There is a little note on my phone. Depressed me made it a couple of days ago in an attempt to remind the rest of me – the high, the normal, the mixed bits – that I need things to be different, that I need to be well, that what I do impacts on how I feel and upon others. That my behaviour matters.
It’s a prescription advising me to do all the things I was doing before I started to wobble. Of course it’s far to simplistic to say that my mood is now less secure just because I deviated from my plan to keep well through meds, diet and and exercise, but that’s how it feels. Just before I came unstuck I stopped eating five a day when I had been eating 6-9, and I allowed sugar and caffeine back into my life. I know I can’t have lost my stability just because I didn’t make the effort to meet my Apple Watch fitness goals, there has to be more to it than that. But certainly things began to deteriorate around the time I stopped making the effort.
And so the logical thing, the note reminds me, is to get back to on track. If I don’t want to feel awful – and the low bits have been becoming progressively more awful – I need to take action. If I put that effort in again and it doesn’t work, well, it doesn’t work. But there’s no point in not even trying and them complaining that I feel awful.
And yet… I don’t care. Logically, of course, I do. I don’t want to get any more unstable than I am. I remember the pain, I remember being able to think about nothing other than how much I hurt, how much I wanted to take my own life, and I remember how the despair I felt in hospital was beyond what I could ever put into words. But I can’t really connect with it. It’s like the way I remember Alice’s birth, how much worse it was than Max’s, yet part of me still feels that it can’t have been that bad.
Every bad day is followed by a good day or a hypomanic day and I think about the note, and then I think, “Meh.” Today, I am high so I don’t care about anything much other than running all over the town centre taking up shop assistants’ time chattering away and spending too much money. I don’t have time for self care!
When I am low, I don’t care either. It is too much effort. I have realised that it is almost a relief to sink into mild-moderate depression, because I have spent so much time there over the course of my life. In a bizarre way I have even been a little happy to be depressed, because it is so much easier than doing all the “shoulds” that trying to stay well entails.
But if I don’t care for myself and I get sicker, Tom will end up being my “carer” again. I hate this thought. Being the carer and and the cared for is not a great dynamic for a marriage so I have loved the fact that since I started the lurasidone we have been on more of a even footing again. Partners. I dread becoming ill because I know that earlier this year it was taking a terrible toll on him. So now I worry that the wobble goes beyond that and it all comes tumbling down it could make him sick, and the worry about this is making me even less steady. Yet do I do the things to try and prevent this? Somehow… no.
Despite enjoying greater balance within the relationship, in some ways slipping back into the cared for role would be so easy – just like sinking into the soft bed of depression. Having Tom attend appointments with me and make excuses for me, put me to bed, drive me places because I can’t go on my own, manage my meds – I shouldn’t want any of that, but part of me does. I have become so accustomed to being looked after, and it’s hard to break free from that. I miss the nurses and doctors of the Home Treatment Team. I miss the ward staff. I would like to be cared for my them again. I crave the feeling of having no responsibility. I know that is fucked up.
Before I went to sleep last night I read the note and resolved that today would be different. Today I had cake crumbs for breakfast. By 1.30pm I felt that I should eat something, but I was out and busy and I wasn’t able to think of a single thing I wanted to eat, although I couldn’t stop thinking about having Coke. A contrast to the start of the week, when I was low and constantly wondered what I could eat next, except I wanted a Coke then too. In the end I grabbed a hugely calorific sandwich because it was next to the aforementioned caffeinated beverage. I have eaten no fruit or veg today and hardly any protein and I don’t care. I did go to the gym, and I was restrained enough to make sure I didn’t inure myself, but I can’t be bothered to hit all my fitness goals.
Depression and hypomania make people not care about things. That is part of how they are diagnosed, so my thinking and behaviour make a certain kind of sentence. But I am frustrated because I cannot seem to connect logic with those thoughts and actions.
Don’t care was made to care, and if I don’t get things back to where they should be, I probably will be too.