Hello! I’ve been privating a lot of posts lately, many apologies. I will make this brief.
Firstly, thank you for the comments on the post I recently made private. Love is very appreciated.
In summary, this is what has happened:
Relapse (if you could call it that, which I guess you could) into depression. I haven’t had a bad episode of depression since this time of year 2010 when it followed 3 months of hypomania, which, as autumn follows spring and rather literally so as that it when my moods hit the skids and gave way into one of the worst episodes I have ever had. It was mercifully brief; antidepressants lifted it, then I was taken off them for the usual reasons (mood being like a sliding scale, and antidepressants going up, up, up, so you stop at the reasonable point).
I haven’t gotten that far yet. As in, I haven’t even been able to see a GP to get antidepressants or anything else. Then was different, I was still under CMHT care so the crisis team were called out by my social worker and they dealt with me.
This time around, I have none of that support. I can’t get an emergency appointment (you must ring or show up at 8am- it’s either engaged or a huge queue and invariably, the appointments are gone) so I am waiting until the 29th. I could self-refer to the local CMHT but they just said see your GP and by the way, take your medication. Which I would have been doing had my GP taken heed of the psychiatrist’s letter and prescribed it. I followed it up, but I had also felt okay through the summer so didn’t push them further. I felt I was managing anyway. I tried to call the crisis team last week (after psyching myself up for some time) and they hung up. I don’t think the nurse could hear me, she shouted, “HELLO HELLO” then hung up. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault but the click of the receiver was the last thing I needed to hear. But I am glad because I am not sure I want that kind of support anyway- even if it’s available. I need my space and time, and not intrusive and questions. I know what is wrong. I am trying to find my way through.
It had begun in September and become intolerable this month in which I have been filthy, unwashed, gained 20lbs, wanted to sleep forever and been finding it hard to even speak. With the odd okay days (and evenings, when I sometimes feel better) thrown in, just to annoy me, just to make it seem like the awfulness was all in my head and all I needed to do was Change my Attitude. The same way when this hit I was shocked. As if it had never happened before. The aftermath of episodes brings the forgiving anaesthesia, the not-remembering, the not being able to recall the pain of despair. Or not recalling the excesses of hypomania (in flashbacks, they come, with shame, shame, shame). And then depression itself brings the same anaesthesia, of dulling the happiness and warmness of memory. A friend asked the question the other day, “When was the last time you laughed til it hurt?” And I have? Have I? I must have done. But I can’t remember. Even the joy of my wedding day, less than 3 months ago, feels as though it never happened. An email from a colleague who I met on placement telling me I should be on the stage instead. That was me? That capable, bouncy, happy person? 8 months ago? How? And now.
I stopped wearing seatbelts. Cried myself to sleep in despair at how I was ruining my husband’s life, how I was ruining everything. Spent days researching where to get medical grade nitrous oxide for the big deep sleep.
I had been on placement full time while depressed and it became increasingly clear I could not cope. I finally saw my tutor (also a mental health nurse) and asked for help. I felt shaky and sick on the way there. I felt like a failure. She said she could immediately see I was unwell (seeing is believing, not just the dull dead face but the stress induced face-herpes and bloatedness from weight gain). That I am not the girl she knows right now (it is true, and it is agony to hear those words).
So now I am on sick leave.
My relief is indescribable because as much as I get the, “Well, if you’re not taking your mood stabiliser of course you got ill” schick I got from the CMHT, it is also, “Well, you are working shifts which is destroying your incredibly necessary sleeping pattern, and you’ve had a massive life change in getting married (and HA! this depression will begin to destroy your marriage before it has even had time to root, enjoy that), you have intense pressure upon you, you are financially fucked due to studenting and not being able to work part time too (but use every single penny to move from the place were you are being stolen from and bombarded with religious shit day and night) and you are in an emotionally draining environment…So of course you got sick”.
I need time and space and sleep.
It’s the same swooping mood crash as always, the same out of nowhere crash. Maybe something fiddly in the brain, bipolarity, par for the course. But I have limits. I do. I could work full time and study part time and I managed beautifully. It was stressful but I came home, went to sleep, woke up, had some sort of routine. Not bed at 11pm then up again at 4. Then bed at 12pm, up at 10am.
Remember when I started this blog, back when I was just diagnosed, all 20 years old and full of it, and the strongest believer in the medical model, absolutely ear-closed to the idea that it could be anything BUT this thing in my head (the spiky sea urchin, christened then and ever was, will be) which could be vanquished by Lithiums and antipsychotics and and Effexors (the last one, a particularly particular disaster). Now I can’t believe I ever thought that way. It was part of me then, but one I thought I could kill. I don’t believe that now. It’s a part I have to live with, forever. The medication does help. It does. But there is no magic pill.
How things change.
Accepting that means accepting, really accepting, that this could happen again. Whether it’s a character flaw, illness, or both, it could happen again. That thought is intolerable. The unhopeful me does not want to accept it. Best to stop it now, here, and never live through it again.
But I won’t do that.
I’m seeing the doctor on the 29th, I am moving, I am going back on the 7th, I am going to try and be more open with my husband and not feeling like an abject failure for this, try to be more open in accepting help from friends, who have been wonderful in offering it. To find things that interest me (writing, radio, if anyone wants anything, even though I can write for about 10 minutes a month these days) and use it, little projects, to occupy myself, to keep some semblance of a purpose. To make myself get out of bed when all I want to do is sleep. And that is what I am doing. It is what I have to do.
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