Wednesday, January 31, 2007

whose life is it anyway

I don't want to do this anymore. This has been two years of breathing without living, and I am just so tired of it. Nothing seems to work anymore, and having the best family, p-doc, t-doc, job....just makes me feel worse. All the resources that are being wasted on me could be given instead to someone who can use them properly.

I am so scared of trying and failing. And so scared of succeeding as well. My most persistent personal belief is that there is nothing after death, that the spirit dies when the body does. But when I'm trying to accept the horrible things that the world does to good people, and to animals, often the only way I can come to terms with it is by believing in reincarnation - that the good and the bad that you do in one life will determine some of what happens in the next one. And if this is really true, then I guess that taking a privileged upbringing, a loving and supportive family, some very good friends, and the best mental health resources in the world.... and wasting them through suicide - can't see that that would give me any brownie points for the next time round.

As with just about everything in bipolar... we vacillate between extremes. Just wish that I could have a while at the other emotional extreme. Depression sucks. Two year old depression sucks even more. Every different therapy, every different drug - I keep believing that maybe this will be the one. But they never are, are they. All just bricks in a pointless wall.

I have the pool hose, the meds (as backup, to ensure that I'm flattened and comatose before the CO does it's job), the vehicle, the location. Only thing that isn't decided yet is the date.

Maybe the Nardil will be the one that works?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hey, who stole half of january!!

Seems to have disappeared way too fast, somehow.

My fortune cookie for the day told me 'you will achieve success by doing things today rather than tomorrow'. I know, I am procrastinating big time, but if it's measured against mood, it mostly ends up being things that there isn't any point in doing now. If you can't see a future, there's very little that needs to be prepared for it, apart from trying to keep things neat and tidy, and understandable for your executor.

My kick in the ass for today was going to have the dressing on my massively purple nose checked. The surgeon does a lot of major reconstruction work, and one of the guys I was waiting with was a young man of about 25, who had been zapped by 1200A of electricity. He had major burns on 80% of his body, spent 3 months in a coma, and still has a whole lot of treatment to go through. Makes one little nose kind of fade in comparison.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

how appropriate

According to the Urban Dictionary of slang, Jcat is
'California Prison slang for a mentally Ill person. Shortened from Catagory "J" (Meaning Mental Patient/Inmate) to Jcat.'

Ha even my long-used nickname is whacko!

Friday, January 26, 2007

how many times a day do you touch your nose?

As I'm painfully discovering tonight, way more often than you think you do! Today was the great nose op, which all went smoothly. The surgeon said though that he'd had to cut much deeper than he anticipated, but he and the lab are happy that they got it all, although that's what they thought 5 years ago, and it still reoccurred. From what I can find out though, BCC often redevelops in the same place, even if it is completely excised.

My nose was numb for the first few hours, but since then is sore as all hell. What is really annoying me though, is that I keep touching it or bumping it accidentally. And I can see the sticking-up bits of the dressing in the corner of my eye, so half the bumping is me unconsciously wiping whatever is on my nose away - after which I swear a lot.

BTW...the plastic surgeon is the same one who, when I saw him 5 years ago, was so sweet and so cute that I plucked up all my courage and asked him to have dinner with me if he wasn't involved. After which his receptionist phoned me to say that he was involved. I almost thought of going to see someone else instead of him, but it would have made everything a lot more complicated. So instead, I just had my fingers crossed that he's forgotten about that little excercise in self-humiliation. He didn't refer to it at all, but maybe he was just being polite. And yes, he is still really sweet and cute and so so sexy. There aren't that many people who look good with those funny little hairnets on, but he is definitely one of them! I know that lusting after your doctor is pretty common, but really. Do I have to keep getting such eminently sexy ones to start off with?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

very, very nervous

Surgeon's rooms phoned earlier to say that he wanted me on the table tomorrow, but they hadn't yet been able to get pre-authorisation from the medical aid. Without that, I'd probably end up paying for it myself, which I can't really afford at the moment. So I spent 30 mins on the phone with their customer service dept, while we went round in circles about how if I didn't have a histology report, they weren't going to authorise it, because without that, there is no proof that it's cancer. Right,guys...I'm just a surgery freak who wants to have my nose mutilated and scarred even more than it is already because of the cancer. Ooooh, yeah. Spoke to the rooms again who sent the medical aid the report from 2001, and said that it was a recurrence of the same tumour, which it is, and medical aid was happy with that.

So within about two hours I went from knowing that it will happen some time, to having it booked and scheduled for tomorrow. Now I'm really nervous, because if he is rushing it like this, it might be worse than I already think it is.

At least I saw p-doc this morning, so I have had a hug for the day. Have now gone up to 50mg Cipralex (Lexapro), with no effect. Not even side-effects. We're now adding Tertroxin, a thyroid hormone to the mix, because sometimes there can be low T4 to T3 conversion, and it can cause depression, and you can't test T3 levels in the brain. Or at least that seems to be what I've read. So we'll give that a go for a couple of weeks as well as the extra Cipralex.

And after that, wheee! Nardil. Maoi diet sucks. I tried Parnate last year, with no joy, but from what I can find, Nardil is more effective although harder on the body. Which means being really really adherent to the diet, and that excludes about 90% of the food I live on at the moment. But giving up salami and cheese for the rest of my life does at least imply that I will have one. At the moment every day contains a few random thoughts about just had enough of this and why not go suck exhaust pipe now instead of dragging on like this. This isn't living, it is existing, barely.
P-doc only asked for the med collection about 10 times in 30 mins. He got me to agree that he can have them if I show up happy in the next month. If I am happy he can have them with the greatest of pleasure - I won't need them then. Until then, I need to have them as a supplement to the CO, and to make sure that I'm unconscious. I hate myself even more for all the organising/planning I've done, and I really wish things could be different, and that I wouldn't be so close to the edge all the time.
Until then the major aim for every day is to endure it in the hope that tomorrow is the one where I wake up singing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

stupid question time

OK...hopefully some total strangers will give me an opinion on this one, because at the moment I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about it.

So, here goes. Most of what I have done for the last two and a half years has been in the wildlife rehabilitation field, so this is now my 3rd summer of it. And what happens with wildlife, is that, depending on species, anytime from early spring thru to early autumn, they have babies. Of our roughly 8000 cases last year, I'd guess that 90% of them were younglings of one kind or another, for a whole bunch of reasons. Nests blow down, babies fall, fledglings jump, cats and dogs bring them in, trees get cut down, houses get demolished. Whatever. We get lots. In the 1st summer I was still pretty unsure of myself, and I can't remember bringing much home for extra TLC. I also wasn't getting that many rescue calls, after hours etc.

Last year and this year though, there are a quadrillion people out there with my phone number, and they pass it on etc. And depending on location and time etc I get a whole lot that I fetch or are delivered, and need care for a day or so till I can take them through to the centre. Then there are my own sweet babies - the feral pigeons and mynahs that the centre doesn't treat, and I collect them from all over and raise them. The pigeons I release at home, the mynahs are hand-reared as pets (they are so, so clever! and funny! and lovable! after all, the reason they came to the country centuries ago was as pets for lonely migrant sugarcane workers), but they all need regular feeds. And then, when the centre is packed out, especially over Dec when we have less volunteers available than usual, there are also the extra needs babies. Some of the birds have really fast metabolisms, and need feeding every 30 mins. Lots of them need feeding for longer hours than the centre is staffed. The mammals need night feeds. So the more senior volunteers are often expected to "bring our work home with us". He he.. that sounds good! What it means though is a lot of us travel with babes of one kind or another for about 6 months of the year.

Anyway, my very special duckbuddy who I am having coffee with tomorrow (yay! been short on duck rations the last couple of weeks!), told me earlier that me bringing birds to coffee places - in this case, an open air garden shop place - makes her uncomfortable. That she sees people look disapprovingly at me when I feed the birds.
Who all get syringe-fed, mostly in their carry-basket. I haven't ever noticed any disapproval - normally the reverse. People want to see them, and touch them if they can, especially when they have kids.

So the question for the night : would you (keep wanting to say y'all thanks to red,redwhine's GG!) have any objection to seeing baby birds or animals in a restaurant where you were eating? Bearing in mind they don't get to fly around or anything like that. Would you mind if they were brought to your house, etc?

I really don't know - it's never been something I'd have a problem with. On the other hand, I find women breastfeeding in public pretty gross. And I hate it when I am sitting in a smoking area and people bring kids in - makes me feel bad for polluting their lungs, even if it is at their parents instigation. But I wouldn't mind dogs or any other animal being around while I eat.

Well...if anyone reads this...let me know what you think?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

seeing as it's sunday

I've been reading through Red Red Whine's blog . Damn, it's depressing! That girl is so so funny, and she writes so well. And reading her posts just makes me want to delete everything and start again. Sigh.

One of her links is to a site that matches you up with different religions according to your answers and priorities on a whole bunch of questions (BeliefNet). This is what I ended up with, some surprises there!

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
3. Liberal Quakers (98%)
4. Reform Judaism (96%)
5. New Age (88%)
6. Secular Humanism (88%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (82%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (81%)
9. Theravada Buddhism (79%)
10. Sikhism (78%)
11. Bahá'í Faith (70%)
12. Jainism (69%)
13. Orthodox Quaker (68%)
14. Taoism (64%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (61%)
16. Scientology (59%)
17. New Thought (56%)
18. Islam (53%)
19. Nontheist (53%)
20. Hinduism (45%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (43%)
22. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (37%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (35%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (32%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (25%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (24%)
27. Roman Catholic (24%)

So I guess mostly what it shows is that my religious/spiritual beliefs are just as confused and contrary as the rest of me. Actually, they change radically with mood, mostly depending on how close to dying I feel - the closer that is, the less I believe in any kind of redemption. When life is good, I like to think that we get to carry the points we earn here forward to another go round. That's kind of a self-serving range, isn't it?

Friday, January 19, 2007

loser...i am such a total loser...

There is something about a Friday night, isn't there. Even if you've been out until dawn every night of the week, and have schemed and planned and lied to carve out a Friday night at home for yourself...there will still be a fleeting thought that if you were really a great person you wouldn't be home alone on a Friday night...??

So if you are an prime example of pond-scum/sea-mud/whale-shit, and are really hating yourself every second of every day...etc. Then Friday night is just about the most hateful time of all.

Wipeout, big time. P-doc has been really pleased because I decided to stick to my family's customary no-alcohol-in-January resolution. Normally done to recover from the christmas excesses, in my case I'm basically doing it because p-doc says he'd rather I didn't drink, that it doesn't help anything, and because I know that over the past year I have been drowning my sorrows way too much.

I'm sorry J - my abstinence since the 2nd of Jan has just ended spectacularly. Badly.
Saw t-doc only achievement for the whole day, other than feeding birds almost often enough. Not a good one, I just about didn't talk, cried lots, what little I said was stupid and inane. Came home. Got so restless that I eventually cut. Both parts of left arm, the normal geometric pattern on bicep. And the three 20cm parallel stripes on the forearm - the really humiliating have-to-explain-a-lot-can't-hide-at-all ones. What p-doc calls the team Adidas tattoo. And then I went and bought a bottle of vodka. Have cased about half of it. Didn't help. Can't help.

Oh yeah - almost forgot this morning's fun time. As a good 'ol pink-skinned blondish type growing up in Africa in the '60s, we were always outside playing and swimming and doing stuff. And 30 years on we are reaping the rewards for our enjoyment. Had a basal cell carcinoma cut away from my nose about 5 years ago. Part of the total apathy for the last 6 months has been ignoring the fact that it was back, but eventually I made myself call for an appt with the surgeon. So now I have an impending cut-away of about 1.6 cm square, with an insert of some kind of stuff and a graft from the back of my ear to cover it. What fun. If it wasn't on my face I'd just leave it. Ah hell - so apart from fat and fucked up and a total loser whackhead idiot I get to die ugly too.

Hey, at least my postmortem plans have never included an open-coffin funeral.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

disappearing weeks

One of the strange things about major depression is the time distortions. Every minute seems to drag on for eternity, but the days and weeks slip past unchangingly. The only constant is the feeling of having accomplished nothing in a day/week/month.
Maybe even year, if 2006 is an example. I guess the feeling is constant because I literally have accomplished almost nothing. Except surviving.

Saw p-doc today, and we somehow veered onto the topic of google, and the fact that google somehow saves all the search terms used and can retrieve them. And that the searches done were used in court to convict someone of killing his wife. I mentioned the Shrink Rap Top 10 for 2006 and listed the ones I could remember. He found the topic of girls having sex with fish particularly interesting, so we chatted about the possibilities of that for a bit. And then the 'how to worry your psychiatrist' phrase reminded him that I didn't bring him my meds collection - yet again - and I reminded him that I had said I wouldn't. He told me I'm responsible for half his grey hairs, and the other patient only worries him as much as I do because he has a gun. Mentioned that I have one too, and have had for the last 20 years - which he said will give him even more grey hairs. I pointed out that if I haven't used it on myself or anyone else yet, the chances are that I never will, but he still figured that people with psychiatric illnesses shouldn't have guns. Ha ha, one of ex-p-doc's greatest interests is guns, and we spent many happy hours debating makes and models, and gun-related subjects. Current p-doc seemed to think that that was even stranger....

Monday, January 15, 2007

does the fortune cookie crumble?

I bought two fortune cookies yesterday. Both of them said

"Rather than a lot of words, say a few words; rather than a few words, say
good words"

Maybe this is the universe's comment on my blog?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

antisocial days

Saw someone asking about prosocial activities, haven't seen the term before. But I guess its fair.

These have been exceedingly a/s days. For the whole weekend, I have talked only to dogs, cats and visiting birds. Am going to be releasing the three mousebirds tomorrow at a really great garden site for them, and the temptation to blow kisses on 2-legs's tummy is almost irresistable. Other than that doing it would negate the 3 months of completely withholding contact, so that hopefully he wont go and sit on the wrong persons shoulder. I have had some sms chatting to Duckling, my psycho buddy. And I've been ignoring calls from rehab friend. I am still way too cross with her to talk without exploding. On Monday, she was at the centre (about 35 kms away), I was at home, she lives about 10 blocks from me, I asked her to please bring home two mynahs for me. Note...bring home, not fall in love with or anything. Not even feed if she couldn't bear to do that. I know she doesn't like the mynahs, I know that strictly speaking they are not treated by our rehab centre. She refused. I drove all the way across town, to pick up one. The other had been euthanased before I got there. So while she feels that she has moral virtue on her side, I feel that all she has on her side is a dead bird that didn't need to die. And I guess, she gets the dead friendship too. Stupid maybe, but given that I do an awful lot of pick-ups and favours for her, just occasionally I'd like the big favour I ask to be granted.

Harummph. Think today I am undergruntled extremely.

Friday, January 12, 2007

eeek a gap!!!

...which reminds me of the best ever band-name. Used to have a fun competition going with a friend of mine (way way way back in the days before instant research via the net we had to actually WORK to find new names..). For quite a few months, there was a clearcut winner, with a band called Eeek!AMouse! or something close to that. Hey, thats about 20 years ago now, can't remember the exact punctuation for a band whose music I could never ever find. I did try though, had an order in at every good music shop in town....

So, three days blog-free. No good reason, other than just being a boring stupid and useless git. Doing the same as always. Catching/fetching/delivering little birds and animals. In between psych appointments. For the last 13 months my entire life has been defined by seeing p-doc, seeing t-doc, taking a med-driven timeout. And in between, I do the animal bits. Oh, and the paying IT bits as well.

Actually, not always in between. In Feb last year I'd been hitting the wall for a while. P-doc's first question was always 'did you bring your pyjamas?'. As in, was I going to call it enough and camp out in hospital for a bit? So I finally said yes, farmed out all my birds, arranged good care for the cats and dogs, and checked in.

Of course, given that 99% of JHB didn't know this, I kept getting calls about birds. Most of them I could redirect, but about 10 days in, I got a call for a baby mynah that I just couldn't get anyone else to take. So after a few calls, I arranged that someone who could feed it overnight would take it, someone else would collect him in the middle of rush hour traffic, bring him to me, and also pick up all the vital foodstuff on the way. And deliver him to me in the hospital.

Took two days for anyone to realise that a bird was sharing the ward. And then it wasn't because of anything he or I had done. Just some really whackhead psycho bitch who decided she hated me because I love my p-doc. And because he doesn't pander to attention-seeking the way her doc does. As in...ten urgent messages, 'i think i have to cut', 'i really want to cut', 'i cant stop wanting to cut'....every 5 mins, while p-doc facilitates the behaviour by saying 'oh no darling patient, don't do that. go sit with the nurses for a couple of hours, and everytime they try to do their work, just scream about how you need their devoted attention'. I'm sorry, but that was really the way patient, p-doc and nurses reacted.

I know cutting is really gross and stupid behaviour. But if I really end up having to do it, then I think the way my p-doc handles it is the best. He asks, looks at cuts, makes sure they don't need medical attention, teases the shit out of me because (as he puts it), I am really good at it - can carve geometric patterns in my bicep that hurt like hell, bleed like hell,(leave scars sometimes unfortunately), and I keep them neat and clean enough that they don't fester. He handles them exactly the way I'd like - it's not meant as attention-seeking, not meant to hassle people. Just a really ugly and stupid way of venting.

But with sicko Air-head Aur...the fact that my p-doc and I had agreed on a way of coping that (not being a bitch here, but...) made her p-doc's dramatic reaction really stand out as being pure attention-seeking/facilitating....that was first reason she hated me. Second was that I said straight out that p-doc was way sexy, and that in a different time/space I'd be jumping his bones anywhere I could, and this somehow seemed to bring out some serious latent aggression, because she was incredibly proud of being a 27 year old virgin, whose fiancee of nearly two years hadn't even got close to sex. I respected her position - she didn't respect mine.
And Charlie the mynah was the casualty. I only discovered a fortnight later that all the complaints had been hers, and that all except one were outright lies.

But I reckon that never before, never since, has a small bird been a patient in a five star private hospital. Yo Charles!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

the devil finds work for idle hands

Well...not quite. More like the angels, last night.

In this case, an angel with beautiful white-feathered wings. Really. This isn't a hallucination, or a psychotic break or anything like that.

As I was about to cut my arm, my cell phone rang. Because of my IT job, for which I am on permanent callout, I have to answer the phone - especially when I don't recognise the number. It was a woman, whose family had just found a pure white baby pigeon walking down the road...all by himself, in the dark, not flying....

They were willing to bring it to me, but I thought I'd use the opportunity to work off a bit of tension by driving too fast, along a fairly good road. So I went and fetched him, got given a box of Swiss chocolates as a thank you, and heard from the man who had seen him first about his new business, that had begun trading at New Year. His emblem is a white Roc, the mythological bird - so he saw the pigeon as being a good omen for the business. Didn't tell him that it was also intervening in my bad habit.

So thank you, little Roc. (I name the birds while they are in my care, mostly just so that I can differentiate between them, and keep records of their care. Not because I am a bunnyhugger. Although I am.)

And today was just about 8 hours of travelling around town, fetching birds, delivering a few to the centre, fetching a few more. The rehab centre that I volunteer for doesn't treat either Indian Mynahs or Feral Pigeons, as both are regarded as non-indigenous species. So I have a roaring under-the-counter care system going for both species, as they are among my most favourite birds. The down side of that is a day like today, where my net bird population has risen by 7 "illegals", and 2 temporary residents, all needing hand-feeding and/or gastric tubing.

One way of keeping out of trouble, I guess.

Monday, January 8, 2007

i wish that weeks didn't have to start with monday

Caution. I think this is going to end up being what they call a triggering post on some of the interesting sites I've been to. As in...if you are sitting with your sharp object of choice right next to you, maybe you should skip this one.

The weekend stayed crap, although that was probably a given, after Friday nights stupidity and hysteria. I left a message on p-doc's office phone asking if I could have an appointment today (intended to reach his receptionists, not him). Sent him an email saying it was really not going great but that I didn't want to talk to stand-in. That was about 40 minutes before I phoned her anyway. The rest of the weekend was just numbness and post-sedative vacuum.

Saw t-doc this morning, had to confess to Fri, and that my parents are questioning where we go from here. As in, "now that you've spent another year being sea mud, shouldn't we try something else?" Subtext being : "given that we are basically paying your medical expenses plus more, we think you should be doing something different, and can use financial coercion to direct that". Part of what was boiling over on Fri was the question of what I'd do if it does come to that. Easy answer is that I will increase my mortgage(currently at 0), and that would cover docs and drugs for a couple of months. Unfortunately, that would also be the end of family peace and togetherness, so it's not quite so easy. T-doc said that she is more than happy that I look at all possibilities, including seeing someone else as well, and that if it came to that, she would write-off the costs. Which made me cry all day, but I couldn't do that to her.

And then I spent most of the day hoping that p-doc's office would call. Theoretically, he employs someone whose primary task is to call the 'shit list' (I think they call it something bland like 'daily phone check') and make sure that we aren't totally losing it, most days of the week. Didn't get that, didn't get appt. Too embarrassed to call again, because I'd end up just crying. And feeling really loathsome cos they didn't phone even after I left Fri night's miserable message.

So now am sitting with razor blade on the keyboard, just watching it. It is such an ugly, moronic thing to do, and I still don't really understand why I end up doing it. Other than as punishment for being such a totally unloveable bitch. And a loser. And a miserable asshole. Not that cutting helps with any of that. It just makes it more unlikely that I will ever get into a position where I get naked with someone, because it's inexplicable to anyone who doesn't do it. But somehow, once the really sore bit is past, just watching the blood run down my arm seems to bring some kind of calmness. Meditation through mutilation?

And in between t-doc this morning and now, I had coffee with duck-buddy for first time in about 3 weeks. She is also not doing well at all, so mostly we just sat and made cynical wisecracks about what losers we are. But it was good to see her anyway.

Then I went to catch and relocate what turned out to be a Cane Rat that was trapped in someones bathroom. They are rodent-type mammals, but weigh in at about 5 kg, and can get up to 60 cm long not counting the tail. And they have large teeth as well, and bad temperaments. Sometimes feeling nihilistic works well for rehab - you just couldn't care less anyway, so storming into a closed area to catch large biting things is easy. I mean hey, I wouldn't mind if it leaped up and ripped open my jugular, so why should I worry about it sinking its incisors into my sandal-clad foot? So...after netting him and taking him through to the centre, he seemed to be healthy enough, and was taken straight out to one of our release sites, a nature conservancy about 30 km's out of town. At least I did something constructive today.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

not a good night, not at all spite of everything that I've written both here and other places, last night was such a wipe-out that I ended up calling boyshrinks stand-in. I've seen her a couple of times when I've been in hospital, and like and respect her. That was around midnight, after I'd taken quite a few extra sleeping tabs, just to try get myself to sleep, but without much effect.

It was one of those idiotic calls, because I wasn't going to go to the hospital, and I'd already taken more meds than I should have, so she couldn't really do much except acknowledge that I was kind of distraught and then tell me to go to bed, and to come see her in the morning if I wanted to.

Needless to say, I was too embarrassed to do that. I've been trying really hard not to cut myself, which is one of the usual ways to blow off the emotional steam kettle. If I'd let myself do that earlier in the day it might have helped, but by 23h00 I was way beyond the release of cutting - I would have ended up doing really visible and vicious cuts all over my forearms (mostly, I can keep it to my bicep, where it's not so visible). Not sure which is more humiliating, but at least calling her needs less explanation than the blade marks do.

And in spite of having had almost 12 hours of sleep before I finally managed to wake up, I am feeling so empty and dead that I will probably be in bed by about 9 o clock.

Some days I can understand quite clearly why I hate myself. Cos I really am a total asshole.

Friday, January 5, 2007

she was waiting for her mother at the station...

Oh shit. Having a Shawn Phillips retrospective. How come I never realise it at the start??, that whoever I'm listening to repeatedly, at home and in the's almost always not good.

Mostly I see it about 3 days into the lost world, when I realise I keep driving places and never seeing where I'm going 'cos I'm crying too much.

How much of the theory about how really close women friends atune their cycles to one another is believable? OK, so I've never discussed too much of my menstrual cycle with female housemates, but at the moment my best buddy Duckling and I are so attuned emotionally that it is scary. We don't see it as empathy - rather, it's a confessional thing. When we eventually say to each other that we're free falling into hell - almost always turns out that the other one of us has been spiralling out and out, and trying not to down the buddy on the way. I do believe that when the movement is upward - ha fucking ha! - that we'd be there together. Just that in the last two years there ain't been so much of that. As in almost zero - ok, in truth..about 36 hours. She is a rapid-cycling mixed state BP. So her moods are sometimes transient and hard to judge. And occasionally psychotic.

Sometimes it really helps to be able to tell someone what a loser I am, and to know that they can really empathise, not because of training, or not because they care. But because they really do know how it feels.

So at the moment, we don't talk too much, because neither of us wants to drag the other down any further. Hey ya anyway.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

the best part of this week... that I got to see my p-doc today. Seeing as he and t-doc have a first name almost the same, and seeing as she's always been affectionately known as girl-shrink, he's also known as boy-shrink. No disrespect intended.

It's been a long, long month since I last saw him, and while I wholeheartedly agree that he deserves a holiday more than anyone else I know, I've been trying to keep my head down and just endure the days until he came back.

Funnily enough, Shrink Rap posted yesterday on covering her practice while she occasionally gets a bit of private life. Boyshrink carries a pager, and three (!!) cell-phones. Or it might be 4 by now. If you want him out of hours, you need to page, and he will then call back asap. He doesn't respond to any of the phones, those are purely to call with. The hospital where he admits has 5 shrinks using it, and they cover weekends from Fri afternoon till Mon am, for each other - so he works one weekend out of five. When he is away, either one of the others will stand in, or he will arrange for someone else to cover. I don't call unless it's a really boring but needed med query. Don't really have much to say to anyone else, not about anything that matters.

The only thing I don't like about him....
- is that he is my doctor. It's not transference, cos that normally takes longer than about 5 minutes, but I've been in love with him since I met him. There is only one criteria that he falls short (heehee) on, and that's that he would be absolutely and completely perfect if he was about 5 inches taller. Unfortunately, apart from the professional bit, he's also married - and if he was the sort of man who'd overlook either of those, he wouldn't be the sort of man that I love him for being.

One of the nicest things about him...
- is that he does know how I feel, and hasn't made any kind of issue about it. And he also knows how much I need physical contact at the moment, and still gives me a quick hug on the way out.

Welcome back, J - I've missed you a lot.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

the unpaid job, fun and not so fun

Last time that I dropped out of IT was mid 2004, although it had been about 6 months of planning. My really wonderful parents had suggested to me that maybe a less stressful job might help, and had offered to subsidise it until I could get some part-time income. My major loves in life are reading and animals, so after a bit of investigating of the book side, I approached the most well-known and respected wildlife rehab centre in the town where I live. Took a bit longer, but eventually I started to work for them as a full-time volunteer.

Since then, I was rehired by my old company as a contractor, to support one of their major clients - who had been "my" client for 5 years. Only took 4 months for my successor to stuff it up pretty badly....stop! gloating is ugly! smack self on wrist...**. since then I've been contracting part-time in IT, working most of the time in rehab.

The last year has been doing not enough of either.

Almost every day has been a struggle to get out of bed, although mostly I try make it up by 07h30. I have to, to feed whichever animals and birds are living with me.

There are 6 permanent residents - Whizzer, aka "big dog", cross GSD weighing in around 57 kg, almost 10 years old, suffering with arthritis and mast cell cancer. Zac is also almost 10 - where have the years gone to?? - and he's a highly pedigreed Border Collie, who was badly abused as a puppy. When he came to us, he'd been living on the same farm as Whiz and I, and we knew he would fit into the family, but we were his 4th home in 18 months. Years on, when he has never been hit once, he still flinches at sudden movements. Basically though, he's just a little love puppy.

And then the cat pack. My much loved Pushkin, who died a week after her 20th birthday, had been an only cat - and insisted on staying that way too! After losing her, I swore never to have an only cat ever again, and adopted Toby and Tessa, who are now 5. Brother and sister, and while Tess is a gorgeous grey tabby, Tobes got the looks in that family! He is a tabby-point siamese, with incredible blue velvet eyes, stripey tail, feet and mask, and creamy-grey coat. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, though. Stuart and Samuel are brothers, about 2 now. They were part of a feral litter that I rescued from an office block, and with no intention of getting another cat at all, the next thing I knew was that my local vet had found them a good home. With me. Damn..took them to her cos I didn't want more cats! They are both pure white, but Sam has 'odd eyes', one blue, one yellow, while Stuey has both being yellowy-green. Normally referred to as the boy-monsters...while they shred, knock over, climb on any available objects. Oh yeah... there are a few fish too. So far they have survived being treated as kitty-tv by Stu. He watches them for hours, but has only fallen into the tank about 6 times.

Birdy inhabitants vary from week to week, so I'll post about them often, but not many are here for longer than a few weeks at a time.

While I mostly get out of bed on time, after first feeds, I end up sleeping in the bath, or just wasting most of the day in semi-sleep. Sometimes I get as far as doing a couple of tasks...sometimes just being is way too much. I have cut down drastically as far as the number of birds I take on personally goes, but sometimes I sit and cry because just feeding 2 or 3 of them uses all the effort I have.

Sometimes just breathing uses way more than I have.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

so who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

I am, definitely. My personal wolf is Bipolar 2 depression, and for the last two years it's been biting hard.

When you say Bipolar, most people think of what used to be called manic-depressive illness. BP2 is the boring relative. In the 'up' periods, known as hypomania, we get to be basically normal - for some with a bit of irritability. For me it's just a good mood, with a bit of energy. What I blow on the credit card is generally less, because I follow through on whatever I buy. I tackle things like redoing house plants, but after I've gone out and bought new plants, pots, soil etc, I actually get down and do the job. Whereas when I'm down, the wretched plants are quite likely to die without ever making it into the house, never mind into their designated pots.

Worst things for me are :
- suicidality...24x7
- guilt over everything that has gone wrong in the entire universe
- apathy - I sleep whenever possible, and when I'm not asleep I don't do much either
- exhaustion
- anhedonia
- anti-social...I get cornered into agreeing to see people, and end up lying to get out of the arrangements
- did I mention guilt yet?
- alcohol abuse as escapism
- cutting

And the most frustrating is that I have nothing to be depressed about. I have a loving and supportive family, good friends, great work, the best psychiatrist and psychologist in town, access to good medical care and drugs etc. And none of that is enough to keep away the wolf.

I was depressed and hell to live with as a teenager, and if I think back, I can see the BP pattern emerging then, although I kind of got through it somehow. A few good years, and then a period of six months which was about the closest I have gotten to manic. At the time I just looked at it as living at my full capability - challenging job, lots of excercise, lost huge amount of weight, got involved with a man that I worshipped. Got uninvolved. And the whole house of cards came down.

Since then I've never really got it together again. There have been a few relationships, but only with men that were not at all long term prospects. There've been a couple of jobs, but nothing that I've ever done more than minimum expectations. That hurts a bit, cos I used to be so hot, so brilliant at what I did.
There's been some travelling, and two periods of dropping out of IT for more 'amenable' jobs. And I've pretty much failed at those too.

There's been a lot of psych hospital stays, lots of drugs, lots of ECT. Lots of psychotherapy. Lots of trying alternative meds and methods. Lots of times where something has worked for a few months, and I've gotten my life together for a while.

And lots of times where I go to sleep OK, and when I wake up the whole lot has gone to shit again. In 2005 I had about 6 weeks where a new drug, new doc worked nicely.
In 2006 I had 4 good days in May. This year I don't think I'll get to May, unless something really kicks in. Just too much, too long this time.

I wake up every day and wonder if this is going to be the good one. Or the last one.