Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Time for some honesty

I often say I am okay-ish. That is on a good day. The truth is that I am not okay. I have not been okay for over 18 months. I struggle to get out of the house unless it is essential. That's if I have an appointment or I need to do something important. I use on-line shopping to avoid running out of food. My sleep is very disturbed. I was relying on zopiclone to get a reasonable night's sleep and even that began to be less effective. I now rely on Vallium to take away the anxiety that takes over most days. I don't like to rely on medication to survive. I take enough medications as it is. I have no problem taking the extra medications to get me through a few weeks. I don't want them to become part of my life. My typical day is as follows. I usually feel better by the evening and take my evening meds. I turn into bed at 10pm or maybe a bit earlier. I feel quite okay at this time. I have a very restless night and usually wake at about 1am. I toss and turn through the night and finally "wake up" at 5-6am. I usually dream heavily and feel more tired than when I went to bed. When I wake up, it is rare that I can just get up and start my day. I usually have a degree of anxiety that varies from mild to severe. I toss and turn, and it can take up to an hour for me to get out of bed. It is at this time that I can get dark thoughts of various degrees. I eventually get up and about, turn on my lifeline (my computer), make coffee and have breakfast. My mood usually lifts over the morning, especially if I have taken some vallium. The vallium makes my mornings a lot more bearable. I usually do not get out of the house unless I need to attend an appointment with doctor, cpn or pick up medications. I am quite aware that I need to get out more and to get more active. This has not changed in the last two years. My cpn is helping me to find resources that could help. It will not help to say "Pull yourself together", the usual advice to someone who is depressed. I don't have any solutions. If I did, I wouldn't feel so lost, scared and hopeless in various degrees. It is very frustrating being clearly able but apparently locked up in some terrible inertia. I appreciate support from all on-line friends but I need help from people I can actually see in person. Isolation leads to isolation. If I had cancer or a life-threatening disease, it would be different. I would suggest that bipolar disorder is life threatening, given the amazingly high suicide rate. The difference is that bipolar sufferers are often left alone in the community, having to cope for themselves and fight for DLA benefits ... I can't blame lack of money for my inactivity but it is a factor while I live on savings. The government love their low interest rates but they don't consider people who live off savings. They say it benefits people with jobs, house and LIVES... (sorry for the burst of UK politics) Thanks for reading, Clive

Sunday, 20 November 2011

An update on my progress

I was getting pretty frustrated at waking up every day in an anxious state and struggling through the days. It was no life. The slow progress seemed to fritter away. I am very patient but enough already. I am nearly 61 and I want to make something of my remaining active years (I am not quite decrepit yet). However fit you are in body, a messed up mind makes it worthless.
Any ways, I got into see my pdoc early and expressed my concerns as strongly as I could. After asking for help with extra medication, I was finally given some diazapam for the anxiety. I have only been taking 4mg early in the day but my mornings have been a lot better. Maybe it's the placebo effect, but I'll take it. I still haven't got out more but I feel like I am working up to it! Apart from the brief interlude of a vacation in October 2010, I have been in much the same state since May of 2010, various degrees of anxiety or depression. I was making some good progress but now I feel worse than ever. April to June this year was a very low point and I needed crisis team support. I am better than that but not by very much. Sorry for a slightly negative post, but I wanted to be as honest as I could. I am tired of saying I am OK or OK-ish or fine or other euphemisms. We have to find a place where telling the truth isn't whining or complaining. That becomes part of the stigma. I just hope a few days of the extra meds will get me moving. I am seeing my cpn weekly and they want to refer me to a group. My pdoc is supportive but I don't think anyone can really relate to what it is like to lose a lifetime of friends and career. I used to have a great life in a great country and I miss it. This is far worse than being made redundant. No one seems to care. I am not in the statistics. I am not unemployed. I am not getting benefits. I live on savings and the government seems determined to keep interest rates at an all time low. Inflation is higher than it has been. I just wish I could be recognised. I don't spend much money. I just see myself spending my way through my savings and back onto benefits at some point. the trouble is I will be beyond benefits age by then. I didn't mean to drift into a political tirade but I want a voice, at least an an acknowledgement that I exist. I am tired of the politicians telling people to get back to work when there there are clearly no jobs, especially for people with long term problems. I have a degree and I spent 7 years getting knocked back by employers. I was lucky that I could call myself "retired", another convenient euphemism.