When a family member has a mental illness, or any illness, frankly, it is important for the family to get educated. Read, talk, research and understand your loved one’s disorder,” said Laura Norman, the clinic’s chief development coordinator and communication specialist. “I cannot understate the important role family plays in getting help so a loved one gets healthy and stays healthy.
Grief has been punching me in the face again lately, in the form of assault by tears. It’s the only way I can think of describing it, they come out of nowhere and leave me feeling winded. Instead of smiling wistfully at memories and reminders, I’m impaled on them. It doesn’t feel remotely cathartic, there’s no sense of relief afterwards, just desolation. All kind of crap is resurfacing, not only the obvious causes of grief. Since I’ve been instructed by my psychiatrist (and a former counsellor) not to focus on the past at all, I continue to distract myself from it all. Distraction good. Thinking bad. So much for Socrates, who said, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Sorry Socrates, I’d love to discuss it, but… Oh look ! A butterfly!
I’m walking on the beach twice a day at the moment. I’m reading, sewing, talking to people, doing chores, but still my own mind finds the time to slap me around. The three friends I have close by are inaccessible for now; one is in a new relationship, one is in another city and the other is in a solitary frame of mind. The other friends I have are too far to drive to until I feel a bit better. I talk to my dog and hug her; it does nothing to assuage the skin hunger. Far but close friends hug me virtually, but arms are better than asterisks. I had to reactivate facefuck to sort some app connections, but didn’t look at it till very recently. Then the notifications began to freak me out, it all felt horribly invasive. Two months off it wasn’t enough; I logged out. I’ve kept the messenger app to stay in touch with people, but I’m in no hurry to get back into the rest of it. I keep thinking back to my shrink telling me that none of the shrinks in the practice use any social networks because of the negative effects. I should probably stay off facebarf permanently. I like the fact that I don’t get manic online anymore. Well, I haven’t for quite a while, but I think staying off facecrap can only be helpful.
The open wound gapes and my bones ache and I wonder how long I’ll be raw for this time. Just call me sashimi. I know, I know, the self pity is almost tangible, but I have to generate my own empathy and sympathy a lot of the time. And then Mother’s Day too… two of those down and so far my approach has been to avoid looking at my social network’s newsfeeds (happy Mother’s Day, happy Mother’s Day, happy Mother’s Day), hunker down and hide out. Astonishing to realise that it’s possible to hide more than I do every other day, but it is. Just call me Mr Havisham. No, second thoughts, just don’t call me at all, I rarely answer the phone.
Death has a life of its own. Grief is violent.
Life changed so fast and then kept changing; I’m still reeling from the quake, and the aftershocks just keep on coming.
Mother’s Day though… feck. I went for a long, fast walk on the beach, which did me good. Then I bumped into a good friend of my mum’s, who totally brushed me off when I told her I was miserable and why. Luckily I could go and weep all over her daughter afterwards, I wouldn’t have coped well at all otherwise. I want the people I care about to have lovely and loving Mother’s Days though; I’m not a complete Scrooge. My dog spent the day on security patrol, getting passed off with every noise in the area. Fortunately she mostly barked under her breath, which is quite fun, because her cheeks puff out like a chipmunk’s with each subdued woof.
My meds have changed a bit, for the better, I think (despite the continuing depression). 400mg lamotrigine, 200mg sertraline, 50mg chlorpromazine, sulpiride prn. I’m off wellbutrin and coming off ritalin. Thank fuck for the sulpiride for anxiety. 6 months’ free therapy as a case study coming up too. Amazeballs. Good to have something to add to both the gratitude list and the recovery toolkit. It’ll be my second case study thing, my psychiatrist wrote up my apparently rare side effects of most meds I’ve tried.
Writing helps a lot to calm the nerves too. And who the fuck taught my nerves to tap dance anyway? Bastard.
I’m Sashimi Havisham.