No Olanzapine, 60mg Duloxintine, 100mg Lamtotrigne 2 x daily
How It’s Going
Today I am happy to report that in Wales, where I live, it is living up to its reputation of having a permanent rainy season. Anything is better than that stifling heat.
Basically having a brain back has its down side.
I don’t regret reducing my meds, but I feel a bit sad today. Sitting here, writing about my experiences as a Bipolar sufferer has a way of bringing it home. My life has not been easy. The idea that what I’m saying is being heard has the side effect of making it feel realer than ever.
Yesterday, talking about being a person living on the Welfare, it made me reflect on just how difficult that is for me. At times, it has felt like a worse stigma than having a major mental health condition. Not only do people feel uneasy about associating with someone on the dole, the financial help is certainly not willingly offered. This is well-known, but it only adds to the hardship of being ill, no doubt about it. It makes it twice as hard. Even my last therapist saw it as her role to get me back into work. This was one of the boxes she wanted to tick as proof of my recovery thanks to the work we were engaged in.
I’ve made a list of topics for my blog today. The theme has grown from coming off my meds, to the subject of mental health more generally. Mental health might be more reasonably re-framed as living with mental illness, but somehow that’s a less appealing tag-line.
I’m not sure where to start today. The good thing about talking about my meds, it certainly narrows the field. Scope is never something I have struggled with. It’s more a matter of reigning myself in. In psychiatric parlance, this would be known as tangential thinking, or flight of ideas.
Possible topics that have occurred to me are: psychotherapy, having readers, the side effects of writing a blog and my last relationship. I think I’ll start with that.
My Last Relationship
It’s significant in this context because my last proper relationship (it lasted a year) was someone who was a fellow sufferer of Bipolar.
My last relationship proper was actually with a famous psychotherapist, my ex doctoral supervisor, but this affair only went on for two months. It ended with mutual consent and was relatively painless, compared to the man I fell in love with: My Last Relationship.
Part of the reason I fell in love with T. was because he was a fellow sufferer. Being in the same boat as someone else, someone that has experienced many of the ramifications of living with this condition had a major impact on me. I never felt so understood, or such love for another person. The problem with this was that whilst I had largely accepted my lot in life and perceived the relationship as some kind of silver lining in the cloud, my partner did not. He really wanted to transcend his condition in a way that I couldn’t relate to. He saw it as a source of shame to be eradicated. This meant that I was viewed as similarly stained and in the majority as a source of shame to be hidden from view. This factor was very hard to take on board, and it caused me a lot of pain.
He ended it. He ended it quite a few times, but I always managed to persuade him to take me back and given things another go. Inevitably the end eventually came, bringing with it the most excruciating pain I have ever known. It is no exaggeration to say it hurt like being run over by a lorry, and I know what I’m talking about because I have actually been run over by a lorry. I was lucky to survive. Emotional pain can be easily as hard as its physical counterpart. And I’ve know my fair share of both. Actually I’m not sure sure they can be neatly separated.
This is coming out quite doomy today, which gives you an idea of how I’m feeling.
But when I first started going out with T. it was incredibly exhilarating. Not only was he definetly the most handsome man I had ever clapped eyes on, he had suffered many of the things that I have had to endure. Some might say misery loves company (my last AA sponsor springs to mind) but it really wasn’t like that. There was an incredible feeling of freedom. Because I thought he was so wonderful, the effect was of feeling that I could still be loved, even though I had lived for many years under the crunching weight of isolation and shame.
But it wasn’t to be because for T. I wasn’t the soul mate that he was looking for. T. saw me as a failure, like I said. In the end it turned into the precise opposite of what I had originally envisaged.
Things with professor X were not dissimilar. He was constantly rehearsing ways to make me plight appear more socially acceptable: I was looking for a job, even if I couldn’t get one (living in a tiny town and all). My family were big in theatre (my grandfather was a major player in Royal Variety and my mother was in a well known community theatre company). I was writing a novel. I was an artist.
All of the narratives he came up with to produce for his swanky friends only made me feel more unacceptable. The good thing about the professor though, he wasn’t afraid of my thinking. I could be myself and have a go at him about this need to paint me in a better light. I had been hoping that, as a very accomplished shrink, I would be met with a greater degree of understanding. I was quite surprised that I wasn’t. But all of that said, he didn’t do me any harm, and in many ways he provided a lot that I could have wanted. He bought me loads of beautiful clothes for one thing, and even took me to Claridges for cocktails, which would have been okay if I wasn’t an alcoholic.
So much for finding a soul mate! Finding a soul mate has probably been the defining narrative of my life and has got me into more trouble than you can possible imagine. But that perhaps is for another day!