Friday, 18 April 2014

Pastures New


I am moving house! You'll now find me and my blog at oncetherewasawildhorse Hope to see you over there!

(I'll warn you though - I think one of the first things I'm going to do over there is publish some old posts from this blog that I made draft at some point from some now unremembered paranoia. It's for me more than anyone else - my memory of the last few years is distinctly sketchy, and I want to get a sense of my story, of where I have been and how I have arrived where I am now, of what has changed and what has stayed the same.)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fire in the Head


I haven't slept for over 48 hours. But I don't feel tired. I feel good. I have been cleaning. I have been rearranging my furniture. I have been cutting up art books and sticking pictures all over the walls. I have been working in the garden. And I have been writing and writing and writing.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Resistance


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?

Oh my.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anti-Psychotics and Appetite


I wrote a few posts ago that I was relapsing into an eating disorder. I've realised now that that wasn't quite true. Since I stopped quetiapine it's become clear that the drug was mostly to blame. I may have been engaging in eating disorder "behaviours" but it wasn't really a psychological problem or any kind of "coping mechanism".

I actually took some quetiapine one day last week. It was very noticeable, having been off it for a while, how     my mind started to fill with thoughts of food as it kicked in. I knew I wasn't physically hungry, but I felt a compelling need to be fuller, I was craving carbohydrates and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The next day I ate more than I had been previously too.

So I'd been over-eating while I'd been on quetiapine, and I'd been putting on weight (plus the medication must also alter metabolism somehow since the vast majority of the weight has gone on round my middle - and then of course there's the sedation, which was making me move less and more slowly.) This led to attempts to control my eating, to restrict myself, to fight myself, which led to failure, and then bingeing and purging. I'm just no good at dieting, it always derails me. The only way I can eat is to eat what I want, when I want it, and as much as I want. That is how I am eating again now, and I am losing weight, despite eating cake and chocolate and cheesy garlic bread. I know that eventually my weight will again stablise in the range that is normal for my body.

I suspect that many people who haven't experienced taking an anti-psychotic would suggest it is simply a matter of will-power. But that's rubbish. Now that I am not taking quetiapine any more, but aripiprazole, which is supposed to be weight-neutral, I don't think about food except when I am hungry, and when I feel as though I've had enough, I simply stop.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Acceptance


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.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Fuck Up


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.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Beginnings


I have an urge to delete this whole blog and begin a new one. Because new understandings have been rushing through me, and I see now how wrong I have been about things, how false and mistaken the approach I have taken to life.

I can no longer take medication. Why should I take medication? I mean, isn't that an utterly strange idea? And yet the alternative approaches, the therapies and whatnot, are also lacking. More than lacking. In many cases, oppressive and dangerous.

I will never be "economically productive" in this society. If I should lose the benefits I survive on, or should decide I no longer wish to jump through the hoops necessary to receive them, then I shall put myself to sleep. (not kill. kill is violent. i have no desire to cause myself harm. there are other ways.) I feel a great peace in accepting that.