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.
So far I have had two front pages. One with a shared by-line whilst working for the Manchester Evening News and one whilst working at the Mail. My first front page at the Mail was a bit of a dud as I didn’t feel as though I deserved the by-line. Though I had done the research, got the quotes and done the running around, when it came to writing the story I stalled. I had no confidence and felt as though I had forgotten every lesson my tutor ever taught us, all in all I bottled it.
For this reason, when the bosses decided the splash for the week was going to be the piece I was working on I wondered immediately whether I would be able to hide under the desk without either of them noticing me. Unfortunately today’s dress has minimal scope for manoeuvrability so instead I had to settle for going to get a glass of water.
I am trying to adjust my behaviour to stop myself from self destructing every time I am presented with a challenge so I took the sensible option and discussed the best way to write the story with my seasoned colleague. What was really amazing was that in the end, other than the original urge to hide I did not freak out any further. I wrote the story, submitted it and actually felt fairly pleased with what I had written.
Tomorrow morning when I walk into work there will be shops selling our paper which will have my name and my story on the front. I remember watching an episode of The Wire when a reporter got up before sunrise and drove down to the printing press to see her first ever front page. Whatever hours you have to do, or how tense things get on deadline day it all becomes worth it when you pick up the paper on Thursday morning and see your work published for all to see; so long as they live within the Harborough district. Doing what you love is an absolute privilege and even if it does make me want to hide under a desk from time to time i wouldn’t do anything else.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my Fairy God Mother. Along with my mystery donor she is perhaps the woman who has contributed the most to the continuation of the blog. As well as loaning me some incredible dresses from when she was a girl she has bought me dresses from charity shops and even lent me jackets to make my racier outfits better suited for work. As well as this she has encouraged friends and family to read the blog and whenever possible comment and rate each post. This dress was one she wore to a wedding. It is from Minuet which is stocked by Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Considering that up until yesterday I was still behaving like a slightly deranged toddler by insisting to anyone that might listen that I did not want to have a bloody birthday this year, today actually went rather well. Though I have been a little low of late I have always been happiest in the spotlight and having a day which is all about me is actually quite fun.
When we were kids birthday cards and presents were presented once one was settled in pride of place in the middle of my parents king size bed. All of the siblings would squeeze together under the covers whilst the giant went downstairs to make our mother a cup of tea and collect the cards from the door and the presents from the only drawer we were yet to search. There is one photo of the six of us crammed together whilst Catherine my sister opened up her toy truck. It is my parents favourite photo as it shows that once upon a time there was harmony in our home.
These days birthdays are rather different. Though this is the first one I have spent at home in a while rather than bouncing out of bed I tell my brother who comes in at seven to deliver my present to be quiet for the love of God. In my sleepy state I have forgotten what day it is and it is not until he hands me two Glee CDs before he heads out the door that I am visited by my inner birthday diva.
Some time ago a friend of mine dedicated his entire birthday to listening to every Queen album. I decided that to make my birthday perfect I would ensure I listened to as many Glee songs as I could, singing along wherever possible. The giant enquired what the awful noise was coming from the kitchen, but I decided that he was just jealous of my ability to hit the high notes without wavering. Either that or my damaged ear drums are causing delusion. Either way its my birthday so I continue to crow as I open my cards at the breakfast table much to the delight of the dog whose hearing is equally impaired.
My wonderful God mother has given me enough money for my birthday to get my hair chopped so I leave work at 11 to return my prodigal mane to the best hairdresser in Harborough. She gives me a footballers wife blow-dry which makes me giggle as though I am now 26 my humour is just as childish as ever. The last time I got my hair blow dried I rang up browns in Harborough and requested an appointment at their blow-job bar. It was a Freudian slip why mother to call and book it on my behalf.
I spend the rest of the day swooshing my hair back and forth and pretending I am in my own private L’oreal commercial. Though I have already taken one lunch break my boss surprises me when he suggests we all go for a birthday beer. I have a small glass of wine as I have become a terrible light weight of late but even still I leave the bar and head for the public meeting feeling ever so slightly squiggly.
Up for discussion by the board is a hospital for the town which is long overdue. When I was a child I joined my mother on a march to protest against the closure of the maternity ward and with this in mind I consider taking to the stand to share this story when I remember that though I am a little bit pissed I am a professional and professionals do not make public outbursts even on their birthday.
My friend decided yesterday that as I was incapable of making a decision about what I wanted to do she would take the reigns. She books us a table for dinner and sorts out cakes, balloons and flowers. My sister and God mother make it to the meal and the whole day just turns out to be quite lovely. I get a bit tearful whilst looking through my messages because I miss everyone so much and wish they were here in Harborough. It seems a cruel trick of the world that everyone has to keep moving on and if I could have just one wish I would ask that they all had to stay put in one place for one day. I miss my friends.
- Today’s dress is from Florence and Fred. I did think it would look rather rubbish on as the material is quite thin but it fits better than I’d hoped. Admittedly I look a little dressy for the office but I needed something which would carry through to the evening and even a birthday diva like me didn’t dare to wear a plunge neck. This is one of the dresses that came in the first box from my secret donor. The shoes are from Dune but I bought them about a year ago from ebay for £5. My hair is by Lotty of Moko in Market Harborough.
One symptom of depression which is as constant as the turn of the tides is an inability to effectively function in social situations. Though it is not always obvious when someone is struggling there are signs which will help you recognise when a friend or loved one is falling apart in front of your face: Do they spend a lot of time looking down at the menu or up at the ceiling expressing a sudden interest in the architecture of the building? Do they appear to be glued to their phone, the paper or examining the contents of their wallet? Do they struggle to meet your eye? Are they sitting in front of you with tears streaming down their face asking you why God why they can’t cope? All of these are pretty sure signs that the person you care for is slipping into an atypical social sign of depression. Saying that though the phone thing might just be rudeness or the seemingly unstoppable side effect of having a smart phone.
On Saturday night, whilst nursing a glass of criminally expensive wine I suddenly became acutely aware of my every act. I was sat with three girls, two of whom I have known for well over over a decade and yet I felt totally alone. They were chatting away about ordinary things but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t pick up the conversation and whenever I joined in whatever I said seemed to jar.
It’s not a nice thing to know you are behaving like a dullard and in the end I had to leave early because I was afraid of boring everyone or bringing them down. Before I got ill I was the kind of girl who could happily sit at a table of ten people knowing none and within a short time have introduced myself to everyone and hijacked the position of head of the table and commander of the conversation. Apart from when I have had a few too many foreign fruit beers I do not do this any more and I wonder whether it is a good thing or not.
- I believe today’s dress is a donation from my Fairy God Mother’s son’s girlfriend. It is silk and a bit worn but the print is still as clear as a waterfall. I am really attached to it but I wore it to the Oat Hill where everyone is a bit trendy and worry that I looked a little bit frigid. I bumped into my good politician friend from election night, one who thought I was a student. I think it may be his aim in life to insult me. Trying to be a nice person I said hello to him when I saw him at the bar. His reply: “Ah I hadn’t recognised you out of context looking feminine.” Though he denied that this comment suggests I spent election night looking like a man I was not at all pleased and refused his offer of a cocktail to make amends. there is only so many times one can be insulted by the same person in a week.
- My dress has already been criticised today by the head of Harborough police. I saw him on the streets and he said he was not overly keen on my combination of colours; the pink tights I believe were a little too garish for him. I was a little offended and thought about suggesting he focus his attentions on arresting the legging lovelies flashing their front rumps nearby but I was running a little late for work and had to go on my merry way. The dress got me into a rather uncomfortable situation later on the same day when the Liberal Democrat councillors came to call. As a sleep deprived reporter I had not even considered the political connotations of my choice and had to come clean and admit the dress was down to an overall shortage of office wear rather than an attempt to fly the colours of any clan. Today’s dress is a present from my Godmother who bought it from a shop in Harborough called Labels for Less. As I said I was a little but sleep deprived and in a rush to get ready I paired it with Kurt Geiger wedges and police officer displeasing pink tights.
One of the more unusual manifestations of the mania I experience is my sudden desire to become a culinary queen. As my mania tends to coincide with my insomnia most of my meal making is done during the early hours of the morning.
Four years ago, long before the bipolar label I was living with two of my boy pals and struggling as always to sleep. One night, long after the witching hour I found myself possessed by a burning desire to make pesto. Armed with Jamie’s bible I set about smashing up pine-nuts with the pestle and mortar I had forgotten I had. Two hours later, as the sun began to rise I finally found myself ready for a nap. Leaving the mess behind I trotted off to bed. My poor house-mates entered the kitchen soon after to find the kitchen in a state, the sides smeared with a strange smelling green liquid and our baby basil plant pillaged of its every leaf.
On other occasions I have baked cakes, cooked off kilos of lentils and made a dozen freezer meals, just in case. Most of the time I act on auto pilot and though the food usually tastes great I have no real idea of how it was made, and sometimes question whether it really was me who made it. In the past I would ignore such impulses and try to just get through the night by praying for sleep. It never worked. I just became anxious, stayed awake for just as long and had nothing to eat the following night.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my Fairy God Mother. It is originally from Laura Ashley and feels very prim and proper. My sisters and I used to love Little House on the Prairie and this dress reminds me of something one of the sisters would wear.
I last had a letter from the mysterious dress donor last Friday. She sent another shoe box package filled with beautiful dresses and pretty belts in all sorts of colours and styles. After a friend suggested last weeks letter had Germanic influences I decided to investigate more thoroughly. The boy’s mama, the polish princess has always had a good eye for charity shopping. In the past she and I have trawled around the garden city in search of cheap treats and both get giddy when we find designer clobber in great shape and at a fraction of its original price. As the Polish Princess is, well Polish I start to wonder whether or not it could be she who is my secret sender. I am not sure how best to make enquires so I spend some time studying the latest letter for a hint of her land, customs or language.
My dearest Ellie (Scottish?)
Unudr weeck haf parst. I am sendeeng yoo sum moor dresess und de beltses.
Another week has past. I am sending you some more dresses and these belts. (Dutch perhaps?)
Howp dem ees onlite. eye howps de oder wones were sewtibl. Eet ees veree hardee too fynd wones een yur syzes wot ees alsow sooteebl fovr vorck boot ey vil bee triing two fynded dem fo yoo. (What now?)
Hope these dresses are all right. I hope also the other dresses which I sent to you last week were suitable. It is very difficult to find ones in your size which are also suitable for work but I will endeavour to seek them out from the four corners of the earth for you. (Somebody familiar with my size and that I have a job, interesting.)
eet masted bea veree diefkootd twoo fynd ay deefrend dress vor eetch dey – sevenn wonses eetch weec.
It must be very difficult to find a different dress for each day – seven dresses each week. (A person obviously familiar with the basic principals of mathematics).
Good luck to you in your quest. How are you keeping? I am okay and enjoying the delightful weather. Thank goodness it is sunny. (The Polish Princess is a sun worshipper and garden enthusiast, could this be a clue?)
ekskoos may speleeng bat mi enklish ees nod sow gut.
Excuse my spelling but my English is not so good. (A foreigner!)
Ryt two yew soons wid unnudr parcle.
I shall write to you soon with another parcel.
I am puzzled indeed. From the look of the letter the sender could be a member of any EU state or simply a child let loose with a marker and an antiquated spell check. Perhaps they used a defunct quick quotes quill at the end of the line, oh if only Potter life was real. Anyway back to the mystery. Armed with the second letter and my suspicions about the Polish Princess I approached the boy. He denied all knowledge but as he was giggling giddily I am not sure how honest he is being with me.
I call the Polish Princess hoping for a confession. I ask her out right but she genuinely sounds as though she has no idea what it is I’m talking of. At first I think she is playing a part but when she says she does not know what a blog is I remember her aversion to technology and start to believe her. When I tell her about the notes she suggests the frocks are being sent by a mad woman. If she is lying, she is good. Though she lets slips she has been trailing the treasure shops for clothes for herself she does not falter in her flat out denial and in the end I have to accept my press powers are no match for the Polish Princess. I do not now know who it could be who is sending the dresses and wonder if I will have to wait till the next note to find out more.
- Today’s dress is from my donor who is not necessarily the Polish Princess. As I can not find the person to thank, do know, whoever you might be that I am grateful for the frocks. So many people have now donated dresses to the project or loaned ones of their own to keep me going. As well as the mystery donors there have been parcels sent from Florida, Germany, friends, family and even a fairy (God mother). One thing which has surprised me is how difficult it has been to gain support from actual shops. I had rather hoped the interview might lead to a few local shops in the Harborough area getting in touch, but so far I have had no luck.
- Today’s dress is perfect for work as it is not too short or too low and actually looks like a pretty serious piece of work wear. It is perfect for work as it has little pockets where I can stow away a pencil and paper. I always think it is better to approach people with stationary out of sight so as not to alarm people scared of seeing their name in the paper. I feel I rather destroy my attempt at sophisticated office chic with my choice of stack gold heels and purple tights but I’m still rather ropey from last night’s poorly and I need a little lift to get me through the day. My brother took today’s photos which I tried to make a little different with the shades. Also I had a headache and they helped protect my eyes from the flashing light.
I feel restricted. Today’s dress to an outsider looks beautiful, flowery and feminine but throughout the day it has been slowly killing me. There is a corset structure on the inside which I believe may have realigned not only my bust but also my inner organs. In all fairness the dress has not been particuarly helped by my decision to go for the trio of meats at the Oathill for my Sunday dinner. The dress does not take kindly to my choice and even when I am ordering it I feel it twisting in outrage trying its best to remind me that corseted ladies should stick to neat little cucumber sandwiches and at a push a stick of Ryvita.
When the boy has to leave for home I am inconsolable; the weekend as always has gone by all too quickly and it feels as though there was no time at all to just be. Fearing I will embarrass myself on the platform by crying or trying to board the train I say goodbye at the door and let him get a lift with my baby brother. I don’t want him to see me sad but when he says goodbye I start to cry and can’t seem to stop.
I try to force myself out of it by sitting down to catch up on blogs but there is a problem with wordpress and I can not post. I do not know why but this leads to further tears which confirms my fears that I am starting to lose it a little this evening. Until now I had not realised how helpful writing the blog is for my general well being. There is something about writing it which allows me the creative release which I so obviously need. I spend so much of my time trying to keep my emotions under control and monitoring my behaviour to make sure I am not falling to low or climbing to high that it is nice to just write and not have to worry too much over what comes out.
When I write for the press I am constantly fretting over minute sections of sentences. I spend time trailing through the thesaurus to find the perfect word and seek out alliteration and rhyme wherever possible, checking the metre of the sentence by reading it aloud in my head. With the blog though I just type whatever I feel about whatever has moved me that day.
There are days where I do specific posts which I have thought about in my head for weeks but I never feel pressurised to perform when I blog and this I suppose is mainly down to you. I have been lucky enough so far to have readers who do not judge, demand or criticise too easily. I know the quality waivers and that posts are at times too long or too short but thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me and finding the time to read.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my lovely Fairy God Mother. I do not usually wear this style of dress, I am paranoid about my wide shoulders but with a cardigan the dress is balanced and thanks to the corset everything is pulled tightly into place to give me an hourglass shape which I guess is worth a bit of discomfort. I stuck with bare legs but am beginning to think the time has come to invest in a little sun in a bottle to stop my milky white limbs from blinding people with their ghostly glare.
Every relationship has a beginning. In the traditional American dating system, the home of The Rules, the beginning is usually quite clear to both parties. There is a first date which led on to a second, a third, marriage and children. In Britain, we tend to have a rather different approach to dating which does not involve asking a fellow whether he plans to have children in the near future by the time dessert has been served. Most of my relationships have begun by a night-time snog aided by a few apple sours or back in the day the toxic orange Reef drink. They slowly become something after the first meet, by the aid of a couple of texts and a meet up in a bar where you both sort of remember what the other look like but are still fairly surprised when they turn out to have had purple hair or a tendency to wear tight T-shirts which showcase their nipples. Although liaisons and nights spent sitting up chatting till sunrise are a common feature of the start of our relationship it is far less common to begin an affair with a traditional date. Relationships then in England tend to become official far more organically than they might in other cultures where booze is not the nation’s primary aphrodisiac.
As it turned out today was our actual anniversary I thought I would share the story of our courtship. It is a story most of our friends know and is happily lacking in sonnets and musical midnight serenades. What does feature in the tale of our coupling is a pair of “kinky” black suede boots, one of Manchester’s biggest cattle markets and an argument about Jack Johnson.
The first time myself and the boy made eyes at each other was when he played a performance gig at Jabez Clegg where I was working as a barmaid. The band was called Onions and though his other band The Schmatte Kid went their separate ways without ever really informing each other, Onions itself is still going strong today. Occasionally there are groupies at gigs which cause me a fair amount of annoyance but one can deal with them directly by planting a great big smooch on one’s musical man immediately after the gig, just as they come off stage. Admittedly this does mean one gets covered in performance perspiration but it really is necessary to mark one’s turf when there are predatory indie chicks about.
What was strange about the night myself and the boy met was that as I went amongst the crowd of annoyingly amorous students some of whom would try to “give me a hand there darling”, or put their paws on me, I couldn’t help but notice the drummer was looking over in my direction whilst he happily bippity bip bopped away. Reminding myself I had once managed to convince myself Justin Timberlake had given me the eye at a sell-out concert at the MEN I brushed the thought aside and continued to collect up the dregs and fag ends.
After the gig was over I was downstairs on the bar finishing up. I had grown a tad sick of the place as I had foolishly got involved with a guy who I worked with who was lovely but totally not interested in anything but a fling. This was fair enough but when it came to a rather abrupt ending I was left feeling rather uncomfortable in the work place. As it was he was luckily not there that night so I was feeling happier than I had done in days. A friend who I worked with, the cupid in this tale, Nicola Steele, was sitting with some friends so I went over to have a quick catch up whilst collecting the glasses. When I got over there I noticed the drummer boy sat across from her. He was dressed in a really lovely looking shirt and tie with his hair all nicely spiked up and a lovely big smile on his face. Whilst collecting the glasses from the table I stood behind the drummer and mouthed to my friend, though I do not remember this, “Who is he, he’s well fit.”
According to the boy before I had come over he had been considering whether or not to approach me and offer me a drink. After deciding I was far too much of a lady too be approached in such a way he voiced his thoughts to his friends girlfriend who told him that any girl wearing knee-high boots and fish net tights would not be mortally offended by such an intrusion.
In the end he chickened out. The next time we saw one another we were in a large group at Trof and he was acting like an eejot. After insulting my musical taste, he told me Jack Johnson was a talentless nobody and even yelled at me. As a result I decided he was far too arrogant and set off to meet a guy I’d been seeing at the cinema. I did not leave the bar however before I’d turned to him and called him a musical Nazi.
When he got home that night his friend asked him whether the girl he had spent the night insulting was in-fact the one he was trying to get with. His face fell as he said: “Yeah. I’ve blown it haven’t I? And indeed he had. I went to my date that night resolved to give the guy I was dating more of a chance; after all he might not set me alight but at least he didn’t yell at me.
- Today’s dress is another gift from my fairy god mother. I believe it is from Next and is lovely and silky. It is cute but low cut enough to prevent it looking too girly. As it was our anniversary and unfortunately pouring it down I put on some thick purple tights with hearts stencilled in to them and black knee high leather boots. Really I could have done with some brown as the black took away from the flirtiness of it and made it a little too harsh looking but I wasn’t about to ruin any shoes on the way down to watch the rugby at The Kings Head with the boy and an old friend.