Now and Then on New Years Eve

Yesterday, I made a post about New Years Eve 2010 (that’s not a typo, I really do mean 2010). What I wrote was something I had written in my journal at that time.

The following day, on Saturday 1 January 2011 at 9:47pm I wrote the following…

A New Year is supposed to bring new hope, new promise, an optimisim about a better life, and all I can think is that I don’t want another year of this.

It might as well be self-inflicted. Afterall, it comes from my brain. It is set on pushing me down, pulling me apart, making me no more.

What sort of life is it to be constantly battling your own sanity?

I have spent years of my life wishing I would die, wishing there was something actually wrong with me so that I had a reason to be sad,  a reason to feel nothing, and everything, a reason for my worthlessness, my failure, for being nothing.

Is it normal for a seven year old to fantasise about death, to want death, to plan ways to have it?

I jumped out my window once, but changed my mind half way through. I held on to the ledge, and I have been clinging to it ever since.

Far away, this ship is taking me far away, far away from the memories, of the people who care if I live or die

The starlight, I will be chasing your starlight, until the end of my life. I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore – Muse

On Sunday 1 January 2012 I was still on 275mg Quetiapine, and I didn’t write anything in my journal. I had nothing to write. I had nothing to write because I was happy. I was occupied. I was spending time with The Olympian and some friends. We slept in until the afternoon because we didn’t get to bed until 5am, and we spent the rest of the day relaxing by the lake. I was tired, but I was happy. I couldn’t be bothered doing much, but my mood was stable. It still is.

It’s strange for me. I haven’t been this stable for years. In the past month I have stopped my contraceptive pill, had my birthday, moved myself, The Olympian and my horse across the country back to my home town. I survived Christmas, I went away on holiday with some friends, I partied all night long, and I am fine.

I can’t believe I actually had a good Christmas, and a good New Year. I can’t believe I survived the hormonal changes of removing my contraceptive pill, and the PMS that followed. I can’t believe I stayed up until 5am, that I had a few drinks, that I am okay. I can’t believe it!

It’s not like I plan to go nuts, revert back to eating junk food and drinking and staying up all night long. I told myself I could do it on New Years Eve because I deserved it, because I enjoy it, and I have worked so hard this year. I wouldn’t have done it if I had been unwell.

But my mood was stable, the drug was on hold, and so I decided to loosen my restrictions, and be free.

Just doing it this one time, knowing that it is possible, knowing that all my effort and hard work toward staying well is working – that is all I need to reassure myself that life will not always be about ups and downs, holidays won’t always be ruined by mania’s and mixed moods, my mind won’t always be confused and sick and frightened.

When the next mood change rolls around – which let’s face it, it will – there will always be hope.

I may be chasing starlight until the end of my life, but at least I know that it gets easier. And when I reach it, when I get there, it was most definitely worth the effort.

Bipolar Unplugged: Friday 31st December 2010

This is a journal entry I wrote at the end of 2010 during a mixed episode. I had a much better New Years this year – in fact, the best and most stable I have had since 2007 – but I will get to that.

400mg Quetiapine (I hadn’t started the withdrawal at this point)

New Years Eve and I am alone, on a bus, going home. How many 23 year olds have a mental breakdown on a summer holiday?

I had my reservations about going, and although I gave it a try, it turns out I simply cannot do what others do.

Two nights in, and I am going home. Without The Olympian. I left him there. God, I felt so awful leaving him. He will be fine, he will have fun but I felt shame for having to go and for not being able to explain. I tried to explain and maybe he understood. I don’t really know.

My mood plummeted after the first night there. Or maybe it was already low. The first night I had a little bit to drink and stayed up until 12. That wasn’t so bad. The Olympian and I went to bed and at 5am he got up to go fishing. I slept until 9.

Later, on the way down to the beach I mentioned to The Olympian that I wasn’t happy about the fact he hadn’t worn a lifejacket in the boat. We had an argument about it and I snapped at him, telling him “fuck off then, asshole”. I wish I could take that back. It was a total overreaction. It’s a sign I am unwell when I snap at him.

I went back to the bach, he went down to the beach. Luckily, he couldn’t find the others and came back. I’d had a shower and was crying. We made up, somehow, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach.

That night, there was drinking going on again, and I had a little to drink but was very tired so I went to bed around 11:30pm. It wasn’t so bad to start, when I put in my earplugs I could barely hear anything. But as I waited for the Quetiapine to kick in, the noise became louder, and louder, and louder.

Over the next three hours they became so loud that the earplugs were useless and I was lying in bed sedated, hard balls of wax in my ears, uncomfortable, and my heart beating so loud and so fast I honestly thought I might have a heart attack. That’s that thing I told you about a while back, where my chest shakes (literally), and my heart is so loud I can hear it. Frightening enough without having earplugs in, which, as you probably know, make internal body noises sound louder. So I lay there, for four hours, my heart beating like crazy, the others partying like crazy, and me, stuck in between it all.

Around 2am, the music had been turned up as loud as it would go, they (they being about eight people) were singing and stomping around the entire house. They then came into my room and jumped on me in bed. Sometime after this, they went to bed themselves (probably because I went nuts at them), and I passed out.

I was then woken up around 10am by the music which was turned on almost as loud as it had been the night before. I spent the whole morning crying in my room on the phone with my Mum. We went over and over the same questions, the same concerns and the same conclusions. Worrying about money, and tickets, and buses, and what people would think. I decided to stay.

Half an hour later, lying on the beach, tears streaming down my face, uncontrollable and only partially concealed by my sunglasses, I phoned my Mum again to re-discuss the situation. My mind too confused and too sick to make sense of anything. “Would you feel better if you stayed, or if you went?” she asked me.

So here I am. On the bus, going home. Alone.

It’s hard to explain what happened but I guess it’s a matter of brain chemistry. The Quetiapine stops me from becoming manic (or even hypomanic it seems) but I am more than capable of being depressed, and of having mixed moods.

I don’t know if I can call this depression. It’s not normal depression for me. I haven’t had much appetite and although I was kept awake for hours last night, I didn’t feel deathly tired today, I felt awake, but emotional. I felt confused, and anxious and unable to understand what was going on.

I’m in a strange state. Time does not exist here. I’m sitting on this bus and I couldn’t care less about how long I’ve been on it, or how much longer I have to be. I could spend the rest of my life on this bus, and it would mean nothing to me. I am just here, just being, just relieved of the pressure that was building. Relieved from the explosion and the expulsion and my exit.

My writing is stilted because my mind is heavy. I am not quick thinking, I am not thinking much at all. At least, it doesn’t feel like I am. It hurts to think. A dull ache at the front of my head, slowing me down. The effort of this is too much for me. I almost didn’t write at all because I couldn’t bear the thought of moving my hands.

Bipolar Unplugged: Tues 8 November 2011

9:14pm

275mg

In my normal mood, I always wish I’d written when I were depressed.

Well here I am.

My mind is numb. Nothing is interesting. I might as well do nothing. I’d lie here and stare at the wall, and that would do. But of course, it’s better to keep doing…to fend it off, rather than just give in. And I do always regret not writing. And so now I write.

But there isn’t much to say. What do you say when your mind has no thoughts? At least, it feels that way. The thoughts I do have are mainly “it’s too much effort”. My clinical interview…I don’t want to do it. I don’t see how I can do it. I want to pull out. Tell them I’m not coming. Refuse to go. I know that’s illogical. But that’s the way it is.

My exam is Thursday. I don’t care about it. I know I should. Somewhere in the depths of my mind I can hear my future self despairing at the result. But none of that matters. Because I can’t do it. I’ve tried. I sat there for five hours. I read 12 pages. Twelve A5 sized pieces of paper. Maybe they were double-sided. I don’t remember. And that’s the point, I don’t remember!

I don’t even want to go. I know I will. But I don’t see the point. I can’t achieve a good result now. It’s too late. Not enough study. Not enough. How can I when my mind is closed for business? How can I do anything when I am not really here?

Right now it feels like I’m tired. Not just my body, but my entire mind. It feels like I’m straining to even think.  My mind hurts for the effort of this. With every word my brain tissue disintegrates. With every moment my brain becomes smaller and smaller, until it is no more. My face is expressionless. Emotionless. Flat. It doesn’t look sad. It just looks empty. Really empty. Hollow. Is there anyone in there?

It feels like I could quite simply lie here and never move again. Probably fall asleep. Sleep would be good. Just to get away from this. But in a way this isn’t really unpleasant. It just is. And that is what is odd about these states. I’m not fighting against it. I’m not depressed about being depressed. I’m not worried. I feel nothing. I am nothing. Just one pinhead in a giant pin cushion. One of billions. The world wouldn’t notice if I were gone.

But I’m not suicidal. I have no desire to kill myself. I simply have no desire at all. Decisions are easy because I don’t care. Ask me a question and I’ll tell you the answer. Do you want peas? No. Do you want to go to the movies? No. Do you want to play a game? No. Do you? Do you? Do you? No. I don’t.

I’ve lost my appetite. I mean my mind has. Not my body. My body was hungry, it is hungry. So I made myself cook. I wasn’t going to. But I did. I figured, from those depression adverts on tv that I should. Maybe it would help. It did for a moment. I felt good I had accomplished it. For a moment. And then that moment vanished. But my mind says, who cares? Why eat? What’s the point? It’s too complicated. Just sit. And wait. And let your body waste away like your brain.

It was the thought of washing the potatoes that put me off. That was almost enough to stop me. I didn’t think I could do it. It seems like….well an insurmountable task to wash four potatoes. And not even big potatoes. Small potatoes. All I had to do was wash them and then put them in the microwave, and then in the oven. That was it. Transport them from one place to another. Too much effort. Standing. Waiting. Scrubbing. Water on my hands.

I liked my steak when I ate it. At least food still tastes.