Hey, peopleÖ I had no idea you were still reading out there. Iíve been so slack about blogging I thought ya wouldíve given up and gone away.
One of the many things that really suck about being stuck in a long depressive cycle, is that itís so boring, it turns you into such a boring person. It makes it so hard to blog. Because you canít write ďfelt like crap and it was really hard to get out of bedĒ every day. Can you?
The other day I got a thank you note from someone saying that my descriptions of this stuff resonated with her, and made her feel she wasnít the only one. Which was cool. Thatís one of the other things that really sucks about being crazyĖ it feels like youíre so alone in the world.
Anyway, I thought Iíd try and write some more about it. But having said that, there will be times when even writing about the struggle to get out of bed will be too hard. So Iím giving myself the right to blog sporadically, or not, and to write depressing blogs. And if youíre still reading out there, well, then thatís cool.
A few people have emailed or commented on the last post, and I wanted to make it clear that I am off the medications that were causing the mixed states (agitation etc). So Iím probably back to not having ďthe energy and motivation to carry out suicidal plans.Ē Iím no longer scared that I might do something at any moment. Iím just scared because Iím still not stabilised on a medication, and things could get worse again, and I know the support is unlikely to be there.
But right now, less of the panic and anxiety, and back to the usual darkness and misery. Which Iíve been struggling through for years, so I guess Iíll probably keep struggling somehow. Itís just so relentless. Iíve had depressive phases that have lasted for months before, but this has been a year and a half of feeling bloody awful, day after day. I feel like Iím just treading water, trying to keep my nose above the waves, but they keep crashing over me, they keep coming and coming, and my legs are getting so tired. Sometimes I just donít think I can keep going.
And I donít want this to be it. I donít want to put all my energy into barely surviving. What kind of life is that?
I just donít get it. All the pamphlets and books say that if someone says theyíre suicidal, you should always take it seriously. All the information about the medications Iíve been on recently says they can cause an increased risk of suicidality. I have been diagnosed with a condition that has a suicide rate that is more than 20 times that of the general population. Previous medications have triggered mixed states in me. And ďStudies have shown that suicidal thoughts are greatly increased in people in the midst of a mixed state, and the presence of manic activation means a greater risk that these people will have the energy and motivation to carry out their suicidal plans.Ē
And then I go on a new medication. And I start to have anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, irritability, impulsivity, (all known to be possible effects of the medication) on top of the crippling depression I have been battling for months. I feel like Iím completely losing my grip on reality, losing my grip on myself. Like some kind of demon has taken over, like I have no mind or body, all that is left is pain and screaming. During the moments when I manage to have thoughts, I see the same images over and over, 101 ways to kill myself. After a while itís just the one image, the best way, fast and violent.
There are slight lulls, when I still feel extremely distressed, but there are shreds of rationality. During one of these moments, I manage to call the mental health crisis team. I tell them whatís going on. I tell them I feel like Iím losing my grip, Iím scared Iím going to kill myself during one of these blinding attacks. Worse than that, Iím scared I might hurt someone else.
And they say thereís no crisis beds available. They say ďwhy donít you have a cup of tea and go to bed.Ē
I just. Donít. Get it. Hundreds of people commit suicide every year in this country. They are not just numbers, they are real people, who die, real deaths. I donít want to be one of them. I want to get better, I want to stick around because part of me hopes that I will get better. But there have been times, recently, and I think itís been triggered by the meds, when the distress has been completely unbearable. Iíve banged my head so hard Iíve given myself bumps and a black eye. Iíve smashed things I really wish I hadnít smashed. Iím really lucky, my parents, and people from St Andrewís have been there for me, and theyíve looked after me, and I have survived. But it could so easily have been different. I could have become one of those nasty annual statistics. And it could be different next time. That scares me so much.
I donít get it. Why do they tell people to take it seriously, why do they go on about suicide prevention strategies, why have the crisis lines, why bother?! If all they can offer is a cup of tea?
When I was a kid I used to chase thistledown ďfairiesĒ. The rule was, if you caught one, and it still had a seed, you took the seed out and blew the fairy away. If the wind caught it, your wish would come true. If the seed was already missing, or the fairy drifted to the ground, or got snagged on a branch, no wish.
These days Iíve kind of given up on wishes. But sometimes, when Iím feeling really upset, or depressed, or anxious, I remind myself to look up. In the middle of the city, I stop rushing around for a moment, and notice the clouds racing across the sky, or feel the wind. And almost always, thereís the odd thistledown fairy, sailing between the skyscrapers.
How far does the average thistledown fairy fly? There canít be that many thistle patches near the corner of Courtney Place and Taranaki St. Where do they all come from?
Yesterday, I was sitting on a bench behind the law school, drinking coffee with a friend. Weíd picked this particular bench because it was in the shade; the sun had only just disappeared behind the top of the building. Iíd been having a hard day, well, a whole series of hard days. Anyway, during a pause in the conversation, while we contemplated how miserable life can be, my friend suddenly said ďlook at the fairies!Ē There were a few of them drifting past, just near us. And then I looked up.
Like I said, the sun had just ducked behind the building, and there was some thin filmy cloud high up, so there was a bright halo around the sun that we could still see the edge of. And looking towards that bright spot, we could see the fairies, so many of them, dozens, hundreds, thousands, streaming past in the wind. It looked like someone was firing them out from that bright spot over the roof, like a snow machine or something. I think there must have been hundreds of them passing in front of that bright patch every second. As they caught the sun they burned, brilliant white gold, for a moment. Then the ones lower down faded to white and drifted past into the city. But the ones higher up dissolved into the blue of the sky as they past out of the spotlight.
They canít really have all been appearing from that one spot in the sky over the law school, so I guess there must have been millions of them, in every direction, itís just we couldnít see them so high up unless the sun was catching them. It must have been thistle season, peak thistledown release time. It was like they'd decided this was their moment, their chance to invade, to take over the city. I almost expected to wake up this morning and find thistles growing in every crack and crevace of the city.
My friend said they looked more like angels than fairies, and they did, glowing so brightly against the blue sky, dancing and spinning and speeding past on the Wellington wind.
So today Iím wandering through the city, imagining that there are countless wishes and angels, whizzing through the air above me. I only have to look up, and trust theyíre there.