Anxiety’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw; For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law. He’s the bafflement of Mental Health, the Psychiatrist’s despair: For when they reach the scene of crime – Anxiety’s not there! (Apologies to T.S.Eliot)
I’ve been having weird dreams. Since I returned from Holiday, I’ve felt ill. Almost like flu. My appetite has disappeared, my guts have hurt and I’ve had constant headaches. I developed pain in my knees and ankles, and thought the blocked face feeling and heavy arms were due to Diclofenac gel. Last week I did two busy things: went to John Lewis with my Dad to get carpet samples and look at curtain fabrics, and signed up for an Adult Ed Course followed by dinner with my Brother. I’ve been wiped out ever since. I’ve not washed, my hair has the glassy sheen associated with well oiled leather, and on Saturday I did a poo that looked like a pile of dead eels, but I didn’t feel better. Sunday was sleep. Monday was sleep and Anxiety: the carpet measure people were coming Tuesday Morning and my Dad wanted me to have chosen a carpet. We’ve had the samples a week. I’ve spent most of that week on my back or worried about the Man in the Gouty Chair. Monday I was so knotted I felt like I was floaty in the noggin. Only after telling my Dad that I would not have chosen the carpet by Tuesday AM did I feel ‘normal’. I went to bed very early, woke at about 2.30 am Tuesday, went and got a tea and then tried to sleep again, but failed. Sore joints, sore face, bad thoughts – I didn’t get back to sleep until 8am. Tuesday again was Anxious: waking at 11am my hair was still not washed, but I managed a shower and a very slow, painful dress. The carpet men had been. My Cousin was coming to take my Dad to lunch, I was meant to be volunteering – just me and someone I don’t know, rather than the usual 3 people- and after his lunch, my Dad was going to visit my Brother, so I’d have to make my way home.
The day was hot. Very hot. The afternoon was hard work – heat and lack of staff in the shop. Strange man last thing too. Exhausted – burning eyes and limbs. Caught up in a conversation with someone when I want to go home and get some food. Went to shop, bought food, went home. Tried to think good things on way. Push exhaustion back. But all I could think of is ‘Where did I put my Mum’s Oramorph?’. Oramorph- oral morphine – has, since my Mum’s death, been my comfort blanket*. I reckon I could keep enough down to turn the light out on Bowermanland. My usual Suicidal Ideation involves hanging. I know a lot about it due to my long held morbid interests. I know you have to get drop right, I also know that I have thick, powerful neck muscles, which would mean I’d need more than just a drop to outright kill me and not leave me stuck paralysed or choking to death. In these visions, I am not a vast undignified mass, I have grace and I don’t soil myself as human’s do at the end. That is part of the reason why such fantasies are comforting – because they are fantastic. But the Oramorph File is not a Fairy Tale.
I got home tired. And down. The Down you get with exhaustion. Heat doesn’t like me. I ate – cheesy bread and gelato – healthy! Dad came home and said something – asked about the shop – listened to my grump – did the usual thing of telling me to leave ‘cos I’m not paid. Always the same answer**. Told me something about my Brother and his brood. I went to bed and couldn’t think what was causing my mood (usually after food I perk up). Then I remembered: Wednesday I had an appointment with a Mental Health Nurse. That was the bugger causing the trouble. I wanted this unknown person to help me. I wanted them to help me in a profound and a more direct, quick, way. I’ve been harming myself since January – new in my life. I’ve been made to reduce my Citalopram and have had new meds suggested. And I’ve been thinking constantly of Suicide – the fanciful kind. I want this person to help me with these things. But I also want her to support me with my ESA claim.
The Fear of being thought a Mental Illness Fraud was nagging me. Of being thought a Fraud generally. Seeing a new person scared me. And also, not knowing what help I want. Not really believing that there is help. You see, when I lost my ESA, I lost a tangible sign that there’s something really wrong with me. I’m 6ft tall, I’m a big girl, I’m opinionated, educated… unless you’re very good at looking at bodies, you won’t see anything immediately wrong with me. Yeah, I have bad skin and my eyes go in different directions and the slowness of my walk could be attributed to my being unhealthy/fat. But those are superficial they don’t make me disabled. They don’t make me need help. Many people*** believe that if I just got more sleep and lost weight I’d be fine. Having my ESA was my proof. But when it went, I began to doubt myself. When my Mum got really sick, that magic thing happened where I became invincible. I could stay up 24hrs with her, react properly to stress, care, clean, cook… all the things she’d always done for me. I even had to give her an enema. But it wiped me out. The physical and emotional, and it cracked me as only such experience can. When she was gone I was left with myself, a big mess of a house, and VOID.
I could not fight the DWP decision to remove my ESA in May last year, because the same week my Mum was given her death sentence and I had to shift my stars.
The Mental Health Nurse ended up being amazing. I told her the unvarnished truth, including how I have to empty my own bowels. At the end, she told me she was going to write me a letter for the DWP, and she was going to come to my medical – my WCA. Like that. Magic Fairy. I’ve never had such help, so immediate. I left my appointment and immediately began to worry. ‘What bad thing is going to happen to balance this?’ – I envisioned my WCA where everything goes wrong. Later in the day the Nurse called me to check on our plans. She’d written and posted the letter. Contacted my former Psychiatrist to get new meds prescribed, and also to get me on her books. She’d done everything. But I was still worried. I am still worried.
I’m running, pounding in my chest, on stress. I feel like I’m going to explode. I spent all of today (Thursday) in bed, then showered, ate. But the stress is still with me. Dad mentioned the fucking carpet again, and I had to control myself.
*I have never taken Oramorph as a fun-time drug. I have only ever had it in hospital. I currently have no idea of where I hid my Mum’s vast bottle.
**My Dad does not believe voluntary work is valuable because you don’t get paid. He wants me to be mentally healthy and to do things, but he’d have me quit this because of money. What I really need him to do is just listen and agree with me, as I do him. I need a platitude or two. I only talk to him about it because we must talk together. But he is either brutally dismissive, or not interested. ‘So leave then’ or ‘That’s it, hand in your notice’ is his answer to everything. He’s not very good at just listening for the sake of allowing me to talk. Which I’ve done for him for years.
***Mainly my Dad’s family. Over the years my late Gran and all of that brood have said this. Even my Brother has said it. My Brother being like that was one of the most painful things. One day I’ll tell you the tale of my Sister-in-Law and the List of Inheritable Diseases – and the ironic outcome. My odd-but-necessary behaviour (sleeping on the floor) is seen as ‘eccentric’ or ‘odd’ and also chosen. None of it is chosen – no one chooses to be too tired to get upstairs to their bedrooms, so they sleep under a fucking table.
I’ll leave you with this song about The Fear (Extreme Anxiety): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxPu7XIX2Pc
I was going to write something else, but I can’t fucking remember.