Daily Archives: September 3, 2015

You’ve Got Something In Your Nose

There have been two very interesting developments in the world of psychotropic pharmacology lately. The first was a couple months ago, I might have mentioned it, where they are developing a new type of anti-depressant that might be effective in bipolars. Here is the scoop: there are two types of anti-depressants, MAOIs and SSRIs. MAOIs […]

You’ve Got Something In Your Nose

There have been two very interesting developments in the world of psychotropic pharmacology lately. The first was a couple months...

The post You’ve Got Something In Your Nose appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

Run-Ins With the On-Call Therapist

I work at the local hospital stocking supply carts and delivering equipment, so I end up walking all over the hospital in a day’s time.  The elevator down to our storeroom is located right next to the entrance to inpatient mental health, and so I’m reminded of my stays there a dozen times a day. […]

Horrific!

This is a horrific video. People with mental illness do not deserve this. Ronald Reagan closed state hospitals when he became president. Over 30 years ago, when Reagan was elected President in 1980, he discarded a law proposed by his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, that would have continued funding federal community mental health centers. This basically eliminated services for people struggling with mental illness. The legacy of that one move continues till today. Of course, that also lead to a huge increase in homelessness, as mentally ill people had nowhere to go and no care or treatment available, so they simply (!) became homeless. There are no state hospitals to house the mentally ill, or they have been severely defunded, so now mentally ill people, who need medical care and medication, end up in prison, totally misunderstood, severely treated, injured and killed. People with mental illness do not belong in jail, they/we need doctors, medication and healthcare.

Why has this catastrophe for the mentally ill not been recognized, understood, and reversed? Reagan did this in 1980, we are now in 2015, 35 years later. Why have state hospitals not been refunded again? Why have facilities and clinics, and other institutions not been opened again to help and treat the mentally ill?

I am one of the mentally ill people. I am fortunate to have good healthcare, a good education, a loving caring family, a circle of loving, caring friends. But for the grace of god, go I…


YES, I Hear You Knocking, Geez!

I usta do blow a lot. And pain pills. And obviously I drank a shit ton. I got drunk for the first time when I was 15 and my best friend and I did that thing where we each told our parents that we were sleeping over at the other’s house so we could stay out all night. We went to a party with these dudes. One of them offered to make me a drink and I said Ok but I didn’t know what kind of alcohol I was supposed to be drinking so I was like…um vodka? And he assessed that I hadn’t really had to make this kind of decision before so he suggested a rum and Coke instead (PSA: Never do this. Seriously. If I had a dollar for every friend who’d been drugged by a guy who made her a drink, I’d have 3 more dollars than I’d EVER WANT. Make your own drink and hang onto it).

So I had a couple rum and Cokes and I started to feel pretty euphoric. This older girl asked me if I wanted to make out and I was like, “Hell yeah I do!” I had a blast, crashed on some guy’s couch and woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning so my friend and I could go home and each make up a lie about how we felt sick so we wanted to go back to our own house and cut the slumber party short.

But I felt initiated or something. I had – along with many of my friends – been against drinking since the start of high school. I always boasted that I didn’t need booze to have fun…which was probably because I was already having a shitload of fun with sexual experimentation in various parents’ basements every weekend. I guess I changed my tune or something. But after that night, I wanted to recapture the jollies I got knocking back sugary rum drinks and acting lasciviously toward anyone within grabbing distance. I’m a charming drunk. Most of the time…

I really, really hate to espouse the “gateway drug” model of behavior I was warned about in Jr. High because I think it sends a confusing message. I also think it sets up a no-going-back kind of construct that damns adolescent stupidity as irreversibly damaging, and demarcates the do’s and the do not’s within your larger social sphere and kids are not nice about that shit. But more on that and my other anti-D.A.R.E.-type rants for another day. There are better ways.

AHEM: So I felt like I’d found something in alcohol. I’ve mentioned this before, but alcohol tends to affect bipolar people somewhat differently than non-bipolar people. It makes us slightly manic. That euphoria I felt after my first rum and Coke was probably fairly exaggerated compared to my friend’s. She teased me about how crazy I acted that night even though she’d been drinking too. Booze made her relaxed and more social. It made me impulsive and HIGH.

A few months ago, over dinner, my friend Conor and I had a brief conversation about how we don’t think we know any other people with bipolar who have zero substance abuse in their past (or, in some cases, present). The general conclusion was that, when you’re young, usually before diagnosis, you know there’s something different about you. Among your peers, you wonder why they seem more comfortable in their own skin than you do. They seem more relaxed. They seem like people and you feel alien (let’s just ignore the reality that most teenagers feel self-conscious at some point…or many points). So you turn to intoxicants to try to erase those parts of your brain that make you feel like a total fucking weirdo whose weirdness is visible from the goddamned moon. It’s not just about fitting in with your peers, it’s about fitting in with yourself – or at least the version of yourself that’s happy, comfortable and fun. When you’re drunk and when you’re high, you, somewhat paradoxically, feel more sane.

So after booze, I thought I’d try weed. I like(d) it. Then I gave ‘shrooms a shot. That was fun as hell. I got into my parents’ medicine cabinet and found Vicodin and codeine. My friends stopped there. I did not. After a really bad fight with one of my best friends – the teenage kind that brandishes the gravity of a thousand suns – my sister came home to find me in tears. She had some cocaine. I thought it would make me feel better, so we did some. I did feel better. We stayed up really late talking and I felt like my pilot light had been lit. I went to school the next day with the residual high you feel after having done something bad that you need to keep secret. I knew my friends would be really pissed at me if they knew I was doing blow. I knew they’d try to make me stop. I didn’t wanna stop. After about 3 months on this merry-go-round, I came home from a party one night after having killed well over a gram of coke, a bunch of beer and some weed. I hadn’t eaten in like a day and half and I crashed really hard. I was sweating bullets and shaking and crying and frantically tapping my feet and my fingers because sitting still at that moment SUCKED. One of my feet started to swell. My sister almost woke my parents to take me to the hospital, but after a few harrowing hours, I fell asleep. After that, I decided to back off on the blow. I did it a few more times over the subsequent years, but very sporadically and eventually not at all ’cause my sister and I promised each other we were done with that shit.

I tried out some other drugs over the years and I had kind of a rocky relationship with alcohol up until maybe a year ago. But I think I chased drugs the way I did ’cause I wanted to feel like my best self and I didn’t believe I was capable of feeling that way on my own. So I sorta wonder sometimes: are we destined for this shit? Is there a shred if inevitability in people with bipolar regarding substance abuse? It seems pretty plain to me that, on the whole, we’re a group given to self-medication, especially in the absence of prescribed medication and definitely pre-diagnosis. We don’t wanna feel like oddballs unless we’re the glorious oddballs of our own design.

I guess the obvious followup here is: how do we prevent this kind of shit from happening? I guess I don’t really know. I got pretty lucky and the damage I caused to myself and the people around me was fairly minimal, but I know a lot of people who can’t say that (because some of them are dead). So, I won’t lie, I did have a lot of fun when I was younger. I wouldn’t repeat any of those actions today, but I don’t regret them ’cause at least I learned something, right?

Oh, and I guess an appropriate note: don’t do cocaine. Cokeheads are the MOST BORING PEOPLE ON EARTH. You will think you’re fascinating and special. You’re not. You won’t shut up and HEAVEN HELP YOUR FRIENDS if you get your hands on the tunes at a party ’cause you’re gonna rock out like a total dumbass to this song, and this song is about 5 minutes longer than it needs to be:

I mean, yeah, the intro guitar lick is pretty cool and the drums are solid, but the rest of it is self-indulgent crap (which is basically shorthand for most of the Stones’ catalogue and I WILL argue with you about this, don’t start me up…see what I did there? Spar with me verbally if you dare!).

So that’s one from the trenches. Some of my ugliest memories hang out with some of my shiniest. I guess that’s life, but for us, life is often amplified. I just wanna feel good about myself. So does everyone, probably. And I do feel alright about myself, but getting here was tricky and I’ve still got more work to do. I mean, I’ll always have more work to do. Just maybe more psychotherapy and less coke for the future, y’know?. That’s probably pretty good advice for anyone, bipolar or no.

So, got some war stories you wanna share? Please do in the comments! (I’m allergic to judgment when it comes to this shit, tell me anything.)

-LB

Tagged: adolescence, alcohol, bipolar disorder, bisexuality, cocaine, confidence, drugs, music, self-esteem, sex, substance abuse, The Rolling Stones, the trenches

YES, I Hear You Knocking, Geez!

I usta do blow a lot. And pain pills. And obviously I drank a shit ton. I got drunk for the first time when I was 15 and my best friend and I did that thing where we each told our parents that we were sleeping over at the other’s house so we could stay out all night. We went to a party with these dudes. One of them offered to make me a drink and I said Ok but I didn’t know what kind of alcohol I was supposed to be drinking so I was like…um vodka? And he assessed that I hadn’t really had to make this kind of decision before so he suggested a rum and Coke instead (PSA: Never do this. Seriously. If I had a dollar for every friend who’d been drugged by a guy who made her a drink, I’d have 3 more dollars than I’d EVER WANT. Make your own drink and hang onto it).

So I had a couple rum and Cokes and I started to feel pretty euphoric. This older girl asked me if I wanted to make out and I was like, “Hell yeah I do!” I had a blast, crashed on some guy’s couch and woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning so my friend and I could go home and each make up a lie about how we felt sick so we wanted to go back to our own house and cut the slumber party short.

But I felt initiated or something. I had – along with many of my friends – been against drinking since the start of high school. I always boasted that I didn’t need booze to have fun…which was probably because I was already having a shitload of fun with sexual experimentation in various parents’ basements every weekend. I guess I changed my tune or something. But after that night, I wanted to recapture the jollies I got knocking back sugary rum drinks and acting lasciviously toward anyone within grabbing distance. I’m a charming drunk. Most of the time…

I really, really hate to espouse the “gateway drug” model of behavior I was warned about in Jr. High because I think it sends a confusing message. I also think it sets up a no-going-back kind of construct that damns adolescent stupidity as irreversibly damaging, and demarcates the do’s and the do not’s within your larger social sphere and kids are not nice about that shit. But more on that and my other anti-D.A.R.E.-type rants for another day. There are better ways.

AHEM: So I felt like I’d found something in alcohol. I’ve mentioned this before, but alcohol tends to affect bipolar people somewhat differently than non-bipolar people. It makes us slightly manic. That euphoria I felt after my first rum and Coke was probably fairly exaggerated compared to my friend’s. She teased me about how crazy I acted that night even though she’d been drinking too. Booze made her relaxed and more social. It made me impulsive and HIGH.

A few months ago, over dinner, my friend Conor and I had a brief conversation about how we don’t think we know any other people with bipolar who have zero substance abuse in their past (or, in some cases, present). The general conclusion was that, when you’re young, usually before diagnosis, you know there’s something different about you. Among your peers, you wonder why they seem more comfortable in their own skin than you do. They seem more relaxed. They seem like people and you feel alien (let’s just ignore the reality that most teenagers feel self-conscious at some point…or many points). So you turn to intoxicants to try to erase those parts of your brain that make you feel like a total fucking weirdo whose weirdness is visible from the goddamned moon. It’s not just about fitting in with your peers, it’s about fitting in with yourself – or at least the version of yourself that’s happy, comfortable and fun. When you’re drunk and when you’re high, you, somewhat paradoxically, feel more sane.

So after booze, I thought I’d try weed. I like(d) it. Then I gave ‘shrooms a shot. That was fun as hell. I got into my parents’ medicine cabinet and found Vicodin and codeine. My friends stopped there. I did not. After a really bad fight with one of my best friends – the teenage kind that brandishes the gravity of a thousand suns – my sister came home to find me in tears. She had some cocaine. I thought it would make me feel better, so we did some. I did feel better. We stayed up really late talking and I felt like my pilot light had been lit. I went to school the next day with the residual high you feel after having done something bad that you need to keep secret. I knew my friends would be really pissed at me if they knew I was doing blow. I knew they’d try to make me stop. I didn’t wanna stop. After about 3 months on this merry-go-round, I came home from a party one night after having killed well over a gram of coke, a bunch of beer and some weed. I hadn’t eaten in like a day and half and I crashed really hard. I was sweating bullets and shaking and crying and frantically tapping my feet and my fingers because sitting still at that moment SUCKED. One of my feet started to swell. My sister almost woke my parents to take me to the hospital, but after a few harrowing hours, I fell asleep. After that, I decided to back off on the blow. I did it a few more times over the subsequent years, but very sporadically and eventually not at all ’cause my sister and I promised each other we were done with that shit.

I tried out some other drugs over the years and I had kind of a rocky relationship with alcohol up until maybe a year ago. But I think I chased drugs the way I did ’cause I wanted to feel like my best self and I didn’t believe I was capable of feeling that way on my own. So I sorta wonder sometimes: are we destined for this shit? Is there a shred if inevitability in people with bipolar regarding substance abuse? It seems pretty plain to me that, on the whole, we’re a group given to self-medication, especially in the absence of prescribed medication and definitely pre-diagnosis. We don’t wanna feel like oddballs unless we’re the glorious oddballs of our own design.

I guess the obvious followup here is: how do we prevent this kind of shit from happening? I guess I don’t really know. I got pretty lucky and the damage I caused to myself and the people around me was fairly minimal, but I know a lot of people who can’t say that (because some of them are dead). So, I won’t lie, I did have a lot of fun when I was younger. I wouldn’t repeat any of those actions today, but I don’t regret them ’cause at least I learned something, right?

Oh, and I guess an appropriate note: don’t do cocaine. Cokeheads are the MOST BORING PEOPLE ON EARTH. You will think you’re fascinating and special. You’re not. You won’t shut up and HEAVEN HELP YOUR FRIENDS if you get your hands on the tunes at a party ’cause you’re gonna rock out like a total dumbass to this song, and this song is about 5 minutes longer than it needs to be:

I mean, yeah, the intro guitar lick is pretty cool and the drums are solid, but the rest of it is self-indulgent crap (which is basically shorthand for most of the Stones’ catalogue and I WILL argue with you about this, don’t start me up…see what I did there? Spar with me verbally if you dare!).

So that’s one from the trenches. Some of my ugliest memories hang out with some of my shiniest. I guess that’s life, but for us, life is often amplified. I just wanna feel good about myself. So does everyone, probably. And I do feel alright about myself, but getting here was tricky and I’ve still got more work to do. I mean, I’ll always have more work to do. Just maybe more psychotherapy and less coke for the future, y’know?. That’s probably pretty good advice for anyone, bipolar or no.

So, got some war stories you wanna share? Please do in the comments! (I’m allergic to judgment when it comes to this shit, tell me anything.)

-LB

Tagged: adolescence, alcohol, bipolar disorder, bisexuality, cocaine, confidence, drugs, music, self-esteem, sex, substance abuse, The Rolling Stones, the trenches

“You Are Not Your Illness”

(appeared at DefoyingShadows.com)

“You are not your illness.”

Any doctor, clinician, therapist, and social worker worth their salt will at some point make this statement to you as a mental health patient.  You are a person, not “a bipolar”, or “a schizophrenic” or even “a borderline personality”.  It’s a major tenet of modern medical treatment.

But it doesn’t feel true to you.  You accidentally miss one of your meds and immediately you’re sucked into a vortex of moods, symptoms, or other manifestations of your illness.  You start to wonder.  Are you a personality?  Or is what you think of as “you” simply a balance of finely tuned chemicals?  And what happens to you when those chemicals get out of whack?

I felt this way for years.  I thought there was no other way for me to live except in constant awareness of my illness, which happens to be bipolar disorder.  So many aspects of my personality—such as my drive to succeed, my ability to multitask, my sometimes-outgoing/sometime-introvertedness—turned out to by symptoms of my illness.  I thought of everything that made me “me” in terms of how it related to my illness.

But then I decided that if God wanted me to be bipolar, so be it.  I started writing about my bipolar life.  I started a bipolar blog, Eventually the writings turned into a full manuscript.  I signed up for NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, in Mississippi so I could be a part of their speaker’s bureau, NAMI In Our Own Voice.  I went to meetings and events.  I was trained as a speaker.  I did a radio show, then a magazine article talking about my bipolar life.

All of it was geared to give people hope that if they were suffering from bipolar disorder, God can give them a semblance of a normal life.  I felt like I was doing all the right things—working, being a mom, being a wife, and doing it the best I could given the limitations I tended to live under.

Then I had a bomb dropped on me my last psychiatist’s appointment.  He said my symptoms were “in remission with medication”.

And my immediate reaction was fear.  Not “You mean I’m cured?” but “What does that mean?”

He said that I seemed to be doing so well for so long that he didn’t see any need for me to change medication or limit my activities at school, which I was about to start in three weeks.  He said “Those aren’t words we hear often around here.”

I spent much of the next week in shock.  Did he mean I wasn’t bipolar anymore?  What about my anxiety about going to the grocery store by myself?  What about my tendencies to flirt with men?  What about my constant sleepiness, which I was fighting every day by drinking two can Cokes morning and afternoon?

I had gone from a person dealing well with a disabling condition to someone who didn’t feel equipped to face life’s ordinary challenges.  And I realized I had let my illness define me.

So now I am constructing another life.  I am a student at the Mississippi University for Women in the Master’s of Fine Arts program in creative writing.  I will write about my life with bipolar disorder, because remission does not mean I am cured of what has happened to me in the past.  But I will write about other things as well, because I am not defined by my illness.  I am Julie Whitehead, and that is all I need to be.


How Does Life Suck…Let Me Count The Ways

09-02-15_Abby at vetFundraiser for Abby’s vet costs still going.

http://www.gofundme.com/qd34kzkc

So, yeah, no sunshine spewage here. This is a pure raw sewage suckage assfuckery ride on the double decker suck bus.And no apologies because sometimes things just plain suck and hurt.

After a long fitful night of giving Arsenic vitamins and trying to keep him comfortable while my kid kept waking up and I kept having coughing fits due to sinus drainage…Arsenic is barely holding on this morning. That’s how my day started out. (Guess you know the vet won’t take on another cat from me so this is agonizing.)

Then I stopped at the vet’s to inquire about Abby. The vet came to talk to me. He said Abby had a rough night and they had been afraid she wouldn’t make it. I was upset already about Arsenic and this put me into tears since yesterday I was given the opposite news. In true human nature, he told me taking care of her was going get cost prohibitive because I brought her in in such bad condition. I mentioned how I tried to get her in five days ago before the abscess even ruptured and he lectured me about my lack of income, my bad credit, a charge off from years ago at their clinic (never mind I came back, after the fact, and paid the whole thing, nope, I’m a credit risk, which is fair enough, but kicking a crying woman like that with financial shit is low.) He suggested I sign her away so she could be fully treated and given to a “better” home. Then he mentioned euthanasia since I can’t afford treatment. Every time a doctor suggests that and I don’t bow down, I feel like a monster, like I am selfish to make her suffer for my own needs. Yet if a parent gives up on a sick child, that’s reprehensible, wtf.

The water works kicked up ten notches when he lectured me on pet ownership being a responsibility, including medical costs, and perhaps I should not have pets if I can’t afford that. He’s damned lucky I am pms-y teary hormonal and not in the rage cycle or I might have hit him with my purse. My big cats are healthy as a team of oxen in spite of the flea epidemic. The fleas are taking out kittens without the adult immune system. My cat has one in as bad a shape as Abby and she has  20 other cats- yes, 20- and the vet she found (she can afford to drive out of town) hasn’t lectured her this way or given up on her kitty. To say I am livid is an understatement. I know that vet was trying to guilt me. Give her a new home, my ass. Second I sign the papers, they’d put her down. LIES.

It’s not gonna happen. Abby is fighting and I am gonna keep fighting. I have conceded defeat enough on all my sick cats. This time…I gotta try. Maybe it makes me selfish and maybe I am a low life for being a beggar and having a fundme campaign.  I just know how much we love Abby and she’s shown this much strength and courage…I’m not giving up until I absolutely have to. I repaid R for the money he put down and they still have his card on file, he seems willing to keep fronting the money for her care, to a certain point, as long as I can pay him back. So if she’s got fight in her…I’m fighting for her. Dammit, they let me see her for ten seconds this morning as she was mid treatment and she purred under my touch and stared up at me and…I can’t give up. I can’t. I won’t. If whatever deity exists deems it her time to go, fine. But if she’s fighting..I am fighting. Besides. We don’t give up treating humans when it’s cost prohibitive and they may not live. No, euthanasia is wrong for humans yet the go to for pets. And it’s not fucking right.

He made it clear even if she does survive and get stronger I can’t bring her home til my other cats and home have been treated for fleas. I have flea bombs but the $21 each for Frontline for four cats…Damn. This doctor is an ass. I am betting wealthy people don’t get treated that way. Bet he’d want to take my kid away because I am broke and unfit.

I hate people. I love people. Actually, it’s not that complex. I LOVE human kindness, creativity, humor, loyalty. I fucking loathe assholes. Relocate me to a place where the good outnumber the assholes, my attitude might improve.

So that’s been my morning, and it’s only 10 am-ish. I  put up a flyer for the fund at the gas station this morning. I even got the email addy of a cashier I know and she’s active on Facebook so she is going to pass it on. For me to open myself up this way to people, who scared the shit out of me, has to speak volumes as to how much Abby is loved. I’m not making it about me (except being offended by the foul attitude toward my limited income). I’ll rip out my still beating heart for her at this point. My life has become a cesspool of depression and anxiety and so much has just slipped through my fingers.; Some days, I can’t even remember if I made sure my kid had her shoes on when I dropped her off. I’m a trainwreck and it just keeps piling up. Which I suppose is the balance because I had a few months were things were calm-ish and I was just drowning in my normal depression and anxiety. Throwing all this on top, though, has really broken me down. Though I wonder if I’d be this weepy and fragile if it weren’t horrormonal pre-game.

I think the worst part of it all is, the nurse I spoke to yesterday gave me one report, then another one gives me the complete opposite. Making my joy and elation deflate like a balloon pricked with a damned foot long needle. FACTS, people. Get your shit straight before giving false hope. And stop making me feel monstrous. There are people training animals to fight to the death, people starving their pets. My biggest crime is being poor and having shit credit. I’m obviously the leader of the satanic pegacorn brigade, out to destroy sweet kitties with my sin of poverty.

Ass trash.

I got that new Safelink phone. Spent an hour on hold waiting for a live operator yesterday.Got one with this squeaky accented voice I couldn’t understand. My kid decided to have a screaming mimi then and there when I finally got a person. The woman took forever setting up my phone. And I gotta call them back today because they said I had to make a call to activate it…yet it won’t let me make a call because it’s not activated. What the fuck? Another hour on the phone? Fuck. And I tried their callback service. I got my callback. And the bitch hung up on me. I hadn’t said anything but hello.

About the only things that have been remotely positive is the fundraiser at least netting enough for my to repay R. I don’t know what to do about the rest, but if he’s willing to go so much as long as I repay it…I’ll figure it out even if worrying gives me an(other) ulcer. He even let me off for the thirty bucks I owed him for cat food, gas, and that new phone. (Yeah, the phone was under eight bucks with shipping, so not like it was that pricey.) I am learning a new appreciation for his friendship. I still can’t stand the fact that I’ve listened to him prattle on for hours this week about his fight de jour with the missus yet I try to talk about my shit and he just shuts me down and starts on his own shit again. That’s completely shitty but not exclusive to him. He’s been a good friend. Of course, I’ve been an amazing ex girlfriend, considering his sole reason for breaking up with me was my mood swings. Cos I totally asked to be bipolar, it’s awesome. Call it a draw,we’re both awesomely flawed.

I’m taking him lunch today as a thank you. Not that I remotely want to be around anyone because I can’t seem to turn off the waterworks for more than a couple of minutes at a time and the sinus shit is miserable. (Yet I think of poor Abby and wanna slap myself for complaining.)

I drew up some papers I am gonna drop at the superintendent’s office regarding the bus situation. I tried to let it go, but when my stomach churns daily to the point of throwing up because of the gridlock pick up…Yeah, I want an explanation, I am due that much, considering Mapquest declares both routes over the 1.5 mile requirement. I tossed in the word “discriminatory” because I’m just that irked.

Oh, to irk me further…The child support paperwork came back to me. Not as in returned, but mailed back the exact same papers to fill out again. This is their idea of efficiency? No wonder this state is fucking broke. GRRRR.

I’m sure I could rant some more but I’m not gonna. I am gonna make up a flyer for Abby’s fund and print a few out at the shop. Lots of places in town have corkboards for people to place ads and business cards. I’m not done fighting for Abby by a long shot. Though I wonder if that evil fuck of a doctor won’t euthanize her and tell me she died because he’s afraid of not getting his precious money. If she comes out of there ok…I am soo changing doctors even if I have to sell plasma for gas money to get there.

Anyway…That is all.

 


An Anatomy of Hope

Despite having this (it seems we have it rather than being it) for 35+ years, when I have a day, or a few days (rare) during which I feel almost fine, I still allow that thought to creep in: I might be better. Cured.

Cured by what, or whom, I don’t know. I’ve never examined it that closely; the absurdity of the thought would soon show itself, for sure.

Despite being in yet another stressful situation out of my control, when I’d expect to be fluctuating wildly between hypomania and depression – with a heavy dusting of anxiety, insomnia and OCD – I’ve felt fine the past few days. That’s unusual for me; very. Of course, often I think I’m ‘well’ but it turns out I was just high, or the high side of mixed.

During those moods I kind of lose touch with reality. But then again, maybe I actually touch base with ‘reality’? Who knows? I don’t.

So.. a few days of feeling as fine as I ever get to feel. Managing, coping. No over-stressing, no morbid thoughts driving / driven by obsessive behaviours (no waking up from 1am repeating sequences of numbers over and over lest something horrid happens to my son). No ‘black dog’, no buzzing nerve endings and lead-heavy muscles. No nausea.

As long as I redefine ‘no’ as ‘not much at all.. for me’.

So.. cured! Without medication (psychiatrist’s secretary never got back to me with an appointment, now I’ve finally decided to begin Quetiapine). With six months worth of CBT recently ended. Well!

But then, in the flick of a finger and thumb, in a single movement of the clock’s second-hand, in the blink of an eye and the gush of air into a single deep breath, it was back.

What happened to cause it? Nothing. Nothing at all. I was making a sandwich. Like when I put my back out for 3 weeks while brushing my teeth. It just happened. There were no thoughts, no worries or concerns. No stress. No nothing.

My mood simply dropped, like a rock from a bridge.

And now my skull is crammed with damp grey cotton wool; tons of the stuff. My muscles have been replaced with concrete. My skin is sagging (my posture has slumped, totally). I’m typing this but running numbers through my head – up, down, sideways. Breathing deeply in an attempt to compensate. Confused and.. well, I can’t really be bothered to even think about it.

All that hope, wasted! All this fear, returned!

‘The rejection of hope, in absurdism, denotes the refusal to believe in anything more than what this absurd life provides. Hope, Camus emphasizes, however, has nothing to do with despair. One can still live fully while rejecting hope, and, in fact, can only do so without hope. Hope is perceived by the absurdist as another fraudulent method of evading the Absurd, and by not having hope, one is motivated to live every fleeting moment to the fullest. In the words of Nikos Kazantzakis: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”’ (Wikipedia)


An Anatomy of Hope

Despite having this (it seems we have it rather than being it) for 35+ years, when I have a day, or a few days (rare) during which I feel almost fine, I still allow that thought to creep in: I might be better. Cured.

Cured by what, or whom, I don’t know. I’ve never examined it that closely; the absurdity of the thought would soon show itself, for sure.

Despite being in yet another stressful situation out of my control, when I’d expect to be fluctuating wildly between hypomania and depression – with a heavy dusting of anxiety, insomnia and OCD – I’ve felt fine the past few days. That’s unusual for me; very. Of course, often I think I’m ‘well’ but it turns out I was just high, or the high side of mixed.

During those moods I kind of lose touch with reality. But then again, maybe I actually touch base with ‘reality’? Who knows? I don’t.

So.. a few days of feeling as fine as I ever get to feel. Managing, coping. No over-stressing, no morbid thoughts driving / driven by obsessive behaviours (no waking up from 1am repeating sequences of numbers over and over lest something horrid happens to my son). No ‘black dog’, no buzzing nerve endings and lead-heavy muscles. No nausea.

As long as I redefine ‘no’ as ‘not much at all.. for me’.

So.. cured! Without medication (psychiatrist’s secretary never got back to me with an appointment, now I’ve finally decided to begin Quetiapine). With six months worth of CBT recently ended. Well!

But then, in the flick of a finger and thumb, in a single movement of the clock’s second-hand, in the blink of an eye and the gush of air into a single deep breath, it was back.

What happened to cause it? Nothing. Nothing at all. I was making a sandwich. Like when I put my back out for 3 weeks while brushing my teeth. It just happened. There were no thoughts, no worries or concerns. No stress. No nothing.

My mood simply dropped, like a rock from a bridge.

And now my skull is crammed with damp grey cotton wool; tons of the stuff. My muscles have been replaced with concrete. My skin is sagging (my posture has slumped, totally). I’m typing this but running numbers through my head – up, down, sideways. Breathing deeply in an attempt to compensate. Confused and.. well, I can’t really be bothered to even think about it.

All that hope, wasted! All this fear, returned!

‘The rejection of hope, in absurdism, denotes the refusal to believe in anything more than what this absurd life provides. Hope, Camus emphasizes, however, has nothing to do with despair. One can still live fully while rejecting hope, and, in fact, can only do so without hope. Hope is perceived by the absurdist as another fraudulent method of evading the Absurd, and by not having hope, one is motivated to live every fleeting moment to the fullest. In the words of Nikos Kazantzakis: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”’ (Wikipedia)