As I near my 29th birthday, I find myself feeling rather reflective. Over the last ten years I have tried to kill myself four times and although it may be stating the obvious, if I had managed to do so, I wouldn’t be sat here today, writing this and telling this tale.
In the past I have always believed that I would never live long enough to get married, have children or even grow grey. I believed that I would take my own life, that ill health or the natural process of growing older would ever have the chance to take away my last breath.
Now though I am not so sure. As I approach the day on which I celebrate my birth, I find myself thinking, albeit rather morbidly, about death. In the past, assuming I would die young, I have always spoken to the boy about how my funeral would be. I have chosen songs, hymns and even prayers that I felt I would like had I been alive to see it.
Sitting here now, I realise that maybe the time where my life would end after a rash swallowing of pills and the downing of any alcohol available may have come to an end. It has been more than a year since I have fully succumbed to the depths of depression and although there has been blips, isn’t there always, I’ve never quite given up as before.
A couple of weeks ago after a difficult week I found myself however back in that place. I found myself pressing the sleeping pills out of the packet one by one and preparing to down them all. Unlike in the past however, there was something that stopped me seeing it through. I called my mother in tears and I called the boy and before I had a chance to think about it further my brother was at the door ready to take over the situation that risked rolling out of control.
The difference is these days, apart from freaking out about wrinkles and worrying about not being able to wear nineties fashion, I don’t mind the passage of time so much. I look forward now to friend’s birthday parties, to becoming a God mother and one day even maybe a mother.
I may still have bipolar, I may still have blips, but I am loving life again and because of this I have no more time to devote to wondering whether my mourners will wear black or brights.
When I first got ill, a long time ago, I never really knew that there was anyone who could help. Typically I would shy away from the world, hide in bed and hope and pray that the world would end. These were the days before I’d even started to consider suicide an option and as such the end of existence seemed the only real possible way for there to be an end in sight to my darkest of days.
Today is a real case in point that when you are down you do not have to suffer alone. The last few days have been tough and I nearly missed my appointment with the CPN at lunchtime because I was back to thinking there was nothing at all to be done for me.
In the end I forced myself to go and it was well worth it. In some ways we both concluded my latest glum glum could simply be a case of post-holiday blues and spending too much time alone with my thoughts.
To deal with it rather than hiding away I am going to try taking positive forward steps. For a start I am going to come off that which I cannot pronounce. It’s a mood stabiliser but it is making me too dopey at night and sometimes in the morning too and beside it’s not much fun taking a drug one cannot pronounce.
The second thing I will be doing is trying to be nicer to myself. Rather than berating myself for being consistently crap I am going to instead try to do the things that I enjoy. I am going to try taking up hockey, get my nails done and try to start exercising again.
I feel that the try word is important here as I find that sometimes putting any pressure on oneself can lead to the dreaded fail. Failure is like fuel to fire for someone in the middle of a depression.
Although today has been another down day I feel that I have dodged a bullet thanks to the help and advice of the CPN. It just goes to show that if you an summon the strength to ask for help there is always someone there ready and waiting to give it to you. All you must do is ask.
My mood has been all over the place today. The first part of the day I was feeling as high as a kite, after having a luxurious lie in and bubble bath I started snooping around the house for dresses to wear which were conservative enough for my visit to my new place of work to sign the contracts. After having a bit of a snoop in my mothers wardrobe I came across a combination of flowery shirts, one old dress which I know is her favourite and a kaftan top which is quite long. Though the shirt was too short and the dress was just to desirable to steal without first asking the long kaftan dress fitted just right and I added it to my pile of packing along with my dinner dance dress, a silk 1920s Vintage ball gown or bridesmaid dress and a jumper dress which may well be a tad too transparent. Having had such a productive start to the day I set about the task of finding an outfit for the day again. I tried on countless nighties with fancy belts and slimming slips, attempted to turn a skirt into a dress and even raided the giants wardrobe for shirts with “shirt dress” potential. Whatever I tried though just wasn’t right, although I was rather keen on one nightie when combined with a silk cotton 1970s French Connection sleeveless top, there was no way of getting around the behind issue; whichever way you looked at it the nightie was see through and as the contract I was signing was not an agreement to enter rear of the year I started to despair.
Having just about resigned myself to a “shirt dress” with a long coat which would never come off I traipsed downstairs for some tea. Imagine then my delight then when I stumbled across this dress which I had only received yesterday from my lovely London based friend. I had somehow completely forgotten about it and although it is a teeny-weeny bit tight and shows off every hump lump and bump it is a dress and it is black. To ensure the look was completely conservative I classed it up with some blue Marks & Spencer tights which I bought in one of their outlet stores for £1.50. I had to pour myself into the dress so I quickly did some evil squats and sit ups to prevent the seams from splitting once I felt confident enough to breathe in it. Once I got the hang of sucking in my stomach and throwing my shoulders back I loved wearing this dress and by the time I was ready to head down town I was feeling like a slinky with a hill to master rather than a set of stairs.
Unfortunately a slight damper was put on my day by the usual troubles with getting a prescription and having a uncomftarble conversation with a doctor I had never met before about why exactly I was on weekly prescriptions. ”I think it might be because they were worried I would take an overdose.” Que awkward silence followed by me grinning in a misguided attempt to lighten the mood which probably left me looking a little loopy. Couldn’t be helped but not the easiest start to an acquaintance by any measure. In spite of this little awkward moment I had a really rather lovely bubbly day. As well as signing my contract without bursting into tears of joy, I also found a bar in Market Harborough which has WiFi. It is called The Square Bar should anyone ever be around the area and is as pleasant a place to work as any. Delicious coffee, plenty of natural light and unlike Cafe Nero two doors down does not charge for internet access and gives you a warm glow for doing the right thing by local business.
I do not know when the anxiety started to kick in. It might have been after I got home and realised just how much I had to do. I have been putting off a couple of reviews and doing the women’s week proved more difficult than I thought. I am trying to find decent quotations and if possible direct quotes from the women in question particularly in letter form to give the postings more warmth and authenticity but all of this takes time and as we all know so well time has a habit of hurrying on regardless. To be fair the anxiety may have well been much to do with being alone in the house for a couple of days and having little contact with anyone other than shopkeepers and cyberspace. Usually there is at least one person in the house or even the dog to keep one company and I find it difficult being by myself for too long. I love the idea of getting my own place once I start work but perhaps I am more suited to the social aspects of sharing a flat.
Though I managed to get quite a bit done with a little help from the Glee massive, by the time I went to bed my head was ticking with all the things I wanted to do the next day and it was impossible to switch off. By all rights the dose of the dreaded nauseating Quetiapine should really be all that is required to send me into a near comatose state for eight hours but for some reason tonight it just never kicked in. Perhaps it was the eight cups of tea I drank whilst trying to stave off hunger pangs; the tablets stimulate ones appetite but I am desperate not to gain any more weight even though I know its shallow I just don’t feel I look like me and it makes me feel fed up. Whatever it was I ended up lying here till three am, trying to get to sleep and desperately trying to ignore all the unanswered questions in my head. I think it was about three that I gave up on getting any shut-eye and just decided to do the work I wanted to.
For months now I have been considering getting business cards but have not yet found a suitable site. Last night however whilst tweeting through the witching hour about my desire for prettily designed cards of my own with lostinnotation as my home I was sent a tweet from a stationary angel from across the pond. She writes a wonderful fashion blog called Prim Knickers and recommended me a decent site. I do not actually remember ordering them as I was so tired but here within my email is a confirmation of the 500 business cards I ordered. The difficulty of the internet for occasional insomniacs like myself is it allows you to do pretty much everything 24 hours a day. Decisions which would previously be denied to the sleep deprived are now available and openly promoted. Once after not having slept for five days I booked my boyfriend at the time a trip to Amsterdam for his 21st birthday, it cost me around £800, nearly all of my savings and for some unholy reason I had booked us in to The Botel, a boat which is also a hotel because I thought it sounded romantic. It was not, but there was no getting out of it because they had my card details and I had confirmed it. I sometimes think there should be a universal law for those who suffer from instances of mania no matter how brief that once they have emerged from their spell they should be allowed to take back all their ridiculous purchases and get a free refund. Alas they do not and so soon I will have 500 business cards, at least they look pretty.
- Dress today is on loan from Clara De Los Acres Diez. She is an utter legend and the dress is a great shape from Zara and with blue tights and Kurt Geiger boots it looks extra special. I wore my hair up today as I think it makes me look more serious plus it has started to get on my nerves and if it continues to fall into my face I will be getting a bob before you can say limp lank and lifeless.
Sometimes I can be a total eejot. On Thursday before I headed up to Manchester I had a choice to make which would have a direct impact on my health. For months now I have been having somewhat heated disputes with some of the lovely ladies at Harborough Medical Centre. Many of them seem to struggle with the idea that when one is on a weekly repeat prescription the prescription will be repeated every week. Time after time I have gone down to collect the little green slip to be told that it hasn’t been processed. When I ask why the usual response they give is that they didn’t process it as it had already been done the week before. The whole thing exasperates me as if I miss even a day’s tablet it can leave me in a bit of a pickle. The tablets have a very short life cycle so to go a day without them is dangerous because you can be visited by rather unpleasant side effects which can include nausea, insomnia, increased irritability and of course my personal favourite suicidal thoughts.
It is because I am afraid of these side effects ever returning that I try to make sure I keep on top of my prescriptions. When I discovered earlier this week then that my consultant had forgotten to write me up a prescription for the changes she had made to my tablets I quickly got on the phone to try to ensure it was sorted out before I had to travel up North the next day. Once again the receptionist assured me they could get it ready for the next day provided I rang through to my consultants office to ask them to send the instruction over by fax. After all this faffing about the next day when I called up the surgery to be told the prescription had not been processed I lost it just a little bit especially when she informed me in the most patronising voice possible that she would do what she could but it couldn’t be hurried and after all “haven’t we had this problem before.” Luckily I managed to bite down on my lip before I came out and told her that of course we have had this problem before because you are seemingly incapable of following basic instructions and choose to either lose my prescription or just ignore it as though it were a particularly unpleasant coloured post it note. After nearly drawing blood whilst praying for patience I asked if she might possibly be able to tell me when my medication which I depended on for clarity of thought might be ready. As the answer was as vague as I had come to expect we did not part on the best of terms and after deciding that I was not prepared to put my life on hold every week whilst waiting for a green slip I set off in a tiny temper to Leicester and it wasn’t until today that I remembered I hadn’t taken an anti-depressant for two days and had even missed my mood stabiliser the night before.
I feel particularly idiotic because it is only a few days ago now that I was lecturing a friend who came off her anti depressant without first consulting with her doctor. After booking her two appointments, one with the doctor and one with the hairdresser; she had been so low since she came off them that she couldn’t be bothered to wash her hair; I tried to find out why it was she had gone cold turkey all of a sudden. It turned out that the tablets the doctor had put her on had left her feeling disconnected and as she had been prescribed them by a doctor who was not her own GP she had not felt confident enough to ask him about side effects. I felt so angry because I have been prescribed similar pills in the past without being given any details about probable side effects and when one’s head starts to feel as though it is lined with cotton wool it can be a fairly frightening experience. After she went to the doctors and saw her GP they both decided together that counselling rather than citalopram is the answer. What is annoying about this scenario is that had the doctor in question advised she spoke first to her own personal GP she could have avoided four weeks of fuzzy headedness and the inevitable low which occurs when one comes off of anti depressants suddenly. Talking of which…
I am annoyed at myself for not sorting things out sooner and for not going to the drop in clinic yesterday before the side effects of stopping got going. When I saw my consultant on Monday she decided that in spite of the icky side effects I have experienced with increased tiredness and sickness she still wanted us to increase the dosage to its optimum level; because of this when I came off the stabiliser suddenly as I did yesterday I am left dizzy and feeling as sick as a dog. I manage to pull myself together enough to admit to the boy that I have neglected to keep on top of my tablets and he kindly agrees to come into town with me to act as a buffer against the Saturday traffic. Unfortunately with my heightened sense of smell I notice every unpleasantness in town, be it the smell of sweaty Ugg clad feet or the second-hand smoke which seems to be spat out of every second person we pass. In the end I have to clutch my hand to my mouth and run through the Arndale to the safety of the clinic where a sterile room free of odour awaits. The doctor kindly sorts me out enough drugs for the weekend but I am still sick and end up chewing down a pack of anti nausea tablets to keep my gag reflexes at bay.
I am always thankful that we are blessed in our country with the NHS but there are so many silly rules and regulations for the staff to follow that I often think there is little time left for them to treat the patient. My friend was prescribed her medication in a consultation which lasted less than five minutes, all she needs is someone to talk to and yet there is such a massive waiting list for counselling that she has been advised to seek the services of a free provider or to pay for it herself privately. The underfunding of the mental health services is crazy when one considers that mental illness costs the government a fortune in benefits and statutory sick payments. Surely if more was spent on it in the first place many people would never have to take as much time away from work and may not even need to be treated for such extended periods of time. If doctors had more time to give to their patients or if there were more trained counsellors employed by the NHS I am sure that a lot of people would not even have to turn to tablets as a quick fix. Tablets can help but they are only ever a temporary solution, if the GP neglects to find out the cause of the suffering it may never get solved and as soon as the tablets are gone the black dog will rear its ugly head once again. Saying that if you neglect to take them or come off them unexpectedly you will get a rocky ride so it is best to discuss it with your doctor first. Throwing up and falling over on a Saturday night may be acceptable behaviour in someone who has been on a bender but when you have been free of alcohol for weeks and are suffering because you were too stubborn to wait for your tablets you really only have yourself to blame.
- Today’s dress is on loan from Monica Kenny. Apparently it is meant to be a top but knowing as she does my love of leg revealing dresses she thought it would make quite a nice frock. I am loving the pink tights and care not whether it makes the dress look taccy. The shoes as is often the case are Kurt Geiger and the photo was taken outside in the garden with the use of the tree and our first flower of the year in the boy’s back garden. There was a fox hiding in the brambles behind us but he scampered soon after seeing my scary pink pins. I had a few wardrobe malfunctions whilst doing a gig review at Fuel but luckily I was facing the band and not the audience so casualties were kept to a minimum.
- Today’s dress was kindly donated by Sinead Kenny of Market Harborough. It is on loan but was brought from Boohoo. It probably needed a belt to pull it in but the pattern was too pretty to touch it. I’d like to say the ironing was a stunt but I actually have so many dresses to press I just had to keep on with it. My Mummy took the photos again today but the boy provided the tulips in the background as a present to cheer me up after an awful consultation on Monday at the Brandon Unit.
Sometimes the blues come on so unexpectedly one is left feeling somewhat shell-shocked. After looking round and looking internally for the cause of them at times you are forced to admit sometimes there is no raeson for one’s state of mind other than just because; at other times you can pin-point the start of a bad mood to a specific event in your week or day. For me I think my blues started around yesterday lunchtime when I came across a posting by a girl who seemed so utterly distraught all I wanted to do was find out where she lived, climb aboard a white horse (still no car due to giant’s concerns) and go help her.
The problem is with all the help-lines available, inparticularly NHS direct is that if you come across someone not properly trained or who has been having a bad day themselves it can put you off seeking help from other sources. I remember one particuarly bad episode when I called the NHS only to be confronted with some idiot who was so concerned with protocol they refused to give me any assistance until I gave them my address. I was taken to hospital by ambulance the next day.
There are many useful telephone counselling services; univesrities usually provide their students with a night-time-hot-line which you can call if you are feeling low and they are usually able to offer advice or listen as you run through worries you are too scared to share with your house-mates or fellow residents for fear you will come across as a crazy person. I had a few struggles in my second first year at university and pretty much just wanted to hide away in my room. Luckily for me my mother is not one to do nothing when she thinks her daughter may be in danger and after speaking to me on the phone she decided I was too low and was on the blower to the resident-in-house-tutor at 11 at night with her concerns; by the next morning I was in a comfy chair discussing my problems with the lovely fella for which I felt better even if it was only because he told me he had a hard time when he started himself.
Over the past week I have come across incidents of several people, some via the blog, others from checking out other blogs written by sufferers of bipolar who are very much in need of extra help. The problem a lot seem to be having is they do not know where to go for assistance. Finding out that figures for suicide have increased over the past couple of years is a fact which utterly terrifies me because these people obviously felt there was no alternative, what it shows more than anything to myself at least is that they have been failed by a society which was meant to be there for them.
The difficulty is in-spite of every service available unless a person who is feeling head poorly is prepared to make the first move and reach out just a tiny bit to anyone, these services can not be accessed. Although I have had mixed experiences myself with the NHS, the facilities are there to help people who are in need of care. After a few traumatic incidents last year around May I went to the Doctors in tears. I couldn’t get a grip on myself and was so close to falling off the edge it was unreal; luckily that day I was booked in with a caring practitioner who took immediate steps to help, putting me in touch with emergency counsellors. When the situation later deteriorated the same practice referred me to The Crisis Team who came round to the house as often as was deemed nessecary to get me through the darkness. This was a relief to my partner, my lovely, the boy, and I am eternally grateful to his flat-mates for putting up with strangers visiting their house for regular visits for a nearly a month.
The boy has advised me against doing this, but from my own experience I know there are times when one finds it too hard to pick up the phone and reach out and writing or speaking to someone neutral can help. All I can say is if you are feeling blue, please try and reach out to someone, and then perhaps they can get in touch with people on your behalf. If however you just need to vent to someone who has been in unplesant head poorly situations before please just send me a comment here or if it is too difficult email me at email@example.com not for counselling, and not for an immediate response, I can not promise that, but I will try and get back to you within a week at the latest even if it is just to advise you on a number to call. Please if you know someone you think is struggling try and bring them out or get them to seek help, people may say they want to be left alone but if you are really concerned don’t let them suffer in silence, there are things that can be done to help and no matter how dark a day is the sun will always shine again even if you have to drag them outside to see it.