Have a few things I want to blog about, including Lethal Discrimination:
For years we have been shouting about how people with severe mental illness are at risk of dying up to 20 years before the general population, often from preventable physical health problems.
Today we’ve published a new report to demand that the Government takes immediate action to stop Lethal Discrimination against people with mental illness. But we need your help – will you write and ask what is being done to turn the tide?
Which I’ll get round to and which you should go and read.
But I’m feeling quite low and have been all this week. I’ve been off work with the physical ills, so it’s probably a lot to do with that. Got so much I want to say and no energy to say it. Having that feeling of shyness when you’re up on a podium and you’ve forgotten your notes.
I just feel quite low and I hope it’s just a little thing, but I can’t help but glance at the calendar and sigh. I went to see my GP on Wednesday and she had some interesting things to say. The CMHT didn’t do my CBT referral, but had sent a letter questioning whether I needed straightforward CBT or something more complex. Just straightforward CBT, so she did the referral. I hadn’t really explained things properly to the psychiatrist when I saw them (about actual moods- June last year, when I was fine) because I was in a good place. I forgot my entire history. Crisis teams, hospitals, being so depressed I dropped out of university.
“You have to forget”, she says. “If you remembered all the time, how could you carry on living?” And a discussion about how
you can’t feel pain once it’s been felt. It only existed in those moments of feeling. You can remember the pain but never re-experience it. I remember, vividly, the pain of riding my dad’s bike with him. It was a bloke’s bike, so had a crossbar. It went, “thump” down a kerb and impaled me onto it with such force, I stiffened and fell onto the ground and my dad had to hold me while I wailed. I can remember that pain, but I can’t relive it. I have almost 40 stitches in my leg and arse. Half torn apart by Lassie’s teeth (and it was, hilariously, Lassie. A long-snouted collie). It hurt. I remember that it hurt. But I don’t remember how it hurt.
“If you could relive mania once it was over, then nobody would ever get the crushing lows that follow. If you could just will it, then you’d live there forever”.
Which is true if hypomania didn’t become the tearing destructive force of wandering the streets with a bottle of wine and talking endlessly and banging the walls screaming in rage and willing the vicious energy into the brick on your third day awake. And the same goes for depression. Once it’s passed, you can’t remember, not really, how it felt. At least for me. A murky Other person. (Hypo)mania is remembered never by me, but by others. It’s probably the bullet loading the gun. The shame of not remembering, and of being remembered when you don’t. Of having a part of you not in your own possession. That doesn’t belong to you. Not again.
So she’s doing the referral, and we had a happy little conversation about death. About the, “essence” of people. I’ve never felt it. I wish I did. While she was talking, watching her face melt into beatific peace, I wondered if I’m just failing to feel the essence. Surrounded by little ghosts. Maybe there is part of me that still hasn’t come to terms with my dad’s death. And Brendan only a year later. And Vicky when I was 15, and it was my introduction to violent death, to what suicide really is, and now what I can’t forget.
I kept a grin and willed myself not to have a panic attack on the blue (always blue) chair. And dug my nails in. It’s an interesting intellectual conversation. Keep talking about you- not me.
And physical stuff. A disbelief I’ve gained another stone. Sticking me on the scales (I wish doctors would just take my word) and measuring my height (I am 28- I have not grown). An acknowledgement it’s probably my medication (I have had to increase the dose of Seroquel). An investigation- mostly for my sake, I think. Not for my health, but for my vanity. Surely if I was really in control I wouldn’t now be 81kg? (And I’m 4ft 11″). The medication is definitely a part of it. I ate a whole trifle in my sleep. I woke up to its remains. I was quite impressed by that.
More blood tests. I’m an old pro with needles now. And it’s not so horrible visiting the nurses with my arms as improved as they are. Four years! And yet, people still ask, as irrelevant as asking what your four year broken toe means. It means nothing now. It’s healed. The bone is back in its cradle.
Let me be.
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder