Archive for November, 2008

I miss my mood swings

November 30, 2008

Didn’t think I’d ever say that but I do. Usually at this time of year I’m feeling low. Usually a late bus or a long queue at the checkout will make me feel murderous. Usually having some money in my bank account will send me into shopping overload. But here I am, nice and calm. How bloody boring!

The pills have taken away the aggression and panic. I know I should see that as a good thing but I have nothing to replace those feelings with. Everyday is the same. I still have no motivation to change things. I think about getting a volunteer job or going for a haircut or making a nice meal. But instead I veg out on the sofa or go back to bed. And it’s not depression which is making me hide like this. It’s sedation. I’m beginning to wonder what the point of my existence is, but have no energy to do anything about it. I want to tap into those negative feelings so that I can overdose or cut, but I can’t be bothered. There is a whole side to myself, a negative angry juvenile reactive side which I can’t access. I miss it.

Yet I vaguely remember how horrible it was to be me before Quetiapine. I would have done anything to make those feelings go away. So it surely makes no sense to want them back? To those of you who are struggling at the moment, I must seem ridiculous, even ungrateful. I can’t really explain it. I’ve lost who I am and at least the old me existed. Now I’m just on the periphery, watching life pass by but completely unable to engage in it. Yet if I read through some of my old posts I would know that isn’t always true. It’s how it feels right now though. I know I should be looking at positive things I can do to make life interesting again. But I don’t want to. It all seems so shallow and is only masking the bad underneath. I want to let the monster out again for a while.

Swimming through quetiapine flavoured treacle

November 22, 2008

I’m beginning to question whether being on an anti psychotic is a good thing. That’s not uncommon with me as I tend to stop taking pills shortly after they start to work, but in the past they’ve only been an anti depressant.

I feel so much calmer these days, but am I calm or sedated? I realised lately that the majority of my days follow the same routine now. Wake up after midday. Transfer to the sofa. Take pill. Sleep for another hour. Get up and go to the supermarket for carb laden food. Come home, eat, watch tv, talk to friends online, go to sleep for 14 hours. The only change from pre Quetiapine days is that I sleep a lot longer than I used to, and that my inactivity doesn’t really bother me. That window during the day when I can do things and meet people has narrowed considerably due to the drowsiness. If I have something major planned, like the Rethink event last week, I have to skip my pills for 24 hours. But, and it’s a big but, I haven’t had an urge to self harm for ages and I don’t obsess about suicide every day. I suppose I have to weigh up the pro’s and cons and should probably stay on the pills at least until the winter is over. They are the reason that I haven’t been posting as often though.

I mentioned the Rethink agm. What a lovely bunch of people! And another indication of how much anti psychotics are helping, because without them I wouldn’t have got on a train and gone to a meeting in a big posh hotel on my own. Rethink, for those who don’t know, is a leading mental health charity which campaigns against stigma and for the rights of people with serious mental illness. (They think I qualify as a borderline even if my pdoc doesn’t). I travelled there on my own but with the intention of meeting Charlie and Ellen, two lovely internet based friends. It was a rather surreal experience, stood in a foyer amongst a crowd of people, trying to find two friends whom I’d never seen in person before. But we got on like a house on fire, even if Charlie did drag me off to the bar for a drink and a gossip (I took loads of persuading lol), thus making us miss one of the seminars. I had such a good day and I can’t tell you how cool it was to be around people like me and to see us all doing something positive together. I was proud to be mental!

Now back down to earth again and a quick update on my Dad. Alison, thanks for asking how he was getting on. It turns out that his cancer isn’t kidney cancer as suspected, but something called transitional cell carcinoma of the ureter. He had his kidney removed, which contained an aggressive tumour. His lymph nodes were also malignant, so he’ll start chemo in January. Fortunately he can do this as an outpatient so at least he won’t be stuck in hospital again. At the moment my stepmum is concentrating on feeding him up before he starts the treatment. He lost a huge amount of weight after the op because he didn’t eat for nearly two weeks afterwards, and felt nauseous for a long time after. I’ll pop over again next week to see him and we talk on the phone quite a lot. I hate this so much though. It feels like the cancer has a grip over us all. As a family our lives are now governed by distinct stages. Diagnosis, Op, Recovery, Chemo etc. How can I feel positive about a treatment which essentially poisons the body? It feels like a temporary break now over christmas until we start the next chapter. But at the same time, I am a bystander. I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be Dad right now. He’s so positive about it all and just calmly accepts each stage of the journey. I’m the one who is angry and wants to hit out at someone, even him. Fortunately I am only on the periphery of it all. I really feel for my stepmum who has to be supportive 24/7. On a positive note though, I am so much closer to her as a result of all this.

So that’s what’s happening with me at the moment. Oh and something I’m loathe to put down here because it makes it real. The engineers are coming to look at my heating on 5th December. That means I have to open the front door and let someone into my house. Probably two people because they always bring a spotty, lank haired trainee with them. I’m trying to be positive about this. I’ll have hot water and heating for the first time in two years. But there’s a LOT of cleaning to be done in this midden between now and then. Wish me luck!

The downside to internet based friendships

November 14, 2008

Like many people with a mental health condition, I isolate myself. As a result, I have only two ‘real life’ friends, whom I see maybe once per month or so. However, when it comes to the internet I have a whole plethora of friends just a click of a mouse away. These are the people who are around when I can’t sleep at 4am. The ones who I can tell my deepest darkest secrets, whilst hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen.

Are they real friends? We watch tv shows together. We bitch about our family. We fall out and make up again frequently. We have a drink together, albeit in different houses or even different time zones. We miss each other if a few days pass with no contact. We’re often the first people we want to tell when something big happens in our lives. But for the most part we don’t know each other’s address or phone number. We don’t know what each other looks like or even each other’s real name.

An internet friendship can be transient. If someone annoys me I can block them on my msn and forget about them. I can easily find another new best friend by joining a different forum or chat room. I can change my username and start again. I don’t have to worry about that embarrassing moment when I bump into them in town. I recently discovered that someone I talk to in a forum lives just round the corner from my house. It made me shudder. Too close! But we could still pass each other in the street and be none the wiser.

This week, the distant nature of these friendships has been brought home to me. I speak to E almost every day without fail. We share the same sense of humour. We both struggle with longstanding mental illnesses. I look forward to seeing her each night when I log on to msn. She has supported me through so much and I’d like to think I’ve done the same for her in some small way. This coming weekend we are due to meet up for the first time in ‘real life’ when we both attend the agm for Rethink.

But E hasn’t been online since last weekend. This has never happened before. The last I heard she had suffered a major blip and was on hourly phone calls from her crisis team. She has since fallen off the radar. The last conversation we had has me very worried. I’m hoping she’s in hospital. I’m dreading that she may be dead, perhaps not even yet discovered. As a borderline, I know I have a tendency to catastrophise, but I can’t help but think the worst. Perhaps though she is just nervous about meeting in person and has shut herself off from me. I’ve done the same myself in the past. But she hasn’t been on any of her usual forums or spoken to any of her other friends. I can’t phone her. I don’t have her number. I can only keep my fingers crossed that she will turn up tomorrow as planned. If she doesn’t I may never know what has happened to my friend.

And yes, she is a friend. It doesn’t matter what format we use to talk to each other. I miss her. I worry about her. I desperately want to help her. E, mate. If you’re reading this, just let me know you’re ok. xx

How Mad are You?

November 11, 2008

Just a heads up about a programme starting tonight on BBC2 at 9pm

Entitled, ”How Mad are You?” it involves a group of ‘mad’ and ‘normal’ people being scrutinised by mental health experts, who then have to try and choose which of the group are mentally ill. I’m not sure if this is going to be a sensitive documentary on what it is like to have a mental illness, or the psychiatric equivalent of the X factor. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/tvandradioblog/2008/nov/05/horizon-how-mad-are-you

In my past life I must have been a tortoise.

November 11, 2008

I think I am hibernating for the winter. It would be nice if someone could put me into a nice warm box filled with straw, and wake me up in March. Unfortunately my eating disorder insists I leave the house each day to forage for food in the ice cream aisles of Sainsburys. However, I spend the other 23 hours of the day nestling under fleecy blankets in my freezing cold flat (broken boiler), either asleep or watching daytime tv.

The Seroquel (quetiapine) helps a lot with this. Most days I can easily sleep until mid afternoon, with another hours nap at tea time. I don’t know if it’s the shorter days or a reaction to being so busy with dad’s illness recently, but all I want to do is sleep. And without fail I wake up shaking from weird and frightening dreams, which are definately down to the anti psychotics. Dad is improving fortunately. He’s back home recovering from having his kidney removed, and is being fussed over constantly by my step mum. We’ll need to wait a couple of weeks before we know if his lymph nodes were also cancerous, and it’s likely that he’ll be having chemo, but we’ll all face that when it happens.

Saturday is a big day for me. I’m attending the Rethink AGM in Leeds. For those who don’t know, Rethink is a mental health charity, which used to be primarily for schizophrenics, but now welcomes all those with a serious mental illness. I’m really looking forward to it, but am also scared witless. I’ll be meeting a couple of internet friends for the first time, and that’s nervewracking. Especially as I’ve gained even more weight and am now a humungous uk size 28. I made the mistake of going clothes shopping today and looked like Mrs Michelin in everything I tried on. I gave up in the end and bought some cheesecake lol.

I had to venture out on Monday to get my prescription from the doc. Unfortunately I had to see the resident clown, who is the gp equivalent of Ricky Gervais in The Office. He gave me 8 weeks of anti d’s but only 4 weeks of anti p’s. What’s the point of that? After I mentioned that the seroquel was really helping me, he said ”oh good you’re not ill anymore then”. Umm actually that’s the very reason that I’m on the pills. I’m sure GP’s receive a bonus for getting patients off incapacity benefit, because this guy trys to get me back to work every time I see him, and that’s regardless of what my usual GP may have written on my notes. He didn’t even bother to look up how much Seroquel I was on and just took my word for it (my previous prescriptions were from the hospital doc so weren’t on his screen).  Damn it I should have asked for some diazepam. Oh well.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me right now. To those of you who are passing by and reading my blog, I hope you’re all keeping well and staying safe. Take care xx