(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A week...

A week seems short in the grand scheme of things. Living it though, as you get to the end of it, it seems very long.

A week ago, I had just got back from a concert. Russian a cappella music, just 4 men singing and standing a few metres away from me. I was feeling un-positive before I went, in fact, I wanted to hide. Quite literally, hide under my duvet in my bedroom.

Saturday saw me attend a tutorial. Seems ages ago that I did that. But it was only Saturday. Tutorials generally either are positive or negative. No middle ground (story of my life, I'm too much of a "black and white thinker"). This was positive. I got lots from it, mostly about how to set out my solutions, and I think my tutor is starting to see past the labels.
[I have the problem that I am introduced to people by this intimidating list of my diagnoses, my special education needs, a list of the help I am currently receiving to study... Which means that I have to try extra hard to get people to see *me* rather than *my labels*, which don't always have the same goals.]

Sunday, people were very complimentary towards me. Saying I was cheerful, that my music was wonderful, that I was looking fantastic and happy and slim. Which compounds the negativity in my head at times. Because for one thing, I am not slim. My body just isn't slim. In terms of numbers, I am less fat, but I am still fat. In fact, I'm huge. Effing huge. Where I have lost the weight, I have ended up with horrible wibbly wobbly scarred stretch-marked ickyness. Hideous. Yucky yuckity yuck.


Monday, I posted the blog post before this one. Wasn't a great day. Really horrible actually. I felt bad.

Tuesday, I did a lot of stuff for the first time. I went to London on my own. Bought some food, on my own, without buying unsafe stuff (never done that before, I have been restricted for years by my headcrap). Spent over 8 hours without knowing anyone. Sat outside for over an hour - I haven't done that just in my own garden before, due to "paranoia" levels. Went to a concert on my own. Ran - I never run, I'm unfit (see fat paragraph) and have rubbish stamina for such things - for a train. Basically was independent. I'm able to care for others, if needs be - the physical support stuff, but I need them to be with me. I'll talk them through scary things, hold their hand, but wouldn't be able to do it alone. I'm able to stand in front of hundreds and perform. But put me in an unknown place and I will go into meltdown. Nearest wall will have me bashing my head against it, hands over ears and generally being non-functional. I hate the different parts of "me" as people can't equate the sides of it as the same being. But yes, I am me, and that includes the non-functioning and the high functioning parts.

Wednesday, I walked into a hedge. Then apologised to the hedge. Backed myself out of the hedge, took the snapped twigs out from my bag/stuff, and walked on hoping no-one saw me. I played for a string sectional, in which my playing seemed to impress the violins - who had never really appreciated what we are playing over their melodies in some pieces.

Thursday, yesterday, I saw my CPN. Not hugely pleasant, she likes to repeat phrases such as "Just look at how far you have come in the last year. How wonderful it is. You should be proud"... it drives me more bonkers at times. Took my sister out for lunch. Did my weekly choir rehearsal, was being picky. Trying to get my small choir to sing well is sometimes impossible, but hopefully my constant pickyness (alongside the pleasant side of me!) will result in a better sound in the long run.

Friday, today, I saw my university mentor. She actually cheered when she asked about Tuesday, literally let out a "woop" and clapped her hands. Slightly over-enthusiastic! Saw my STR worker, did more bus work. She drives me more bonkers too. Hmmm... Anyway, got back in one piece! This evening I went to do a good organ practice at work/church. In the dark, bar the small lights pointing at the pedal board and the music stand bit of the instrument. With the church doors locked. Hopefully didn't freak out any passing strangers, who wouldn't know that the friendly church organist was just practising her repertoire!

Alongside all this, I have had a week of ups and downs, panics and relative calmness. Fake smiles and real smiles. No tears, which has been quite nice - falling asleep on a damp pillow from crying at a picture/piece of music was starting to become horrible. Frowns, as always, have happened. Expressionless-face days have happened too - but I don't mind those, they take less effort.
I have made some not insubstantial progress on my current piano pieces - in fact, I'm starting to consider whether the orchestra I play 'cello with would cope with some piano + orchestra stuff. I wouldn't do a full 3 movement concerto, that wouldn't be accepted as a viable option (and might be too much of an undertaking for me as a first go at something other than chamber music) but I'm on the look out for a piece (about 10 minutes long, I suppose) which would be achievable.

Life feels rubbish at times. I take that as an automatic "Ah shit, I'm going to end up back in hospital with daily checks of me and my belongings" sign. I do jump to the wrong conclusions at times, because I'm not going to end up there any time soon. Stuff might slip, in fact, I'm probably going to have to realise I might get moved back to the CMHT after my specialist team time is up, or be referred to them in the future, but it won't slip now. Not immediately. Though months of work can be undone in seconds, this change in mindset will hopefully refuse to be undone fully.
Though I am still full of the negativity, I am able to function. I am never going to be a optimist, they annoy me, and feel unreal. But I am feeling 'OK enough'. OK enough is a weird concept, as I thought I would need to be simply 'OK' which is maybe unattainable, certainly it is now. So 'OK enough' it is. OK enough. Is that good enough, is that too low an expectation to have, is that OK enough? It will be. It will be. I'm going to make it be. Just watch, just watch me. All those who thought I would be dead, I'm not. I'm alive. All those who thought I would be nearing the end of my second year at uni, I'm not. But I am studying, studying that subject still, and I am going to attempt my goal, though by very different routes to what was planned. All those who say (admittedly mostly those in my busy head) I'm not going to succeed - well, you said I could succeed at killing myself, and I didn't, so I hope you are wrong about my future too.

Feck off voices, feck off whatever is termed 'mental health' or lack thereof, feck off. Let me live. Let me live. Please? Thanks muchly, ta. Speak again soon, take care, see you later crocodile, in a while alligator. TTFN. Bye.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Hmmm, maybe things aren't OK?

Futile. Life seems futile.

I'm not sad. I'm not happy either, though everyone thinks I am.
I'm not angry. I'm not at peace either.
I'm not scared. I'm certainly not calm though.

I've got that "urgh" feeling in my chest/throat. Like someone trying to strangle you, willing you to stop breathing. It feels horrible. Really horrible. Has only come on in the last 8 or so hours, but hasn't left.

I am not going to do anything, but sitting with these feelings hurts. I am coming up to a year out of hospital, a year without purging, a year without crisis team intervention. My 6 month trial period at work has only 6 weeks left, it is bound to made permanent. Spoke to someone this morning about arrangements for a week-long residential course I am doing in the summer - I need to have extra support basically.

It is April. April was when I was first admitted to hospital, it was horrible. Complete disrespect of the poor children on the same unit - being given medications which turned them into dozy bodies (not even dozy people), not reacting to stimuli. Then being forced to stay awake during the day by someone literally poking them and pulling their hair. Horrible.
I was different as I was the oldest, just a few months before I officially turned into an adult. I was studying for my A levels, and had a conditional place to do a 4 year course resulting in a Masters, and big exams only weeks away. Most people in there hadn't had any formal education for years, if ever. One boy just needed someone to accept him, listen to him talk about his chosen subject - mostly a cartoon about cars. He was lovely when I took an interest in that. Turned into an angry 11 year old when he felt ignored, which happened often, as he was ignored. The psychiatrist that admitted me was horrible, and my care team who took me there made a formal complaint about his unprofessional manner. I was shown a horrible existence in there, one which I never want another child to ever go through.

I'm feeling shit today. Walked across town to get a Railcard for my new found freedom on trains to cost less. Applied for student ID, so my new found freedom for solo concert trips costs less.
New found freedom scares me. Freedom means I could go backwards very quickly. I could end up being found at a station looking at the rails. Or in a pharmacy. Or on the busy dual-carriageway. Or walking down the street with vomit down my front. In the back of an ambulance. On 24 hour watch...

Maybe this is what finishing psychological therapy is about? Been nearly a month since I saw my psychologist, seeing her next week, then an even longer stretch between appointments. At other points in the past, feeling this bad would result in my care team being involved, maybe crisis team if care team couldn't cope with it. But today, not even my Mum knows I'm feeling shit. I've got to the stage where inside I'm feeling like a bit of rusty barbed wire, but outside I'm smiling. People are so happy for me to be happy. For me to be getting back to a normal shape (medication changed that, but I have lost nearly 4 stone since July last year when I took myself off them all). For me to be "flourishing" or "giddily happy" or "just smiling" means others feel my life is back on track.

"If I make others happy, I feel bit better about myself" was always a motto. So I did just that, I tried to make others happy. Now it seems I have succeeded in making others happy, but I'm feeling worse about me. Seems futile.
Life is chaotic. People come and go. I work hard to make a difference, and people are indifferent about it. Not realising what a difference the lack of this work would have. Everyone seems to have become complacent. Somehow I have become part of the furniture. Just an accepted being in the scheme of things.

When I was on the edge - flitting from crisis team to general hospital to psych ward to a few weeks at home, to crisis point again - people seemed grateful of me just *being*. They could see I was hurting, they could see I was vacant, but if I turned up to something, people seemed glad to see me. See me trying to be in normal society.
Now, I'm just here. Not on the edge, not actively running at the metaphorical cliff trying to jump off, everyone has just gone "yeah, great, you are so happy, I am so happy to see you blossom into a person" and they think I am suddenly not affected like I was.

Doesn't feel so bad, but people having hope and faith in me sends me into complete panic. I'm going to let them down. At some point. Whether it be another hospital stay. Or even just moving away to start a new stage in this life of mayhem - they'll think I have abandoned them. I'm going to let them down. They will see how horrible my head is, and be disappointed in themselves for ever believing I was good.

My chest and throat hurt. My mouth feels like I have been purging daily for weeks. My stomach feels like I have taken several overdoses. My feet feel like I have hurt them too. I have bits of unexplained raw skin, unexplained bruises, mouth ulcers. Sometimes my head causes the rest of me to fall to pieces. Today that has made me feel rubbish.

Smiling on the outside. I'm not smiling on the inside. I'm not crying either. Devoid of emotions, devoid of meaning. Existing. Lacking anything, apart from too many memories and a few too many ounces of insight. This is shit. Horrible.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Christian and mental?

Maundy Thursday. This week feels heart-wrenchingly sad. Like someone has been pushing on your chest, waiting for your ribs to cave in and you to fall to pieces.

Stupidly, I worry about tonight. I presume from a different point of view to most. I am terrified of silence. Silence is scary. External silence, and the fact I don't have any music from the moment I play the last verse of the post-communion hymn as they strip the church before 9pm, until I get home at gone midnight (in an ideal situation). That generally would send me into meltdown mode. Complete meltdown mode. The voices can run riot. The planning can get worse. I come home feeling like the most rubbish person ever. Because my silent prayer to God has been plagued by this stupid stuff up here. *points to head*

Sometimes I can cope with being a bit mental and being a Christian. The church feels like home, I am employed by them as a musician. I first went into that church when I was 2 days old. Mum took me. I was baptised there. Confirmed there. Went through the horrible weeks of dealing with my grandmother's unexpected death - her funeral was there. If I want time away from the world, I go to the church. I once locked myself in the church and sobbed for hours. Couldn't deal with the head stuff, couldn't deal with the unsafe world, so I went and took mental refuge in there. Churches are not all being a Christian is, in fact, the building shouldn't have much importance - however the church that has been the stable factor of my life. "I'm just popping down to church" is a key phrase for me.
Today though, I can't cope with being a bit mental and being Christian. I feel utterly to blame for the years of trauma I have put those around me under. Utterly to blame for letting the mental stuff get to me. For not making me follow God quite how I intended. I'm sure it was how he intended, but it feels a bit of a cop-out. The cross around my neck feels futile, when my head shouts "Kill". Because people in Jerusalem shouted "Crucify him", and I feel like the voices are shouting "Kill him/her/it/me". Feels wrong. I feel so guilty for the mentalness.
I can't even have my feet washed because my feet are scarred messes, which I am horrifically ashamed by.

So yes, today hurts. Tomorrow hurts. Like someone is challenging me too much, crushing me. And I do come out stronger every year. But this horrible crushing feeling, when I am separated from the events by time and space, feels awful. God be in my heart, and in my speaking, my thinking, and filling my head. The mentalness shall pass, silence shall not seem such a frightening prospect, and I shall follow the path set for me. Jesus Christ died for us, and I am forever grateful. Praise him, praise him when it feels so wrong, praise him when it feels so right, praise in morning, noon, and night.