I try to only write blogposts when the content has settled enough in my mind to be coherent. If it’s not coherent I mostly either don’t write it or delete it in the middle of the night after posting because I’m ashamed of it. To a certain extent, I think that’s good. Since I stopped brain farting all over this blog I’ve learned how to let my thoughts simmer, see which ones stay around and which evaporate. If they stay they usually form themselves into some sort of pattern and I can do something with that. But sometimes it feeds my insecurities and my reluctance to let anyone see the messier version of me. It’s why I prefer writing. Speaking often involves some mild stuttering these days. Writing makes me seem much more together than I really am.
But I realised over the last week that I’m having a hard time pinpointing how I feel. Sometimes my thoughts, emotions and physical sensations don’t match up and it’s disconcerting. It’s ramped up since yesterday as I prepare to go back to work next week. So instead of letting thoughts settle and then using writing to finish that process, I could try and use writing to bring some order to chaos.
I have started to go stir crazy. Probably not surprising as I’ve had minimal contact with people for six weeks, but it actually took five weeks for me to feel it. For those first five weeks I was happy to stay indoors and knit. I couldn’t even summon the motivation to bake cookies. I moved from bed to sofa to bed most days. I’ve been showering about twice a week, only when I have to leave the house. The trip to Morocco was tricky because I had to fight the urge to stay in the hotel every day. I went to see my family one day a couple of weeks ago and was craving solitude after an afternoon. I sometimes eat over an hour after I get hungry because it takes me that long to move myself and make something. It was just a few days ago that I noticed the change – I was fed up of the flat. I thought that day would never come. ;-)
I’ve taken it as a promising sign that I am ready to go back to work. Be where the people are. Do all the things. Except I suspect I’m not ready to be where the people are all the time and I’m not capable of doing all the things. Hopefully I can do some of the things and be around people some of the time without wanting to top myself after a few days.
I think I’m feeling some anxiety. I’m sure that will come as a surprise to my readers, what with me usually being such a chilled person. Today is proving difficult so far because there’s some feeling of agitation. Maybe restlessness like I should go back to work, maybe nervousness at the thought of going back to work. Maybe post-seeing-friend self-flagellation. Maybe post-crappy-being-shot-in-Syria-combined-with-being-unable-to-find-yarn dream from last night. Maybe I should just have a fucking shower. It could be any of these things making me feel odd today, they’re all very ‘me’. Whatever it is, it’s not responding to the self-soothing tactics I’ve honed over the last few weeks – well, honed makes it sound more than it is, it’s pretty much getting Mr Narky to give me a cuddle, knitting and watching Star Trek. I can’t make the feelings go away so I’ve just had my first drink of wine – at 2pm. Straight from the bottle because I’m that classy. That’s not great, but when the one thing (Diazepam) that stands a chance of helping is not available to you, sometimes you just have to go with the next best thing.
I know my life can’t stay on hold forever. If I don’t go back to work soon others will have to take over large parts of my job and that’s a horrible thought. Seven weeks is the longest I’ve ever been off, and that’s enough. The enforced quiet of these weeks has slowly quietened things down inside me. It’s slowed me down, given me the space to get some perspective about my job and given my boss the opportunity to properly learn about my job, which he had not done, and I had not encouraged him to do, before this. I know I have to pick up the threads of my life again but I am concerned that I won’t know how to contain my anxieties or my energy levels once I do that.
Another thing that’s ramped up its lurking presence in my mind is the CMHT referral. My GP made an urgent referral because of the suicidal impulses I was experiencing. It’s been six weeks and I’ve had one phone call from them. Mr Nice But Pointless told me that I would be given a face to face appointment but it would not be for three to four weeks. I get that, knitting and watching Star Trek has put thoughts of suicide at a distance, so I’m hardly a priority case. I don’t hear voices or hallucinate in any way, I don’t hurt myself, I’m not manic or at risk of slashing my wrists in the bath any time soon. There’s really very little motivation for them to put their resources into helping me. I haven’t heard from them since the phone call two weeks ago. I thought Nice But Pointless meant I would see them in three to four weeks but now I wonder if his three to four weeks meant that would be when I could expect to receive a letter from them informing me of an appointment. Which would make it about two months from urgent referral to knowing when I have an appointment, God only knows how long until the appointment actually arrives. It was three and a half months last time.
Given how little the NHS gives a flying fuck about me, I’m tempted to cancel the referral myself. There’s such a high risk that psychiatrist lottery could make me feel worse about myself. I had a psychiatrist a couple of years ago who looked out of the window as I spoke to him and then sent me on my way after a five minute appointment. He made me feel like I wasn’t worth his time. I don’t want that to happen again. I accepted the referral when things were really shite but I’ve contained the shite now. Alright, things are still a bit weird, I’m not running on all cylinders and I’m resorting to booze when I feel like containment is wavering, but I’m less than confident that the CMHT can help. What I am confident of is that I don’t want them back in my life again, taking control away from me and making me feel about an inch tall.
I just remembered another thing taking up space in my head – what do I tell people when I return to work? When they ask me what has been wrong, and I think at least some will, what do I say?
I’ve had my legs in pins because I shattered them when I went go karting.
I had the flu.
I had a nervous breakdown.
I decided to kill myself so my doctor thought it advisable to take a few weeks off work.
Fuck off you nosy bastard.
It’s crowded in my head today. Half sentences and random words are on repeat. They’re really boring me. A song sometimes repeats the first line over and over, nicking words from other songs, until I end up swearing at myself. The words on repeat are matching themselves to my heart rate and my hands keep moving along to it as well. Faces, other people’s voices, they’re making a collage. And I can hear my own voice narrating, FFS.
It’s no wonder that when I feel a lurch in my stomach I can’t tell if it’s hunger, the beginning of a panic attack or a fart.
On that pleasant note, I’ll bid you farewell. The i and o on my keyboard keep falling off, it’s annoying me so I’ll go back to Star Trek.