It’s all this iceberg.
It’s all this iceberg.
When it happens.
I will die on a Sunday, when the crisp
web of a dewy morning sparkles,
heavy as rope.
It will rain, and its perseverance will
hammer heavy on my soul.
I will die on a Sunday, and Monday
will be empty but for a silence; a
sadness that evades sentiment but
evokes melancholy amongst the few.
* * *
1. Plough car into a suitable concrete wall somewhere on the M4:
Well, I’ve only just washed it, not to mention having T-Cut that scratch.
2. Take a shower after dark, drink copious amounts of alcohol, lie naked on lawn on a chilly night.
It’s a bit cold out there, and cosy indoors – what with the thick jumper and the central heating. And ‘Homeland’ is on in a minute.
3. Cut wrists.
That’s going to hurt, isn’t it? And there’ll be blood everywhere, I’ve only just started Spring cleaning.
4. Drink copious amounts of alcohol, swallow a few sleeping tablets. Jump off high building.
I don’t like heights and high buildings. They make me want to jump off. Oh…
5. Shoot myself.
Don’t have a suitable weapon. Nerf gun with foam ‘bullets’ borrowed from son probably not going to do the job to be honest, even at point-blank range.
6. Overdose of meds.
Couldn’t understand the document about quetiapine o.d. I found on Google – it was far too technical. Does it or doesn’t it?? Also, fluoxetine o.d. seems unlikely.
As Samuel Beckett put it: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.‘
Time passing fast, almost the end of January.
I’ve been pretty much discharged by my psychiatrist as I’m seemingly one of her success stories; the meds appear to be working. The fluoxetine is clipping the extreme lows, with Quetiapine helping it out and of course clipping the highs as it does so. Poor overworked Q!
I returned to work at the end of last July, just before schoool broke up for the 6 week summer break. And I’m still there, having not missed a single day so far. That’s how stubborn, some would say how strong, I am. I’ve had a lifetime, middle-50 years, fighting, struggling, but ultimately winning.
It takes concentration, a continual fight, to exist. Yes, that’s what it comes down to: maintaining existence.
My enemy (well, part of the pack) is still that damned intrusive suicidal ideation that looks for any glitch in the system, any gap atomically small. And says “hey, do it! Why wouldn’t you?”
Why wouldn’t I.
And I’m in this war alone; single for almost 2 years. Almost friendless, alone. I was pretty much discharged by my psychiatrist at my latest appointment in the shadow of the New Year. Now I really am on my own. Me and my meds. Featuring battles such as “fat or mad” – I continue to put on weight despite my best efforts.
I don’t trust the meds; it would be extremely foolish to do so. Madness still breathes and creeps inside me. I still don’t sleep. I’m sedated much of the time, I’ve stopped writing (poetry, fiction). Meds and me, we’re like that chess game in “The Seventh Seal”.
There was no doubt a process that led me from Saturday night to Monday morning
I haven’t been very low for a long while (thanks to the 20mg fluoxetine / 550mg quetiapine meds) but I felt it had arrived during the night. Although I was wide awake at 5am Sunday morning I just couldn’t get out of bed. When I eventually did, I could barely move all day.
What dragged me down further was having to think through the logistics of the aftermath of the 3rd World War in 2030. And the 4th World War in 2032. I’ll be old and possibly not even still around, but my son will be.
This morning I knew I really shouldn’t go into work, but I’m stubborn and I pretend I’m in control of my own illness. Call it stupidity if you like.
So I went to work. And the day was marked with memory- and cognition issues. I must have appeared stupid and clueless to my staff. So of course I began to worry about that too, and decided at one point that I should hang myself from the overhead projector while the kids and staff were out at lunch.
Maybe doing this I could avert the next two world wars, seeing as how they and everything else anyhow are my own creation because life isn’t real.
Life isn’t real, I’ve mentioned before, because there was some kind of accident – probably car-related – and I am in fact in a coma or catatonic on a psychiatric ward. I am there creating all that is the world and being; nothing is real. (This is my most common, and overriding, ‘delusion’ – of course I don’t accept it is such a phenomenon.
All this is going on while I’m trying to work, either at home yesterday or in class today. It’s going to be one of those evenings where I can only laugh because it’s so ridiculous, so absurd, that I’m ending the day still alive. Driving home on the rush hour motorway was interesting, to say the least, as one of my planned suicide methods is to drive into a concrete pillar at speed.
But hey, I’m still alive. Again.
This October has marked one year since I began taking Quetiapine (Seroquel) and yesterday my son told me I am very much better (“nicer”) than I was thirteen months+ ago. Personally, I can’t see it, though I’m aware that the meds have worked their virtual miracle on my out of control, life-long bipolar symptoms. I have no reference point to ‘getting well’ as I’ve never been well.
Although I only sought medical and psychiatric help two years ago, at the age of 54, I can recall mood swings and what I now assume were brief psychotic episodes back to the age of four. So then, a half century of bipolar and depression, untreated and ignored by those who knew me. Who know me.
Having had eight months off from my stressful job last year, I have managed to stick at it for a couple of months now without missing a single day. I’m stubborn; I won’t let bipolar dictate its terms to me anymore. I must have always been stubborn, otherwise I’d have sought help before now. Actually, as you’ll know if you’ve been reading this sporadic blog (sorry), I did present myself to my GP when I was 20 with severe depression. He told me: “Pull yourself together” and sent me away without help. I was so embarrassed I waited almost a quarter of a century before handing my current GP a letter detailing my illness.
I know exactly when the light bulb above my head lit up regarding bipolar. I’d tried several different anti-depressants over the years for reactive depression: divorces, deaths in the family. That kind of thing. But these meds had made me ill; none of them worked. Then I read a book called ‘Why Am I Still Depressed?’ and it all made sense.
Which brings me to October 2016 and twelve months of Quetiapine (and at some point the addition of fluoxetine). The Q dose crept up and I now take between 500-550mg a day in three or four doses; the days I’m in work I take that extra 50mg for anxiety.
The biggest issue for me has been the Fat or Mad? decision. It became apparent early on that I had to make a choice, and I chose not to be mad. So in a year I’ve gained over a stone in weight and my general fitness has suffered greatly. No-one talks about the physiological symptoms of bipolar, but they’re very much there. I’m sedated half the day and I ache like hell from tip to toe.
I still don’t sleep through the night, not by a long way. I wake every hour or so then fall asleep again quickly. My anxiety level is still higher than I expected it to be by now, and my mild OCD with it. The meds haven’t really touched the OCD at all. Neither did the nine months of CBT I received last year before starting meds.
I look back on hypomanic and manic phases with more embarrassment and utter bewilderment. How on Earth was that person me? A stupid question as I have no idea what or who me is.
Some things disturb me more than others now. About the illness, I mean. The dissociation is scary and confusing. I tried to get help for that during my therapy but after dragging this issue out from the depths of me, it was then left unaddressed. Yes, the dissociation disturbs me; I don’t like it at all.
The meds have lessened the occurrences of ‘extremely intrusive suicidal ideation’. It’s clipped the top off the highs and the bottom off the lows. I’m more stable. The fact that I’m compliant – both with taking my meds and attending my psychiatrist appointments – shows that I’m in a better place than I was. Not a good place, just a better place.
There was a discussion on Sky News this morning, which can be summed up in this subtitled image: