Well, I guess I do know what I'm doing, I'm just not entirely sure why, and whether it is the best idea I've ever had or completely idiotic.
I've stopped taking the quetiapine and the depakote. I'm still taking the other two for now. I figure that the paroxetine and lamotrigine work against the depression and I hate the depression and it scares me whereas I can handle the high moods. Or do I always think that when I'm not in the middle of one?
Anyway it hasn't taken long. I stopped taking them, I don't know, two days ago? I'm definitely a little buzzy. Streams of words in my head, great long monologues. I have no one to bore with them so I tell them to myself, pacing round my room, gesticulating, animated. I have had surges of feelings, and various urges, and all sorts of ideas. Wonderful plans! But I am being sensible. I am able to be sensible. I am NOT going to London on Saturday (£70 just to get there and back) and I am NOT spending a fortune I do not have on hundreds of plants that won't even fit into my tiny garden, however much I am in love with the colours and the shape of the flowers.
I've done this before, of course. And it hasn't ended well. But I'm still convinced that this time will be different. Because - well, because. Because I know more now. Because I'm wiser now. Because I'm just going to go with the flow and not fight it. I'll clean my house, I'll make art, I won't spend money, I won't hook up with strangers, I won't pick fights on the internet. And I definitely, definitely won't call for help. I'm tired of being a psychiatric patient, I'm sick of being a service user, I just want to live at full force, to be myself, a bit strange and fierce and chaotic sometimes, prone to passions and raptures, and always seeing strange connections and having images and ideas flashing in my mind. But not ill.
I've been getting a bit mixed up and confused. I think it is probably connected to the changing of the seasons, the days that are starting to feel like spring is on its way. The energy I was beginning to feel in the last post become agitated and darker. I found it hard to take my medication, I missed a few doses, I felt I was heading for another breakdown.
Today I feel much better. I am taking the depakote and quetiapine again. I feel more solid in my self, I feel like things are possible again, I no longer need to pace. I've decided that now is not the time to make changes to my medication and that I am going to ask to try procyclidine for the tremor. If it makes me too buzzy I can always stop.
I think one of the things that bothered me is the letter I read from my CPN:
Werehorse has a constantly fluctuating mental state where can be either very low or at times elated. She experiences abnormal perceptions including persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. Werehorse has great difficulty managing her small home and her finances. She will sometimes feel very low and become preoccupied with delusional thoughts and struggle with the motivation to self care. This includes showering, changing clothes, cleaning her house and buying food or eating meals . . . Werehorse has engaged well with mental health services over the last year and I am hopeful she will eventually develop greater stability of her mental health. However this is a long term condition and it likely she will always have some difficulties with mood instability and impaired self care/ home care.
It just made me feel all messed up and weird. I kept asking "is this really me? abnormal and delusional? suffering from a long term condition?" I am so much more. I wanted to reject these words written about me.
And yet it's true. I look around and my house is in a disgusting state and I can't exactly remember the last time I had a shower. I struggle so much with these things and it causes me great shame. Sometimes I think that I just can't cope with living independently, it's too difficult, I can't do it. And sometimes I want to die, not because I am depressed but because I feel I can't cope with my perceptions and my thoughts.
But I am going to have a community care assessment soon, so I can have regular help with my house and my daily life. Hopefully that will make a difference to how I feel. Hopefully that will make things easier.
Maybe if I tried to come off medication slowly, which is of course the right way to do it, I could manage without. Or maybe I couldn't. I don't know. I do know that even though I have still had mood shifts and other problematic episodes I have on the whole felt much bettter than before since I started taking depakote and lamotrigine. Is it so wrong to want that? To not always be aware that the earth is turning and has a molten core and space stretches above me? To not feel entirely alienated from other humans? To have some basic, simple pleasure in my life, to actually be able to do things and not be constantly bombarded by overwhelming perceptions?
Wearing make-up. Wanting to buy jewellery (and the rest). Feeling energetic and excited and enthusiastic. Putting on music for the first time in weeks. Dancing. Sex drive making a reappearance. Appetite decreasing. Creative ideas in abundance. It seems I'm on the way back up, it seems that the small increase in lamotrigine has given me a delightful lift. It's such a relief.
I went to a fused-glass session at the workshop yesterday. No trying to persuade or motivate myself to go, I just went. This is the thing - when I feel like this it is all easy, I can go and be with a group of people I've never met before and chat and laugh and not be the least bit anxious or paranoid or uncomfortable. Other times that seems impossible. Because of this I've decided I should probably stick to going to the workshop and not try to do other courses. At the workshop you only pay if you go, and it doesn't matter if you miss a week or two.
But there was one problem - trying to do precise, delicate work arranging pieces of glass really showed up the tremor I have in my hands. It was so frustrating. I've noticed it before but it's never really bothered me, and it seems to vary in severity anyway. I think it's the depakote, so at my hospital appointment next week I'm going to ask if I can try coming off it. It's a risk, but I think it's worth taking. I'm also going to reduce the quetiapine I take in the morning, because that's another frustration. I wake up, I feel good, I have plans for the day, then I take the meds and soon enough I need to go back to bed for a bit. I just don't have enough time awake to do all the things I want to.
In the middle, indecisive, inbetween. I am still having waves of wanting to die, but other parts of my mind are feeling more positive and making plans for the future. I have the means to kill myself by my chosen method now and I don't know what I think about that. Will I, won't I? Maybe not yet. Someone once said to me, I can't remember who, that suicide always remains an option, you can try living for another few minutes, or another day or week, you can see if suggestions help, if things change. You don't have to commit to forever.
I had an appointment at the hospital on Tuesday and we are trying a small increase to the lamotrigine to see if it helps. Then I had some lunch with K. K is coming again this afternoon and taking me to see a photography exhibition. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the tenancy support agency who are going to help me with my debts, and also with benefits, because I have to reapply for DLA.
There is a big difference between the episode I am having now and the one I had around this time last year - because this time of year is pretty much always difficult for me - which is that this time I do actually feel supported. I feel that I have people rooting for me, wanting to help me and coming up with ideas to do so. I am very grateful for that.
I feel that I want to die, that I can't go on. I keep trying to argue with it, but it is very, very strong. My cat is dead now, and my horse came in last night with a serious injury he is unlikely to recover from, and I feel that these are signs. Because I always said that as long as they were alive I had to stay alive to take care of them. Now it feels that there is nothing stopping me.
to write something. Not sure why I haven't blogged. Tedium, maybe. Because I have been doing little other lately than trudge. Thought I was a bit better, but seem to be taking a few steps back right now. Brain bleating again about wanting to die. Have managed to mislay my meds, which won't be helping. Undertaking an archaeological excavation of my room in order to locate them. But feel stressed because I can't remember when I'm due to pick up a new prescription. Ha! How boring! Ecstasy where art thou? And I hardly slept last night, which is bad, very, very bad.
It begins with a sense of panic over something you wrote on a website, and the warring compulsions to revisit the site and delete your words, and never to open that page again, just in case. Though in case of what, you're not quite sure.
Then it goes further. That conversation you had yesterday? You almost certainly said too much, you should have kept silent, you don't know who was listening, who was behind you, who was at the table next to you. Stay quiet, be quiet, YOU HAVE TO BE QUIET. Police your words, and be careful with your thoughts. Because everyone can hear them. Because everyone can tell.
Because it's not that you think the people who live the other side of the railway line are shouting about you. It's that the people who live the other side of the railway line are shouting, and they are shouting about you. And their voices are full of mockery and disgust.
And the you that you rely on, that talks you through things, that suggests you do this to feel better or distract yourself with that, is disappearing.
Slipping, sliding, struggling, spiralling, sinking. I'm not doing so good right now. I'm still trying to push through, but it's becoming increasingly difficult and I haven't done very well at it this week. The urge to hide in bed is pretty overwhelming.
I went to the hospital again yesterday and I'm going to be seen every week until we get this under control. I'm scared things are going to get worse and I'll end up in the state I've been in in the past. I can't let that happen, I don't think I'd survive it. I keep thinking that I should acquire what I need to kill myself, just in case.
Both the paroxetine and the quetiapine have been increased a little, because I'm starting to hear whispers telling me to die, die, die bitch. At least they're not telling me I'm evil yet. That's when I get really twisted up because it's so hard not to believe them. Also, my sleep is becoming broken again, which is making me tired during the day, which makes it even more difficult to do the things I know I need to do to help myself. So I'm hoping that the extra medication combined with my own efforts will be enough to pull me back from the edge.