I had a bit of an emotional morning, after an emotional Thursday night and then a really strained day at work yesterday. I was OK, really, just wobbly and extremely tired. I have definitely been worse, and I’m sure other people are dealing with a lot more, and a lot worse.
This week has been my first five-day week, after working part-time for four months, and it’s been a little bit irksome. I didn’t get much sleep Thursday night, after Incubus and then needing to get up for work on Friday morning, and so by last night was fairly wrecked.
My mental health symptoms are strange now- it often feels like its the potential for everything to go Pete Tong, which scares me more than any individual experience. Things do still go very wrong, in moments- but it’s always that negative potential which causes me to become wired and hyper vigilant.
I was meant to be going to an old friend of mines baby shower today. She’d arranged, with another old/close friend of mine, to go out for lunch with a group of her girlfriends, and I wanted to go to celebrate the anticipated arrival of her second little one. Moreover I don’t see her, or the other girls as often as I should, and so it’s always lovely seeing them all and catching up. A third old/close friend had offered to pick me up, and we’d planned for her to come round an hour beforehand so we could have a cup of tea and a natter, and catch up as well.
That was the plan last night, but when I woke up this morning my head just went- computer says NO, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I felt too tired, too strung out and on the edge. Though I’m not exactly sure which edge.
I felt really bad, because I’d wanted to go out and see the girls, celebrate and eat cake with them! Moreover I always feel like such a cop-out when I cancel at the last minute. I used to do this a lot, years ago when the illness was much more pervasive and the symptoms would come on too strong to be able to deal with.
I remember one night I travelled all the way up to Oxford street, to meet friends at a comedy club. My psychosis came on, almost as the train left my town and the journey started. I had the most hellish journey up to London, convinced that the person sitting next to me wanted to murder me, and that all the other people around me were egging him on to do it. I was paranoid, terrified and alone, and by the time I reached Oxford Street couldn’t connect with the rational part of my mind at all.
I didn’t even make it to the club, just called my friend and made my excuses and left. The journey home was as bad as the journey up there had been. These really bad nights, and experiences with psychosis, would often be brought on most acutely when I tried to go out and socialise, and so I would often end up chickening out beforehand and cancelling.
I knew I must seem flaky and unreliable, but the fear of having a bad night like that often caused me to bail on friends and nights out. I always pushed myself though, and tried to force myself out the door and enjoy the night as much as possible, and as time went by and a lot of the symptoms faded out and decreased in intensity, those nights out became easier.
Now, I generally don’t suffer too much at all. The psychosis which I used to experience has faded out entirely, and I do not suffer that excruciating and debilitating paranoia any longer. I’m normally able to socialise without freaking out excessively beforehand, or experiencing symptoms, which whilst being out, work to undermine my ability to enjoy myself.
Today, however, the fear that some of that might come back built up too much in my mind, and then my frustration that any of that still happens at all came on strong enough to make me too wobbly to be able to grin and bear it.
I felt really bad messaging my three friends, but they were all so sympathetic, and understanding that I wondered why I ever felt bad in the first place. They’ve been there for me, over the course of the last fourteen years, and have never judged me or treated me in any way which has made me feel worse about myself. They’re amazing friends, and I’m bloody lucky to have them in my life.
I think I feel like a cop-out, and feel bad, because a part of me thinks, you should be able to get on top of this, you should be able to manage it by now. I feel as though I’m making up something, which is obviously ridiculous. I think this is where stigma’s come into play, and I find it interesting because I’ve always felt as though I don’t let the stigma surrounding mental illness affect me too much. This morning, I think a part of me said, you’re able to walk, you’re able to talk- therefore you are well enough to go out.
It was only when I imagined actually being out and a ball of dread fell into my stomach heavy enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, that I realised I was closer to the edge, so to speak, than I perhaps wanted to acknowledge. And my friends were fine- my friends were absolutely fine with this.
I think this illness sometimes works to make me feel so weird, and so disconnected, that I forget they’ve seen it all before and still choose to associate with me. I forget that they do understand, even when that feels impossible because- dear god- I don’t understand so how could anybody else?
My friends were there from the day I was hospitalised. They all came to visit me on Delius ward, when I was weirder than weird could possibly be. They listened to me ramble, and sob and fret over things which weren’t happening, sympathised and reassured, and then came back to visit me again.
I have been so very lucky, that my friends were brave and amazing enough to stick by me through all the weirdness, and all the flakiness, and all the mayhem.
I am an lucky as well, in that I have made more friends, over the last fourteen years who have also been sympathetic, open-minded and non judgemental. I’ve made friends who have stuck by me, and I feel so very thankful for that.
This illness can work to make you feel more alienated, and more alone, that anyone should ever be made to feel. My friends have made that easier over the years, and so I shout out to all of them, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being truly wonderful people, and for never giving up on me, even when it looked like I’d given up on myself.
Big love 🙂