Tag Archives: bipolar

Yesterday feels like a faded dream. It was nice to be a silly teenager again for an evening, running around and being teased by boys. I’ve been feeling a bit desperate for some affection.

I saw a video blog with Dr Francesc Colom on the Bipolar Foundation website which talks about the importance of tracking what you think or do rather than how you feel. It allows you to build up data so you can spot the warning signs of an episode. Sleep changes are the big ones for me along with a desire to smoke (mini self-destruct button). Here is my day:

Today I slept in until about 9.30am. I first woke up some time between 6.30am and 7am after going to bed at around 2.30-3am, then I was in and out for a couple of hours. Had some intensely detailed dreams. I got up, didn’t shower or have breakfast (haven’t made any bread) but bought a flapjack and a bottle of water at uni. Had a dreadful lunch of sausage roll, chips and gravy which I didn’t really want or enjoy. Barely spoke to anyone all day, people remarked on how quiet I’ve been, and was relieved to get out at the end of the day. I got home, sat down for an hour, squeezed the shit out of my face (I really, really need to stop – the scars on my cheeks are embarrassing and I wouldn’t have them if I didn’t keep scratching my face up) and then forced myself to have a good workout. I did 15 minutes of circuits (using the 7 App on my iPhone – I lost the plot with my old routine because I was so knackered after placement, the commute ruined me) then 50 sit ups, about a minute of peddling on my back, 50 clams, 40 side-lying leg lifts, and 4 x 50 arm exercises with my 1.5kg weights. Stretched down then had a shower. While I feel physically better my head still feels quite cloudy and disastrous (I think I’m fat and ugly, I don’t know what I’m doing, everything I’ve ever tried to make happen has been a failure while every accident has been great proving that I’m incapable of steering my life in the direction I want, I’m jealous of everyone, I’ll never find love etc – though reading these thoughts written down makes them look patently ridiculous).

I’m going to make a salad, clean up the kitchen and then watch telly. Might ring my mum. She rang me back yesterday and I was in no fit state to talk to her. She said some of the wrong things (like that I should be careful how ill I say I am in case I get kicked off my course, what the fuck) so I felt it best to just leave it and talk to L instead.

My friend L from uni is coming to stay tomorrow with her friend J after a gig, I’d completely forgot and am somewhat dreading it. I’m also speaking at an event tomorrow for uni and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to say. It’s only a couple of minutes so I’m sure I can make something up. Still, free sandwiches.

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I made it to the shop. I’m so emotionally incontinent today. I shuffled round Lidl like a zombie (it’s quieter and I have far less chance of running into anyone I know), I couldn’t look at anyone on the way past the bus stop or speak to the guy who served me. Then my friend T wanted to know if I was coming to the pub tonight and it made me cry, just because someone wants to see me. I managed to avoid buying crap (e.g. cereal, bread, processed stuff), aside from my usual fish fingers and a bar of white chocolate which I wish I hadn’t got, and included more fruit than usual. It just took so much energy, my legs feel numb. Then I got home and got impossibly angry with my friend L for her insensitivity without even speaking to her. I’ve felt really pissed off with her all week, not sure if I got overexposed to her last week or am jealous of her going to the pub/getting male attention or genuinely annoyed or if she’s just become the target of intimate rage in the absence of a boyfriend.

I’ve put the shopping away. I might attempt the bins. I don’t know if I want to go to the pub. I have to remind myself, just as when I’m high as a kite, that this all just a feeling and I’ve got to stick to my routine.

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Went to sleep at 3.30am, woke up at 11.50am. There is rubbish all over the kitchen. More than ever I need a cheerleader or someone to take me to the shops. I feel like I can’t figure out what I need or how to leave the house. I don’t want to shower, I don’t want to get dressed and I don’t want to do anything. I can’t even imagine exercising, all I want is to eat cereal and lie down and die. Even breathing feels like an effort, my chest feels so heavy. I want to go back to my dreams. I was go karting and swimming and eating ice creams and surrounded by people who is could’ve had sex with.

I’ve not had any trazodone for the past couple of nights. It feels like the insomnia I had as a kid and a teenager. I used the time to write something before I went to sleep. My head feels numb.

Got offered another sleep shift. I turned it down.

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I’m exhausted. I think I went to sleep around half 3 this morning. I woke up for the first time at 8, then dozed on and off until 9.20am when I had to get L up. I got home at about 9.55am. I’ve spent the morning/afternoon in bed watching films (so far Show Me Love and Some Kind of Wonderful) and ate a huge takeaway. Also went for a quick goodbye lunch at McDonalds with a friend who’s leaving today. I’m really glad I saw him but was so glad it was brief, I found it exhausting.

Just caught a glimpse of W through a mutual friend’s Facebook pictures. They’ve gone to Amsterdam this weekend. Just seeing the back of his head in a picture made me feel like sobbing/barfing. It hasn’t hurt in a while but with a glimpse it all rushed back and hit me in the stomach. I don’t know what that means, if anything. I hastily avoided it.

I lay awake thinking last night. I regret not having written far more diaries or blogs in my life. I sat and read through some of my recent posts and saw so much of myself. I wish I’d cared enough about what I thought as I was growing up. Instead it’s all just a smoky blur of drug addled ignorance. But I was younger and sillier and so very, very unhappy. I hated my first degree, I hated where I lived, I hated dropping out of uni, I hated all my relationships, I hated my friends, I hated myself. I finally know I’m in the right place and doing the right thing, plus when I’m unhappy I know it’s because I’m unwell. Or at least I think it is. I don’t know if I’ve made myself this way. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It’d just be nice to have a longer picture.

I feel really depressed today. I tortured myself in bed last night. I tried to lie there and take in the thick comfort of the duvet, listening to the fish tank bubble, but I just kept twitching with thoughts. I just don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m so tired I can’t think straight.

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Edgar Allen Poe-Faced

I didn’t fall asleep until at least 4am last night and woke at 11am today. I have felt a small swell of anger and anxiety pooling within me this evening, a barely there tension, but have felt a lot better since I came to work. Got incredibly frustrated and stressed while trying to organise my banking and finances (to the point where I was quite vicious with my dad on the phone – he does have a habit of overcomplicating things – but he was very understanding as he hates call centres too) and was at points incandescent with rage. It turns out that I’d made an error with an account number so my rent didn’t get paid but I’ve sorted it now, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth. It just took me rather a long time to come down.

Coming to work has been a real pleasure. I really like L and spending time at her home tonight has been dead nice. We’ve just quietly floated around each other, me assisting where necessary, but we shared a really nice moment as we flicked through her support plan together. Despite only meeting her briefly the other day we seem to have clicked and I’m pleased about that, even though I’m none too enthusiastic about the sleep shift itself. I just hope that all continues to go well and I do eventually get some sleep, though I doubt it’ll be L’s fault if I don’t.

I tried to have a small workout but it left me feeling a bit cranky and heavy. I didn’t have any trazodone last night and I’m going to try not to tonight, though I’ve brought it in case it gets to the wee hours and I really need some help getting drowsy. It’s not so much the nights that bother me but I know when I get up I’m going to feel rough. I can’t afford to nap after work.

I contacted someone after a silent week. After indulging a great many fantasies during last night’s sleepless ague I forgot how impenetrable he can be, particularly over Facebook. Small talk, nay talking in any form, is not his forte. Not sure how to play it. Going to take a bigger needle to get blood from this stone. Still, it’s all just an amusing fancy and something to do. Chasing boys is just another interest or hobby, a diversion from the unending tedium of existence which creeps its fingers up my back and around my throat. Not that I’m feeling morbid or anything. Just a bit of grumpy, gothic joie-de-vivre.

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Tillsammans

I-Dawg (typing just ‘I’ makes things very confusing so we’ll go with his nickname) has just been round for a brew after work. We had a good chat, even if I bollocked him for messaging his ex and accidentally stirring up rumours. I told him about all the magical changes which I’ve recently experienced. While I’ve been going through my ups and downs, I’ve felt something stirring within me. I feel like I understand the world and myself a bit better than I did a few months ago. I’ve learned some hard lessons:

– Don’t start conversations that you’re not willing to have because the other person as a real, living and separate human being with feelings.

– Patience truly is a virtue. Be patient with the universe, it unfolds at its own pace, and also with yourself. I can be so hard on myself and live life at breakneck speed. It comes down to having confidence that things will happen as they should. Most importantly, if someone wants you then they will come and get you – particularly boys who have to think it was their idea in the first place.

– Don’t assume that everything you hear is true. Question it and look at your source. You think this one would have stuck with me having done a sociology-ish degree but it’s a lesson easily forgotten. By the same token, there are two sides (often more) to a story. You will only ever hear an interpretation from the teller’s perspective and so too will the listener interpret it themselves.

– Empathy is hard but a valuable skill which not enough people dedicate themselves to.

– Nothing is permanent, particularly with regards to your body. I first learned that my body was flexible when I started doing yoga, not because of the positions I got into, but that it could move and change. I don’t always have to be overweight. I can be strong and healthy. On the flip side, if I get lazy then I don’t look as good but I never probably look as bad as I think. As a fat kid (a lifelong psychological condition exacerbated by rude grandmothers and PE teachers – even if you lose weight you never lose that feeling of wheezing on the sidelines) this can be very hard to learn. I realise now that fit people work hard to be that way, just as I work hard on essays and mathematicians work really hard to solve problems. This shit does not just happen and it all takes skill, dedication and hard work – though, of course, there ain’t half been some lucky bastards.

– In a much greater sense, nothing lasts forever and it can be much easier and more thrilling to live when we recognise the transient nature of everything. You realise then that every experience is a gift and it doesn’t have to last forever. Preservation, if you really want it, takes work.

– Taking care of yourself feels (and tastes) good. It permeates all areas of your life.

– Being alone can be super awesome. It makes you free and you don’t have to wear pants.

– Doing stuff is awesome and makes you more interesting. I always used to be so skeptical of people with hobbies because I always thought they were a replacement for personality. I still am but going and doing stuff, particularly with other people who also enjoy doing that stuff, is fun.

– Others are just as rich and deep as you. Don’t be a snob and take time to get to know people. I realised last night that I’m just like all those other people at life drawing, particularly the boozed up enthusiastic geeks at the end, and loved both them and myself for being vulnerable and daring enough to go out and talk to strangers.

– Be proud of who you are and what you do, though don’t be a jerk obvs. When we’d finished drawing last night, I assumed that we had to display all the pictures we’d done so I spread mine on the floor in a big collage. I looked round and realised that only the bloke next to me had done it, foolishly copying me, while nobody else dared. Everyone kept saying ‘oh it’s terrible, I don’t want you to see it’ and I felt a fanny who’d committed a dreadful faux pas. Then I saw everyone looking at my work, all gathered round, and I felt really good. However, I have never been shy and am quite ready to bear my soul at a moment’s notice. I’ve always been an overachiever with my work on the walls too so I’m quite happy to display myself as I trust that people would never be rude enough to say anything nasty… also I’d had two glasses of wine. If anyone’s horrible about you when you make yourself vulnerable by sharing then it’s definitely their problem, not yours.

I’m hoping that all this stuff is part of me getting closer to that real, undeniable truth of myself. There’s so much more to do and discover, and plenty more stuff to fuck up, but I gotta say: I’ve come a long way, baby.

I had a nice time at work. I really like the service user and I think she likes me. She’s got a wicked sense of humour and spent the entire four hours gently mocking the other staff member without really saying anything out loud. She’s not much older than me and I’m hopeful that we’ll get on well. I have been a bit low today but I worked out after tea and felt a lot better, especially when I watched Lukas Moodysson’s Tillsammans before I-Dawg came round.

 

“Better porridge together than a pork cutlet alone.”

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Life drawing: sexier than a bowl of fruit, cheaper than a lap dance.

Last night I went to a life drawing class and left behind any semblance of my working class roots. It was when they brought out the prosciutto and brie at the end that I knew that the area I grew up in is no longer a valid shield against my taste in hobbies and cured meats. I had a very nice time drawing an impossibly toned woman (all the while trying to ignore my Peep Show-esque thoughts about not spending too much time drawing her boobs so I didn’t look weird) and met some nice people including a former long- and triple-jumper who’d competed at the European championships (who now trains for the 400m sprint… and works at Holland and Barrett), an art teacher and a chap who’s just started his own clothing company. There was also a nurse who has agreed to be a contact if I want to do a placement on her ward which was really exciting. It was a bit wanky (the music was terrible and I was forced to listen to someone’s plans to cycle from Brittany to Northern Spain… it does sound fun though) but after my two free glasses of wine I had a jolly good time. I definitely need to get married or something eventually though – I don’t end up there post-40, single and on the brink of being a bit too drunk, as was one of the ladies. I got home around midnight, finished Eva Luna and then went to sleep some time after 2am without any trazodone. I’m nearly off it but it was mostly because I got more of it on to the worktop than into my oral syringe so just gave up.

Yesterday I slept well, though I haven’t been getting to sleep until at least 1.30am but usually later, and I spent the day in a tentatively good mood. We were doing all about Johari’s window (a grid showing what we know about ourselves, what others know about us, what others know that we don’t or don’t know about us and what nobody knows about us, including ourselves) and transactional analysis (where we adopt the ego states of the parent, adult or child depending on context and power relationships). It was very interesting and made me feel good to know that others perceive me as intelligent, trustworthy, honest, outspoken and confident as well as knowing that basic facts like I’m bipolar and live alone. The transactional analysis made me reflect on all my past relationships where I’ve probably acted like a parent (nurturing/supportive/controlling/critical) or child (playful/spontaneous/difficult/prone to tantrums) rather than an adult (non-threatening/non-threatened/respectful/logical). We adopt patterns we are comfortable with and behaviour programmed into us – see this video for more info. It’s all useful stuff to bear in mind when acting as a professional and in our personal life, allowing us to communicate effectively with people.

Last night I slept ok but I slept in until 11am and now feel thick-headed and morose. I’m not in a bad mood as such but I feel a bit tragic for no discernible reason. I think the lurid sexuality of my dreams (no doubt triggered by the book and last night’s nakedness) is bubbling away in my belly. I want to feel nails in my skin and breath in my ear but I also want to keep my woolly socks on and cry under my duvet. I have to go to work for a few hours later. Not exactly pleased but hopefully it’ll drag me out of myself a bit. I did a full workout yesterday which left me feeling really good.

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Eva Luna

Had a definite case of the head melters today. Music and conversation has been pretty much intolerable, I feel acutely sensitive to everything and binge ate earlier (pastrami bagel and three Princesa bars – really need to avoid the Polish aisle in Tesco) to try and quell my anxiety. A bit of light exercise helped, though I’m exhausted and didn’t want to push it in case it over stimulated me or made me cry.

Managed to get through it with quiet solitude and books. I’ve finished Anne Frank’s diary and have moved on to Eva Luna, a book I read when I was just about to turn 17. I was on my way to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. I spent the first night sleeping in a tent in the garden of a nice Christian lady who had opened her home to about 10 of us thespians. I caught a horrendous cold and so was moved to my own private room. It was very small, Just a a top bunk over an old desktop PC, but it had a tremendous vent through which I could observe the kitchen. I took great delight in my little crows nest, a sense of isolation permeated the entire trip due to my lowly status within our so-called theatre company (4 drama wannabes and a piano player), and I very much enjoyed watching the comings and goings over breakfast. We ate Burmese Cheese Rice (a recipe from my mother’s old Austerity Cookbook) at least twice that week and I was introduced to the joys of vodka and apple juice. I can still taste the acrid tang of that cheap Prince’s juice with the added vitamin C. I also invented ‘Russian Gold’, a cocktail consisting of vodka, milk and honey.

I remember having a good time but I also remember the day I was left in the flat on my own. I was still very ill with a cold so while the rest of the gang went flyering for our show, I stayed wrapped up on the sofa. I was also very depressed at the time, though I don’t think I told anyone, and I recall writing something which turned into a morbid spewing of self-hatred and bile – something which used to happen whenever I tried to write in my diary. It was uncontrollable, like an unseen force would take the pen and make me carve my rage into the paper as I sobbed. I still have those diaries at home.

The show itself was quite good, if bizarre. It was about a vicar whose mother wanted him to marry an appropriate, cake obsessed C of E spinster (me) when really he was in love with a working class (I.E. The actress put on a Scouse accent) pregnant girl. This dilemma was resolved only with the help of the idiot who lived in his bathtub and transported him to an Alice in Wonderland style alternative reality where we were two rabbits and he was the Mad Hatter. In the end the pregnant girl died giving birth and we adopted the baby (obviously), the whole thing supposedly representing the role of the church in modern Britain but really being about the tawdry and repressed sexual desires of Christian drama geeks. The next year we did a show about a man who couldn’t pass through to the afterlife (‘drink his milk and go to sleep’) without help from two balaclava’d entities in pyjamas, one of which would torture him (me) and the other one who tried to persuade/seduce him (P, who was very camp indeed but married the idiot in the bathtub), the grand twist being that he was a milkman who I think fathered an illegitimate child. We got decent audiences for both (the latter we performed in a real theatre and at our schools/colleges, including the scene where I wore nothing but my underwear and a balaclava) and I think we had a good time, though I always got the sense I wasn’t supposed to say anything because I was the ‘chavvy’ one. Posh kids are fucking weird though.

I celebrated my 17th birthday there, they took me for a meal which I was still too depressed and gauche to accept graciously and without tears. I lost my wallet at a fairly decent production ofFaustus and everyone subbed me, so much so that I got horrendously drunk in a hotel bar and sobbed that I could only ever attract ugly men. This was after I had taken up with one of the (significantly older) semi-chaperones of the grown up theatre company who had endorsed us and took us up for the ride, of course. He gave me a copy of Sophie’s World which I found interminably pretentious but we did enjoy a nice afternoon kissing in the park, despite his wankiness and blonde ponytail.

The day of my birthday itself we were on our way back home. We stopped at Lindesfarne in Northumbria on the way and went to see Holy Island. It was cold, it being the end of August in Britain, but we all went in the sea to paddle. Of course someone started singing a hymn but I remember it all being very beautiful. We all got silly and far too wet but it was good, clean fun. As we got within about 30 minutes of home, the bus (an old postal van which was shakily approaching death’s door) gave out and we had to get picked up by various grown ups. I think I lent someone Eva Luna and then went home, satisfied but deflated in post-show malaise, to open my birthday presents.

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Balloon

Definite mood swing. Slept badly again last night, feel tired but wired. Pressured speech and trembling. Had to run away to library at lunch because I couldn’t bear conversation. Everything’s a bit loud and I keep wringing at my clothes. I just want to bury myself into the warm hug of my shirt. Embarrassing memories tickle my brain stem. I’m aware I look rubbish and I think I’ve got a worried/horrified/tense expression. It’s like there’s a balloon made of acid in my chest.

Fantastic movement around my dissertation and lots of great feedback already. My tutor says how well I write and how interesting and current my work is. She’s told me to hang fire on my autism project, maybe save it for my dissertation in third year, but that it sounds very interesting. She seems impressed with my ambition and quality which makes me feel good. I was offended when my pdoc said I was being grandiose about my intelligence – I genuinely am shit hot.

Don’t want to go back to class but don’t want to go back to the flat tonight. Want to go to life drawing tomorrow, hope I can manage it.

It’s just a feeling – keep breathing!

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I’ve been happy but out of sorts today. Creeping anxiety is heating the base of my neck. I did some exercise and are a healthy meal, was very happy to be back in the classroom, had some good news about publishing my dissertation (a less busy tutor has agreed to take it on and is very positive) and have been asked to speak publicly at an event next week.

There’s a worm of tension somewhere under my skin. I couldn’t face the pub after Uni. I’m waiting to hear back from a boy which always makes my guts pulsate. I feel a heat radiate from my bones. I feel ok though I think. I went to bed too late but then kept waking up and slept pretty badly, though I don’t feel bad for it. A slow ascent? I’ve dyed my roots which is generally a good time stamp for each hypomanic phase. I didn’t think all my hair had fallen out this time and fall to bits in a panic which is nice.

It’s just a feeling. My insight into life, the universe and everything seems tinged with a little more fear than yesterday and sitting still at Uni was tricky.

Might’ve cracked the skin routine at least.

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