I dragged myself to the shop earlier to buy some sugar. I stopped taking sugar several weeks ago, but I feel like I need sweetness today, probably because I am struggling to eat so my body is craving energy from somewhere, anywhere.
So I am sat with a cup of strong, sweet tea and trying to think rationally. And looking around at the books I was enjoying reading and the art projects I have underway, remembering that the workshop starts next week and I did/do really want to go there even if right now, today, I feel that it's impossible, I keep telling myself that this state I am in is not *me*, and it is not inevitable that I will sink and sink, and that I somehow have to take action.
So I think I am going to do battle with the voice and phone on Monday to see if I can get an earlier appointment, because my next one isn't until the 17th. I dread the thought of doing it, because I feel so suspicious and as though I can't trust anyone, and I feel such a deep sense of shame at being this way and being seemingly unable to keep myself well. But this was the whole point of the work we did on identifying early signs and drawing up a medication management plan. My priority has to be to avoid either a) killing myself or b) ending up in hospital. I have a life I want to live and things I want to do.
Tonight I am going to make myself have a shower, because I really need one, and I am going to rewash that wretched washing and finally hang it up to dry. Apart from that, nothing. I know some people say you should push yourself to do things because "it'll make you feel better" but I've never found that works. Better to accept my current limitations.
Having worked that out, I still feel physically sick and exhausted, but mentally a bit more like myself, a little stronger, as though I *can* fight the voice. Sometimes it seems, you see, that it must be my own fault somehow, that I must have done something to cause it, and that I could just fix it if I would only try a little harder. When I'm able to separate myself from it and see that it is just the pattern of the disorder, then I am able to take steps, however small, to take care of myself. One of those steps is making that phone call on Monday, however much I don't want to.
Except I'm trying not to think like that, because then I'll get scared. And maybe this will pass swiftly. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. Maybe the voice will shut up and go away.
I have a permanent and overwhelming sense of deja vu and I keep getting paralysed, that terrible impossibility when my mind implores my limbs to move, just move, and my limbs refuse. How am I supposed to distract myself when I can't move and I can barely think? I've managed to avoid my friends so far but at some point they're going to cotton on because I'm already beyond faking. I don't want that to happen.
I:'m not sure I can cope with this. I'm not allowed to ask for help, even if I believed there was anything that anyone could do.
I'm becoming increasingly useless. I just can't seem to get myself together to do anything except sleep. It is as though my ability to actually act has turned to jelly and when I try to pick it up and use it it simply oozes away through my fingers. There is washing in the machine that I have already washed twice because I have apparently forgotten how to open the door and hang the clothes out to dry.
I don't want to do anything. Reading is out. I downloaded an audiobook but it didn't hold my attention. I have a DVD but I don't know if I can concentrate on a film. Music sounds discordant. My creative inspiration has deserted me. My bed calls insistently.
I keep trying to shake up my slow thoughts, because I really can't allow this to happen. I am going to sit outside in the sunshine for a while (except I don't want to) and then I am going to attempt to do some tidying (except I don't, to be frank, give a fuck what kind of state the house is in). After all, maybe this is just a bad day (several days), eh?
So obviously I am not the same as I was a few weeks ago. I am sleeping more. I seem to be losing weight - at least, my belt went up a hole today. I want to withdraw from the world and be solitary and silent. I am in a different mode or mood.
This rising and falling, expansion and contraction, seems like something natural to me, something like the seasons. The days are always either getting shorter or getting longer, and I am similarly never quite the same. The key is managing and moderating it so it doesn't become so extreme as to be disabling.
I feel like I should draw a Venn diagram of my selves, to identify what is in the section where all the circles overlap, because that is the core of me, and those are the things I can trust.
I went into town today. I had to buy some catfood and to get some cash to pay a friend for something. They said there was no urgency for the money, but I don't like to owe my friends, and I don't want them to know how close to the line I am operating at the moment. If I haven't yet learned how to stop myself spending excessively when I am in an episode of elevated mood that is my problem and I must deal with the consequences. I now have 81p in my bank account until Wednesday when my DLA comes through, and I have worked out I must spend less than £10 of that on food for the next week.
Then I took my camera for a walk. I live in a quiet village and it suits me very well, but it is towns that excite me visually. I like the way that once I start taking photographs I begin to see the world differently, that patterns and perspectives and details I might not normally notice catch my attention. Except that then, between one photograph and another, I suddenly forgot how to use the camera. I thought it had broken, that some important part had fallen off it, and I started to retrace my steps, scanning the ground. I haven't had a brain stutter as bad as that for a while, and even though I did eventually figure it out again I am still now plagued by the sense that the camera did change, that it worked differently before. It makes me feel suspicious. But then my mind generally seems to be rather busy playing tricks on me at the moment, turning a leaf on the road into a large, bright green, exotic bird. Or the shadows a tree casts into an enormous piece of farm machinery bearing down on me. And creating countless little creatures in my peripheral vision that scurry away when I turn to look at them.
But this is where I am right now. I can't engage with arguments, I can't get involved with the plans I was making for the future, I can't read books, but it will change again eventually, those desires and abilities will come back. For now I sleep and make pictures and I have signed up for a free trial of Lovefilm so I can watch stuff.
Developing a different rhythm. Or is it no rhythm? Becoming nocturnal. Driving down dark roads with the music loud. Thinking about patterns and cycles. What is the self when the self changes, when the self is strange? When sometimes there is this, and sometimes there is that, and both are familiar but bear no relation to each other?
Eat when hungry. Sleep when tired. The rest of the time make pictures. When one picture is finished tear off the page and begin another. Simple. Except the paper is running out and there is no money to buy more.
Air bite. Fire bright. Trees bare. Fields brown. Crows black. Windows wet. Autumn is coming and the nights are getting longer. You don't need to believe in anything to feel the power of that.
I don't want to discuss or debate. I have no desire to chat. I am losing interest in the internet, fascinating as the anthropology of it can often be. I am folding into myself and my perceptions. Everything has meaning. The curve of a fence. A pebble on the pavement. Lichen on a brick. It all vibrates and shines with meaning. It all shimmers with significance. I can't express the significance in words. I sense that to even try would be to miss the point entirely.
I have this most unfortunate habit of losing my mind in the autumn. Last year I was probably the craziest I have ever been, and the year before not much better. I was on a section 3 in 2010, and also in 2008. I have no memory at all of 2009 but I escaped hospital at least.
I'm feeling very good and solid again now though, and no longer leaping out of bed after < 4 hours sleep, so let's hope 2013 bucks the trend! And if it does then it will be the best year I have had with regards to my mental health for as long as I can remember.