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?

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