I haven’t posted in a while. Somehow I find it very hard to blog when I’m doing well, and in fact I have been doing very well since returning from holiday. Four or five weeks of stability!
Until this week. Now I’m scared that things might be unravelling.
Firstly there is the small matter of voices. I say a small matter because their presence is small, although very unusual in I have never experienced anything like it before, and because compared with so many people I know who hear voices my experience is as nothing. Just two voices, each only uttering a single word. It would be easy to write them off as mishearing background noise, but they felt very clear and very definite and feel significant.
I have in the past felt that certain thoughts were not mine, that they’d been dropped into my brain like someone dropping a pebble into a pond, but I did not hear them as being outside of my own head. But now on two occasions a voice I can genuinely hear has felt as if it comes from a particular place outside of my body, a place I can kind of feel with my brain right now although I know that’s silly. It’s about 30cm away from my skull, behind and slightly above it, so almost as if speaking directing into my right ear. If that zone was somehow to be pulled from its place outside to touch my body it would end up at a certain spot on my head. Right now I can feel that spot kind of pulsating and I’m afraid to touch it.
The first voice occurred in Italy, when I was coming out of a mixed episode. I woke up feeling awful and very bipolar irritable, describing my state to Tom as like having a box of bees in my head. “Well,” said Tom, “we could cancel the walking tour we’ve planned. It would be a shame to come here and not see the sights, but it’s up to you.” And so I had to decide whether to push through the bees in the hope of enjoying the planned activity or just go back to our hotel room.
We set off, rather reluctantly in my case, but only got a few metres from the hotel before Tom realised he had forgotten his camera. I stood in the sun alone, wondering if I was doing the right thing, when a male voice said “Sí”. That’s all it said. I experienced it in that zone I’ve mentioned. It spoke clearly and distinctly. I looked around. There was no one near right ear, or indeed near me at all. Ahead was the thick wall of the 18th century hotel building. I looked to the left and the right; nobody was walking up the narrow, cobbled street. I looked behind me but there was nothing except a thick wall the colour of saffron a good two metres away. Tom came back and we went on our excursion and it was wonderful because I made the right choice. I said “Sí” to the opportunity. I don’t really know whether the voice influenced me or not, but I was so glad we went.
I thought nothing of it. OK, I thought something of it but it wasn’t scary and there was no repetition. But then yesterday I was in a shop trying to decide what to buy. I won’t get too detailed here but suffice it to say I was in the family planning section. Anyhow I was vacillating and a voice (of no obvious gender, but possibly female) coming from that same spot above and behind said very distinctly, “Hmm.” Again I looked around. There was nobody else in the aisle. There were people in the aisle behind me but certainly nowhere near close enough to speak so intimately near my ear, and in any case they were engaged in conversations of their own. Initially I thought that “Hmm” represented my indecision, but when I left the store I began to feel it had been critical, that it expressed disapproval at anything to do with sex, that it felt like it thought less of me for having sexual desire. That wasn’t a comfortable thought.
So much for those small voices. I’m more concerned by what happened to me a couple of nights ago. I’d gone to bed ahead of Tom and was lying in the darkness when I heard a rustling. I didn’t know what it could be. My heart started pounding and I didn’t want to get out of bed, so I turned on a little torch I keep on the bedside table and shone it around the room. I immediately saw that there was a large black paper bag with handles on the floor, a relic from our recent trip to get Tom’s wedding suit (for those who don’t follow me on Twitter, yup, we are getting hitched!). I say this because that bag should have been a benign item, something with positive associations, but straightaway I knew it had to be the culprit. I turned off the torch. The rustling resumed. Terrified, I switched the torch on again, only to find stillness and silence. After one final round of the darkness and the rustling and the torch and the silence I couldn’t stand to have that bag in the room so I grabbed it by torchlight, bundling it out of the door and into the hall (where Tom was bemused to find it later) saying to it, “Fuck you! Fuck you!”
There are really only two ways of interpreting these events:
- I am slightly unwell and need to somehow balance the fact that these things really happened to me with the fact that they could not have happened to me. This creates a huge amount of internal conflict but is better than…
- That they are the handiwork of THEM.
So things could be worse. I am lucky that I am in the realms of 1, not 2. The wedding is just days away and being psychotic would be supremely unhelpful – as would the alternative, being high sedated with antipsychotics. I am a bit high, which is disappointing after my period of stability. I’ve been struggling with compulsive hand scratching and wringing, which only happens when I am high (in fact, it’s actually worse than it’s ever been). I can only assume that the wedding planning, as fun as it has been, has been a source of stress, even if that stress is positive. I just keep thinking, “Please, please don’t let it get any worse.” No psychosis. The only break I intend on having is my honeymoon.