Wake Up

Melissa Lee-HoughtonDo you ever wake from a dream wishing you could follow through the notion or the idea that it has presented you with, tell someone you love them or connect with someone somehow? I have had a week of this, repeated dreams, some recurring ones I’ve had for many years. I wake up with an ache, I wake up wanting to get back there, into the dream, and I grapple to hang onto it and can’t, and by dusk I have forgotten the way the dream felt, I only know that it hurt.

I’m so blank, so cool, so neutral. So pale, so dulled, so bored. I’ve been telling myself for so long now that the depot injections are giving me a norm, a stability I’ve needed and wanted for so many years. Being stable is not something I can have a love-affair with. I’m drowsy, I feel as though I have just woken up all day long. I tell myself that I can write, it’s just I have nothing to say right now, when I’ve written two good poems and a handful of workable ones this year and wrote over a hundred last year, pre depot. I can be a good wife and mother, and that means everything, but I am medicated at the cost of my work. Poetic inquiry just bursts, fold in on itself, because my mind is dulled. I can’t hold a poem, they have no pulse, no beating heart. Just slips through my hands like a dream.

I have been dreaming of someone I loved who I lost years ago. I dream that they come back though they don’t repsond to anything, they are only just alive, they won’t speak or look me in the eye, they won’t wake up. I’m amazed that I still have these dreams, clear and true and terrible. I do everything I can to try and bring them round, I slap them in the face and I kiss their eyelids and their skin rubs away and the more I try to rouse them the more they fail to respond. I thought I would have got over these dreams by now but they persist. I wake up desperate to get back there and desperate to hold onto the dream. I want so shake my husband, I want to shake someone. I want to make them see me, just open their eyes and acknowledge me, just once.

I am going to see if I can get my meds reduced. I know this will mean I’m not so stable but I want it back, I want to write, to work, to create and I want to be slapped around the face and I want life to happen to me. I am stuck, so happy with my own little world but so lost, and I’m drowning in it.

I want to wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

http://twitter.com/#!/MLeeHoughton

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4 thoughts on “Wake Up

  1. That blog alone shows you can still write. But I do understand that numbed feeling, that woollen layer that muffles emotional clarity and vibrancy of expression. No idea how to find a way through this. There’s a cost and there are payoffs. Not sure it’s possible to offset them against each other and judge them one against the other. Just have what works while it’s there, at any given time. (Not being prescriptive to you, just thinking about how it is.)

    XXX S

  2. Thanks S, I maybe write more than I let myself believe, but it’s the poetry that suffers. That woollen layer is all too consistent at the moment, I blame it on the meds but there’s a slim chance that they aren’t the cause. A very slim chance. There is a cost if I choose to opt for moods over stability, I doubt my psychiatrist would even let me but I have that idea in my mind, that I’m less of a person without them. I have to remember that they made me suffer beyond words. I will try to work with what I’ve got at any given time, and I will try to keep writing. Thankyou so much for your message, M xxx

  3. I struggled with the medication tranquillising, duping, numbing effect. I do understand the feeling of not being ‘there’. Of not being able to create what you think is buried underneath – the intensity that previously infused everything you did. I have a journal with photographs and writing about manic depression. This one is from 2003: ‘The last time when I wrote a poem I was in hospital. I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a well-written poem.

    From your last letter, I think you still feel things that you can then write about. I think I don’t. It would be easy to blame it all on the medication, to say it possibly stabilises me to the point of dullness, of indifference, of normality. Maybe I’ll read about that and when I know enough, I can write a thesis on that. Sometimes I wish I could just sail through life without these meds’

    Also one from 2006: ‘Yesterday I read an article from the online journal of british psychiatry that helped me loads to understand an aspect of my manic depression. It stated in layman terms, that the motor function in the brain and its paths are slowed down, disconnected and can produce sluggishness before and after the manic/depressive episode ie lack of concentration in simple tasks, almost impossible to concentrate on anything intellectual, etc. I knew this from experience but it was good to hear it voiced in cold, mechanical, psychiatric language as an acknowledgment, that I’m not just complaining for no reason when these things happen, and that the reassurance; ‘you’re doing a lot better’ from a friend or family is not enough, because you know yourself you’re not there.’

    Having said all this I’ve been medication free for a long time now, and I’ve had a period of about 6 months of producing fuck all. We all want as the Radiohead song puts it to be ‘fitter. happier. more productive’. But I do think this lack of production does not compare with the hazy, medicated feeling, ‘filtered’ sort of thinking…

    But all the blogs here are proof you can write and write well, as Susannah points out. We’re not always the most objective critics of our work. I would hazard a guess that you’ve written so much more than two good poems (a couple dozen?). But again, I don’t want to take anything away from that ‘hazy, not there’ feeling because I know that exists.

    The photograph is ace. Who took it?

  4. Thankyou so much for stopping by, Eli. My husband took the photograph, he’s very good with a camera. They’re my ‘author’ shots.

    I am starting to question things today. This could be just me, just that I feel a bit absent. But I can’t shake the feeling that the medication has done this. I am writing more than I let myself believe, possibly. I think I have to put a lot of thought into this, I see my care co-ordinator today and I’m going to talk about some of it.

    Thankyou so so much for posting excerpts from your journal. I feel very honoured to read those fragments. You know how medication can virtually mute you, make you not ‘there.’ My husband also argues that when I’m ill I don’t have the concentration for anything and the majority of my moodswings make writing impossible, it’s just when I get those periods when I’m not too high but things are just starting to race, I can write so, so much. Obviously I don’t want to be ill again and can’t risk that happening again, but I miss that productivity. I am writing at the moment but I feel the poems are not worthwhile and nothing like what I’ve written that has been successful before.

    It’s almost impossible to say what will be best for me I can only think that if I at least try and reduce the meds just a slight and see what happens I might come to some conclusion.

    The other thing is that I’ve been happy for the first time in my life. I don’t want that to go away either. Some days I’m not so tired. Maybe I just need some serious inspiration. I feel that if I had some concept to work with I might get on a write something worthwhile.

    What do you attribute your not writing with? Mood or time or space or lack of inspiration. Maybe we should write something together!

    Much love
    M xxxxx

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