I don’t know how the whole trigger warning thing goes, I see a lot of people use them: I’ll say there is talk of suicide and drugs and stuff. But there’s a happy ending 🙂
I admire and do not comprehend the workings of the mind of those who have purpose and a single interest and can bring something to completion.
This is a dump and as such I will use it.
A thought crept into my mind the other day, was it yesterday?, after working on my dad’s book so long and after seeing what used to be a very dear friend… still a dear person whom I have methodically driven out of my life.
The thought was hey, but what did she ever do to me? I mean really. The answer is: nothing. Nothing at all. My friend’s girlfriend systematically ignored me for years, made a few efforts here and there to be civil, she spent time with him, sucked him into her own life that I have judged plenty of times, and made him happy. She gave him a home and a meaning to his life. That is what she did. She didn’t care about me and that, as always, because I am crippled, hurts, and makes me angry. He cared a lot about me, though as he himself said we were never as close as I wanted us to be. Years of projection of what he meant to me dumped on him, years of help he never gave that I took, years of lifeline I was holding on fast to but that he was never holding.
I, the defender of injustices, kicked up a fuss and caused a lot of unnecessary grief to someone who actually did care about me, his sin being he just didn’t care about me when we weren’t facing each other, and he didn’t care any more about me than he cared about any other human being. He used to be the one who would be super awesome with anybody he’d only just met, that should have been a clue for me but no, I thought his superawesome with me was special, just for me. It wasn’t. But that doesn’t warrant my being a constant pain in the ass, berating him for what? For having chosen a girlfriend who didn’t sparkle much for us, who didn’t care about us, and who wasn’t particularly pleasant? Because only that is her sin. She didn’t do anything to me. In fact, plenty of times I even thought had I been her I would have lost it with me by now and told me to just fuck off and get your own life, find a new friend, give him up. But she never did.
The moral of the story?
Once again, it turns out I was the bad guy.
Thoughts start that way and then progress. And instances and examples start crowding my mind. Going around me, seeing me in comparison to many people, many actions, big or small… and I see, shit, I am the bad guy. Then they start expanding further and backwards, like a twisted oil stain, one that never ends, and just gets darker and darker the more it stretches out, and the more it goes back.
Now I have learnt that when that starts to happen, I remind myself to take my B12 (I skipped it yesterday), and I think how right my friend B. was when he said “Just take it, then one day you will feel blue again and you will realise that you’d stopped taking them!”. It may be useless pharmacologically, but it’s a lifeline. It doesn’t involve misjudging and creating a fuss with people so I will keep it, thank you very much.
I remember life under Diazepam. I had wanted it for years. Secretly, telling myself a bunch of very rational reasons. But of all the drugs I’ve taken (recreational) I had known about Valium for years and had always been extremely attracted to it. I make no secret that one of the reasons it attracted me was that it was calm inducing, and legal. The same reason I guess why despite growing up with heroin addicts as friends I never tried heroine: my lucidity is my curse and I have tried everything and stopped when I felt I was getting addicted, but somehow I knew heroine would be thought for me, so I never tried it. Plus, well, there is the fact that too many good friends had died.
So, many years of self-awareness and a few surviving a violently bipolar partner, I thought I was within the “sane” range. I had grown up terrified of one day being “found out” and put in a mental hospital (and people I have known since have confirmed to me the nightmare I always thought it would be), but after meeting Paul I guess his crazy was just so much crazier than mine that I came out of it feeling battered, and bruised, and whatever you want, but mostly sane. I was the sane one. Then something years later that felt like a heart attack turned out to be excessive anxiety. To the extent that the bloody emergency doctor kept asking me if I did cocaine regularly and wouldn’t believe me when I said NO. (I hate people on cocaine, they get on my nerves most dramatically). No No No I kept saying and eventually he had to concede I must have been just a bloody anxious type *(which surprised me, I never thought of myself that way) and gave me drops. Of something. Something seriously druggy. The sixteen drops he’d prescribed would make me slur and feel like I was stoned out of my mind, and I hated that feeling around my kids. I researched the stuff he’d given me and it was basically a tranquilliser. So, being the mother of two gorgous boys, the first thought was: I could drink all these drops and definitely die. That’s not good.
The second was: fuck no, I am a SANE person, I will not be slurring and half asleep. My future husband hated its effects on me too, and I stopped it. It just wasn’t the right drug for me, it would have been great when I got all flustered and ragey, but I never knew when that would happen, and the rest of the time, when I was perfectly fine, it would slow me down to the horrible slurry slug. So I stopped those.
Then I got pregnant, because the wild mood swings we thought could be due to hormones, so my doctor in Italy got me to stop the pill and kind of flush the hormones out (I’d been taking the pill since I was 15), and she said it’s VERY unlikely you will be pregnant so quickly, the body needs to readjust bloody blah, and of course, I got pregnant. Happy news all you want, I loved my partner’s family I thought I’d have love and support, but then we moved to England, and that was a tear… a tear that was shown in my baby’s gastroschisis at birth. So anyway no meds for a long time, breastfeeding etc. So, pay attention to move, pay attention to baby, pay attention to your average horror (my wonderful partner’s mum dying), pay attention to emotionally devastated husband, finally it got to a point where we moved to Cambridge from Yorkshire, and I thought: ok, maybe perhaps now might be the time I can start thinking of me again.
Found lovely doctor, explained. Tried counselling. How to go cheap: couldn’t afford real psychologist, or psychiatrist, had a counsellor, she was training, it was half price. She was lovely, but all I did was talk. And get upset. And I thought: I do enough talking to myself, and I feel like I should have the type of friends I can talk to. Ad I do, they’re not round the corner is all. Not only that, but my first experience with a counsellor just after my first suicide attempt in college, concluded after may many sessions with him saying “to be honest, I don’t know how to help you: you obviously need some sort of help since you went this far, but you seem to have a very sound use of your mind, to know all the right things to say and think…” Ok thanks for nothing “doctor who is not a doctor”, bye. Then, my quasi-friend from uni, called Joy, who WAS joy, threw herself under the tube train. Shit happens I guess. He should have talked to her. SHE should have talked to me. But hey, shit happens.
So in the end go to doctor again, told her look, I’ve tried exercise which was great and it turns out I have this hypermobility thing and I can’t run and even not walk properly, tried gym, expensive and useless (and it turned out, damaging because of the hypermobility, undiagnosed at the time), tried positive thinking, counselling, whatever you want: I just need something to stop this bloody see-saw. To stop me feeling like a very smart, happy, sorted woman one moment and a complete dark wreck the next. I need that to stop because in that darkness there is a sneaky pair of fingers calling me deeper into the darker tunnel and it’s a struggle to keep out of it when it happens. I need that NOT to happen. I don’t call anyone when that happens, you don’t. I won’t DO anything when that happens. I just need it NOT to happen. So that’s when she gave me the Diazepam.
Diazepam was, quite simply, heaven. It did take a while to work, but I’ve always been very receptive to the workings of drugs, a bit like a wine taster for wine I guess, and I could feel what it was doing to my brain. I could feel it coating it, fluffing it. I was working in a shop at the time (part of my own healing plan, that was very effective by the way I thoroughly recommend the retail experience: not buying, just working in a nice shop with nice people as colleagues, very therapeutic). I would cycle to work in the morning after taking it and feel it oooze inside, sink in, taking hold. I loved the feeling it was wonderful. The day I forgot it I tried not not to worry, I thought it’d be ok to take it later, but I was always on edge until I got it, then would breathe a sigh of relief. My moods got… smoooooth. I felt smooth. The smoothness was wonderful and I wanted to tell the world: I just told a friend who had similar stuff to mine and he got it for himself too, but then something started to happen. The old still very effective alarm started to sound. I was waaay too smooth. I could just glimpse the raging me, kept in check, just below the surface. She was still there. I hadn’t killed her. I hadn’t cured her. She was there, she was just stifled, she was suffocating. She wanted to come out. The raging part is also the passionate part, the one that made me change my life for better so many times, the adventurous part, she was a part I also loved in great amounts when she wasn’t being a bitch.
The fuzzy part was feeling way too fuzzy. The pills had allowed me, in their slowing down process, to see a lot of my thought processes and their workings from the outside. So that was incredibly useful. But the time had come for me to let out that part of me again. I was only half of me, and I was beginning to get dependant on this shit. I could feel that if I forgot it, the sense of unease was becoming panic. Panic that given half a chance to escape, the stifled me would tear out into the open and create a disaster, just out of spite for being locked in so long. So I stopped it, and was fine.
It was useful: I understood my mind’s workings a bit better and have since become much better at knowing how to deal with them. I started to do what I loved and abandoned my other safety net, my routine, no-brain-use work. I started not to worry about money and most importantly I learnt to go of those thoughts when they came: not try to solve them, look at them differently, transform them into positive thoughts, but literally just get distracted, do something else, let them go (I’m sorry if that has triggered the perennial song).
So it’s hard when after so much successful time you look back, suddenly, one day and say oh shit: I haven’t become the essence of rightness and good behaviour and lucid thinking I thought I had, I am still crippled, still wrong, still the bad guy.
But hey, you see? Dumping it here, I’m now able to just let that thought go. And start preparing for my daughter’s party.