Well, it’s been a while. Longer than I intended, in fact, since I last posted. I usually try to post at least once a week, but this has been a strange week! I wrote earlier about coming off risperidone and last week was the one where I finally came off the last of it. And what a week – I have been freezing cold, shivering in the heat of the summer, feeling anxious and decidedly peculiar. At one point I stopped sleeping, and went high (last Sunday) then had a crash of (mild) depression that has lasted all of this week. I have quit working on the coffee van altogether after realising that I was becoming stressed about it – for no reason that I can discern.
I have been feeling weird and strange and not quite well, and have been toying with the idea of asking to see the psychiatrist all week. I don’t think I need to – partly because I am due to see her in a fortnight anyway – but this has been odd. I’m fairly sure that everything has been the result of coming off the pills more quickly than the psychiatrist recommended (which is the fault of my GP, and something that annoys me) rather than true illness per se. I have been avoiding the internet, the blogs I read, Twitter and the blog I write – and am only now catching up.
So what have I been doing with myself? Well, to be honest, mostly in the pub drinking. The old standby, the self-medication. It has, actually, been helping. I have some friends there, and have been having quite a good time, and also occasionally popping in during the day to help the landlord with his emails, because I have never met someone so incompetent at using a computer! I have been trying to block out of my mind the fact that I feel a little odd, and I have been quite successful. It is not, though, a pattern I want to fall back into, the heavy drinking, so this week I will be more moderate.
I have also – and this may be related – been filling in my form for re-assessment of ESA benefits. That meant recompiling my answers from last time of exactly how awful it is when I am at my most unwell. I also got hold of a letter from my GP (I asked my psychiatrist for one but she didn’t send me one) which stated that he doesn’t think I should be working at this time, to protect my mental health. He also told me off for looking for work. It’s just that I feel like I am not a proper adult, not a proper member of society unless I am working, and, because I am on the Work Programme, I am actually supposed to be looking for some sort of work. Not, that is, that there are many jobs for anyone here, let alone someone with two and a half years of sickness behind them, and a patchy work history with many periods off sick! And, to be honest, most jobs require you to be able to drive and have your own car – and my doctors have said I must not drive. So the chances of me actually being able to find work are slim.
I have just taken the exam for a Personal License – which is an alcohol qualification enabling me to sell alcohol and take some legal responsibility for doing so. The one job I have ever done where I have not been ill was a bar job, so I think that is perhaps my best chance for working and staying well.
In terms of the church, I am just about to enrol on a Faith and Life course which my Vicar recommended, and he has referred me to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands. I have been working on the church website and am due to work on the ecumenical youth charity’s website as well. I completed my last stint on the coffee van last night – which meant I could not say goodbye to one of my pub-friends whose last night it was in the town before he heads off to China for work, unfortunately. I am going to a church party today after the 11.15 service, where I have been getting a little more involved, mostly by being in charge of the projector.
In terms of spiritual life – not so good. This past week or so I have been finding it hard to pray or concentrate on God, with the exception of occasional “help” prayers. I am supposed to do various things as part of the “Big-Hearted Lyfe” course I am on with a group of local Baptists, but have been finding it hard, although I do enjoy the discussion on a Thursday night. This lack of concentration on God is partly why I have not been updating.
This past weekend my parents have been away, which has been nice. Unfortunately the cat has not behaved herself and has disembowelled a mouse on our dining room floor, leaving blood everywhere; left a large, hairy dead spider by her food bowl and been sick in the utility room. Cats can be disgusting sometimes!
So that is what I have been up to – expect normal service to be resumed soon as I feel much better mentally, although I am still getting random shivers.