Not taking on the world...just yet
Things have been up and down lately. Not surprising really, everyone’s life is like that. But up and down when you have EUPD is two complete extremes and in getting there you feel everything in between, over and over, often several times a day. It’s exhausting. Also, it means I never really know how I am feeling or how things are going. My answer at 9am might differ wildly from that at 10am, let alone by bed time of the same day.
Still, I am plodding onwards. I have been trying to keep busy and occupied as best I can and I am very lucky to have been able to meet up with several friends on a few days. Being so unwell over the last 18 months has been hell and I wouldn’t wish anything similar on anyone but it has really shown me who my true friends are. I’m privileged to have those in my life now who have stuck by me throughout the last year and a half. They have not only stood alongside me when I have been desperately low, so low that I made the decision to leave them all and attempted to take my own life, but they have supported me when I was living over a hundred miles away in order to receive treatment. Often they didn’t do (or need to do) anything special, just staying in touch by sending a text or email here and there, ultimately treating me normally, was enough. I think this is important for anyone wanting to support a friend or loved one with a mental illness, not everything has to be about the condition. Often, there is nothing better than having a chat or cup of coffee with a mate just like nothing is different. That was especially true after my Sectioning and suicide attempt - I felt a lot of shame and guilt about my actions and it meant so much for people to just carry on as normal.
Alongside keeping busy though, I have am also trying to learn that being non-busy doesn’t necessarily equate to being lazy or worthless. I have to keep reminding myself that until three weeks ago I was in a full-time inpatient treatment programme and that I don’t have to take on the world now I am out, at least not within the month! I tend to feel that if I don’t achieve anything specific with the day other than walking the dog that it has been a failure. In reality though I know that isn’t true. Each day that I get up, eat 3 meals, don’t give in to my intrusive thoughts and do walk the dog is a success in itself. I can’t do everything at once. Thinking like that is typical of me though. Intellectually I know that what I am expecting of myself is irrational but emotionally I can’t match that intellect. That is why CBT has never worked for me - I know it is irrational to think that people hate me just because they cancel a get-together and can give a hundred other reasons why they cancelled that don’t even involve me but I don’t, I can’t, believe them. I get very frustrated when clinicians tell me that I have “great insight” like it’s a good thing. It’s not. If anything it’s worse knowing what I am doing is disproportionate, irrational and inappropriate and not being able to put it right. It’s hard to explain but I feel like a whole chunk of my brain doesn’t work properly and I don’t know how to kick it into action. I think the psychoanalytic psychotherapy that I was having at the Cassel was beginning to help me learn how to create the aspect that just isn’t there but now that’s stopped I feel like people are asking me questions that I just don’t have the language to respond to again. I have a meeting next week to discuss if I will receive any therapy now that I am back in the community. I am petrified that they are going to say no even though it was strongly recommended by the team at the Cassel and I know how much of a benefit it would be for me. I know I am in a different place now to where I was this time last year but I am far from “fixed” and I desperately don’t want to have to continue on this journey without therapeutic support. A week of high anxiety lies ahead.