Yesterday my son, Luke and I went on the train to Liverpool to see a friend and her son. We walked to the Pier Head and had a picnic; they raced each other, played hide and seek (not the best game to play on a crowded, sunny day in a city centre but still), and we looked at Liverpool Museum, and walked around the Albert Dock in the sun, eating Mr. Whippy ice creams. Luke was not at his best as we started to come back home as he has been poorly with gastro-entiritis for well over a week after possibly being infected by crypto-sporidian in the drinking water in Lytham when we went camping, and we find out tomorrow for sure. He became very lethargic and poorly and today we went back to the doctor who prescribed buscopan and dioralyte sachets, which have really helped him today. Aside from the bug though, we had a brilliant day in Liverpool. I loved just spending proper time with him, we like getting on trains together, reading books and chatting and watching the world go by. He’s exceptional company.
Today I have to admit has not been the best of days for me. I plucked up the courage to make three complaints regarding awful treatment (or lack of) I received in March through to May this year as a psychiatric patient. I was admitted into in-patient care in March and the whole thing has been a terrible ordeal. I thought I was doing the right thing by complaining, and when someone came to go through my letters with me I found her to be very sympathetic, understanding and helpful, though the appointment and the process in itself has been difficult to say the least. She said at the time that she fully expected that I would receive ‘many apologies’ in response to my complaints. I haven’t the energy to go into detail today but after it took so long for people to be assigned to look into the complaints I had to give my permission for the investigation to go on longer than is usually the case, which I did, and I thought that as had been suggested, I would receive apologies and the impetus for sending the letters was simply to try to ensure others don’t have to suffer similar issues in the future. I received a long letter today in response, and although it does appear the investigation was thorough, I’m so far from being satisfied with the response that all I can really say is I cried a great deal today. The things I have tried to tell people simply weren’t recorded in my notes so I haven’t got a leg to stand on. It makes me feel completely demoralised and I wholeheartedly wish I’d never pursued the complaints in the first place. I feel completely belittled and as I said to my husband ‘like an idiot’. I can’t believe that I’ve had to be treated the way I have been treated. I simply have not had adequate support or anything like adequate support.I have been completely and utterly let down and spat out of a system I’ve been stuck in since I was only a child. Yes, there were apologies but mostly there were just awful, patronising justifications of their actions and covering their own backs. I doubt my having complained has caused anything to change at all. My nurse asked me to complain about one of the issues but I feel as though it simply wasn’t dealt with at all, or taken seriously, and it has all left me, months down the line still having constant nightmares and feeling incredibly fragile.
I wanted to write this blog to keep some sort of diary and make it public because no-one really knows the extent to which manic depression has and continues to turn my life upside down on a daily basis. If I have a strong focus, if I can concentrate on one thing and get on with it, and feel well enough to do so, like going to Liverpool yesterday, or working on my book for example, I can keep on top of my mood and steamroller through the day. Most days are not like this. Every single day of my life I am as motivated as I can possibly be to try, and if awards were given out for trying I’d have a big badge I could pin to my coat and wear but aside from the mere art of trying I feel like a huge failure. I managed to get a few submissions from the new book posted to magazines today, which in itself felt monumental, as even going to the post office was hard, and I walked the dog with Luke and Steven, and cooked fajitas and guacamole, but aside from that, tears, a heavy heart, and inconsolable sadness.
I began a manic episode in September which outlasted ten months in total. I am now moving into a depressive episode which I don’t think I can stand lasting ten months. I definitely feel the high coming down now, the agitation took over recently for a while but that’s changed to frustration and sadness, sadness and melancholy, and the feeling that I simply can’t find any peace.
My husband has stayed off work to look after me for some time, something I feel incredibly guilty about and something which the only person who seems to have any understanding of why this has been imperative and why we need to run things this way right now is my psychiatric nurse; everyone else in our life seems to sorely miss the point. It makes my self esteem turn to mush. We are fighting, have fought, and will continue to fight, and it is very much a fight we have learned to fight together. I feel tremendous pressure on a daily basis. I feel I can’t live up to anyone’s expectations including my own. I just thank god I have my family and that we push every day to try and to love one another. Although I have a severely debilitating illness I think that people only see a capable, articulate woman who seems happy and can’t understand what it is I am going through. I rarely see anyone anymore. It’s just too hard.
I don’t like ending anything like this. Despair in small doses is good for us, I really believe that, but overwhelming despair is very bad. So I don’t wish to overwhelm. All I can think of in terms of good news is that the new Litmus is out now, I received my contributor’s copy a couple of days ago and aside from the awesome editorial by Sarah Crewe there is some incredible work. I thumpingly adore Sophie Mayer’s work in this issue; Lucy Hamilton, Tom Jenks, Chris McCabe and Dorothy Lehane’s work is also top notch stuff, and there are many other gems besides. To buy the issue, and I don’t think there are many left so be quick about it, just follow this link: Litmus
I’ll leave you with a beautiful picture of Luke on the train:
oh, and the Liver Buildings and the Albert Dock: