Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1 Year, 6 Days

I am on day six of the introduction to Venlafaxine. I am also home now after visiting the North - the welcoming silence here, was and is, palpable.

Days one to five of taking the new drug were OK. I am on the starting dose of 37.5mg - today I increase to 75mg for two weeks then up to 150mg. I haven’t taken Diazepam or sleeping tablets in those five days. I’m not sure if that is because I simply didn’t need to or because I felt more balanced or because things are always a little better at my Mum’s? I like/hope to think it is because the Venlafaxine is a miracle drug that is going to help me get my life back. I do like the fact that the drugs themselves are shaped like little shields, like little superheroes here to save the day. It does worry me slightly that the company stamp on the drug is not too dissimilar to that of the Masons.

I am currently in bed waiting for the postman (I might add that I have the face of a petulant child this morning). My DVD’s didn’t come before I left last week and I am distressed. There has been a Bank Holiday here in the great UK, so maybe that is why they haven’t arrived, yet – maybe today will be the day. My drawers also still smell musty. They got attacked with Fabreeze last night in a last ditch attempt to rid them of their sordid past. I was weeping (quite pitifully) and spraying and blocking the windows open in one, great, dramatic scene. If the smell doesn’t sort itself out soon I might have to douse them in Chanel. I also have a lot of backdated “recording” to do which may be quite dull but, if my memory serves me correctly, I had something amusing to write about my visit with the Psychiatrist – mind you, once the moment/day has passed, it all seems to loose its importance. I also have to phone the Charlie’s to tell them I’m back. One of them left a message on my answer machine yesterday and she sounded like a man. Then I realised that it was the one who comes with one of the other ones and doesn’t speak. She also has very exaggerated “flicks”. Maybe she is a man…in drag. How exciting.

I wonder if I could sneak downstairs in my jim-jams and have a fag on the doorstep? I fear it might be too common a thing to do in this neighbourhood. I’m not quite at the stage of wearing my slippers to the corner shop yet. Mind you, when I was a student we always went to the corner shop in our Pj’s and thought it was totally fine. Mind you in those days, I was ten years younger with the innocent (and slightly less scary), face of an angel. I was also probably drunk.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day 365

One year of Blogging. Today. Look up at the day. 365.

Venlafaxine, here I come.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day 358

My Friday Counsellor and I were discussing my perception of my depressed side last week. Sometimes I call her “She”, “Her”, “Misery” sometimes just the “Bogeyman” (funny that the latter is male. “He” came knocking yesterday and I always thought my doom was female). That conversation highlighted that I don’t really know who ‘she/her/it’ is. I always thought there were two sides to me. Black = “Misery” and white = “Public Face”. Occasionally I felt there was a merging of the two, a grey area that was carefree, maybe a little arrogant and smiling. It annoys me that I feel that I have no understanding of these “sides” of myself. I can’t work out how they fit together, if at all. I have no idea what side arrives when, what they are accountable for or what prompts them to come out.

What I do know is that sometimes “she” feels nothing like a part of me. “She” feels like something that comes in and takes over with a sharp turn of the head like Johnny in “The Shinning”. Sometimes I like her, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes she makes me laugh in her chaos, others she drives me nuts and I wish she would fuck off. We don’t seem to have an easy relationship. I am, however, sitting here thinking that I would like to get to know her a little better - probably prompted by my Friday Counsellor talking about the lack of attention she gets with my desire to constantly squash her down. I am also thinking that maybe “she” isn’t the depressed side. When I think of the other side, (her) she is strong, feisty and doesn’t give a shit about what other people think. She can make decisions and laugh. She is creative and freethinking. She feels sexy in her curves, in control and she never seems to worry. That doesn’t sound depressed to me.

Depressed me is weak; weak both in mind and body. She sleeps a lot. She cries, she is anxious, she hates who she sees in the mirror, she is fat, and she has no confidence or self-belief. She thinks she is revolting and bad. She believes that she has deserved all the hurt that has been bestowed upon her. She believes that this is some sort of penitence. She also sometimes believes at times that she is making it all up and that there is something sick inside her that craves attention, that wants to be sick and lies and cheats every day to make her life as it is. She self-harms, she rocks in the dark, she thinks about dying and wants to disappear noiselessly, like vapour.

But, maybe, that isn’t "depressed me" either? Maybe there is a third party here... Today, for example, I went to meet my good friend for lunch. I was really tired so slept right up until the moment I had to throw on some clothes and run for a bus. When I arrived at my destination, (surprisingly on time) I suddenly realised I had forgotten how to speak. I had forgotten how to communicate with others. I was hyperactive with effort and felt I was stumbling to find the right words for everything I was trying to say. When I left her and her husband, we made a plan to meet again a few hours later to go to an (art) opening in town. I started to walk to the chemist to pick up my prescription - I had already missed two days of medication due to lack of enthusiasm or forward planning for repeat prescriptions. By the time I got to the shops I was in misery - not with her, just in it. I looked blankly round the shop as I waited for my drugs and felt empty and miserable. The usual eye candy of bottles of promise failed to encourage even a glimmer of their usual excitement and when I caught sight of myself in a shop mirror I was shocked at what I saw. I looked like a sick person - dark circles under strained eyes, lank hair and broken skin. Looking down at my hand, at the now grotty dressing over a war wound, I was surprised. Is this what I looked like? Overwhelmed by tiredness, bright lights and noise - I suddenly needed to get home. By the time I got there I was agitated, panicky and didn’t want to go out again. I just wanted to crawl into my bed and pull the duvet over my head and sleep. Which is exactly what I did. I didn’t for one second feel like “she” was here. It was a completely different feeling. There was sadness, a feeling of failure extreme apathy and catatonia. So, who the hell is that? That is the part that I feel I have no control over. That is the part that swoops in and takes over. The side that I have I have nothing to do with and none of my other parts do either. That is the part that scares me, so real yet surreal. So thick in its energy you could reach out and touch it.

Then there is “Public Face” me. She has no problems, she smiles and laughs. She jokes and smiles and listens to others. She helps them with their problems. She is sensitive and fun. She holds down a job when she is being terrorised at home. She requires a lot of effort – no, not quite right – she is easy. She comes when I need her, as easily as brushing the hair out of your eyes. She leaves me exhausted when her work is done.

There are the days when I feel like an amalgamation of all of those characters. Just like any other human being: complicated and complex. Perhaps it is in their separate states that I find them disconcerting? I am frustrated, I want this over. I feel that when I understand what is going on, who is who - what is what and how to manage them all and give them what they need, I will find a way to get back to reality.

Tomorrow I shall see my Friday Counsellor again. I wonder who will be there at the time of our appointment - probably just Public Face. She is the easiest to conjure up when I am tired. She seems to pop out when I have to talk to people. I wonder if I feel that way about counselling – that I keep all sides hidden in case someone actually confirms my biggest fear that I am, indeed, mad? Maybe Public Face gets in the way – puts herself between me and the therapist/doctor/CPN to protect everyone else…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day 357

Some days I feel as old and marked as the dirt I walk upon – others, as naive and stupid as a teenager about to embark on unprotected, underage sex with an unfeeling stranger that has more risque conquests under his belt than a mass murderer.

Today I don’t know what I feel. I don’t think I feel anything, apart from numb. And sad. So very, desperately sad; actually, no – today I feel put upon by others, I feel the demands are too high to go places and smile and be a decent human being. I feel at a loss to keep up with the appointments and the expectations when all I want to do is crawl into myself and shut out all the white noise. The days, they never seem to change, and lately, whenever I sit here, in front of my computer, all I feel is a cringing feeling of deja vu with repetitive and difficult feelings that I am just, constantly, moaning. I seem to say the same thing every day, pages and pages of masturbatory theorem and wasted life. Lost are the afternoons, when brief respite occurs and I can sit with my kindred friend, looking out of a Starbuck’s window choosing boyfriends for each other from the mostly unsavoury passers by. These days are lost in time when the bogeyman comes knocking. Right now he is battering down the locked front door, trying to get in.

I have a psychiatric assessment on Friday with a new doctor. Something I am looking forward to as much as I would to being buried alive. I have had enough of the poking and prodding and probing assessments. I have had enough of the explaining, summarising and prioritising of events that lead up to my “mental break”. I have had enough of, “What do you think is wrong?” and, “What do you think is the cause of this?”

I went to my GP appointment this morning and got more Sertraline (the anti depressant, which is now un-affectionately known as “the depressant”), Diazepam, and new to the list – saline solution and non-adhesive dressings for my hands and arms. My new GP looked at me with something between quizzical humour and disbelief when the list rolled off my tongue. “Do you live alone?” she asked. She found it difficult to comprehend that I was living, with all but my illness for company. More and more professionals are now referring to my current situation as an “illness” which although my head finds it hard to comprehend, it heading somewhere towards acceptance. Maybe.

Yesterday bordered on nasty. I crawled out of bed to go to the post office, and quickly returned to bed once I walked back in the door. A migraine started about 8pm that involved a rapid stiffening of my neck that I found rather excruciating/horrifying. Needless to say, I thought I would be dead by morning – paralysed from the neck up with a frozen head. The smallest things send me straight to panic – possibly because I do live alone. No one is here to sympathise or fetch the bucket when I need to vomit, no, no - I have to get my own bucket and crawl around the floor whimpering and holding my head that wants to explode. I like to think that I am no hypochondriac, I like to think that all these minor ailments are a symptom of the battery my body has been victim to since I started with the plethora of drugs that have been swirling around in my system for the past two years. Before that, I hardly dare swallow anything for a complaint - funny how things change. Damn hilarious, actually.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 355 - posted Day 356

Today I did things like: ordered a hosepipe for the bedroom, bought a lamp for the kitchen drawer and a snake for the kitten.

I also self-harmed, had a visit from the Charlie’s Angel (she is now singular), cried – a lot, cancelled my appointment with the "befriender" for tomorrow and found a tabletop in the street. I then painted the tabletop and mounted it – on top of a table. Framed and hung a tea towel (picture rail hanging is quite traumatic, no nails, pins or blue tack allowed here) and cleaned out the still smelling drawers with a magical mixture of vinegar, lemon juice and cedar wood oil. My house smells like a chippy. I also washed dishes, spoke to my Mama several times, made a compilation CD for a friend (it was intended to cheer her up, but it may just tip her over the edge with my choice of song), packed up some stuff to post, paid the neighbour for cleaning the stairs and watched some TV. Oh, and made a doctors appointment for Wednesday. And put stuff out for the special uplift today – that didn’t get uplifted.

Since I started all the clearing/sorting out last week (for the inspection), I can’t seem to sit still for five minutes. I hang pictures with tears rolling down my cheeks and self-harm when I have a fag break.

Something is stirring, I can feel it…

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Day 349.2

So, I slept. I told you I would.

One of the Charlie's came along with a bloke who shall be doing some ‘hand holding’ of some description. Amusingly I had seen him at the Biscuit Centre and thought he was cute. Now I cannot think he is cute because he shall see me at my worst, probably, when he tries to get me to do things, like go outside and talk to people. Well, he saw me today - unwashed and bandaged. I think we might get married.

I did tell my mama about the self-harming after all. She was sad. She was also quite loud. People are loud when they are not being miserable – just something I have noticed. And then I slept. And then everyone panicked because I didn't answer the phone.

I thought about doing a lot of things while I lay in my bed (like buying drawer liners to make the newly acquired drawers smell less musty, moving my desk and chucking out an old cupboard), I did none of them. Then, when I woke up at 7.30pm I walked to the local shop to buy tobacco and ice cream.

I don’t think Misery is about today as much as she was yesterday (if at all), it’s quite nice to have some peace from her; she is a pain. I am also less panicky about the bedroom today too, and, small miracles, my bed is no longer upsetting me.

Today, I was also musing (I like that word: musing, musing, musing) about simplicity, thinking that I should become one of those (weird?) people, that have multiples of a few staple items of clothing. You know, like when Batman opens his closet and there are about twenty identical Bat suits hanging up, all in a nice, neat, ordered line? I shall have trousers that are all the same, maybe three pairs; shoes, three pairs and tops, seven. Life would be so much easier like that, no more decisions.

Day 349.1

I am not going to tell my Mum I self harmed last night. She still calls me every morning to bribe me to get up. She keeps talking and talking and talking until I am awake and until she is sure I won't go back to sleep again. She gets upset when I tell her about the scratching and last time she shouted. Frustrated shouting I think, but my head can't hear that today. I am tired and am waiting for the Charlie's to arrive with a man from some "integration" place. I have been told he will take me out for cups of tea. "The Arm" in nipping. Nippety-nip-nip-nip. It hurts and I can see the ooze, weeping through the dressing.

The house is doing my head in. Today I might just get some black bags and stuff everything in them. Everything that say's: "I was here". I would like to be blank. I would like my world to be blank and un cluttered so I don't have to think about it. I would like someone to pay the bills and invent food that cooks itself, with self-cleaning plates. I would like someone to invent floors that ingest their own dirt and dust, just so I can go to sleep. Sleepety, sleep, sleep, sleep. That's what I'd like to do today...

C'est la vie.

Day 349

Sometimes I wonder if it will ever be right again, my life. Sometimes, like tonight, I wonder if I just submit to her world - if I could ever comeout of it. I sat and scratched and scratched my arm until it was red raw. She was here then, and still is now. She is tired and numb and feels nothing about anything. She was here yesterday too when I was buying rubbish bins for the house in an attempt to get things in order. I have the inspection on Friday. I was buying th ebins, and was stood there thinking "what's thepoint?". I don't understand the "point". Sh e is amixture of numbness and rage. Rage against me. Sometimes I think I get in her way, if she had her way - I might belike this all the time. Eyes, dry with tiredness, scared to sleep because she knows another day is ahead of her. She doesn't like waking up sometimes. Sometimes she is excited but too tired to move.

I got a chest of drawers today from a neighbour. I don't knowwhich onegave it to me. It was sitting outside in the close, waiting to go out for the bin men last night, so I stuck a notice on it, asking if I could have it. When I got home after meeting my friend in town for a coffee, it was on my doorstep. Someone had bought it twoflights of stairs up, and left it for me, beside my front door. Now it is in my bedroom, looking at me. Reminding me that there is now another object in my house that is tying me down. It feels like it is strangling me. Laughing that I dare believe that there is a future. My Mum says "what makes you so special that I don't deserve nice things. Everyone deserves to have nice things." Well, I don't think that is quite true.

My arm is throbbing. Saline solution has been applied and sterile dressing. I barricaded the door again. I set a booby trap the other day because I didn't believ the letting agents wouldn't just let thmselves into the flat while I was out. So I set atrap so I wouldknow if they had been here. The trap hadn't moved when I got home, but maybe they put it back, just to catch me out. Ha ha. Maybe they have seen the mess and the piles of paper. Paper, papereverywhere all commanding that I do something with them. Wouldn't that be funny, because when they come round this Friday I shall show them a very tidy house indeed.

My Mum said tonight that she didn't understand why I had gone soflat tonight when I had had a good day. I said I didn't know. She askedme to think about it. This morning she said I shoulkdn't tell the CPN'sor Charlie's that I feelike I have a split personality.n I do though. Not that I have split personality, but like there are two of me. When "she" comes it's no fun. Shemakes things harder. Hard, hard, hard.

The Charlie's are coming tomorrow at 10am. That's early. And now it's nearly 2am. I paid some bills today. £100 worth of bills. Blimey. Gas and leccy, you are not cheap. No, indeed you are not.

"Hello?" It is quite cold, I think I need to put a jumper on. I always get cold when 've self-harmed. Weird isn't it. I think that wa s a rhetorical question.

Ten to two in the morning. I wish it was 9am already.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Day 346

I fell asleep while uploading the last post, and would be still there, with my finger hovering over the "publish" button, if the urge to barricade the front door hadn't woken me up. The front door is now successfully barricaded with a coat stand. And I checked it was locked about seven times. And that the taps were off. And then went back to check on the barricade. And I would still be wearing my clothes if I hadn't put my pyjamas on. I didn't brush my teeth though.

Day 345 - Friday

It’s 12.59am and I’m still awake, which considering the exhaustion of the past week, seems a little bizarre. But as I slouch here across my still unmade bed, in the mess, tippy-tapping away on my keyboard I find myself not wanting to actually ‘go’ to bed - mainly because I don’t like the way my bed is facing. The bed is currently situated behind the bedroom door, as it opens – on the same wall as the door is. It was previously against the wall beside the wall the door is on. It moved. And now I think I want to move it back. Move, move, move. “Dammit”

My Mum philosophises that it (the constant moving of furniture) is because I am restless (body, soul and mind, I think she means). I think it’s because furniture annoys me. Especially when it WON’T FIT. I lie awake at night thinking up new arrangements - the ritual has become very important; like drinking water. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, much to the bemusement of flatmates and ex partners and of course my ever patient Mama, when I was smaller. I sometimes wonder if I bolted things to the floor, if I would just get out the crowbar and prise beds and armchairs free so I could twirl and twirl and twirl them around when they started to annoy me?

And now my bed is annoying me so much I shall have to go and take a pill and go to sleep before I chop it up with a giant pair of fabric scissors. Have you seen fabric scissors? They could cut through a tin can if they wanted to. Or maybe they shall just embed themselves in my chest, by “accident”?

I shall not tell you about my busy day. It was terribly busy today. Maybe I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Day 344

My throat is constricting faster than a cobra can squeeze, so the best way to get rid of the panic is to empty my head and write – right?

A thousand and one things have happened since that CPN pressed the panic button over a week ago now and I am headed straight for a flat spin. I awoke to panic this morning, after falling asleep in my clothes early last night and waking every hour, throughout the night thinking: “Did I leave the front door unlocked, the grill and TV on? Did I put that fag butt out, before I put it in the bin, are the taps still running in the bathroom?” I hadn’t intended falling asleep so early, but was so Goddamn tired after meeting after meeting and a brief sojourn up to my Mum’s last Friday.

Thursday night last week, the night of my last post, was a scary night. The confusion that had been building over the week with all the sudden attention from the Biscuit Centre, the Crisis Team on my doorstep – what seemed like every five minutes - the writing suicide letters, the buying of the will and trying to remember what tablets I had taken that day, had all begun to take it’s toll. Had I taken an accidental overdose – or had I had the prescribed amount of my daily doses? I had no idea. I had taken my sleeping tablet that night and was trying to get to bed, not knowing if I would be awake in the morning, or If I would be looking down at my corpse from on high. I tried to calculate what I had taken, but couldn’t remember. I was tired, disorientated, scared and didn’t know what day it was.

I had decided, earlier on that day, to take the train to my Mum’s house. It is a three and a half hour journey – one that I haven’t taken for quite some time due to the strain of travelling solo. However, on Thursday, I found myself in complete terror, booking a ticket, needing to get out, to get away from these four walls and to feel safe sleeping in the room beside my mother. I have never felt like I needed help so much in all my life. I have never felt so claustrophobic and sick of the sight of my dwelling space. I wanted to pound my head, to pull out my hair, to make the world stop turning so I, alone, could find the air to breathe. I found no oxygen and no breath to fill up my petrified chest; everyone else was swallowing it.

I had had a surreal and terrifying experience in a coffee shop in town that day (I think it was the same day - I can't remember now), when trying to “treat” myself to a coffee and a sit down. I was sitting at a table and the noise surrounding me was so painful to my ears it felt like everyone was shouting directly into them. And they were all shouting at me. I sat with my hand jammed over my ear, trying to block them out. I wanted to shout at them all to shut the hell up, but instead I gulped down my drink and bolted outside, trying (of course) to look the epitome of serenity.

The noise on the train had a similar effect. Pounding noise, deafening to ears so used to the sound of only my own thoughts, suddenly assaulted by the busy hubbub of society going about its own business. Phones ringing, people chatting – the train itself. All so very, very loud.

My small triumph of getting on the train was overshadowed by my return to the city, two days later. Everything I had left behind me, upon evacuation, was awaiting my return like a gaggle of hammered singletons out on a hen night, all trying to out do me with how bad they were all feeling and who was worse off. My arm, previously scarred was complaining that it was allergic to the Micropore tape that my dressing was held down with. My stomach was so tight from holding myself solidly through three hours and forty minutes on the train, I could barely breathe. My head felt sick because I couldn’t get food into my mouth because my jaw was wired shut with clenching. And then there was the quiet – screaming at me, reminding me that I was sick in the head. The girls, oh those silly girls, they chose a great night to party.

I think they might be here again today. All vying for my attention; this time, however they are moaning about unpaid bills, unsent presents, money transfers from lousy banks; debt, counselling appointments from the past week. Farewell messages from seeing old CPN's and psychologists from the last meeting at the Mental Centre on Wednesday. Seeing the Charlie’s (Angels) on Monday and then again today with more counselling tomorrow. The proposed flat inspection by the letting agents scheduled for tomorrow when the flat is upside down and inside out; everything - all of them, twirling and shouting and singing and swimming around in my head. No wonder I can’t find the air to breathe, they've used it all up with their bellyaching. The To Do list is never ending – how the hell am I going to get it all done in time?

I remember once saying that being “ill” was like having a full time job. Getting better, it seems, is like having two. You suddenly have double the work, without pay, no bonuses and no holiday. I now understand why people keep telling me that it is important to find time in the day to do things that calm and relax you, especially when all you do is talk about wanting to be gone. Maybe this is why I had to move, to get a new centre to go to, to have people to-ing and fro-ing from my flat more often that a tube in a London Underground station - just to find out that there is no peace in recovery. No quiet to collect your thoughts or piss you day away by sleeping, because if you do, all you wake up to is more conversations about suicide and self-harm, over and over and over again.

One of the Charlie’s said today “Have you done something to your hair – have you had it cut?” “No”, I said. But she was so adamant that it looked so different, that she kept repeating the question, and then I realised that I had taken my first bath and washed my hair properly just this morning. I don’t know when the last time I washed was. I remember looking in the mirror on the bus yesterday, suddenly thinking I didn’t check I don’t have a panty liner stuck to my head or some other obscene foreign object attached to my person before leaving the house that morning. I had gone from horizontal, weeping and begging my Mum to call everyone and tell them I wasn’t coming to see them…ever, to being on a bus in the middle of town and I had no idea if I was still in my pyjamas. I didn’t dare look down, but when I looked in the pocket-sized mirror in my bag that could encompass only my face and neck, I realised my hair was lank and dirty, my scalp was falling into my un-plucked eyebrows, the clothes I had on were well past their sell by date and hung around my neck like a pair of old grey pants, kept only for those days when you are menstruating. No wonder people were looking…

Did I mention I told the CPN that the Prime Minister was called John Brown?