This year has been strange. And quite frankly, I really don’t know what’s going on at the moment. Some people who pay any attention to my blog will know that, unusually, I did not post for a week, and prior to that, my posts were generally photo submissions with a minimal amount of written text. Even now, my interest in writing this post is apathetic at best – but I need to put something down – for my own wellbeing.
In April, I weaned myself off a high dosage of Fluoxetine (Prozac) after realising that it wasn’t preventing me from falling into occasional phases of depression, and noticing that I had periods of high energy, agitation, irritation, spending sprees, and general craziness. It was suggested this placed me at least somewhere on the bipolar spectrum, and “cyclothymia” was tentatively diagnosed. The Prozac was stopped because, if it was indeed anything bipolar, then anti-depressants weren’t recommended.
While medication-less, I hit crisis level a few times – including a moment of stupidity resulting in a visit to the hospital – and I was fast tracked onto treatment designed to address mood instability. I started taking a daily dose of 50mg Seroquel on 13th April. This was increased to 100mg at a review on 2nd May, with the intention of futher monthly reviews until my medication is correct.
All seemed to be going reasonably well – agencies had become involved (and seemingly concerned) with me and my son, meetings were held, lip service was offered, and, more importantly, I went through a phase of “normality.” I thought I was cured! I thought I’d found the magic recipe for getting well! I went to my job and spoke to my line manager about returning to work the next week.
All was well!
Then the Crash happened. Three days after going to my job, my mood plummeted and has continued to dive lower and lower ever since. Day after day I find myself sobbing uncontrollably – no clue as to why – and hurting more than I have hurt in any distant memory. Anything can trigger the sorrow – memories, photos, a tiff with my son, an unexpected expenditure, a sarcastic word from a shop assistant. Irrational thoughts, paranoia, hyper-sensitivity become soul-consuming …. That bizarre craving to sit down in the middle of wherever I am (a busy street, my living room floor, the waiting room at the dentist, the bus station) has returned – and any energy I may have is drained in the effort required to stop myself from doing so.
And then there’s the numbness. That horrible dullness that pervades everything. That flattening monotone, monochrome aura that seeps into everything I try to do. I do try – I really do. I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo a few weeks ago with the earnest intention of writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of June, but the words are so hard to come by. I’ve tried, but it’s hard to write humour when you’re not feeling humorous. I have still been catching the bus to town on Wednesdays so I can attend my Wellness WRAP meetings. I even went one morning to the local college to get my hair trimmed, thinking it would boost my mood a little. Between leaving the house and arriving at the college I decided to chop it all off – so it’s gone. Didn’t do a thing for my mood though.
I have now struggled with this nonsense for nearly three weeks, longer and deeper than I can remember in any recognisable memory. It sucks, it hurts, and it shouldn’t be happening. I’ve had to defer going back to work again, because, trust me, my job isn’t the type of environment for the weepy.
Soooo, I hear you say – it’s lucky all these agencies are involved with us now, hey?
Well, it appears the honeymoon period is well and truly over!
- Psych – I was supposed to have been moved from the “minor” team to the “intensive” team after my moment of stupidity in April. But I am still “between teams” and therefore have no support worker, no mentor, and no real assistance. I have called six times in the last two weeks asking for my monthly review with the doctor as arranged, so I can let him know about this change … But I’ve received no appointment so far – although they were “kind” enough to send a prescription in the post.
- School – following Team Around a Child meeting, establishing my need for assistance in taking care of my son, an incident occurred at school. He and I had had a fight that morning, and he backlashed at a couple of teachers (one of whom, incidentally, had been at the TAC meeting). They responded by punishing him and then calling me and telling me to “deal with him.”
- Social services – I have been told by no less than five different sources in the last three months that referrals have been made to Social Care about us. As yet, I have received zero phone calls from a Social worker.
- CAMS – Conversely, no referral has been made for family counselling for my boy and me, and when I went there in pieces the other day, I was sent away with an instruction to go back to my GP for a referral.
- Icing on the Cake – After trying to explain how I am feeling to a member of my family, they profoundly suggested that I pull myself together because I’m going to “fuck up (my son’s) life.”
Trying to continue to “function” during this type of episode is a double-edged sword. I often wonder if the fact that I still force myself to get up in the morning, that I push myself to walk the dog, that I confine my tears and anguish to times when no one is around to see me, that I call anonymous helplines rather than giving my name, that I don’t break down or cause a loud scene when I’m refused help … I wonder if that effort to stay strong and dignified in public causes me to slip through the net. I wonder if they see me quietly reading a book on a bus an think there’s no hurry to help me because I don’t look like a nutter.
I wonder if stoicism has been mistaken for wellness.
Well, I’m not well … and, quite frankly, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up this chirade without somebody reaching back.