Edit: I’ve just checked my post, and have graduated from a Solo debit card to a Maestro debit card. Solo cards are the debit cards given to people too irresponsible to breathe. Having a Maestro card now gives me the freedom to make drunken purchases on STA Travel that I will later regret and then have to explain to my overseas friend who didn’t want me to come visit in the first place. HURRAH!
A Maestro card officially makes me HUMAN, as opposed to the inconsequential wift of smoke I was back when I had a Solo card. If I ever get a Visa, apparently my urine becomes a stream of glittering liquid gold. If I ever get a credit card, then with everything bowel movement I make I get 10% splashback.
Firstly, I haven’t updated you on my granny. She had an operation they thought would kill her but she was out of intensive care within two days. Now she’s back at home, with people caring for her. My granny is great.
Oh dear. Everybody’s cheering for the impending summer. Hooray! reverberates around the country. The Divine Comedy wrote the hand-clappingly exuberant, “Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count” about it. Everyone is lovingly unwrapping their wicker hats and jelly sandals. Except for me. I do love the summer, in theory. Even the asphalt jungle of London takes on a kind of benevolent beauty during these cherry blossom months. The streets, which ordinarily gust the stink of piss and burgers into your face as soon as you leave the smoke-stained sanctity of your flat, begin to smell of flowers and saplings, and other subtle but no less beautiful scents that catch you off guard, as would the unexpectedly exquisite perfume of a passerby.
In theory, I love the summer. In practice, the summer months are the most dangerous for me.
For some unknown reason, I tend to suffer from vicious depressions during the summer. Occasionally, I’ve had terrible manic episodes in the summer, too, but the rule of thumb seems to be that whatever episode I get struck by in the summer will be hellishly severe and last for months. This time last year I was under the care of the Crisis Team due to an incapacitating depression that got so bad that I tried to off myself. The year before I was very depressed. In fact, almost every summer for the past twelve years I have become a cuckoo.
I seem to have a kind of reverse-SAD. As with the rest of the world, I do sometimes feel terrible during the winter months. The days are short and worthless, life practically has to be strangled out of them. The skies are grey, the trees are grey, your floating face in the mirror is grey and if you had the energy to disembowel yourself, a long grey slippery rope would slide out. But, to my memory, which, lets be honest, isn’t that reliable, I’ve gone through my worst manic episodes during winter, and my worst depressions during summer. For a lot of people with manic depression, the opposite is true.
I have a few theories why this is. The first is Sod’s Law. Outside, the desirous hoards laugh and laze in the sun, everything feels so much easier, the world, more free, life, more hopeful. My mind hates me and actively conspires against me. So, it strikes me with a depression that keeps me separated from this carnival. It conjures a force-field that surrounds me, keeping me in a gloomy stasis, where all coherent thought withers down to just the one; “I wish I was dead”. Ha ha, Seaneen! Now another four months of your life will go to utter waste and you’ll struggle to remember a single detail of this time that doesn’t involve googling the fatal doses of painkillers! In your face!
The other is that it might be my fault, a little bit. The summer nurtures my ever-present rebellious streak. There are plans, things to do, and because the summer always feels such a rarity that everything is as though it is without consequence because all can be excused, I start to slip. I embark on many picnics and pub outings with friends and throw caution to the breeze- if my friends can drink, then why can’t I? Then a late night in which I forget my medication, then I forget the next night- and I don’t want to take it anyway, I’d rather be unsleeping than sleep to three and miss the glorious mornings, I can’t stand months of mediocre afternoons, so why should I even take my medication at all when nobody else I know has to deal with this, it isn’t fair, I want to be like them…
Alas, my medication does little for depression anyway, but missing doses is enough to kick me into an unstable paranoid hypomania that turns into a heavily negative mixed episode, and drinking makes me feel depressed.
The summer can exacerbate pre-existing “Ah bugger” feelings, too. I can’t wear short sleeves because of my scars. I could but it would make me feel exposed and I’m paranoid enough about my appearance. So my clothes become suffocating (and I tend to overdress to overcompensate for my paranoia), my scars itch and burn and I feel ridiculous and apart, and that depresses me. I’d love to be one of those woman in short dresses, I imagine what the gentle sunlight feels like on their skin and imagine how it feels to live within a bodysuit that’s so smooth and only bears the human marks of bumps and childbirth and childhood accidents, and not the obviously deliberate scars than mine bears. It makes me feel crap to be in long sleeves all the time during the summer.
Maybe this summer I should experiment with,”Fuck Off and Die” chic. As in, if you look at me strangely because of my scars, you can Fuck off and Die. I did do the whole short sleeves shebang one summer in supposedly liberal and groovy Camden and people got up from my table and walked away when they clocked my arms, whispering about me. But now my scars are far less shocking than they were, so maybe…
My raging depressions, and having this illness, pisses me off because I’m not unhappy. The fact that nothing really seems to be wrong in my life exacerbates my feelings of helplessness, because I don’t know what to change. It’s intensely frustrating. It all feels very physical to me, and it always has done. The sensations of falling into darkness, and the skin-crawling agitation and the feeling of slipping out of control all come from inside, not outside. Pain in the arse, I tell thee.
Anyway, providing that I don’t die of Swine Flu first, I have to be careful this summer if I want to get to see my birthday in September. Of course, I could be being characteristically fatalistic but my mood’s already quite messed up, in the sense of “hypomanic energy and irritation coupled with the, “Right, I’m going to hang myself” thoughts. It’s nothing serious and I’m okay but at this time of year, things seem to get bad very quickly for me.
I’m utilising my usual mostly ineffective tactics to keep me out of the ground. Trying not to temptingly isolate myself (I’ve been out recently, and had a lovely night at our local a few days back, except I got a bit tipsy and started ranting at my friends about good porn on the internet) or to carry on getting pissed (I have had a horrendous couple of months and revisited my old friend The Booze to cope with it, and now I’m trying to go back to being teetotal, because giving up the booze was so fecking hard that I don’t feel like having to do it again), trying to sort out my sleep, attempting to keep busy and productive with writing, trying to answer emails, although I “epically fail” at that, as tha kids would say, and trying to eat. I do eat and keep it down, which is the important part, and I force myself to eat even if I’m not hungry. I could genuinely subsist on coffee and tea at the moment, with a slice of toast if I’m feeling decadent. Although I’m fairly fat so not eating wouldn’t do me much harm, it just, y’know, psychologically would.
I still haven’t signed up to join the swimming pool but that’s mostly due to the fact that I just paid my rent and finally got a cheap external hard drive to save my ailing computer. I haven’t got enough left over membership fee and first month. However, I have another trick up my wizard’s sleeve, which is not a euphemism for my vagina.
It is dull and exhausting having to be a careful person. I’m fairly responsible and all, I mean, I am an adult, not an adolescent, despite my adolescent passions and impulses. I pay my bills and that (I’m so grown up that I’ve decided to change supplier to save money), I’ve taken care of cats and they have yet to die on me. It just gets really bloody tedious having to keep such a close eye on yourself and to accept the consequences/telling off when you don’t. I’m not very exciting. I’m not a daring harlequin cat burglar. It’s tumbleweed all the way.
I shall at least be having a restful weekend, as I’m visiting Rob’s parents and Hobbes, who reside in the bosom of the tiny Leicester village, Frisby on the Wreake. It’s one of those rather pretty little villages that has one pub and whose shops close promptly at 4pm, so if you want a Twix you have to drive the required ten miles. Rob is from another tiny village nearby, whereas I’m from West Belfast. His hometown has lovely, lyrical street names and actual real life thatched cottages. My council estate translates from Irish to English as, “The Green Hole”. It’s certainly a hole. It should really be called, “Cars Burnt Out, Shitty Mispelled Graffiti and Dog Shit Hole”.
I’m never quite sure how to behave around all that undisturbed greenery, and I have spasmodic attacks of guilt every time I stub a fag out in the grass. It makes me feel like some sort of character in an American sitcom. The garish hooker that is hired to pretend to be someone’s girlfriend, that’s me.
I’ve also received the recording of the Radio 4 play but have yet to listen to it, I can’t seem to gather up the bravery to. I will do, I’m just bracing myself for how strange it may be to listen to it.
Before I go, here’s some photos I took on Wednesday that you may find FASCINATING! but most probably not.
I got dressed up like a tramp in cat hat and duvet Manicsfan coat (it was raining), took my camera to my desk, flat, and my immediate surroundings- nowhere more than five minutes away, to find interesting things that are around me everyday. Unfortunately! My battery died before I had the chance to ghoulishly snap Joe Meek’s Offing Palace, but I did get to the peaceful graveyard that is pretty much my back garden, my favourite newsagent and local cafe, and the farm that is five minutes walk from my flat, in Holloway, Zone 2, which is quite strange to me, and I can sometimes hear the roosters in my kitchen. Even though I got drenched, I enjoyed my three hour day trip to the five minutes around my flat. There may be some rubbish photos as I cannot be arsed to go through photobucket and delete things. They’re big so stretch the page.
Anyway, have a lovely weekend and think of me wandering around fields trying to avoid flicking fag ash over startled worms.
Photos after the imploring, “Read More” tag.