(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Hannah, me, mental and the cats...

Some days I want to go and stand in the market square wearing a t-shirt and scream "I am Hannah. I am also mental. I am also the local church's organist. And the teacher to quite a few of your kids. I am also the one who wears brightly coloured clothes. I'm the one with the frizzy memorable hair. But I am mental. And that doesn't negate any of my other features."

I don't though.

Feels stupid in some ways. This, in effect, double life I lead. Everyone has things they hide from parts of their lives, but does something that has quite a large impact on everything get hidden? I don't know.

When I am standing in front of a group of musicians, bouncing around, do they realise I'm mental? I don't know.
When I am kneeling next door to a little kid, making myself their height as not to tower over them, whilst we wait for their mother to come and collect them, do they realise I'm mental? Do their parents? I don't know.
When I am standing at the bus stop, stimming like crazy, but chatting happily to my unprofessional, unsupportive support worker, do the people realise I am mental? I don't know. [Side thought, do they think she is mental? More likely...]
When I was standing in the queue at the supermarket buying a range of medication, alcohol and sharp things, did they realise I was mental? I doubt it, I was still served.

Anyway, the quest to not look outwardly mental (whatever that might be) has led me to feel that I don't know the real me. Is the smile real? Is the frown real? Are these (some say, horrifically) bright clothes part of the real me?
Am I actually mental? Or is it just not as clear cut as that?
Am I sane? Or is that a glorified, powerful word which has no clear concept underlying it?

Am I disabled? That is an incredibly powerful word. Which could technically refer to me, as I fall into the categories the system categorises at disabled. And I do have funding for support which only comes because of this "disabled" label. But would someone seeing me on a daily basis outside the home really believe that? I don't know.

In the quest to seem suitably sane (or at least, not unsuitable mental) I've created something. Someone. This thing called "Hannah". I'm confused as to whether this is me, or not.

I'm a few weeks away from leaving my teenage years behind. Aged 13, I wasn't your average teenager. Nor any point after that. I've spent them being mental. And trying to hide that. Failing miserably to hide it at times, when in complete meltdown mode. Succeeding at other times, I am always in a perplexed mode that some people have this wholly positive view of me. It doesn't fit. These people who I let down aged 17 when I landed myself in hospital, who then employed me again aged 19. I didn't ask for my job back, I was asked whether I would do it again, for better money, and more responsibility. How can that view of me still exist? When all this evidence suggests otherwise?

How I perceive the world, and how the world perceives me is a fundamentally weird thing. For everyone. Especially for people who are considered (for better or worse) "mental". Now I'm "recovering" (I hate that word) I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with me. Having challenged my views on everything that was "concerning" to others, how do I know this me is real? I was convinced that I was responsible, I still am, but I've been constantly told I'm not for several years. Maybe I'll get told tomorrow that though this is Hannah, this isn't actually *me*.

When not caught up in my own self destruction, the world is terrifying. And big, and powerful. Full of things which I don't know about. I don't know about me, so how can I know about maths, or music, or this or that? Let alone the whole world. I don't have an average upbringing to compare everything to, I had a wonderful upbringing but I doubt it was average. And I have ended up being classified as mental. Would that have been the case in different circumstances?

Today, I sat with my cat sleeping on the sofa next door to me. Our neighbour's cats were in our garden. I watched them slink along to the bare tree and one climbed up. The other was flapping about trying to catch a fly. Teetering at the top of the tree, one was watching the garden on the other side of us. Not knowing, or at least not remembering, a dog lived there. About a minute of weaving in and out of the branch stumps of this tree, the cat came back down. Probably still unaware of the dog.

I feel like my cat, asleep on the sofa. Occasional twitching, but sound asleep. Oblivious.
I feel like the cat on the ground, engrossed in the fly, getting itself in a frenzy at a fly. Pointless in some respects.
I feel like the cat in the tree, teetering on unsteady branches, peeking at what lies ahead, and deciding that looking at it is enough for today. That I'm quite safe enough slightly outside my comfort zone, thank you very much.

I digress, with some rather strange analogy which took place today. Sorry.
Identity is a weird thing. I've most likely over-thought it all. I'm mental. I'm Hannah. I'm me. Just I'm not so sure on those things...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Pounding the streets

Pounding the streets.

Under 6 weeks until the longest day now. Half past nine in the evening isn't dark any more, though the street lights are on. Makes the world a funny colour scheme - purple flowers glow almost as if ultraviolet, the trees are all brown (rather than the greens of the day time) and the sky is an off-blue. It still feels lonely though.

Maybe lonely isn't a bad thing though? How it is meant to be.
Maybe a funny colour scheme isn't normal? Just how I perceive it.
We all know I "think differently" according to them, so maybe I see differently too? Maybe others don't see the same things? Maybe?

Under 6 weeks until the longest day. Quarter to ten in the evening is quite dark, though the street lights are on. Makes the world black and sepia. It still feels lonely though.

Maybe lonely isn't a bad thing? Still got the neighbourhood cats popping up unexpectedly. Or the friendly birds pecking at the moss on the side of the road. They happily go on their lives, sensing the opportunity of me walking past for a conversation or chance to circle around the walking person's legs for the sake of it.

Nature feels more real this year. More here and with me. Only went out one time in spring last year, ended up in hospital, didn't really feel like spring. Year before I spent head down, walking around in a daze. This year, I'm noticing it. Pounding the streets, up hills, down hills. Under the street lights, to the bits of the road not close to street lights and thus dark, under the street lights again. Music in the head. Music in the fingers, playing imaginary piano in the air. Music in the feet, pounding the streets. Pounding the streets, normal. Lonely, lonely existence. Just how it is meant to be?

Pounding the streets. Clomp clomp clomp clomp. Trying not to fall over. Trying to take it in, absorb the world. Though the world isn't going anywhere and I am not planning of going anywhere, I have a residual thinking process left over that tells me this is my last spring. Or at least, that this might be my last spring. I need to always remember that it might be just residual mentalness, or it might be just my innate thinking systems, but I don't have to make this my last spring. Like that day wasn't my last day, and all these days after it haven't been my last either. That month wasn't my last, that spring wasn't my last, that year wasn't my last. But it could have been. I could, tomorrow, do something. I won't, but I could.
I have the problem I am aware of what I could do. It is just how it is, I'm aware of how physically ill/non-alive I could be. Can I go back to being innocent again? Not sure when innocent me became me though. A long time ago, before I realised I was different. Or at least, I was treated differently.

Nature is here, and it is here to stay. And I have reasons to be here, and to be here to stay for some while yet. For one thing, I'm going to get my contract made permanent. Being alive is a bit of requirement for that, surprisingly enough. Another is all the music I still want to experience. Another is all the maths I want to understand. The want not to be a bloody statistic or a shitty stereotype, but instead me. ME. Me. Not someone with X, Y or Z. Not someone who can't do the things she has dreamed of since the age of 5 (side though: was I innocent then? Not sure). I'm just doing them in a different way. But hey, I'm not conventional. I hate fitting into boxes and labels and the normal way of doing things, and so I am doing this the unconventional way. By being me. And shock horror, you poor souls and the cats and the birds and the trees and the streets have got to put up with me a bit longer. Right now, for a lot lot longer. I'm going to grow older, I'm going to wear purple (so just like now). I'm also going to try my hardest to get to my dreams, they might not be possible, but I can't not try. Not now, not here, not with the streets beneath my feet and the cat meowing un-tunefully to the piano sonata currently playing in my head. (well, the world isn't always on your side, is it?!)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Life minus the therapy?

Therapy minus the therapist. AKA "life".

Turns out life can be made quite busy with various things. Last saw psychologist 12 days ago, and don't see her again until July - for one final "checkup". Then that is it. Nothing from her.
She admitted that at times, she didn't believe I would ever get to my goals, that maybe "feeling content, but not ridiculously happy" (what I said I wanted in my first ever meeting with her) was never going to be attainable. I probably infuriated her, I infuriate myself. I don't know if "content" will ever happen, but it feels slightly more attainable than it did. And the complete despair that once was the constant companion isn't so enthusiastic as it was.

Anyway, I'm busy. Busybusybusy. My "weekend" is Monday and Tuesday, as I am busy on the conventional Saturday and Sunday weekend. Mondays are always rubbish, I get more and more worked up, and panic about the week ahead, and muse at how badly things went the previous week. I end up with the physical mentalness, I have spent the day getting more and more tense, jumpy, and generally yucky. Tuesdays are when I start thinking "right, another week, just get to the end of it". Surprisingly enough, I do get to the end of the week. And then Monday rears its ugly head. And then Tuesday happens.

Tuesday is the day it currently is. I've got my CPN coming in 90 minutes, so probably should find some food, brush my hair, take yesterday night's wine glass from the coffee table and put it in the dishwasher, locate the empty bottle from where ever it ended up and put it in the recycling, and try to make self coherent and acceptable.
She judges my mood on what I am playing on the piano when she comes to the door. Last time she came, I was playing the end of the Warsaw Concerto. She took this to mean I was quite jolly, and maybe a bit less tired as it is fast and a big flourish at the end. In fact, I'm just trying to make the piece sound better. Nothing to do with my mood. Just me learning a piece of music. Anyway, CPN isn't the most understanding person, thinks she should tell me I don't look like the stereotypical "ill" person (I am NOT ill, I have never been ill, I will hit her around the head with her boring black diary one day if she carries on saying I am ill) because that will help. In what way exactly does she think telling me I don't look like a mental will help?! /CPNrant

[Break to go and have some lentil soup for lunch]

Hmm, yes, so life almost-post therapy is looking slightly busy. Next days currently free are next Monday and Tuesday - though may have an appointment on Monday, which may be a good thing as it gets me out of the house, or may be a bad thing if it goes wrong or she annoys me so I come home slightly angry with the world.

I need to remember to breathe. And smile. To remember that though everything in life isn't permanent (playing for funerals confirms this) there are still lots of good things. Even though the tree that I look at out of my window has grown leaves in the last week so I cannot see the squirrels bouncing along, the view out of my window is now green. And the most amazing shade of red/maroon from another tree. Spring is here, and I am here too. And that feels utterly terrifying, yet quite positive. I'm not going anywhere. And neither are the squirrels, they still bounce along the garden to take any goodies they find back home. I'm here, and so is everything. Right now, it is all here. The trees are alive, the blossom is everywhere, and each Monday will be followed by a Tuesday, and each Tuesday will be followed by a Wednesday.

And now it is only 35 minutes until le CPN arrives. So I need to go and do those necessary tasks which seem to be the decision between me being a "coping" mental in her eyes, and a completely "non-functioning" mental. *bangs head on desk, thus breaking the glasses which for some reason are on top of my head and not on my nose* *puts glasses back on face and goes to check for spolling errurs*