I see them. I see text, and my mind speaks it, and it gets faster and faster and more and more nonsensical and I can't make it stop. The sentences get jumbled up and then it's not even real words anymore. It's like the total disintegration of language. And I can't make it stop. It's one of the reasons I spend a lot of time on the internet when I can't read books, filling my eyes and mind with other words. And also why I have the news on so much of the time, to have a voice to focus on. Except that lately, more and more, the news seems to be talking about the things I'm thinking. The newsreader is speaking my thoughts. Or are my thoughts only what the newsreader is telling me? Do they know what I think or are they controlling my thoughts? Then it kind of resolves itself and I realise they're actually talking about something else, something on the news.
I'm making a quick note of these things because I want to remember them. They're slippery and difficult to really explain. They happen, and they happen frequently but I forget that they happen, and I've never mentioned them to anyone. When I hear voices outside of me or feel that I am being watched through the windows, those are big concrete things, I can kind of grasp hold of them and describe them. These things are harder to be aware of. But they have just been happening, so I wanted to write them down while I can think about them happening.
I was struggling because I was hearing voices telling me that I was evil and should kill myself. I phoned the helpline for support. During the call my phone ran out of battery. I put it on charge, gathered myself together and went to take care of my animals. When I got back there was an ambulance waiting on the road. I went inside but after a few minutes decided I should tell the paramedics that I was OK and I didn't want or need them. As I was about to do so two police officers arrived. I turned and walked back into the house and the police and paramedics followed me in. They spent a long time trying to persuade me to go to hospital but I refused, explaining over and over again that I hadn't found it helpful in the past and I wanted support at home. They said they could get a warrant, then they moved towards me. I tried to hang on to the taps on my sink but they pulled me away and twisted my arms up behind my back. I shouted that they were hurting me and ended up on the floor. They dragged me out of the house and then they said to me that if I got up and walked they would cuff my hands in front of me rather than behind my back so I stopped resisting, and they put the cuffs on me. They took me to the ambulance and told me that if I got in by myself they would take the cuffs off, otherwise they would come with me and stay with me which would be a waste of police time. Since it was clear that I had no choice but to go to the hospital I agreed to get into the ambulance. I was taken to A&E where the nurses put me in a room. I wanted to leave but I didn't have my phone or any money with me. Eventually I saw a psychiatrist and we agreed together that he would give me some diazepam to help for the evening and speak to my consultant the next day to arrange for my medication to be increased. Transport was organised to take me home.
Struggling to organise my thoughts. Hard to describe and evaluate what I'm experiencing and decide best thing to do about it. Guess that's why they call it losing the plot. Took 800mg chlorpromazine last night and extra depakote as well. Very faint and dizzy today. Keep losing balance. But slept through the night. Win. Sleep the only self-management strategy I can come up with at the moment. Very much living moment to moment. Saw CPN/NP yesterday. She said she can't be someone for me to talk to, her role is to look at meds. Suggested I try the Samaritans. Felt chastised and rebuked. Felt foolish and embarassed. Humiliated myself by crying a bit. Can call Crisis Team if desperate. Did think about it but worried they'll want to admit me. Hence little OD. Going to try quetiapine again. Chlorpromazine not doing much. Hopefully quetiapine will help me sleep. Been given another credit card. Scary how easy it is to get one, even when already in debt. Always with high interest rates, of course. Also being inundated by payday loan offers. In control though. Have budget. Know what I'm doing. Reablement referral gone in. Psychology questionaire returned. Going to ask for referral to Mind. Maybe all that will help. Just services seem very fragmented these days. Social worker used to be central point and organise other stuff. Had chance to get to know and trust her. Felt different.
So, I signed up for Netflix. I don't know why I haven't done so before, I kind of thought it wouldn't work on my thoroughly ancient computer, and I didn't realise how much was available. But it works fine, and I thought it might help me distract myself from everything to be able to curl up in bed with the cat and the rain outside and catch up with all the stuff I've missed during the years I didn't have a television or go to the cinema. But it seems that everything I watch has embedded messages designed to manipulate and further confuse me. Yet even as this agitates and disturbs me I am somehow compelled to keep watching, as though the messages exert a hold over me. And I'm not sure that silence isn't worse. I keep thinking that the fear is easing up a bit, this morning I even thought that maybe I was getting a bit "better" (though I'm not sure what "better" is) but I've been shaking with it this afternoon and it makes me want to die. I'm currently contemplating actually calling the Crisis Team.
Back in January I wrote a post mentioning a film I saw when I was younger - The Secret Cinema - and I woke up at half three on Saturday morning obsessed with the need to see that film again, because it would help me figure everything out. I think it was deliberately arranged that I should watch it back then and if I watch it again it will help me understand what is going on. I found that to see the original I would have to buy a Blu-Ray player and I plain can't afford that right now, but it was remade in the 1980's as part of a Steven Spielberg series and the DVD of that was pretty cheap and I had enough credit left on one of my cards to order it. So I'm just waiting for it to arrive. I know it's going to make things clearer. I also had enough credit to order a copy of "The Twelfth Pan Book of Horror Stories" which I read when I was seven. There were a couple of stories in it that seemed significant to me even back then and I feel I have to re-read them.
My CPN was very kind. I guess she is just very kind. She said I had no reason to be ashamed or to feel that I was weak and a failure, and that as an outside observer she thought I had a tough life and I kept trying. I just find it hard to share her optimism that with the right support and the right medication things can be better for me, even if it takes a few years to work it all out.
She is going to refer me to Reablement and also floated the idea that I could have a Befriender. That just about killed me, because back in the spring when I was feeling pretty well I was interested myself in becoming a Befriender. What a joke eh? The idea that I could provide consistent support to anyone else. I wasn't entirely positive about these things, but eventually agreed with her that they could do no harm. My point is that everything is geared towards recovery. You have a time-limited intervention and ta-dah, you are reabled, you have ten or twenty sessions of therapy, or you have a Befriender for a year, and you are supposed to be well on the way to recovery. I guess I don't believe any more that I can recover. What about those of us that have ongoing difficulties and need ongoing support to live our lives?
I am in despair at the state of my house and myself. I don't understand why I can't do anything about it. It's not a lack of motivation, it's not "I can't be bothered", it's that for some unknown reason I can't. I haven't had a shower for three weeks, though I have washed my hair a couple of times. I am truly disgusting. And I'm having trouble doing any laundry, if I had any money I would go and buy some new clothes because I can't seem to manage to wash any. And I definitely ought to buy a new hoodie, because I am wearing the only one I have all the time. It makes me feel safer to have my hood up and the sleeves pulled down over my hands. But I have no money. I am having to get another Wonga loan to cover the rent that is due this week, and I am worried about my cat but can't afford to take him to the vet which just confirms my thought that I am a terrible owner and don't deserve to have animals.
My CPN put an alert on the Crisis Team's system so that they know I am still struggling if I call in, and she encouraged me to use the Helpline if I am awake in the night and need to talk. But I probably won't, unless I feel really desperate. I have too many experiences of the Helpline wanting to call an ambulance, or sending the police round. I felt pretty desperate yesterday evening but instead of calling anyone I took a strategic small overdose in the hope it would knock me out a bit. And I did sleep through the night though I felt a bit strange today, my vision kept going funny. Tonight I'm thinking I might sign up for the free Netflix trial and try to distract myself watching stuff. I just need to work out a safer place to put my computer, because where it is now I have a window behind me. I'm getting a bit better about the other windows but that one still really disturbs me, even though it's covered.
I have an appointment with my CPN this afternoon and I don't want to go. I feel ashamed because I lost control last week, and I hate that. It is one thing to say that you are feeling low and having some strange thoughts, and quite another to crouch in the corner and then to cry.
So I feel scared and depressed and ashamed. I am tired of this life. I am tired of being the toy of these people. I am not coping well. I see no hope for the future. I have had enough.
I have a mental illness.
Yes, I know, I know, you'd think I would have figured that out by now given my many hospitalisations, the number of pills I take, my ESA and DLA, the severity of my episodes and my ongoing difficulties with those much-touted "activities of daily living". But even at those times when I've been most rational I don't think I've ever really believed it. Because I would surely fix it all, any day now, certainly sometime soon. Just a matter of getting on and doing it, being a little stronger, trying a little harder.
One of the things the Crisis Team discussed with me was having a support worker again, to help me keep on top of the house and go to the community workshop. Afterwards I thought oh no, it's ridiculous to need that, of course I can manage. But what's my experience, what's the reality? And it is that apart from brief periods of time I do not manage to keep my house clean. And I don't mean that it is just a little messy, I mean that it is dirty, often verging on disgusting. And I hate it. As for the workshop - well, when my mood was rising in the summer I was able to go there easily, and chat to people and participate. But then things started to get out of control and I didn't attend, then it was closed for the holiday and I just haven't felt able to go since. And this has happened over and over again with different groups and classes and courses I've tried to do. I have failed to continue with them, despite all my intentions.
Realising this, and trying to let go of my long-standing denial, makes me feel a great deal of sorrow, something akin to grief. Because I have not been able to live the life I thought I would, I have not been able to do the things I always dreamed of. And it's possible I never will. I feel I need to rebuild my life around this new understanding, and rethink my future and what will be feasible for me.
They infiltrated my computer on Friday. It started malfunctioning and then it wouldn't work at all. It made me feel so panicky and isolated. The internet really is a lifeline for me, it is a way I hang onto what sanity I have. I can't tell you how much better I feel to have found a way to fix it. Less alone.
Because they are still watching me, making their comments. I think they are trying to drive me crazy and writing a book about it. That's what they are doing. I had to go to the supermarket today and I got so anxious because people kept saying my name and it seemed that they all knew about me and were part of it.
I also had an appointment with my CPN on Friday. She said I seemed very "distressed and disturbed". She said I wasn't on my own with it, which was a kind thing for her to say. So I am now taking 100mg chlorpromazine in the mornings in addition to the 150mg at night, and I am seeing the Crisis Team for a few days. The chlorpromazine does seem to be calming me down a bit, I don't feel quite such overwhelming fear, though I am struggling with some side effects. I'm actually finding the Crisis Team really supportive. The two who came today were particularly nice, and talking about everything that is happening seems to help. But I'm struggling to believe them when they tell me it's all in my mind, because it feels so real. And as the fear recedes a little I'm starting to feel quite low, sort of defeated and broken down inside, and without much hope for the future.
Yesterday was a slightly better day. The fear was less intense, except when I had to leave the house. Today it seems to be back with full force. But now I've covered all the windows with sheets I think I might be able to do some cleaning later. It feels safer. My house is full of maggots. Last night I dreamed I was eating toffee popcorn and had to spit it out because I realised it was covered with maggots. I keep thinking I should be able to just make myself stop being afraid. But I'm weak. I can't seem to. My mind is veering and swerving around, seizing on various explanations for what is happening and who is doing this. I just wish I could understand. I had to take my jewellery off because I became convinced it was a way they were monitoring me, but the back of one of the earrings is stuck in my ear. I am telling myself it doesn't mean anything, but then I become aware of it again and feel panicked. I should make an appointment with a nurse and see if it can be removed, but I really don't want to go anywhere near the GP's right now. I'm increasingly reluctant to take the pills but I'm trapped by my fear of not sleeping. I've been reading websites that say there is no such thing as mental illness. That psychiatry is evil. That medication kills you. Besides, they've altered me and now they observe me, conducting their experiments, taking their notes. How can any drug change that?
I would have a tiny, cramped bedspace in a room with four other people, with only the privacy afforded by a thin curtain and nowhere to get any peace and quiet. If I woke up in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning, as I often do, I wouldn't even be able to turn the light on, let alone have a drink and a smoke. I would only be able to go down to the garden for a few minutes every hour, and sometimes not even that if the staff were busy. I wouldn't have access to a computer or the internet, and I wouldn't be allowed to do scraperfoils, which are providing my main distraction at the moment, because the tool would be judged too dangerous. The only activities available would be sitting on the uncomfortable furniture watching television, usually the soaps, which I don't like, or colouring in children's pictures with cheap felt-tips that are running out of ink, or completing the couple of ancient jigsaws with many missing pieces that I have already done several times on previous admissions. And maybe the occasional card-making session or Recovery group, complete with patronising tips on how to problem-solve, and set small goals, and eat healthily. The only food on offer would be disgusting, when I am already having problems with my appetite. I would be even less likely to have a shower or wash my clothes than I am at home, and no one would notice if I didn't. The staff would rarely speak to me except to call me for meds. I would feel caged, trapped, imprisoned behind that locked door.