Though we have doctors, nurses and therapists who care there are also those who do the work with no reward other than trying to put a smile on the face of a loved one. Over the years my parents, boyfriends, siblings and friends have all played their own part in caring for me. They try to bring me up when I am low by calling round to see me because I will not leave the house. They bring milk to the house when I’m too much of a mess to visit the supermarket and they tell me it will get better even when I lie there convinced there is no hope.
I was a wreck today from start to finish. I was meant to go to a gig with the boy but I couldn’t because no matter what he tried to cheer me I couldn’t stop crying. He does not have to look after me but he does and when I said I could not come he went to the shops and bought me a paper, a pointless magazine and some chocolate just in case. He tidied the room so I wouldn’t feel stressed and made sure there was food in the fridge making me lunch so he knew I would have eaten at least something.
It is horrid that he is having to do this, for a girl who is meant to be his partner and it frustrates me so much that this is where we are. He promises me it will turn around, that its just taking longer than we thought but in the mean time I feel so guilty that I am letting this thing take me and the effect it is having not on me but on everybody else.
They are all doing their bit to help, whether its trying to drag me out, giving me lifts or sending me sweet messages that I don’t reply to because I just don’t know what to say. How did I get here and how do I get back?
- Today’s dress was a gift from my Godmother another of the great givers in life. Perhaps I should have saved it for a festival but the boy loves the colour on me and was hoping it would cheer me up. It is from a shop in Harborough called Labels For Less, it does not say what the label is however but I can tell you that it is 100 per cent cotton and really rather cute.
I have got to the stage where I am doing the bare minimum to get by. There is four baskets full of ironing that need to be done hidden under a quilt case at home the thought of which is eating away at me. I am behind with the blogs and days go by before I reply to messages and I can not even remember when I last logged in to my email account. Even things like facebook have become too much, I am overwhelmed with guilt about how dreadful I have become at keeping in touch. I try and make plans hope for the best that this will be the week when I will once again go back to being the social butterfly of old but then it doesn’t happen and I am left trying to crawl back into the cocoon, desperately trying to hide away.
It is not that I do not want to see people or my friends it is just that I have so very little love for myself at the moment that to torture them with being in my company just seems too cruel. I am a mess and when I am not crying I am trying not too moan but all I can think is that I can’t cope and that I wish it would all just stop and there are very few threads that strand out from this conversation. It is so selfish of me to be this way and I wonder once more why my friends stick around when the barriers keep going up. I got a parcel the other day from one of my old university friends and I nearly sent it back because I know that I don’t deserve anything.
I have come so close to dropping the blogs because I know that even here I am being a bore. Days go by without posts and the blogs I do are bleak and sad and lacking in the laughs and anecdotes I used to share. I look back at the beginning and in the photos I am smiling and now its not the same. I don’t want to drop it, I really don’t because I thought that it might help people to know what its like to live with this. This though has been sneaking up on me again and without me even realising it has got in the way of the writing, which I am meant to love.
Please understand that I know I have nothing to complain about, that I know there are people out there who are a lot worse than me and it is this that eats at me because all I seem to do is cry while they keep it together. There are people out there who have so much in their lives, who do everything to help others and who in spite of the sleepless nights and the endless work they keep their plates whirring. Though their work is tireless they do not complain and they keep their plates spinning. My plates has ground down to the speed of the Millennium Wheel and though I have no real challenges in my life I am still just seconds away from letting them all crash to the floor.
- Today’s dress is from my friend Monica Kenny, a loan of course as it is extremely pretty. It is from Miss Selfridge and oddly enough I have a top just like it and have worn a dress in the past just like it but in brown from the northern star, Anna Clayton. I love how it ties at the back and how girly it looks and what is nice is it has an under slip making worries about choosing the right kind of underwear wonderfully unnecessary.
I hate to go all political on everyone but sometimes there are issues which swing one’s sword and this is one of them. Many dresses ago, I mentioned that there was talk of dropping prescription charges for people with long term mental health conditions. The bill would have seen changes made to what is currently an extremely outdated list of conditions which guarantee exemption from prescription charges. Not just mental health conditions but all kinds of other ailments which need long term medical treatment. It has been shelved and frankly, I am fuming.
It did not help that I found out from the tiniest little nib in a paper which dedicated a whole page to Cheryl Cole’s imminent decision to have a tattoo removed from the nape of her neck. The decision it will seem has been put on hold, to be reviewed once the government is in a better place financially. I wonder whether it destroys peoples souls to have to make decisions like this?
I wonder whether they consider the fact that people with mental health conditions are often prescribed a number of drugs to treat them. At one stage they tried to put me on seven different medications, a week. Times that by £7.90 and you better hope that in spite of that cocktail your still able to work, because with nearly £300 of your salary dedicated to drugs to keep you going you’ll be needing to.
The other frustrating part about the prescription charges is that often when you are on medication for mental health it is prescribed to you in weekly doses, to try to reduced the risk of overdose.
Therefore for tablets which you could receive monthly for one charge you end up paying for four times over, in a month. From my own experience at a time when not having raisins in your muesli can set you off having additional financial pressures is not a welcome stress.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my good friend Monica Kenny. It is originally from River Island and has a really cute little brooch on the side of it and huge sleeves to hide your hands over when you forget the sun-cream.
I’m having a bad week and struggling to just get through the days at the moment. I can’t seem to cope with basic things like not crying in public and it is taking all of my energy to just keep things together at work. I would do the blogs but I am struggling, I hope you understand. I am trying my hardest to fight it but its like a cloak and no matter how hard I try to shake it descends ever darker. I’ll try to get back I really will but for the moment for the most part there will be photos and where possible a blog but its hard and I’m falling to pieces and have no idea how to stop it.
If anyone has the energy to write a blog about your own understanding of mental illness or just how much you love Uggs (trying to retain sense of humour) it would help. I’m sorry.
I am a mess again today but I am trying hard not to dwell on it so I have filled the post with the happiest moment of the day. My friend gave me an idea to try at the end of the day to come up with good thoughts and this would be one of them so rather than focusing on the continuing fall lets look at the roll.
My sister came round this evening with my birthday present. I was a little surprised when she presented me with an oversized cardboard box from ebay as I had asked for vouchers but she was so excited I put aside my dreams of finding the perfect fragrance and ripped into the wrapping. Inside were a pair of second hand skates that may well have first been used in the sixties.
Ever since my sister started going to roller derby her brain has been brimming with thoughts of the sport. She has seen a film about it, attends regular practices where she is bounced around and falls willingly to the floor and spent the other evening skating round a park, in England. She has been determined to get me to come along and this I feel is a rather sinister attempt to get me back in the skates.
I am not usually one for hiding my feelings but it is such a sweet present and she is trying so hard to lift me that I put aside my fear of feet and slip on the skates. After a couple of rounds of the kitchen, assisted by her, I admit that it was indeed a good choice of present and promise to try harder to make it along to the practice. Perhaps it is being bruised on a regular basis and not bending like a tree that will give me the strength to make it through the week. Unfortunately the practices are on the Sunday and what with long distance relationships and trying to squeeze the last drop of the boy into every Sunday I fear I will not be able to make many. My sister is determined that I should enjoy her new found hobby however and suggests that we go to the park together instead. I start to cry because bless her heart she is trying her best to make me right and I can’t even cope with a present. I want to be better for her because she deserves a sister who is better and my mother who sits there through all of this, doing her best to keep me together deserves a better daughter. And it is all so sad and I just want them not to have to see me like this.
But the thought is the thought and the three thoughts of the day are not meant to be sad but happy so here they are. I have lovely roller skates, I have a lovely sister and I have a lovely mother. The problem with the happy thoughts is they make me sad to think that though this is the case I am still lying here, crying, and though they are all lovely and I have so many other good things in my life I feel far from happy and its horrid.
I am conscious that the last few weeks, blog wise have not been some of my happier posts. I do not want to bring my readers down, I really don’t and so let us pretend that it is last year and that I am okay and just to prove to myself that such a time existed let me try to recall it for my sake as much as yours.
About a year ago, I was living in a house with a wonderful woman. Every morning the two of us would run for the bus, dressed to the nines with bags loaded with brushes, defrosting meals made by myself and the prettiest stationary you ever did see. We were going to be writers, we were both dreamers and every day in class we would join fourteen others who all wanted to live the dream and become the journalist. During the day we would take trips to fill up on junk food, we were working so hard that our metabolisms were in overdrive and I must admit it was wonderful to be able to eat whatever we wanted without having to worry about our weight. We were learning, more and more every day and though it was tiring it was fascinating and we gobbled up every morsel our tutor had to tell just as quickly as we caned our way through the chocolate.
I was still going out and most importantly of all I was still enjoying it. We had decking in the garden and though we had a reinforced door and lived in an area of high crime sat out on the wooden slats even in the twilight it didn’t matter. I still loved to cook and there were days when I would bring in enough food to class for everyone, and I mean everyone. When the course began I brought a PlayStation into class so the boys and I could play pro-evo as part of our sports module.
I covered football matches at the weekends and at one point I was sent to cover the women’s boxing championships. I was getting 100 per cent in tests and I was actually good at the shorthand. My friend and I would practice it when we weren’t making our way through bottles of red wine watching whatever DVD, download or series we could get our hands on. We both had boyfriends but the house was perfect and I wanted to stay there forever. We had girly sleepovers, house parties and dinner parties and I loved every moment of it. I had friends, amazing friends and we were all there for each other and it was like a little community and its cheesy but it was beautiful.
A lot went wrong and I got sick again but I was well and I was happy and I was fun. I am telling you this because I wanted you to know that I haven’t always been this way, so sad and utterly consumed by tears and dismay. I did love going out and I was full of dreams and I believed that everyone was good and it didn’t last but it was real, it really was. Perhaps if I can believe it then perhaps it might be possible to find a way back to what I was because I don’t like what I have become and I wasn’t always this way even if it is getting harder to remember how it used to be.
- Today’s dress is from the mysterious dress donor. The shoe boxes have stopped but still the packages keep coming now in brown paper wrapping. They feel like packages people get when they are at war or at boarding school to help them through and to give them hope and this is what they do. The make of the dress escapes me, I can not read the label but it is that lovely fit which makes women of wider chests look a lot more demure, at least until I leaned forward a little too much and but for the grace of God nearly revealed my bra to half the office. Luckily they were hard at work and thanks to my handy stash of pins the wayward dress was soon put to rights. The sofas are a new addition to the house, bought from Gildings auctioneer my mother would never forgive me if I forgot to give them a credit in today’s post. She is so proud of them that the photo’s today were done in the comfort of the chairs.
I am doing my best to believe that the shrink is right and that things will get better so this morning when I woke up I try to do something to help the process along. Last night I went to yoga and I took the hideous new little tablets which may well be the answer. When I woke up this morning then at a ridiculous hour, five am I tried to be pleased about it. Okay, so it is a little earlier than I had wanted to wake up but there is no alarm and for the first time in months I am not comatose. In recognition of this small miracle I write a blog and I straighten my hair in some attempt to give off the impression that I am still in here somewhere, that somewhere deep inside of me is the girl who used to care what she looked like when she left the house.
I make it through the day again and when the sickness comes and the nausea sweeps over me I take a short break and another sip of water and will for it to go. I forgot about the side effects, the joy of coming off another tablet totally cold turkey and I think resentfully of those who are taken off heroin and given methadone to stop the excruciating affects of withdrawal. They took me off three hundred grams of a drug whose name I was only starting to understand how to pronounce but there was no methadone mentioned in my care plan. I feel bitter but maybe its just from the sickness and I am confusing the two.
I need to be able to keep it together and I make it through until the afternoon before the tearfulness hits me and thankfully at the time I am out of the office and clinging for dear life I hit the panic button and ring the boy. Trying to hide my face with my hair, thanking God that I straightened it down so it could cover my eyes I tell him that it is happening again. I know it is not fair to call on someone who lives a hundred miles away for help but I don’t know what to do. I’m in the middle of the street and its a sunny afternoon and I need to pull it together because I can not, I can not return to work while I’m still crying. He calms me down he does his best he really does but I’m shaken and I’m hurt that they have left me like this. Can it really have got so bad that I am now crying during the day or is it just the nausea, the lack of sleep and the hundred new chemicals that are now coursing themselves through my veins. I don’t know, but all I have to help me through it at this minute is the boy, there is no methadone.
I get off the phone because this is unfair to him and I am meant to be trying to get through this by myself, because what other way is there. I try some cleansing hippy breaths to take me through the sickness and I try to smile because as the leader of the hippy sport said last night, life’s adversities are best faced with a smile. When she said it I nearly laughed but I was too busy trying to throw my body into shapes the creator had not foreseen when he blessed the human body with a set of ribs so I settled with a cynical smile. Today though I am in need of a mantra and if a smile of adversity will carry me through without having to escape to the bathroom to cry than its a hippy phrase I’m willing to try. It’s amazing what people are forced to turn to in the absence of drug replacement therapies.
- Today’s dress is from my Godmother, I think. It is beautiful and I have been saving it for a day when it was too hard to choose or convert anything else and it has helped for even if I was a wreck I like to hope that in this dress I looked like a lady who had it together, in spite of a slightly manic grin.
Armed with a lot of tears and frustration I had pretty much decided by the time I walked into the psychiatrists office today that I did not want to be on the same tablets any more. As far as I can tell they are not working and as I only see him every six weeks it is hard to tell him this.
One of the most frustrating things about this latest diagnosis is that so far it has been treated only medically, previously I’ve had counselling but what with being out of work for so long I haven’t been able to afford it myself so far and I haven’t got the heart to ask my parents to fork out like they have in the past, it’s not up to them and it wouldn’t be fair. They tell me there is a CPN who will see me to discuss coping techniques but though I have called her and left messages I have never heard back and so I keep getting discharged from the team. One would expect a formal discharge would only happen once the person is better or at least able to cope better than before but you would be wrong. People have said in the past this quick fire discharge helps their figures but maybe its more simple, maybe they just don’t care or simply don’t have the time so let a few slide along the way.
The last time I went in to see The Shrink I felt a little overwhelmed by how quickly it was over and as I am always in a bit of a state when I go there I asked my mother if she could come in to the room with me. It sounds pathetic but sometimes its just good to have someone there on your behalf who can say the words that have been in your head for weeks but just don’t come out when they need to the most. The last time I came here I admitted I was sleepy and tearful a lot of the time and was taken off duloxetine to try something new. Today when my mother admits that I am still half asleep when I leave the house he says he will take me off the tablets he put me on before.
Its all going very fast and I feel as though I have no part in this and I’m crying but I just wish I could take control. Thankfully my mother is a former English teacher and her negotiating skills are such that I sometimes wonder whether she missed out on a calling as a peace keeper. Her voice rings out clear bringing the ball firmly back into our court. If I had been alone in here I would probably have walked out of the room with a different anti depressant another referral to the elusive CPN and a feeling of utter frustration that I failed to fight my corner. It is not The Shrink’s fault but I am a wisp of myself at the moment and one of the things I wanted to get across is how hard I am finding it to connect with people. Unfortunately I am failing to connect with him as I am crying too much and am too busy hunting out tissues to properly convey how dreadful I’ve been feeling. By the time my mother has intervened carefully explaining what I have said there is an agreement that I need something other than just medication and a firm decision to take me off the quetiapine. I am relieved but terrified as this means the start of yet another drug and all I want to do is flush the whole lot down the toilet.
The whole experience is exhausting and when I walk out of there I am so frustrated I can’t stop crying. In spite of the tears I am grateful because if it wasn’t for my mother we would have got nowhere and I feel for those who come here alone.
Though it seemed like a bad thing when I was booked, visits to The Shrink generally involve travelling a good twenty miles in traffic to get to the hospital. It works out in my favour as it gives me an extra thirty minutes to stop the tears and reapply the make up. By the time I get to work I have sectioned off all thoughts of the appointment and if I can just get through the day without crying I can pretend I am just like everyone else.
- The dress is from Boden and is beautiful. My godmother gave it to me and it is so bright and cheerful it helps me in my great pretence. I feel dreadful though and I can’t stand the way I look at the moment, in anything. If I could I’d hide myself in baggy jeans and a jumper and these photos would never see the light of day.
I fear this dress is further evidence of the fact that at the moment I would like nothing else than to climb into bed and stay there. I drove all the way back home and I was clinging on to the steering wheel for dear life when I got back as I knew that it was the start of another week and I did not know how to get through it.
My friend had text me before I set off suggesting a drink or a walk and I felt so sure that I could do it at the time and yet pulling into the drive I knew that I couldn’t because what the hell kind of company am I at the moment. I text her and I told her this but because she is a good friend she came round anyway and wasn’t even too upset when I ended up crying all over her pretty dress.
I get into bed, way too early for a girl who is 26-years-old and in the prime of her life and I have a book with me about The Dalai Lama which another friend gave to me and I try to read it, I really do and I’m hoping it will help but I can’t get through the first pages without crying and then I hate myself because who the hell cries when they are confronted with the Dalai Lama, or a friend or a steering wheel.
I have an appointment with the shrink tomorrow and I will have to tell him that the latest attempt is not working and I am just waiting for the moment when the poor dear man turns to tell me that I am incurable and that there are no more tablets to try. I am so low that I am kind of hoping it will be soon, I don’t know how many more pills I can bare to pop.
- Today’s dress is a donation from the lovely Lara, I think that I have only one more from the huge bag of dresses she has donated and I will be sad when they have come to an end. They carried me through a particularly bad dress drought and though some of them will need a little work before they are sold, the occasional button sowing on or a hem restitching they are all beautiful, many of them vintage and all of them a little act of kindness.
My friend was the star in a play today and she was so wonderful that words can not do her justice so though I had intended to review it I will leave it to pens that are less emotionally attached than mine. As she sang on stage, the lead female road in a play about the life of Neil Sedaka, I started to cry at how well she has done and what an incredible actress she is. The boy and I were out of our seats at the end and whenever else I could drag him up and my hands hurt from clapping by the time she left the stage. We waited at the side of the stage door and went a bit mental when she emerged, well I did at least, and insisted she sign our ticket with my eyeliner.
The play is called Laughter In The Rain and whether or not you know anything about the life of Neil Sedaka, if you get the chance I urge you to go and see it. The songs are great they are but it is the chemistry of the cast which warms you. Though it is a little naughty to use the blog in such a way, she is my friend and she is a star and I loved it and enjoyed it so much that I want you all to see it. For my readers from the other side of the pond and beyond, fear not I think this one will see the streets of Broadway before long.
Just in case you need any further encouragement, these are the dates and the locations of where you can see Anna Clayton in Laughter In The Rain.
Malvern Festival Theatre – May 31 – June 5
Milton Keynes Theatre – June 7 – June 12
Truro Hall for Cornwall – June 14 – June 19
Bradford Alhamba Theatre – June 21 – June 26
Mayflower, Southampton – June 28 – July 3
Pavillion Theatre, Worthing – July 5 – July 10
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – July 12 – July 17
- Today’s dress was sent through in a mysterious package, I do not think it was from the regular dress donor but it came about the first time I had a package from her. There was some speculation it came from Germany but as there was no postmark I do not know. The dress is from Linea and I have been saving it for such an occasion as this. We go out after the show and drink cocktails and celebrate the success of the lovely Anna Clayton and if she was my own sister I could not be more proud of the starlet from the North that sits in front of me today.