I feel wild. Confrontational. Combative. And like doing something dangerous. "The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom" - William Blake. "We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps" - The Cure.
It's making me say "fuck". But it's also making me laugh.
Just think about radio waves for a minute. They're there in the air all the time. But you can only hear them if you turn on a radio and tune it in. And if you took many radios and tuned them all into different stations playing at the same time?
I realise that my last post might have sounded rather miserable. I'm not miserable. I'm actually feeling quite light-hearted and energetic. It's just that there are only so many times you can go through the same cycle without recognising that something needs to change.
Because it works like this - my mood lifts, I start to feel positive and hopeful and as though everything is possible. There are hundreds of things I want to do and I want to throw myself into them as though to make up for all the time I feel I've wasted being unwell, I come up with all sorts of plans, I feel excited about the future. Then things escalate out of control, or become difficult in some other way, and I end up achieving none of them. And every time, every single time, I am convinced that this time will be different, and won't end up that way.
But the conclusion I have come to is that the shifting pattern of my moods and perceptions is not going to dramatically alter. I may be more stable than I have been in the past, but it seems unlikely after so many years of living with this mind of mine that I am going to become stable enough to consistently pursue complex goals, that I am going to be able to magically make myself fundamentally different. I think I need to accept this, to stop feeling despondent about it, and to turn my attention to the many little things in my day-to-day life that make me happy. To accept that there will be times when I can do more, times when I can do less, and that I have limitations, that I am in some sense disabled by my disorder. And people with disabilities aren't expected to recover from them the way you might recover from an episode of illness. Which might go some way to explaining my discomfort with describing myself as mentally ill.
And of course services also increasingly have this approach that I am starting to identify as unhelpful, with their emphasis on Recovery, this idea that I can be seen by a Reablement worker for 12 weeks, or have however many sessions of therapy I'm allocated, or I can read some self-help books, or I can improve my diet and do more exercise or practise Mindfulness more often or whatever and then I can sail triumphantly forwards into a future where I "fulfill my potential" and never need help again. And complete a university course, or find a relationship,or more likely hold down a job, since that seems to the way Recovery is measured.
It's very very tempting to believe such a transformation is possible, but I am coming to think it is a myth. For me at least, maybe not for everyone. And I think I need to accept that. I need to remember, when I am filled with excessive confidence, that the self I feel myself to be at those times isn't my whole self, isn't my only self. That the darker, more difficult times aren't an aberration, aren't due to an error I made that I can simply avoid entirely in the future, but are part of the totality of my experience on this earth, and are no more likely to disappear than winter, or rain, no more likely to be conquered and eliminated than death.
I've come to the conclusion that I'm not designed for this world. K said this morning, during my social care assessment, that I was writing myself off. But it's not that. It's more that it's foolish not to learn from experience.
I can't cope with living independently. I can't manage money and bills. I can't manage keeping the house clean. I can't even manage keeping myself clean. Studying? Working? Connecting with people? Consistently making art? Those things aren't going to happen.
So what do I do now? I think I just want to leave this life behind. I don't have the same ties, the same responsibilities that I used to, now that my cat and my horse are gone. And really, more years like this - why would I want that?
I'm not upset, I'm not depressed, I'm not desperate. I feel very calm, very accepting. I feel that I have reached a point where all I can do is give up and let go.
I had to admit to myself today that I am in the middle of an eating disorder relapse. And that I can't actually remember the last time it was this bad. 2010 maybe? I thought I'd moved beyond it, so it is depressing to find myself so mired in it again. I keep thinking "tomorrow will be different" and then tomorrow comes and it isn't any different. I've been starting to feel desperate and out of control.
Hand in hand with that goes a general failure to do any of the things I want to do. I have been flailing around, and failing all over the place. I fully intended to go the workshop this morning and I just didn't. And I don't even know why. The people at the workshop are friendly and easy-going and I really enjoy the carving. I knew that going would make me feel better. But the time kept ticking away and I didn't change my clothes and I didn't leave the house and then it was too late.
So I have been disappointed and frustrated and annoyed with myself. The house is a mess and I haven't showered for a while and I haven't touched my paints or clay. I feel like I am wasting my life away.
But I'm slowly starting to figure out that confronting myself, pushing myself, driving myself, forcing myself doesn't work. And it is exhausting to try to do battle with myself all the time. Sometimes I need to come at things sideways.
So this afternoon I took a cup of coffee into the garden and looked around at all the plants that are busily growing, and felt the sunshine on my face, and thought a little about my situation, and dipped in and out of an anthology of Chinese poetry. And I felt something relax inside me, I felt returned to myself. It was such a relief. It was like someone had pressed the reset button. When I came back into the house I found myself picking up some clay and beginning a pot. It just kind of happened.
Tomorrow I am going to spend some time tidying the garden, weather permitting. Then maybe on Wednesday go to the garden centre for some seeds. I want to grow sunflowers. Hopefully I will then find myself able and inspired to tackle the house. And break the cycle of the eating disorder by turning my attention outwards towards the world and remembering how much else there is to think about and experience and enjoy.
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?
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.