(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I wish I was

[Disclaimer: This sounds rather melodramatic. It feels it from my view point. It's just what I feel tonight I should type to someone, anyone... and even if no-one reads it, I'll still feel I've "said" it.]

I wish I was drunk enough not to care.
I wish I was sober enough to see sense.

I wish I was able to realise that I am overthinking and actually just need to stop it.
I wish I was able to realise that I need to remember quite how far I have already come.

I wish I was in a position where I could be as reckless as I damn well pleased.
I wish I was in a position where I could talk to someone in person.

I wish I was back to square one where just getting to the end of each day and still be breathing was an achievement.
I wish I was this functioning human with all her life ahead of her and the ability to be the person everyone thinks she is.

I wish I was not trying but instead just admitting I need to stop for a bit.
I wish I was not struggling but still doing the motions and saying the words which are what makes me me.

I wish I was able to say "I'm struggling" without worrying my parents and my care team and everyone. It's just if I say anything to anyone who I might be expected to tell if things were dodgy (parents, CPN, duty worker at office if CPN isn't in...), BAM, the world starts constricting in on me. I can't have that. I won't have that. I don't need mollycoddling or an enforced restricted life, I need to be able to splurge words at a person. Say the words out of my mouth and know they have been heard. Without any repercussions.

I wish it was easy.
It's not. It's fucking difficult. Really fucking difficult.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Day and night

So... err... I'm drinking again. You can frown at me all you like, you can remind me how rubbish I felt a fortnight ago, you can remind me why I stopped, but I don't think it will make much difference to me.

I'm also struggling. Each day I'm this public figure. I turned the pages of a cathedral organist doing a recital last night - I had people flocking to talk to me afterwards, literally. From the enthusiastic 14 year old girl wanting to know what it is like to be an organist and a young woman (erm, yes, it was a bit odd), to the 70 year old who came to talk to me about a concert I need to be involved in. Then another old man came to talk to me about remembering me as a 5 year old, and now I am famous (slight exaggeration...). And another (about how wonderful it is to have a woman on board and someone who extends the age of a committee by 45 years...). Oh, and earlier on yesterday I had an embalmer from the funeral directors flirting with me, as you all evidently do on an average Tuesday afternoon...

Anyway, each day I'm this wonderwoman. This enigma who isn't studying away from home but is still studying with enthusiasm. With the tag line "it suits me far better to study this way, it means I can be involved in many more things" to back up any questioning remarks. Who is always around certain circles of people in the community.
Each night, I'm struggling. Alcohol helps as it numbs the overwhelming feeling of being a fraud. I'm not this figure who is excellent, brilliant, talented, [continue with such words ad infinitum]... I'm the person who mucked up. Big time. Bombed out of university after bombing out of college. Who is trying to build a life which is my own. No dilly-dallying with things I can't possibly enjoy, because I've spent enough time being a misery guts.

Night times are becoming more of an issue. A really struggle. At about midnight each night  I realise that everyone else is in bed, that I'm sitting here with my body shivering, my head racing and the prospect of sleep before 2am looking more unlikely by the minute. I'd like an off switch. To turn it all off for the night and switch it all back on again at 8am. That shouldn't be too difficult to ask.
Struggling to stay safe. I'm not about to disappear from the face of the earth, that isn't an option any longer. I'm not about to need rushing to A&E either, it wouldn't be that dramatic. Just, well, urm, it's not quite as clear cut (pardon the pun) in my head. The main thing stopping me from hurting myself? I'm wearing a blue frock for a gig I'm doing on Friday and if I managed for some reason to have wound which leaked through a bandage onto the dress I would be mortified and horrified. One rule of mine is that my ability to perform can't be impinged by my ability to hurt myself. When I nearly lost the use of my thumb (note to self: stop staring at the scar and thinking what would have happened if you had not stopped when you did. And stop poking the scar so your thumb twitches, that is not helpful either) literally weeks before assessed performances, I made this rule. It sounds silly, but to have to stop performing, or give a rubbish performance due to my choice to hurt myself (for it is a choice for me I think) would be horrible. That is what is stopping me. That I can't risk it. Still doesn't mean the nightly struggle is any easier, it just is the reason I'm eventually getting through the night unscathed, for the time being. Lots of tears, to the point where the skin on my face is getting dry, but unharmed.

By day, I'm a fairly present figure. By night, I'm a crying mess. What concerns me is how long can I keep up the former whilst the latter is the case? Maybe ONLY as a result of the latter I can cope with the former?
However much I hate the word, "recovery" is difficult. When you are unable to cope with most things that is that. You don't. Or you do and then you feel worse. When you are back to standing on your own two feet again then it gets tricky. Because the reasons for putting life on hold will always be with you and you will always think of the whatifs. The hope for how life will be, that silly question asked by psychiatrists "where do you see yourself in X years time", suddenly is now back in your own hands. It's not a case of I can't do it because my head just isn't able to. It's a case of if I don't do it, it is because I haven't done the right things. I can't think of the words properly, I hope you get what I mean.

Going mad and staying mad is one thing. Going mad and trying to make a life which works is a completely different one. And really rather difficult too. *sigh*

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Tired, really tired.

Though some things are possible, it doesn't mean they are that good an idea.

I'm exhuasted. Monday's adventures in Londinium have completely wiped me out. My memory is practically non-existant, I'm forgetting things left right and centre.

I needed to do it to prove to myself I could. And I can. However, with my ticket to a concert very near the London terminal that trains from Navel-Gazing Tiny Market Town arrive at on Monday, I'm not going to make a day of it. I can't afford to have another week being this tired. Instead I'll leave here at about 4.30pm after a quiet start of day/lunchtime/afternoon and simply enjoy the music then get back on the train and come home.

Pushing myself so I acheive what I thought was impossible is one thing, still feeling utterly exhuasted after four days is another. Going off to have a day galavanting around London has wiped me out. Sleeping is never enough but I always need more sleep.

As I do more adventurous things, I'm likely to find out this the hard way more I guess. After the event, when I'm yawning and aching and being a bit woolly-headed. I need to learn quite where my limits lie, so I don't surpass them in such a spectularly week-destroying way.

Right, to balance out the kicking myself for being exhausted stuff, I'm going to write down some positives from the week:
- Now on day 14 of Life Sans Alcohol. Current aim is Tuesday - I'm doing a funeral and funerals generally leave me wanting to feel nothing and getting drunk so we shall wait and see how Tuesday is. The teenager of the household said "You are far more funny and nice to be around without the alcohol." which was a bit of a reality check.
- Musically, it hasn't been too bad a week. I've also decided to help with a concert at my sixth form college, which was where I went mad to the point of being hospitalised. The fact I feel able to walk onto the grounds of the school, let alone perform, shows that I'm in a far better place than I was.
- I've realised my voice doesn't sound as horrendous as I thought. Y'know that your voice sounds really different when not heard from inside your head? Well, I always hated hearing it back because I felt it was the most horrendous speaking voice. 30 minutes and a sound recorder has made me realise it isn't as bad as I first thought.
- Three quarters of my maths text books for the year have turned up. I've got the majority of the assignmnet done which I need to finish before starting on the new stuff, hopefully I'll finish it in the next few days and can start the exciting new maths!
- I've admitted to Mum that my eyesight is worsening. Now I've told her, I'm likely to have the almost constant nagging until I actually make the appointment to see the optician. Preparing for the lecture of "but you've avoided us for years" (I know, I know. I just shreded each pestering letter that appeared and hoped nothing would detiorate. However, at orchestra on Wednesday I struggled to see the music which isn't so good.)
- I don't think I've said anything really stupid aloud which makes me want the ground to open up so I can escape.  Always a good thing...

So, not just a week of yawns and tired eyes then. A weekend ahead is fairly quiet and has a concert to end it off, a Monday being slightly less ambitious than I perhaps would have been but probably a more sensible plan and then hopefully a week with less yawning will happen. Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully. *yawns*

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Walking along a street feels like a privilege, once I was too frightened.
Going on a train feels like I'm climbing Mount Everest, 15 months ago that was an impossibility which I would have laughed at if someone suggested it.
Going to concerts alone, eating in restaurants alone, going to art exhibitions alone - beyond what I ever thought would be my life.

Sure, I ended up in meltdown on the Underground. Lightly hitting myself around the head, saying words over and over aloud (I must have said "Nearly there" about a hundred times when chivvying myself along back out onto street level). Clearly, I'll never choose a life spent in a huge city. I'll never not be autistic, but I am able to do 12 hour Grand Days Out without needing rescuing by external forces (whether that be emergency services or family friends who would drop everything to come to my aid).

The evil psychiatrist twatfacefuckingarsehole [insert any other expletives here, they are all appropriate] said one thing which was true. Only ever the one thing. On first meeting with me he said "You'll live your life your way" and I guess I am. With an inherent distrust of men in suits and ties thanks to him and his inappropriate ways, but my life in my own way.

I had come to the conclusion 2 years ago that going out on my own was just never going to be a feasible event. That it would end up in A&E if I tried, and that isn't great, so I wouldn't try. That I was just going to have to accept that my life was different, and that was that. However, I'm pushing my boundaries to get to things I want to get to.

Tomorrow, undoubtedly after the stress of today, I'll be a fairly pathetic person who can't walk down the garden in case there are snipers in the trees (oh yeah, thoughts are completely rational, as always. *rolls eyes* But knowing they are most certainly not rational still doesn't mean I won't be frightened). I'll panic that I smell of London and end up using hot water to have a shower (I very very rarely use hot water, I have freezing cold showers) and then I'll feel guilty. I'll ache like crazy because I have been on the go all day today. I'll either fight the wish to nap mid-afternoon, or give in to it - either way will feel rubbish. However crap tomorrow will be, however crazy and dysfunctional tomorrow will be, today has been worth it. Tomorrow won't be as bad as I was 5 years ago.

A day out isn't much more to most people than a luxury. Or a nice thing. To me it is like saying "Your challenge for today is to function in London and enjoy as much of it as possible" - it is just a completely weird thing to be able to do. From gritting my teeth and doing the "independent living" activities with the Unsupportive Support Worker in the hope maybe she would go away if I did then, from sitting on park benches trying to get used to the idea that the world wasn't going to kill me, to walking around London being just another person. OK, yeah, a person looking fairly like they are about to curl up in a ball on the floor of a side alley and sob at times, but I'm just a person.

Reflecting back, I'm a different person to that person I was at the beginning of 2010. Very different to the beginning of 2009 when I was petrified by the world and really not certain whether this "living" thing was quite my thing. Even if I feel like right now I want to do damage to myself (not in a lethal way, don't worry) I am fairly sure that is just my brain's way of complaining about the day, so I've told myself to wait and see whether I still need to tomorrow before making the decision (when it is more likely to be a no decision).

I'm off to bed. I'll try not to contemplate on how I should be proud of myself but I'm not, or why did I choose to go down that escalator when it was sign-posted quite clearly that it wasn't that way I was intending to go, or why did I decide to change at Westminster instead of Embankment or whatever, but instead sleep. I'm home, I'm safe, I went to all the places I was planning on going to, and that is a fairly miraculous achievement in the Learning To Be A Grown Up task.

We may ponder why my little finger on my left hand is incredibly cold when all the rest of my fingers are throbbing-ly hot though. But that is a valid contemplation methinks, as it is just plain weird. ;)

Sunday, 9 January 2011


This is fairly incoherent ramble stuff, with pitifully structured sentences collected into paragraphs which have no great rhyme nor reason for following on from the previous one. I realise it doesn't flow, but yeah...

Feeling a bit down. Not the foggy "the outside world is too much" depression, but just deflated. Flat.

Keep finding myself with eyes completely out of focus just staring into the distance. Mum (due to mentalism assorted I'm still living with the family, she is probably my primary carer in terms of technicalities) tapped me on the shoulder yesterday as she was concerned I was out of it. She thought I had read something horrific on the Internet and that is why, but actually I was just staring into the distance.

There's a beautiful magpie in the tree opposite, with something orange in its beak. Against the brilliant blue sky and the green of the tree, it makes an impact and has caught my attention. :)

Anyway, yeah, feeling a bit spaced out. Physically, I'm back to my normal achy self again thankfully and I am on day 9 of Life Sans Alcohol (bar communion wine, but 4 sips of that a week doesn't really add up to much). Mentally, resisting drinking is a big issue but I'm going to try to get through another week. Maybe. I really want a drink, but managing to only do the physical withdrawals and a few nights post-withdrawals would be, in my mind, a bit of a cop out.

Oh, it turns out I can still write depressing poetry if I feel like it. Not that anybody else is going to read it because it is a bit, errr, depressing and vastly melodramatic. And I can still sit in bed in the enveloping darkness the middle of the night sobbing.

It isn't flat like a medication flat, that "not able to feel" feeling. More just an absence of feelings. I'm not too depressed, I suppose I'm excited that my 2011 studying starts up in earnest at some point soon, I'm sleeping fairly well and it has been about 9am every day that I've got out of bed. Long day out tomorrow going to a few concerts in London and being in an anonymous place for a bit - I couldn't manage to live in London, but quite like the occasional day being out of this quiet, fairly boring part of the world.

I'm planning a break. Not until November, but a week away from the hustle and bustle which is my life. The wobble that was the end of studying in October last year is likely to be slightly larger this October - when I suddenly will not be a full-time student, and more a student waiting for results and trying to set about applying for post-grad stuff. Anyway, I'm not setting myself up to go into decline in November, but I am aware it is a distinctly precarious time in terms of my mental health (or lack of it). So a week away, doing a guided retreat. The thing with retreats is finding somewhere suitable. A place where I'll feel comfortable spending a week being just me, without any external distractions. A place which I will be able to get to via public transport from here, because it is important for me not to be always attached to one of my caring, amazingly patient, parents who are so bloody helpful they get on my nerves at times. (I am incredibly lucky to have my parents, I know that. Just as I'm trying to get away from the "slightly crazy me" and into the "adult me who can cope" they have a tendency to be on hand to drive me places, or take me places and it feels a bit like they are interfering a bit too much in my life).

Everything is on hold. I can't plan concerts for beyond the first week of February because I don't have my tutorial times yet. I can't agree to play for rehearsals that I have been asked to do, in case my tutorials are planned for the same time and I need to put my studying as the main priority of my year. So my diary is weirdly empty for after the 5th February. Then I'll have tutorials to fit in, I'll have weekly appointments with my study mentor to make sure I'm on track, I'll be able to plan concerts and say yes to meetings and rehearsals and everything. It feels like I'm holding my breath, having been breathing in for weeks, and have no real definite time scale before I can breathe out again. Apart from "some time in the next 4 weeks".

Yesterday afternoon I couldn't tell the time. I knew I needed to leave at ten to three, but couldn't translate that into a more useful language for my brain. I couldn't work out how long it was before this elusive time, whether I was going to be really late, or early, or what to the work things I needed to go and do. I hate that I have such a mental block with telling the time, especially as I have 8 clocks on my wall as I like the ticking noises. Damn stupid brain with its constant quirks and shortcomings. It is times like that when I feel so much like a failure, when my assorted "specific learning differences" (I hate those words, but they are the technical terms for things, at least they are better than "special needs"...) and my mentally interesting brain refuse to let me do fairly simple things.

I feel flat. Flat flat flat. It is like I'm waiting impatiently for things and I don't know quite how these things will turn out. Just got to keep going I suppose. And go on countryside walks when it isn't raining so heavily that the puddles are full of intertwining ripples and getting ever larger (which is why I had a day in on Friday instead of a day doing a few hours of walking).

Better go and play the piano for a bit before watching the television in a fairly paranoid way in case they used any embarrassing clips of me in the final edit of the programme. Ah the joys.

[See, I told you it was jumbled mumbling nonsense.]

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The truth is...

I used to say "The truth is ..." and then divulge something horrendous about 56 minutes into hour long therapy sessions. I think it used to infuriate my psychologist as she then had to finish with strands untied. Comments half said. Reasons still uncertain.

The truth is, I'm trying to prove I'm not an alcoholic. However, in going "yes, I'm not drinking" I've proved I probably am. Physically, I feel awful. Headaches start at 1pm and yesterday it continued until my vision was impaired and I lay in bed feeling as if I was about to throw up. Headache has started again today already.

My head pounds, my neck pounds, especially when I stand up.
Horrible nightmares (Last night's was group therapy with the evil psychiatrist leading and held in a room at the school where I had a breakdown with the other members of the group being some of my current students. *shudder*)
My abdomen hurts, I feel constantly sick.
My eyes look awful, my face looks grey.
I feel awful first thing in the morning, like a opposite hangover.

I hadn't realised I was quite this bad. I knew I hadn't had more than a handful of alcohol free days in 2010, but I thought it would be easy to just decide to stop. That it was all a choice, something I could just stop without any effect apart from a healthier looking bank balance.

Maybe I am what would be considered an alcoholic. That fills me with dread. Yes, I drink at home. Yes, I drink on the train on the way home from concerts. Yes, I drink during the intervals of concerts. And maybe one before if I feel like it. But maybe that isn't considered suitable, even though it is the norm for me.

Many would just say I was being a "typical student". I'm not your average student for one thing, and for another I'm frightened I've become dependent on alcohol. Aged 20. With jobs which require control and performing and being the responsible adult for sets of kids.

Day 4, and I feel physically horrendous. And would really quite like a double vodka immediately to perhaps alleviate this. But that just proves the people who were concerned right. I'm not just doing it because others were concerned, but I feel an "I told you so" waiting around the corner for me.

I don't want to lead a completely tee-total life. I just want to know it is completely a choice and I'm not damaging myself. However, if this period of physical withdrawals is anything to go by, I was already in the category I so wished I wasn't ever going to be in.

So, the truth is I'm trying to be sober. For a while. At least until I don't feel I need a drink, but rather that I quite fancy a drink and only the one glass, rather than a bottle.

*sits clutching head and fantasising about alcohol* This can't go on forever, surely?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Pull yourself together

If someone else said this to me, I would have to stop myself from being very rude to them. However, it is what I am telling myself to do.

So here is the "gentle kick up the backside" which if written somewhere is more likely to happen (written in a very therapy-esque way, I think that it is a remnant from the past):

Issue: Mornings (other than Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday - church mornings) are spent in bed. Quite frankly, I need the daylight. And still being awake at 3am, thus having seen 10 hours of darkness out of the window (it is completely dark now at 5pm) is just not good.
To change this I need to: Get out of bed by 9am most mornings. Eventually I'll be tired enough to sleep at midnight most nights.

Issue: Eating. Gone haywire. Haywire eating leads to the thoughts of yesteryear coming back, and before I know it, I'm standing in the bathroom wiping my eyes with a damp flannel after making myself sick to try and hide the tell tale signs from those around me. Very much don't want to end up back there, so...
To change this I need to: Stick to meal times. Less absent nibbling on anything and everything. Avoid kitchen cupboard staring, it isn't worth it and never helps the feeling anyway.

Issue: Money. Sheet music is one huge expense, which to be honest I should cease to buy in quite the way I am at the moment. Paying off my university debts needs to be my top priority so I can have a "gap 10 months" without that pressure around.
To change this I need to: Budget better. If my boring minimum amount for being an organist gets directly put into "clearing uni debt" I'll have paid off these courses fees by July. What with the other bits and bobs I have coming in with tutoring, concerts, weddings and the like, I should be able to go to concerts fairly often and buy the occasional bit of sheet music (and hopefully learn more of the huge amount I have already).

Issue: My failing body. I'm getting fairly annoyed/morose about it. Which isn't exactly helping.
To change this I need to: Sort out sleep and eating (see above) as that won't help, keep exercising in the ways I can to keep loosing the weight as that won't help and stop avoiding finding out if there were any problems with the x-rays (i.e. ring the GP and get an appointment, preferably before the painkillers I have in stock run out)

Issue: Currently petrified to start reading around my course subjects for the courses that are soon to start. And petrified about my 3rd year generally, which officially starts Very Soon.
To change this I need to: Tidy my room. Okay, okay, that sounds like I'm wussing out, but seriously my room being a state is not helping the whole "study" thing. Then start reading some essays I've got in my room (note to self: find them when tidying...). THEN, when my course materials turn up in about 15 days time, I shall be able to start without the excuses.

Issue: Being a grumpy sod.
To change this I need to: Stop being a grumpy sod. Oh, hang on, I can hear the voice my ex-psychologist telling me off for that not being quite what we are intending to do. Okay, erm, stop hiding so much, because that just perpetuates the grumpy sod feeling. Oh, and maybe practise smiling away from people so it doesn't look quite so forced. And do the other things in this post, which all relate somehow to the grumpy sod stuff quite a lot.

Then, and probably only then, will I hopefully feel a bit less like I'm living on a bouncy castle and everything is slightly wobbling out of reach. Each thing isn't that difficult to do, and once I'm in the swing of doing them becomes the expected default (instead of this current dysfunctional grumpy sod). So, first things first, 30 minutes of Radio 4 comedy accompanied by room tidying. Then a proper meal...