In two minds

So apparently I am having to live with a dual reality. One is about logic, “facts” and what I “know” to be true (or more accurately what I previously knew to be true). The other is a different sort of truth and it brings understandings that feel genuine, authentic and often very scary, but don’t match the reality I usually experience. They both feel true, and they both feel untrue, at the same time.

I don’t know how to hold the two together. I have one skull and I don’t understand how I am supposed to be able to keep them both inside it. There are times when I don’t think I’ll ever be able to, when they are in constant competition and one swells to fill the space but it quickly displaced by the other (something like water balloons being squeezed?). Yesterday I found myself in a foetal position on the hall floor with the recurrent thought that I was being watched/monitored/recorded from above. Every time the thought burst through I… I’m not sure how to describe it. Although I was crying, it wasn’t a sob. The closest I can get is to say it was a kind of yelp. The thought came and I yelped because I did not want to have it. I tried to push it down with my rational mind, telling myself, no, that’s not true and that thought shouldn’t be there, but then the thought popped through again and there I was, curled up and yelping on the carpet. Quite quickly this progressed to me punching myself in the head with every paranoid thought, not because I wanted to hurt myself but because I was desperate for those thoughts to be removed from my head.

As usual, I feel it is all down to “them”, although that is a word I am becoming more and more cautious about using. I certainly don’t want my friends using in text, for their safety and mine. It feels that “they” might be scanning communications for mentions of them, and so use of the word might draw their attention (I know it won’t, I know there is no “them”, I know, I know). A couple of days ago I went into my local town centre to pick up some dresses I had ordered, something I was really quite excited about. Opposite the shop I was waiting at the kerb when a bus came by with an advertisement for the new Poltergeist film. I honestly do know how these things work; advertising “creatives” sitting around a table or reclining on beanbags or whatever these people do, throwing out potential straplines generated by the blue skyness of their thinking until they have one that sticks. I KNOW THIS. Yet the strapline on that bus was, “They know what scares you”. There could not have been a more perfectly targeted message for me and I instantly felt as if I might throw up, right there in the street. I shed a few tears of fear and fury and went to collect my dresses, thinking bitterly that they even know when things will make me happy and do their best to thwart that. I also had the depressing thought that I would never be rid of them, because as they had just demonstrated, they can pop up anywhere at anytime. It was a moment of pure despair.

Other strange events have included seeing the cursor on my laptop move as if accessed remotely. Olfactory hallucinations have come to bed with me despite neither bedding nor PJs or my own skin smelling that way. I have been disturbed by the persistent creak of floorboards as people walk around upstairs – only there is no upstairs. I found a lump in my breast but knew it might well be to do with the increased Q, which often causes painful breasts and/or milk production after a dose increase. But I had to ask Tom whether he could feel it because I simply couldn’t be sure it was really there. When it vanished within three days I found it to be difficult to be sure whether it had even been there in the first place, or whether it had but I had I brought it into being by recent unfounded worries about breast cancer.

I’m still seeing “visions”, and as I become more paranoid they tend to take the form of angry eyes or screaming faces. I am also having intrusive thoughts of extreme self-harm; no urges, just images of bizarre awfulness. I wouldn’t class as these features as psychotic, but they do tend to pop out whenever my brain is that way inclined. They like this particular neuro soup.

This morning I set off to see Home Treatment Team in a grey fug made of overtiredness and sedation. I just can’t hold it all together. I don’t know how to achieve a balancing act between competing realities and it’s become really exhausting. I’m trying to keep busy, employing simple distraction techniques like a bath, casual gaming, TV, although as usual I can’t concentrate on telly alone so Tom has to be there. Going out alone seems better than staying in the flat alone, but as the bus thing shows, there is risk attached to that too.

I’m seeing my own consultant, on Monday. This will be a relief, especially as someone from HTT will sit in and talk about where we go from here. I don’t know where there is to go. I’m been carrying on the increased Q as per his advice but my symptoms are clearly not under control. I can’t face any more Q because I am already so sedated, and I’d be getting near the max outpatient dose anyway. There remains little progress on my attempts to access therapy at the National Affective Disorders Service as the funders want more and more information before agreeing to treatment. Curiously, although feeling somewhat hopeless and helpless, I don’t really have suicidal thoughts, my usual “presenting problem” in referral to HTT. Which is wonderful as far as I am concerned, because how I would cope with that as well as everything else that is happening I do not know. I don’t even want to think about it.

I don’t know how to finish off this post, other than to say it’s been a good distraction for the past hour or so. Time to find another one.

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About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards 2013. Winner of the World in Mentalists Mood Disorder blog 2012. Regular guest blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation http://www.internationalbipolarfoundation.org/ Expert by Experience working with Mind training department. Working on The Incoming Tide, a bipolar memoir. Find me on Twitter @BipolarBlogger or at my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/BipolarBlogger
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