what? He refused to go back to his foster placement. He’s still at my Mum’s, a guest who’s outstayed his welcome, though he seems sublimely unaware of that fact.

I’m going down there tomorrow: his social worker is coming, and together we hope to thrash out some kind of a plan. I would rather have him here with me, exasperating and maddening though his behaviour is, than have to listen to my poor mother trying to fend off her own despair.

I’ve annoyed a good friend of mine by texting something critical about something she did. She’s taken umbrage, and now I feel bad – she’s flown off the handle. I’ve apologised. She’s now giving me the silent treatment. I could do without Friend Drama on top of Family. (I was right but I shoulda kept my own counsel: instead I had to weigh in with an opinion).

Another friend was on the phone at some length earlier with boyfriend and friend trouble of her own.

This is why I find myself so often alone. I can’t control these people. They’re so unpredictable and scary. I would rather NOBODY called, truth to tell. Unless close family – J and my Mum basically.

I’ve got my splendid new Samsung widescreen monitor now by the way. My Christmas present to myself. I try to watch movies on it via Netflix, but the image keeps freezing. I think there’s not enough Ram in the computer. I watched Postcards from the Edge yesterday, with Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine as daughter and mother respectively. It was good, but the continual freezing was frustrating. I’ve got to get more Ram, or a new computer possibly…

Today was OK. I didn’t have to go out which is just how I like it. I took a walk down to the health shop just as it was getting dark, so I at least got a bit of exercise. Been reading a lot of stuff about people who never want to leave their houses, and don’t, for days or weeks at a time. Makes me feel quite the gadabout town.

I was also watching videos on U Tube about the Japanese hikikomori. Trying to get my head around what my son is doing. My Mum is worried that he has talked of suicide. The way I see it, he’s throwing his life away as it is. He has no life to speak of, but has the nerve to question what I do, and tell me I should be working!

Of course I should just let that kind of standard, arrogant, teenage stuff wash over me. But for some reason I get aerated about it. I get so furious at my son for disdaining the world as he does – even if a part of me can relate.

I don’t like myself, nor do I like one little bit, the bits of me which he has inherited.

xxx