Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fire in the Head


I haven't slept for over 48 hours. But I don't feel tired. I feel good. I have been cleaning. I have been rearranging my furniture. I have been cutting up art books and sticking pictures all over the walls. I have been working in the garden. And I have been writing and writing and writing.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Resistance


I feel wild. Confrontational. Combative. And like doing something dangerous. "The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom" - William Blake. "We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps" - The Cure.

It's making me say "fuck". But it's also making me laugh.

Just think about radio waves for a minute. They're there in the air all the time. But you can only hear them if you turn on a radio and tune it in. And if you took many radios and tuned them all into different stations playing at the same time?

Oh my.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anti-Psychotics and Appetite


I wrote a few posts ago that I was relapsing into an eating disorder. I've realised now that that wasn't quite true. Since I stopped quetiapine it's become clear that the drug was mostly to blame. I may have been engaging in eating disorder "behaviours" but it wasn't really a psychological problem or any kind of "coping mechanism".

I actually took some quetiapine one day last week. It was very noticeable, having been off it for a while, how     my mind started to fill with thoughts of food as it kicked in. I knew I wasn't physically hungry, but I felt a compelling need to be fuller, I was craving carbohydrates and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The next day I ate more than I had been previously too.

So I'd been over-eating while I'd been on quetiapine, and I'd been putting on weight (plus the medication must also alter metabolism somehow since the vast majority of the weight has gone on round my middle - and then of course there's the sedation, which was making me move less and more slowly.) This led to attempts to control my eating, to restrict myself, to fight myself, which led to failure, and then bingeing and purging. I'm just no good at dieting, it always derails me. The only way I can eat is to eat what I want, when I want it, and as much as I want. That is how I am eating again now, and I am losing weight, despite eating cake and chocolate and cheesy garlic bread. I know that eventually my weight will again stablise in the range that is normal for my body.

I suspect that many people who haven't experienced taking an anti-psychotic would suggest it is simply a matter of will-power. But that's rubbish. Now that I am not taking quetiapine any more, but aripiprazole, which is supposed to be weight-neutral, I don't think about food except when I am hungry, and when I feel as though I've had enough, I simply stop.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Acceptance


I realise that my last post might have sounded rather miserable. I'm not miserable. I'm actually feeling quite light-hearted and energetic. It's just that there are only so many times you can go through the same cycle without recognising that something needs to change.

Because it works like this - my mood lifts, I start to feel positive and hopeful and as though everything is possible. There are hundreds of things I want to do and I want to throw myself into them as though to make up for all the time I feel I've wasted being unwell, I come up with all sorts of plans, I feel excited about the future. Then things escalate out of control, or become difficult in some other way, and I end up achieving none of them. And every time, every single time, I am convinced that this time will be different, and won't end up that way.

But the conclusion I have come to is that the shifting pattern of my moods and perceptions is not going to dramatically alter. I may be more stable than I have been in the past, but it seems unlikely after so many years of living with this mind of mine that I am going to become stable enough to consistently pursue complex goals, that I am going to be able to magically make myself fundamentally different. I think I need to accept this, to stop feeling despondent about it, and to turn my attention to the many little things in my day-to-day life that make me happy. To accept that there will be times when I can do more, times when I can do less, and that I have limitations, that I am in some sense disabled by my disorder. And people with disabilities aren't expected to recover from them the way you might recover from an episode of illness. Which might go some way to explaining my discomfort with describing myself as mentally ill.

And of course services also increasingly have this approach that I am starting to identify as unhelpful, with their emphasis on Recovery, this idea that I can be seen by a Reablement worker for 12 weeks, or have however many sessions of therapy I'm allocated, or I can read some self-help books, or I can improve my diet and do more exercise or practise Mindfulness more often or whatever and then I can sail triumphantly forwards into a future where I "fulfill my potential" and never need help again. And complete a university course, or find a relationship,or more likely hold down a job, since that seems to the way Recovery is measured.

It's very very tempting to believe such a transformation is possible, but I am coming to think it is a myth. For me at least, maybe not for everyone. And I think I need to accept that. I need to remember, when I am filled with excessive confidence, that the self I feel myself to be at those times isn't my whole self, isn't my only self. That the darker, more difficult times aren't an aberration, aren't due to an error I made that I can simply avoid entirely in the future, but are part of the totality of my experience on this earth, and are no more likely to disappear than winter, or rain, no more likely to be conquered and eliminated than death.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Fuck Up


I've come to the conclusion that I'm not designed for this world. K said this morning, during my social care assessment, that I was writing myself off. But it's not that. It's more that it's foolish not to learn from experience.

I can't cope with living independently. I can't manage money and bills. I can't manage keeping the house clean. I can't even manage keeping myself clean. Studying? Working? Connecting with people? Consistently making art? Those things aren't going to happen.

So what do I do now? I think I just want to leave this life behind. I don't have the same ties, the same responsibilities that I used to, now that my cat and my horse are gone. And really, more years like this - why would I want that?

I'm not upset, I'm not depressed, I'm not desperate. I feel very calm, very accepting. I feel that I have reached a point where all I can do is give up and let go.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Beginnings


I have an urge to delete this whole blog and begin a new one. Because new understandings have been rushing through me, and I see now how wrong I have been about things, how false and mistaken the approach I have taken to life.

I can no longer take medication. Why should I take medication? I mean, isn't that an utterly strange idea? And yet the alternative approaches, the therapies and whatnot, are also lacking. More than lacking. In many cases, oppressive and dangerous.

I will never be "economically productive" in this society. If I should lose the benefits I survive on, or should decide I no longer wish to jump through the hoops necessary to receive them, then I shall put myself to sleep. (not kill. kill is violent. i have no desire to cause myself harm. there are other ways.) I feel a great peace in accepting that.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Failing, Flailing, Helping, Hoping?


I had to admit to myself today that I am in the middle of an eating disorder relapse. And that I can't actually remember the last time it was this bad. 2010 maybe? I thought I'd moved beyond it, so it is depressing to find myself so mired in it again. I keep thinking "tomorrow will be different" and then tomorrow comes and it isn't any different. I've been starting to feel desperate and out of control.

Hand in hand with that goes a general failure to do any of the things I want to do. I have been flailing around, and failing all over the place. I fully intended to go the workshop this morning and I just didn't. And I don't even know why. The people at the workshop are friendly and easy-going and I really enjoy the carving. I knew that going would make me feel better. But the time kept ticking away and I didn't change my clothes and I didn't leave the house and then it was too late.

So I have been disappointed and frustrated and annoyed with myself. The house is a mess and I haven't showered for a while and I haven't touched my paints or clay. I feel like I am wasting my life away.

But I'm slowly starting to figure out that confronting myself, pushing myself, driving myself, forcing myself doesn't work. And it is exhausting to try to do battle with myself all the time. Sometimes I need to come at things sideways.

So this afternoon I took a cup of coffee into the garden and looked around at all the plants that are busily growing, and felt the sunshine on my face, and thought a little about my situation, and dipped in and out of an anthology of Chinese poetry. And I felt something relax inside me, I felt returned to myself. It was such a relief. It was like someone had pressed the reset button. When I came back into the house I found myself picking up some clay and beginning a pot. It just kind of happened.

Tomorrow I am going to spend some time tidying the garden, weather permitting. Then maybe on Wednesday go to the garden centre for some seeds. I want to grow sunflowers. Hopefully I will then find myself able and inspired to tackle the house. And break the cycle of the eating disorder by turning my attention outwards towards the world and remembering how much else there is to think about and experience and enjoy.

I'm really hoping I will be OK now.