Looking to the Future

I got the new site up and running yesterday! You can pay us a visit @ https://ahomeforourfuture.wordpress.com/

Since Luke and I decided that we wanted a family, we have been full of dreams and hopes. This is going to be an emotional rollercoaster but I think we’re up to it. I know that together we can make our family a reality and support each other along the way. The past couple of days have been full of ups and downs; all in all I’m really happy with how I’ve been dealing with things.

Telling my mum was the best part after the actual decision was made. She and I have had our differences in the past when I was a rebellious teenager but now I know that I’ve always had her full support. When I got her sat down with a coffee yesterday I broke the news and after a moment added “You’re going to be a Grandma!” – the expression on her face was priceless.

In terms of my mental health lately I’m on a solid run of good days – not objectively good but in my eyes I’ve weathered all the little storms admirably. I’m very pleased that my psychiatrist has agreed to try me on sodium valproate for the moods, and we’ve halved the sertraline to 50mg. Part of me is afraid the reduction in anti-depressant is going to cause issues but so far it seems to be alright.

I want to keep this up for the long-term. I am concerned about the referral back to CMHRS and then onto the PD Forum but I think anything that helps me keep treading water successfully is a good thing – and if I learn to swim, all the better!

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Looking to the Future

A Small Catch-Up Post

I haven’t been writing so much on the blog lately – mostly due to needing to use my words for the book-to-be. I submitted the first couple of chapters to a publisher and they have expressed interest in the full manuscript; very exciting, but I maybekinda… definitely don’t have it in a form I am happy to submit yet. The pressure is on. Being who I am I’ve set myself a deadline of around 3 weeks to get it sent over for review. Equally, being me I’ve also decided that I want this to be a ‘proper’ book (read: not a short story as it was originally, and not a novella).

I’m enjoying working on it, but I am having to tread carefully too. Because it is a re-imagining of my journey with Eve I find that accessing certain memories can be kind of triggering. This story is written from the very deepest depths of my mind and it is therapeutic and upsetting in turn. The key thing for me to do is ensure I’m keeping an eye on the red flags and keeping my husband in the loop – making sure that the right people know what I’m working on and know what to watch for.

Generally, though, I’ve actually not been too bad! I think I’m on day 5 of a good run. It’s lovely to be able to focus my energies on being creative; it means I have an outlet when I feel myself running hot (like I am right now!).

In other news; I saw my psych nurse late last week and the personality disorders team are accepting my referral to them. For reasons no one could explain, they are passing me back to CMHRS first. Nope, not a clue why… Even K couldn’t understand it. It does mean that I am now coming to the end of my time with EiIP – after 3 years under their amazing care it is time to move on to a new team. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow and from there it’ll be around 5 – 7 weeks until I’m under CMHRS.

I was supposed to start on Sodium Valproate this week too but there’s no sign of the prescription yet. I am hoping it’ll help smooth things out – and I’m praying that it won’t stifle my creativity. In terms of functioning it will be a good thing though. I’m trying to reassure my boss that it’ll be OK to add more tasks to my workload; it is hard to explain to him that my worst days are the quietest ones. He admitted to me he’s afraid of overloading me and then losing me for two weeks to stress.

I hope all you lovely readers are as well as it is possible to be 🙂

A Small Catch-Up Post

I Don’t Know What I Want

The frustration is the worst thing about days like today. In all honesty, I am pushing myself further than I should and trying to achieve a goal that ultimately doesn’t really mean anything. Pushing myself to the limit because I don’t want to leave my colleague to cover my Friday afternoon jobs (report, report, repeat). A bit of reflection over the past three days highlighted a possible link between slow days at work (read: under-used, under-valued and generally b o r e d) and heightened mixed moods. Today goes against the grain; I’ve been a busy, busy woman playing the high-powered executive that my mask demands yet I am finding myself drifting into the muddy waters of mixed-mood.

Back to that frustration then. It’s hard to write eloquently about it because it is so confusing. It is the conflict between doing what I ‘should’ do and wanting more. I work so hard at just being a regular person who can do a regular job with regular hours. It is this kind of mood that leaves me yearning for an adventure, needing to rebel against the 9-5 existence and break free. I am sick of fighting with myself. You can’t let anyone down argues with screw the lot of them. And I honestly don’t know what to do about it. I know that it would be a lot easier to just allow myself a little slack in the reins; I keep them pulled tight out of a sense of obligation to society to fit in.

On my referral to the Personality Disorders team I had to answer a few questions about the things I wanted to achieve from talking therapies. I can’t remember my exact words but I wrote a lot about wanting to learn how to be satisfied with what I’ve got, about feeling trapped by my wonderful life. Writing this out now feels like a betrayal of my husband who I know will read this; once again I feel like admitting things is hurting him. There’s nothing in the world that makes me happier than being with him. So why this need to bust open the back door and invite the world for a party?

I Don’t Know What I Want

On Loving Yourself

Self-care is an important factor for any human – those who fight a mental illness will recognise that good self-care both indicates and mitigates the severity of an episode.

For me, I find that when I am running high my self-care will be mixed. I will take a lot more time over my appearance; I will file and paint my nails, wear make-up and style my hair. The flip side is that I begin to skip meals, drink too much coffee (at work) or alcohol (at home) and get through pretty much a pack of smokes every day. So outwardly I tend to look more ‘together’ but internally I am falling apart.

This pattern is flipped in a depressive state. I eat plenty (granted, it’s never healthy – I just graze more) and my getting-ready-routine is perfunctory at best. Showering feels like too much effort; after a shower I will need to dry my hair and that requires more energy than I have available. Usually showers get pushed into the evening, when I can allow my hair to dry naturally, and even then I’ll usually be seen with my hair pulled into a loose bun because it’s too greasy to leave hanging free.

Good self-care is the first bullet point on the crisis line operator’s script. Every time I’ve called the out-of-hours number the response has invariably been “Have you thought about taking a bath?” or “Maybe you could make yourself a cup of tea.” It’s known to my team that these things don’t work for me, but for an over-stretched NHS crisis service it is standard fare. Improve self-care; improve mood. And there’s a lot to be said for that approach; it’s just that when you’re in the depths of depression or on the summit of Mania Mountain you really couldn’t give a fig for looking after number one. Your energy is being spent on either avoiding a tearful meltdown or writing endless pages of nonsense. There’s nothing in the budget left for caring for oneself.

I think that if more people understood the subtle indications that good or bad self-care provide then there might be more awareness of how mental illness affects almost everything in day-to-day living. On the down days my roughly tied up hair and lack of foundation shows the world “I used all my energy up by getting out of bed.” And on hypo days you can read my rouged lips; “Hello world, bring it on!”

Self-care is a manifestation of loving oneself too. It means the difference between feeling worthless and worthwhile. If I can spend a little time on myself when I’m low, it can be a welcome diversion from the turmoil of loathing that characterises my mental state. One thing I have learned over the years is that self-care can be disguised in mindfulness. Instead of forcing myself to show myself some love, I will instead set myself a mindfulness exercise such as doing my nails, or making a cup of tea. This way I do not have to acknowledge consciously that I am worth more than I think I am. I simply come out the other side feeling an iota calmer – better – than I did when I began.

On Loving Yourself

History

“Hello,” says the radio guy. 
“Welcome to your life.”

And stars sing sweet galactic 
nothings in my ears.

The prophets in the music 
pass melodic messages.

And how can I ignore
my written destiny?

When the neighbours are
aliens, waiting to strike.

And nights roll into days
into nights.

Watching the door and
protecting my king.

And I am a chess piece
the pawn sacrifice.

The little white candies
stick on my tongue.

And I refuse to play
this strange chequered game.

Engrossed in the work 
of those greatest minds.

And my manifest forms
the schedule of life.

Writing pages on pages;
my bible – inspired.

And black turns to grey
as does the white.

With full spectrum vision
the world shows up dots.

And atoms before me show
larger than life.

High on the wind the
ramparts are home.

And a breeze through my hair
scatters the thoughts.

Onto the next move, go
forwards with faith.

And I size up the darkness,
the noise of the silence.

This frantic sadness is
impossibly poignant.

And as I sit still I 
am running a race.

Again to the gurney and
again to the pricks.

And nothing is left but
love in the air.

The words are not spoken
the definition of trying.

And here I lay thinking
whys upon whys.

Today is another, the
first time I try.

And this time I mean it.

History