(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

29th September

Today is the 29th September.
Would have been my grandmother's birthday. Nearly burst into tears on the bus yesterday when unexpectedly my music player played the piece we had at her funeral 15 months ago. I feel bad for not missing her huge amounts, especially as I ended up in such a bad place after my other grandmother died (was the catalyst to me going weird the first time).
It also means 6 years since a girl in my town killed herself. I didn't know her, but my friends at the time did - they all went to primary school together. I was suicidal at the time and really struggling, but I had to cope with the emotions of friends who were distraught. Because it is the same day as my grandmother's birthday, I always remember it.

Aaand, I have orchestra at my old school tonight. I have to walk past the place where my friend (who used to meet me to calm me down before entering the school building) burst into tears on me that morning. Sometimes I hate living in this town, too many memories for anything to ever be a fresh start. The bus trip I did yesterday to get to the city took me over the place I was talked down from by an old lady from church (she happened to be passing so stopped) and taken to hospital.

I'm thinking of all these things which will be better when I move away. All these things I'll be able to do in my "gap year that is only 9 months" which will start in 54 weeks.

Today, my tutor for one of my courses emailed to tell me my score for the final assignment. It simply said:
Final Assignment
Not bad!

Apart from proving I probably can get the first/distinction at the end of this year I'm aiming for, it feels like I've settled. Got the routine right, got the technique right, settled into second year BSc maths. It is only a percentage, but it is OK. Problem is, in 16 days I won't be a second year BSc mathematician. Well, unless I drastically fail my exams. But *positive thinking* I have no evidence to suggest I will. *nods in an unconvinced manner*

A day of emotions. Of realising what life is, namely not forever. Of realising how close I came to not being around. Of realising that situations change. Of realising that I'm here, I'm around, I'm OK at maths, even dare I say it just "I'm OK".
Last night I had a wobbly night, which resulted in not huge amounts of sleep and other stuff. However, it is OK. It is only the second wobbly night I've had this entire year, the other one was the day before my birthday back in June. Wobbly nights have a tendency to kick start feeling more able to cope for some reason.

Yep, 29th September. Time to play some piano, eat some food, go the final orchestra practice before next week's concert. Then drink. Not to oblivion, but instead to a suitably numb and soporific stage. Should be possible...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Plans are made to be stuck to

Plans are made to be stuck to.

The plan for the next 2.5 weeks is set out. 3-hour long slots for all the remaining past papers I could get my hands on have been put in. The final tutorial is taking up most of Saturday. Rehearsals for the two concerts I have in the next 9 days are in, and then obviously concerts too. The teaching I'm doing is in, and the cover teaching I'm doing too. The 4 concerts I'm going to as an audience member are in and transport is vaguely sorted. 2 mentor appointments and a CPN appointment are planned.
The plan is manageable, and it is going to be stuck to.

I have 4 Proper Lie-ins planned and 5 Mini Lie-ins planned. I've got 5 evenings when I'm in, the rest I'm out. Those evenings are for time to sit and play the piano gently, or watch the Internet hurry about in its normal fashion and just relax.
The plan is manageable, and it is going to be stuck to.

I've done a past paper for the course I find more difficult to score high marks in today. Yesterday when I saw my university mentor, we came up with a plan. I tend to run out of steam just as I need to engage brain for the more involved questions. So, I'm going to do just a few of the less involved shorter questions to settle down, then go into the more involved ones, then come back to end with the "easier" quicker ones again. Turns out though I can't do the long questions after 2 hours, I can do the shorter ones. Feeling much less stressed now. Plans are made to be stuck to. This plan works, I'll stick to it.

I've come off the medication for my joints. The extreme exhaustion is worse than the level of pain it numbed (certainly didn't relieve all the pain anyway). I'll reassess the situation post-exams, when blood tests should be back and I can be tired without huge impact on everything. Some plans are made to be stuck to, but then need changing.

I'm not going into shops unless I cannot avoid it. Some plans are seriously stupid, and need to be rubbished and plans to make it not happen need to be made and stuck to.

Plans are made (in the most part, see above for clarification) to be stuck to. Like committing to things - I was always told you can't let people down by not being committed. Like these plans. I'm committed to the plans. The plans will get me to the post-exam goal I've had for 9 months. 19 sleeps from now I'll be there (unless I have a nap or two, then it might a few more).

Plans are made to be stuck to. Plans are GOING to be stuck to. And post-exam plans to allow me to keep going and not crash are in place, concerts, lie-ins, short courses in subjects I haven't really studied before, musical days, unmusical days.

Plans are made to be stuck to. Plans are going to be stuck to. We'll stick to the plan. Yep. Plans work. I stick to plans. I'll stick to these plans.
Plans are made to be stuck to. *repeats ad nauseam for 19 days*

Thursday, 23 September 2010

We'll be OK

I wrote an email on Tuesday evening to my CPN (community psychiatric nurse).
Wednesday (yesterday) I didn't press send. I found the email address that my CPN used in an email almost exactly 2 years ago (during Freshers week, it arrived when I was in A&E after security whisked me there at 8am one morning). Last night I got it ready to send this morning.
This morning, I ummed and erred, and eventually pressed send at 9.30am. Then I played one piece on the piano, then looked back to find an email. A "failure to send" email.

My heart sank. All this angst, all this time spent looking for some support from the team and deciding that emailing her was the answer. Then I was stopped, all because she has changed her email address.
It feels like my relationship with them has changed in an instant. I always knew I *could* email my CPN as a way of contacting them, except it turns out I can't. She's changed her email address. Without them even being aware I'm not just being my normal busy bee, I feel like I've been left without them. To do it alone.

I've realised I can't send it another way or to make contact via the 'phone. That was THE way I was going to tell them that so now I can't tell them. I next see my CPN in 11 days. Hopefully stuff will be better then.

I've changed my view. This morning I was trying to grab onto the mental health team, make them make me feel more human. Now, I'm going to make me feel more human. I'm not able to get the help from them, so I've got to do it.

In the way that always happens, the bible readings this evening were very apt. Was about time being wearisome but God being there forever. Right now, time IS wearisome (today's odd place to fall asleep: on to a past paper I was meant to be doing) but I haven't completely self-destructed, indicating God is probably here.

I'll be OK. It is odd, but though it feels at times like I'm slowly having a breakdown, it feels vaguely OK. I might feel like hiding, I might feel like never leaving the house again, I might feel like resigning from my jobs to be able to destruct without causing people lots of hassle, I might feel like leaping off something at times, but I'm pretty certain I won't.
This evening, though everything is crap right now, it feels like some positivity is inside. A tiny weeny little spark of hope. That I'll get back to being OK. Instead of just trying to cope but being unable to, I hope to get back to being OK.

'Tis odd. Yesterday, I seriously thought by now I would be under the crisis team (even though my email specifically was saying not to) or having been threatened with hospital (ditto). None of that has happened. I've done a past paper, I've taught, I've sang, I've directed a choir, I've recorded a rehearsal track for another choir I help to run, I've chosen hymns for October. I've not had any contact with them.

Stuff happens for a reason. Maybe this change of plan is to make me realise that I can't just go crawling to the MH team if stuff gets hard. I need to learn how to live without too much help, especially as I don't want to go back to evil CMHT once I've run out of time with crap-but-not-evil specialist team.

I'm doing this alone. Tomorrow, my brother has asked to come to church for a chance to play the organ (I fear we will subject the local area to tacky jazz...) so I'll get out during the day. Then I'll go to do youth choir in the evening. I'm needing to be proactive, so I will. Any days I haven't got out-of-house activities planned, I'll go down to church and do some practising. I may end up taking myself off the medication for my joints as the tiredness is ridiculous (we will see how the weekend goes, but if I'm still this tired, I'm going to try without them).

I'll be OK. Hopefully my head will quieten, my brain will function, and I'll be OK. Oh, and I'll stop spamming my tweet stream with melodramatic "I'm crashiiiing #urgh #uurgh #uuuurgh" messages.
Thanks for the support and kindness that you peeps of the internet have shown me, I appreciate it. Really appreciate it.

Something has shifted today, for the better. Not how it was planned to be at 8 this morning, but the day has been and gone. Tomorrow will come and go. And the next day, and the next. We'll be OK. We will. Be. OK. Uhuh. Yep-di-doodles.

[To the student who told me he had had an "EPIC maths FAIL week", you haven't. Promise. You can do it. Like I can. Epic fail is probably a good way of describing it (in that lingo) but epic fail is subjective. And subjectiveness changes. So let's hope my next week is less "epic fail", more "vaguely OK" as well as his.]

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Creative voice-busting technique no. 486...

I have had a phrase going around in my head for most of the last week. A child's voice saying "Being a bird on a tree isn't easy". Over and over and over. Sometimes said as if the voice is coming out of a mouth that is smiling, sometimes as if it is coming out of a frightened child's mouth (you can tell the difference between a smiling child's voice and a non-smiling child's voice, I reckon). So, in a bid to calm down this fairly harmless but rather irritating addition to my usual head-noises, I've been creative:

Now, hopefully, I can get this little child out of my head. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy - you might sit on the wrong branch. You might not know you are on the wrong branch, but others would and would judge you because of that. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy - it gets cold in trees, all the leaves fall off most of the trees in the next few months. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy - a bit like being a me on this planet isn't either. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy. To bed, little child who sounds as if you are in the back of the left side of my skull, to bed. Take you and your little bird in a tree to bed. Sleep tight. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy. Being a bird on a tree isn't easy.

Friday, 17 September 2010

GP versus me (I did it)

(further to my previous GP versus me blog posts)

Mum rang at 8.10. Got an appointment for 9.20. Turns out we know too many people - I knew 1/3 of the people in the waiting room at this point on a Friday morning. Mum cooed over a small baby, probably realising my complete despise of children under 5 was going to mean no ickle babies from me for her to coo over, and my sister is not really showing much in the way of maternal instinct either. Anyway, we went in.

First things first, she asked about my sister. As she had been involved in the emergency referral to the shoulder people for her last week. Once the others had been asked about, she asked how I was. "Fine, except for my wrists" I said. Having looked at my notes, she may have been expecting a visible wound or something, but it wasn't (I'm not sure I'd have gone in with my mother if that was the case...)

She wiggled my wrists and my elbows. Stole my blood, turns out being much lighter than I have been in the past when blood was stolen makes my blood more easy to steal. Will send it off to some place far away for tests, will know in 3 weeks time and will contact me if it is dodgy.
Gave me a prescription that I'm currently staring at with utter horror. The thought of having drugs in me again worries me. I fought so hard to get off the psych meds (which my notes still said I was on, now updated) that realising I'm now going to be putting more drugs in me is scary. But if they might work, I need to give them a go. Will also kickstart the need to eat breakfast too. [One of my exams is at 10am, and I need to have got used to eating breakfast before that day as not to be changing too much on an important day]

Oh, and she weighed me. Said "Well hopefully this time you will be in double figures rather than triple." I am, now. Even with heavy shoes on I am more into the double figures than I have been for years. I had got well into the triple figures territory (kilograms) when I was last there, and that was in no way my highest weight. So my records won't show me as huuuuuuuuge, just huuuuge.

Obviously doesn't know about piano playing. Was wondering how you sit/hold your arms out for piano playing - some wonder how she has come through life this far not really taking in how people sit at the piano. Also said, "Hang on, so you are an organist, like it is your job. [Yeeeessss.] So if I don't do my job well and my patients die, you get busy? We have a business plan there!"
She didn't recoil at my arms, but she did take the bloods herself as she probably didn't want to subject some poor everyday vampire to them (or me to the vampires, I suppose).

Upshot of all of this is maybe she isn't quite as scary as I had thought. I will go and get the drugs after doing this funeral at lunchtime. I will be contacted if the blood tests show arthritis as I'll be referred on, otherwise if the pain doesn't go down I should go back in a month.

And now I shall go and give a dear old lady hopefully a fitting musical tribute. Out of everyday clothes into funeral gear. She worked in a brewery during her life - was required to drink 2 pints a day as a woman (4 if she was a man). It sounds like a job I wouldn't have managed in, I hate beer!
I only knew her as the frail old lady who smiled through the pain of her failing body. In a way, it is special to be in a role that means you are there for the end of the life, and you do the bits before the dying too. However, sometimes it is a bit like you are constantly facing your own mortality. Wrist pain or no wrist pain, I'm still around. And hopefully shall do many more baptisms, weddings and other joyful events alongside the funerals which I try to do with kindness and realising that music is very effective especially in what may seem like a gloomy day with the "promise of life to come" seemingly distant and difficult to believe in.
Out of the stripy socks, into the boring black socks. Though this woman would have probably liked my stripy socks, I doubt I could get away with it. I shall respect her by wearing suitable socks.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

GP versus me (again)

Further to the blog post of two weeks ago, some progress has finally happened.

A decision! How exciting I hear you all gasp! (or not) We have chosen the GP to be the GP to see.

Family GP = ruled out. Too fattist for one thing, would probably tell me if I lost 3 stone I'd be fine. And for just being him. Even though he knows me more as a person in my family so might know the history a bit.

Other man GP = ruled out on the basis someone once described him as a "big cuddly bear-type man". Though probably not fattist, and quite nice from what I've heard, that view will freak me out.

Which leaves me with the women GPs. Anyone who would immediately tell me I needed to do exercise was taken off the list promptly. Leaving me with those who have been kind to my sister and her ailments of the impressive odd body variety. (Today, as she dislocated her dodgy shoulder on Friday, she made me get her icecream and strawberries - she is milking the situation methinks)

A woman GP who is kind, who apparently has 2 kids and won't laugh at me. But doesn't know me (or may know me only as a member of the local community/musical person) and so may judge from my notes that I am a complete madwoman who should be ignored.

That is what I am scared of. That they see I've been involved in MH services for years and dismiss this physical problem which is affecting my day-to-day life at the moment. Decide I'm just conjuring it up. That it isn't really there, but what do I know? - I've been classified as "detached from reality" in the past. I'm sure the stigma I'm thinking is going to become apparent isn't actually quite as marked as I'm expecting. Well, I hope not.

Tomorrow, Mum will probably (well, unless some crises happens she will) ring and try and make an appointment. It may be 2 weeks away, by which point I'll have sawn off my own right arm if things stay as they are today, but I'm getting there. The slow process of me just getting to the GP is slowly progressing.

I should probably work out a suitable answer to the "how many units of alcohol do you drink a week?" question, as um-ing and ah-ing and counting on my fingers and toes and the GP's fingers and toes (and a nurse I had grabbed to count their fingers and toes too) would probably be seen to be slightly inappropriate (IF indeed it did come up). Little things to be prepared with are going to be the way forward... Panicking isn't the best idea... *repeats ad infinitum*

Monday, 13 September 2010

With a hiatus provided by some geese...

So, another week (well nearly, it was just after midnight on Tuesday that I last blogged) has passed.

A week where I, shock horror, actually cried. OK, only the once, and only with the knowledge of my teddy penguin, but still an unusual occurrence for me. Not sure if it helped or just got my long suffering teddy penguin all soggy, but I did do a bit of crying.

By talking about anything apart from my moods/my head, I've got through another appointment with the CPN (see posts from 3 weeks ago when she last came). Mugs, flower pots and arrangements, bishops, funerals, church vestments, and she took a phone call about someone who is refusing to see the doctor in the psych ward but probably needs some meds (TBH, knowing the psych ward psychiatrists, I fully understand her worry about them there funny doctors [Who, incidentally, wear Wellington boots whilst doing shopping in the supermarket - slightly odd...])
Not once did she ask about how noisy my head was, not once did she enquire as to the state of my feet, or my sleep patterns, or anything like that. Silver lining of no sensible-but-tricky questions was the fact I didn't need to think up any creative spins on the more negative areas to actually say to her.
Along the lines of:
"Yes, my head is noisy, but I've got lots of music to distract with, and I never have to deal with too much silent thinking time as I never get the chance. I'm able to still work, though sometimes I have to ask people to repeat things, it isn't too bad at the moment... ... Sorry, pardon, can you repeat what you just said please, I couldn't hear you over the screaming child torturing my brain?"

There are geese flying overhead, and it has set a dog off down the road. I haven't been to the pond for about a year, I haven't even got on my bike. It was, at one point, part of my routine - I would go on a bike ride around the pond, up the hill, down the hill, and back home. Something has changed and my bike has being left behind. A bit like the viola that sits in the corner. Or the other "great ideas" which suddenly aren't so great, and are slowly put to one side. Oo, the geese are back for their second circle of the area, aaannndd, yes, I can hear the dog getting excited again.

I'm tired. Not just in the physical "I need sleep" sense, but in the "I need some enthusiasm again" sense. I can't lose it, not now. Not the right time. There is probably never a right time to lose it and go crazy, but this is definitely a bad time. There is more to lose, there is more to gain by staying as "coping me" than there ever has been, there is too much pressure on me to be around for me to duck out of activities for a few weeks, go quietly crazy, and come back feeling better. I am not doing an event this weekend as I have a uni tutorial - but everyone presumed I was on holiday. The lack of understanding that I lead (by necessity, but at the moment not enjoyable) very busy life seems rife. I almost want to say "Do you know how busy I am? Do you realise I don't just do this job that you see me in for 6 hours a week, but all the rest I do? Do you realise why I'm looking like a wreck who is shoving on clothes but obviously not feeling quite as cheerful as the clothes may seem?"
Except, I won't. That wouldn't get me anywhere. And I'm sure lots of people are very busy too - yet they have this strange presumption I only do the thing they see me doing.

I'm eating too much. I'm still losing weight, but probably not as much as if I didn't have the huge binges that seem to have crept back in (or the alcohol, but that doesn't count). At least food isn't such an issue any more. Except the occasional binge, I'm eating sensible food at a sensible time. Some improvement, I suppose...

It is silly, if my CPN had asked the usual crass CPN comments, I wouldn't have been wholly truthful and I would have said goodbye to her feeling worse as I hadn't told her the truth and I would be analysing every comment I made. But in a way I feel I've been conned out of the opportunity to say something if I felt I could. I want someone in the "real world" to know just how pants I'm feeling. That everything isn't as hunky-dory as it may seem. But I don't want crisis teams, or meds, or this or that, I just want (in a way) for someone to be aware. Except that it doesn't work like that. I don't want fuss, I want a duvet and a dark room and 5 days without any interruptions, but me telling someone would have the opposite effect. Being crazy wasn't easy, but this limbo-land of still evidently not-sane but a "functioning" person(to all extent and purposes) isn't seeming a viable solution right now.
Tired, sad, and wanting to go for a walk. Except I can't as I have work to be doing, it is raining and I'm probably not entirely safe to just go "for a walk" without a specific place to be heading for.
So, time to do some work... First things first, I'm going to revise my to-do list, as it is rather out of date... *sighs and gets on with things*

Thursday, 9 September 2010


[melodramatic rubbish ramblings] (you have been warned)
You know when you say "y'know when" then backtrack because probably no-one else experiences the same? Well... that.

Today, life feels futile. Been a busy day, an hour at church, about 2 hours at the piano, 2 hours of band, and 2 hours of orchestra. Nothing went badly, nothing provoked this response, I've just got to the end of the day feeling rubbish.

My chest feels like I have a heavy weight (or my cat, I suppose) on it. Serious crushing going on, to the point my breathing feels laboured. Once, a few years back, I told Mum the effort to carry on breathing was too much, she remarked if I stopped thinking about it I'd just do it. Right now, when I stop thinking about it, what feels like tens of seconds go by without me breathing again.

I've drunk too much. I've not built in a new "healed arms aim day" (last one was Sunday) so am struggling with that. I've got a lack of pizzazz, and I'm someone who thrives on my presence when I'm supposed to be in control of a situation.

The BPD stuff, however much stuff might be behind its current state, is slightly concerning me. I've never being given the BPD label, I've always been too psychotic in mental health professionals' eyes to give me that label. However, I've been presumed (as I perceive it) to have the BPD label over the last few weeks. Every second email in my online-persona email account is about BPD. I've never been given that label, thankfully. And I think some person seems to have been given an awful lot of airtime recently. I'm not entirely criticising, but I'm not comfortable aiming a lot of powerful negative emotions and words in the direction of one person (however "wrong" they may be).

Back to the crushing weight on my chest. Right now, all I can manage is a sigh. I couldn't sing an aria that I once did for an audition when technically "severely depressed" tonight, as this feeling my chest would mean an obvious difference for the worse in my voice. Tomorrow evening, I've got to take a choir practice. Sit at an organ and direct a choir. Tomorrow afternoon I've got to teach maths. Sit at a desk and explain elementary concepts to those who believe they can't do it. I doubt I'll be very good at either if my mood now is anything to go by.

My smile feels fake. I have huge dark bags under my eyes, I'm not getting enough sleep. I want to curl up into a ball and have an off day. I can't though. An off day would signify so much more than a day spent in bed. For one thing, I'd have to cancel something as most days for the next two months are already not completely free. I can't do it. I need an off day... well, more I *want* an off day.

Chest weight is horrible. It really is. I think it is time to put on thoroughly emotive music (I was thinking the piece I listened to for 3 days non-stop which made my family really angry but kept me going) and lie in a darkened room. Sleep. Wake up, sort out this assignment. Paint on a smile, go to work. All the while hoping this crushing "urgh" on my chest isn't going to appear during the day. Otherwise I'm going to be a rubbish person in the roles I'm in.

I want to be more clear than it all currently feels. I'm telling people when they ask how my summer has been that I've worked hard, and I'll be taking my exams in 5 weeks, I'm well. Right now though, it feels a bit like this tree in the forest at the end of my road:

The trunk was cut off. Then all those little branches grew. The stability in those little branches is a bit questionable. Like mine, I suppose.

[/melodramatic crap]

Monday, 6 September 2010


It is weird how I'm sitting here in ill-fitting, faded, fat clothes, with my hair greasy and just piled up on my head to be out of the way, yet I feel comfortable with my body.

It is weird how calm I feel though I'm less than 6 weeks away from my 2nd year exams now, and it is the first week of term so I have my term-time activities back in my schedule this week and other things going on too.

It is weird how I've got through the summer holidays without killing my sister. On day 2, I was seriously considering how I would cope. There are distinct disadvantages to living at home - most of which appear during the school holidays when I'm more in contact with my siblings. Anyway, my sister goes back to school in 38 hours time and she is still alive.

It is weird how I manage to do things now that even a few weeks ago where a certain no-no. Like doing a trip on the London Underground on my own. Yes, OK, I ended up on the wrong side of a barrier meaning I was on a platform for trains to Oxford, but I got help rather than being unable to admit I had gone wrong so rectified the situation (though Oxford would have been quite a nice place to end up).

It is weird how crisis-free this year has been so far. The flitting from crisis to relative-un-crisis to the next crisis is currently just part of my past and a fear for the future. A life without the melodrama means finding things to do, means finding other features to be other than the melodramatic crazy.

It is weird how I've got such inner conflict about something fairly obvious. I need to improve my skills that I use during my job, so I need to have organ lessons. There is someone very good who many people recommend who lives near by. However, I don't seem to be able to do the obvious "right thing". I'm worried about being criticised. Being judged. Having expectations put upon me. I haven't had a music lesson in 16 months. It is stupid, I do enough criticising of myself, I need to improve and constructive advice from a teacher is needed. I'm worried that this person will realise how inept I am at playing the organ and wonder quite why I am employed as an organist. I'm concerned that he will talk to other organists in the area (they are all serious gossipers/talkers from what I see) and I'll be put down in their views of me. I'm a 20 year old girl, I admit I'm not great, BUT I do the best job I can given my current situation. They might all just see me as even more of a second-rate person than I probably already am to them.
I need to stop making excuses for not having some lessons. It needn't be a hugely long term thing - I need pointers to be able to improve the playing myself. Also, I've got a very small budget as most of my funds go onto my university studies at the moment.
It is weird how I'm putting off the most sensible and obvious plan of action.

In connected news to that last sentence, still haven't managed to pluck up the courage to make that GP appointment...