I walk every day, with Charlie, we go to the memorial park where there’s a great open basin of inky sky and you can see the moon and the stars and it’s so beautiful, all the lights in the distance and the quiet and the rain. The cenotaph is lit up pale blue at night and there’s the poppy wreaths all laid around it. Walking is good for writing. If I take myself out when I feel stuck I usually find that lines come back to me, and I walk around dissecting them and putting them back together in my head.
I’m not going through a great period with my work. I am having a better day today but this week I have been quite unwell. It’s not a patch on an episode but I’m shook up by some highs, and agitation and apathy and racing thoughts, and I can’t sleep without 15mg of zopiclone which I had managed to halve. The medication masks a good deal of it really. And I tell everyone this medication is so good, it helps so much, but I am living with so much in terms of side effects and to think of myself on this stuff for the rest of my life more than depresses me. I feel buried under it. Writing hasn’t been the same. At the moment I can’t concentrate well and I have no patience. If my mood starts to escalate I find it hard to distract and feel too fast and it’s scary. It makes me wonder how the hell I ever coped with so many full blown manias, and depressions. My worker says I’m a manic depressive, I’m going to have moodwings, but right now I feel so fragile and I’m switching rapidly from anger to apathy.
I went to a reading group at the library yesterday. I wanted to go but they were quite a rowdy bunch and I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think straight and I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t breathe. The leader kept asking if I was alright in a concerned way. I wasn’t alright, and I didn’t contribute anything. I decided to avoid all stimulation for a few days, apart from the kids, and see if I can calm myself down and nip it in the bud. So here I am, not working, not writing, and finding it hard to do anything, reading, housework, because my mind keeps taking off.
This is it. This is what it’s like to live with the illness. Even strong major tranquillisers, two types of mood stabiliser and sleeping pills can’t quell all the moods. Some are just simmering inside me, and I can feel the battle I am having with them. I know that everyone has moodswings of some kind and that’s life, but these mixed symptoms are very distressing. To think of how high I used to go, all the hallucinations, it terrifies me to think that could ever happen again, but the likelihood is that it will, at some point. For now, I just have to keep a lid on things, the group has opened me up to feeling vulnerable again, and although I am determined to stick with it I am not entirely sure that it will help or just make me worse.
One very inspiring blog I’ve been reading is Forgetting the Time, Annie Clarkson. Annie is a writer and her blog is very unique and intimate. Her most recent blog on mindfulness is a great introduction to the practice. She writes beautiful prose poems and stories that are bittersweet and sometimes fragile, and always a joy to read. This is a link to her page:
Charlie is bugging me for attention. I am going to go and read an anthology of love poems, straighten myself out, get a hot drink and try and work through this.
PS You can get hold of a copy of my latest book of poems by Chipmunka Publishing, a mental health publisher by following this link: