Sorry to those of you who commented on the last post that I haven’t yet responded to. When I started my ex-blog, I felt compelled to reply to every comment that was left for me, and that continued for a while. When it waned, I vowed that any new blog would not fall fowl to the same affliction – and yet it has. In my defence, my mental health isn’t great at the minute and I’ve always been a terrible correspondent, but I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.
Anyway, for those of you that follow me on Twitter or Facebook – my real life Twitter or Facebook accounts, that is, for I have not been following the ones allied to this blog for several weeks – you’ll know that further to my dilemminating last entry, I did in fact go to Edinburgh with my mother. I emailed the letter I’d composed to my therapy centre and they were gracious enough to accept it, instructing me to simply turn up at the next week’s meeting. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only person to miss the first week, but I’ll come to that.
The general state of affairs of things at the minute are as follows.
- I expected to be driven up the walls whilst in Edinburgh, because whilst I love my mother dearly, you do know how mothers can be. As it turned out, though, it was actually not bad. More importantly, however, my mother loved the trip, so the present was a huge success. This pleases me.
- I saw my psychiatrist for the first time in ages in the latter part of November. The few weeks running up to that appointment had been really bad, and that much was evident to her by my demeanour. She looked through my file over the last few years and observed that winter is not a good time for me – but, she claims, I don’t have seasonal affective disorder. Apparently the pattern is different. Well, whatever. Who cares. All I did care about was what she could do.
- Initially she claimed she couldn’t do anything. She noted that I am taking “sky high doses” of “loads of” medications, and proceeded to state that rather than tinker with them, she would much prefer to establish what keeps causing these slumps – whether they’re at this time or year, or whether they’re entirely random.
- I stated that nothing specific had caused my most recent depression, at least to my conscious knowledge.
- Annoyingly, she kept asking about therapy, assuming that that in some way contributed. I was resolute my assertion that this was not the case.
- She told me that she had quite deliberately not automatically allocated me a new CPN after she’d moved to the new hospital. This pissed me off, but I refrained from saying so. She asked if I had found having one useful; I confirmed that I did (the interim one I had – the only one I’ve discussed on this blog to date – wasn’t really that helpful, in truth. My first one had been, however.) So she said she would send one “out to” me. She said the woman in question was a bit like the first CPN I had, so this seemed encouraging.
- She then dithered for half a century, before she refused to increase my Lamotrigine intake (200mg at present – she claims that that’s the highest dose, but I know for a fact that it isn’t), but – despite her earlier remarks – that she would be willing to raise the Venlafaxine prescription from 300mg to 375mg. I’m deeply scared of Venlafaxine, because missing even one dose of it renders me sectionable and akathesiac. Still, I was so desperate I agreed to this – though not desperate enough to agree when she suggested re-raising the Quetiapine back to 600mg (I’m currently taking 300mg.)
- Owing to whatever evils Venlafaxine does to you, I have to have an ECG before the dosage is raised. This will take place tomorrow at my GP’s surgery.
- I was very ill with some ‘flu-like thing for over a week. In fact, it was it rather than group therapy that came to threaten the trip to Edinburgh, though as noted I was able to go in the end. I have only stopped feeling sorry for myself in the last few days.
- In yet another twist to the CATastrophe – and there were many after the original post that I never did bother detailing – Cat the Younger, at 15 months old, is no more of this world. It looks like he was mowed down – the second of our cats in just over a year to meet his demise. A kind couple from up the street took his body in to stop the local primary school kids gawking at him, and I took him to the vet to be cremated. We’re not intending on getting a new companion for Cat the Older any time soon. He’s been through enough upheaval, and anyway, it seems none but the most streetwise of animals survive living in this bloody street. Rest in peace, little man 😦
- The CPN turned up last Monday morning, the day Mum and I were heading to Edinburgh. Unfortunately the meeting was at Mum’s house, meaning I had to be careful about what I said, or at least at the decibels at which I said it. I have therefore requested that future meetings take place at the funny farm. She was actually quite happy about this, as it gets me out of the house.
- There’s quite a bit I want to say about the CPN which I will do in Part II, but briefly: she is lovely, as the psychiatrist appeared to suggest, and I do think in many ways she reminds me of my first one. Hopefully, as she’s a permanent member of staff, this’ll be a long-term relationship. However, she talked about getting me a support worker – I hope this is in addition to her. I never even knew that was an option available to me, but there you are. Crucially, the woman took me properly seriously; she thinks that my being batted around and chucked out of the system with such frequency is due to the fact that I’m reasonably articulate and intelligent, and also compliant with treatment. “That doesn’t negate the very real things you suffer, though,” she said. “They’re at least as bad if not worse than those of others.” Good woman!
- Again, if you’ve been following my ‘real life’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, you might have seen me banging on about #flegs. This requires a rant of its own, but in short, many of us in Belfast are being kept virtual prisoners in our own homes because a minority of absolutely useless wastes of air are throwing missiles and petrol bombs along with hopefully idle death threats at various people, because they are offended that a piece of cloth they didn’t even know hung above the City Hall is by a process of democracy still going to be flown over the City Hall, the only difference being that the days on which the cloth is flown at the City Hall are now in line with the days the cloth is flown at City and Council Halls in the mainland UK *and breathe* so therefore Northern Ireland must be MORE BRITISH THAT BRITAIN innit. Tonight is the ninth consecutive night of
violence rioting spoiling for a fight hoods kicking up a fussdemocratically permissible unrest.
- I’ve found myself smiling wistfully at people not ‘getting’ the #flegs hashtag, whilst being simultaneously amused at its use by official sources such as The Belfast Telegraph and the PSNI. It’s the word ‘flags’ pronounced in a harsh Belfast accent, and it’s the term that has taken off on Twitter. Twitter, incidentally, has been a lifeline in all this. It’s due to it and not the usual sources like the news that I’ve known where’s accessible and where’s not. Furthermore, the humour and camaraderie that that service has produced has really helped put the whole thing into perspective.
- I actually got stopped by the peelers (police) myself last night whilst
stupidlybravely venturing outside the house; three landrovers full of them were sitting at the end of our street (we are near a riot area.) It was might fault for hitting my wing mirror off that of another car, but four of them in riot gear descended upon my car in an act of melodrama rarely seen outside of 24 or Homeland. Fortunately, one of them was really lovely and let me go without breathalising me or even looking at my licence. I suppose I should thank the arsehole rioters, because – and the policeman himself said this – they had a hell of a lot of better things to do than bother with a crap woman driver who hadn’t de-iced one of her windows terribly well.
- I found his political views abhorrent, but I nevertheless was a huge fan of Patrick Moore and am frankly devastated by his death. I have always had, and will never lose, my childish awe and passion for the night skies. I will never stop wondering about its nigh on infinite mysteries. He helped fuel that, and he helped explore it. Above all, he engendered an interest in science and intellectual thought in generations, and in this sorry modern world which celebrates stupidity and petty nothingness such as #flegs, anyone who can do that is a remarkable human being. Plus, he had a cat called Ptolemy (which purred by his side as he drew his last breaths. Cats often purr when dying or grieving, you know. It’s thought they do it to comfort themselves.) Yes, folks: a cat called Ptolemy. How can that not be an epic win?
- Finally. I went to the group therapy session for the first time tonight. I had been petrified of this yesterday, and have been taking Zopiclone and Diazepam as necessary. However, once I got there I didn’t feel too bad. The session itself was kind of an extension of what the first one seemed to have been; establishing boundaries, recognising that we have to trust each other, but that that takes time, yakka yakka. We did have some discussion on issues pertaining to why we’re there, though – it kind of developed organically from the opening discussion, I suppose. Obviously confidentiality prevents me from discussing the session in specific, individual terms, but I do want to explore my worries prior to it, reactions to it and general sense of it a bit more. Along with more on my new CPN, I’ll try to do that in the next post.
Until next time…
PS. Sorry I’ve not been about the @mymorevividlife Twitter for ages. I go through periods where I can’t always face a focus on an alter-ego, even though this one is actually only semi-anonymous. It’ll wear off and I’ll be back. I apologise for anyone who thought I was ignoring DMs or @mentions; I’m really not deliberately doing so, I just haven’t logged in for several weeks to see them.
Picture credits – picture one: own work. Pictures two and three: see outgoing links.