Let’s not be downhearted. I am okay- well, no that’s a lie. I’m going through seismic changes, I guess, painful ones. As is my life right now. I know I am not alone, but I feel very alone, just because there are so many banshees in my head, and I’m so scared of the future, I don’t know who to talk about it to or how to talk about it. I feel guilt very acutely, and I am struggling with it because I have hurt people that I love. I did talk to my CPN who thinks my rationale is sound but my behaviour is possibly not, and that I am probably going through a hypo/manic episode, with a vicious edge of depression.
On my restricted blog (yes, I have one that only friends can read), Crikey, I was being funny. I have a Livejournal. Brain_opera if you’re interested. It’s for day to day crap and my friends in London to sort social stuff out. I made a list of things I need to do. They include:
- Start eating properly. I tallied up my daily calorie count as an average, and for three weeks, I’ve been averaging out at about 600 a day, sometimes slightly more, sometimes slightly less, sometimes nothing at all. I am going to force myself to eat at least three things a day, even if they’re tiny. This isn’t deliberate; mixture of stress, grief, depression, mania and exhaustion. I have been on the verge of collapse quite a few times and my manic energy means that I need to be eating more, not less.
- Sleep. Because I haven’t been.
- Keep the place tidy. Whoops.
- Try not to start caning the booze. I’ve been drinking but not an awful lot and I have stopped drinking home alone.
- Stop dodging my CPN appointments.
- Properly discuss therapy which I think I desperately need. Problem with it is that I need to be more stable in order to engage.
- Stop skipping medication doses. Yep. I’ve been afraid of going to sleep (hate sleeping alone, hate waking up alone) so sometimes have been skipping doses.
Basically; start small by trying to take care of myself a bit more.
I’m not around tomorrow and my sister is coming on Wednesday so I shall be quiet. My friend Nick told me I should make a list of why people care about me, and what’s good about me, and in it maybe I’ll find the reasons to carry on. I shall, but for now, my lovely readers, I pass the tasks onto you. Tell me five good things about you. If you please, and if you like, and if you don’t want to, then it’s okay! Even if you’re just proud of the way you do something, tell me.
I’ll tell you two things I am proud of (I can only think of two right now, alas): I am proud of the Radio 4 play, even though I got rabbit in the headlights about it and had to run away for a little while because, although I was proud of it, it’s quite strange for even more people to know me for being manic depressive. I’m also proud of the fact that, for the most part, I give people good and sincere advice. So there you go!
EDIT: Excuse the shouty bold, rather irritated. Thanks to you chaps for the comments. I was talking about the kind of advice you give your mates day to day, like relationships, films, books, clothes, life woes, not advising people with mental illness which I steer clear of because I’m not recovered nor qualified. I already say in my FAQ that if you have concerns you take them to your doctor. I don’t give anyone advice when they email me. I tell them the same thing: go to your doctor. The only thing I’d ever give advice on is mental health services, like where to go etc because I know my way around it. I try to be comforting when I can, but for the most part, I can’t give advice and it puts me in a bind.
I mean, it must be weird, me being mentally ill and all, to have friends and a life and stuff. My window must be very small. All our windows are, us mentally ill people!
Andrew, you SERIOUSLY underestimate my readers, as if they’re facile eejits who are easily led and who I am leading. For a start, how dare you say they’re not of “sound mind and good judgement”?!! You have a complete fundamental misunderstanding of what mental illness actually IS. It is not insanity. We are not infants.
I’ve talked before about responsibility and blogging, but at the end of the day, this is a personal about mental illness. I don’t think anyone would consider me their “best friend” if so, that isn’t my fault, no-one whatsoever has given me any indication that they do although I have made friends here. I think you have this strange image of people with mental illness having such a tiny world. I can’t control how anyone takes this, and if I tried to, it would lead to rampant self censorship which would render this blog useless to me and to anybody else who cares to read it. I don’t know who reads apart from my regular readers, and how can I? Should I have a, “Check in at the door” policy- have you got psychosis, are you manic, are you easily upset? Show me your medical records, which clearly define who you are as a person!
EVERYTHING is open to interpretation by EVERYBODY. Not just these people who seem to see as mentally ill weaklings, and you do me a great disservice too by refering to me as such, thus being an “unreliable narrator” of sorts. Yes, I’m mentally ill, but I have a lot of self awareness which is something this blog HELPS me to keep, which helps keep me healthier than I had been before I began to write it. I started this blog soon after I was diagnosed, and I keep it to keep tabs on myself, to vent, to talk. I also, as I have mentioned constantly, have an appallingly bad memory. This is a record I need. When I’m not feeling so well, I sometimes don’t read other blogs, and that’s something that you’ll find with a lot of people. Or I don’t write.
Do I worry? Sometimes, yes I do, and there are some things I keep off here for that purpose. But I am not a counsellor, doctor, nurse or anything like it. I’m a blogger, and a person.
I also worry about being attacked myself. It happens, I get nasty emails quite a lot. I open up a lot here and sometimes to me that’s overwhelming and frightening and sometimes I run away from it. I have that right. I think people who have read this blog for a while probably have quite a decent measure of me as a person and get that. I worry that I don’t always reply to stuff, that I’m crap at replying to comments properly and I worry that people are sad or offended or think I’m not listening when I am.
I have a mental illness that affects my MOOD. I have another one that affects my self-perception. But I am human! We are human. Hasn’t reading mental health blogs taught you that, that we’re, you know, ACTUAL PEOPLE and not, as you say the “mentally ill”? Isn’t that half the battle in this world to show people that we’re just, y’know, people who happen to have a mental illness? Funny, silly, sad, serious, comfortable, interested, alive, glorious, ordinary people? Like everybody else?
And if you’re so worried about the minds of my readers, as if they’re public property and not something intensely personal and unique, as if we’re all the same because we have mental illness, why not extend that courtesy to me, and not write something publicly that mentally ill old me could construe as designed to make me paranoid and upset? Especially since in this reading this blog you know I’m going through a period of mental-unwellness right now and life stresses that are breaking me.
If people are counting on me, then what can I do? I don’t think anybody is. I think people come and read and understand when I’m not around, as I would them. Of course I take “time off”- this isn’t my job, it’s my blog, it’s my life, I have a life I am trying to live and make sense of, and right now, it is very hard.
And would it actually be healthy if I wrote constantly, constantly, constantly? Would it be healthy for anyone? Sometimes *I* need to not write about it, to not think about it, analyse it. This blog is important and helpful for me- when it isn’t helpful for me, I will stop writing it, because what would be the point to carry on when something becomes self destructive? I DO need breaks sometimes, I do sometimes feel there is stuff I am not comfortable sharing, or that I can’t write about. My illness also affects my energy levels- sometimes I do not have the energy or motivation to get up and get dressed, let alone write a blog. I think most people who read this blog understand the nature of the beast Not even who does read has a mental illness; lots of people are nurses, carers, friends, generally interested but the people who do may have the similar issues of motivation and exhaustion and depression that I get that means I need to take time away alone. I don’t consider this to be some grand thing- it’s my diary, I think people get that, I’m sharing my thoughts and experiences and fears. If I am a “spokesperson” as you say, it’s because this blog is widely read, but I have rarely promoted it. I’m not *trying* to be a spokesperson, I’m just writing things that I go through. If I am seen as a spokesperson, well then, I hope it’s as a good one. But it is my life. I do have to take care of myself and sometimes I need time out.
I get a lot of emails and comments and I’m not organised so I read them then sometimes can’t find them again, and I hope by now that people understand I read everything and I tend to carry on topics of discussions in other posts, and I reply to as many emails as I can when I can.
As for my tone, that’s just the way I write. It’s also the way I speak. People who’ve met me in person will tell you that.
At the end of the day, the responsibilities I feel I have here are to be honest as I can about even, YES! even the shitty side/silly side/annoyingly dull day to day, medicated/therapied/bored side of mental illness, to maybe sometimes make people laugh and to, in some way, help ease the horrifying loneliness that can come with living with a mental illness, that I experience too, and that means this blog is as much me reaching out to other people as them to me, to just say, “Bloody hell, you know, it can be crap, it can be glorious, it can be dull, but it’s nice to feel able to just talk about it like it’s an ordinary thing that it is, that it becomes in your day to day life”. I don’t generally go around my real life sitting people down and talking to them at length about this stuff. This is a safe space for me in which I can rant, vent, emphasise, joke, be sarcastic, be pissed off, share and be shared with. Sometimes I need help, or comfort or perspective and I ask for it. See, I trust these mentally ill infants because they have been there and are best “qualified” to give me their opinion! And I’d be VERY surprised if anyone dropped out of their treatment or didn’t participate after reading this blog. You’d probably want to look at the anti-psychiatry blogs for that one. If it is harmful in anyway to anyone, I would assume, or hope, they’d stop reading it.
And it is a forum in a sense because people comment, discuss, talk to each other. Many of my readers are bloggers too, I read their stuff, I read the emails I receive, and I hope, and think, a lot of people find comfort in each other, and I do, too. And too, it’s interesting! I find it fascinating. Of course it’s fascinating, it’s the mind, and I want to figure how mine works, so I write about it. When I AM graphic, such as with “triggering” photos or graphic descriptions, I tend to use a “Read More” to give people warning and a choice in reading them.
Don’t patronisingly lump everyone together as if we’re all incapable little children. And don’t forget, even if this blog is popular, it’s mine, about my experiences, I write hoping it’s helpful but it’s for me (and my family, who read it and find it much easier to help me/understand me by doing so) more than anyone else. If I was paralysed by panic of offending anyone and so on, I’d never write in it. Either would any other blogger on any other blog, either would anybody with any other form of communication. But of course we’re all mentalist dimwits so what the hell do we know about ourselves that you can’t assume, eh?
That’s all I’m saying. Thanks for your thoughts and all.
Edit again: I’m keeping this up for anyone who may have those opinions.
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder