Bumpiness on the Road of Mental Health

plan-for-early-retirement-and-life-update-par-L-UQTC7xIt has been a long time, far too long, since I last posted here. My last post was on July 22nd, and it is now 4th November. At one point I updated this site with new content every two days, and then that gradually became once a week, and then nothing at all.

A large part of the reason is that I feel I have run out of things to say. I have talked, written about my own experiences with mental health and ill-health, of my understanding of being a Christian with a mental health problem, of what advice I can give. I am pleased with what I have written. I looked into my stats and discovered that the majority of those who are still reading this site are seeking for ways to talk to and help depressed friends, for information on scrupulosity, about mental illness and sin, and about self harm. I have covered these topics and am uncertain whether re-writing and covering them again would serve any useful purpose.

Yet I know that there is a large amount of stigma within and without the churches about mental health – and that blogs can (maybe) help with that. To be a blogger in a particular niche is to be something of an activist, and that can help. I have been approached to write an article on living with bipolar for Woman Alive (to be published next year) which I have accepted (although I now have to decide if I go public with my full, whole name, or just use my first name, or whatever).

I don’t really want to write endlessly on the same topics, reaching the same conclusions. I don’t know whether to fully restart this blog and publish on a once-weekly basis as a minimum, and hope for the best, but I do worry that I will end up saying the same thing over and over. I also started feeling a little stressed by this “contract” I had made for myself, to publish regularly, and ended up not wanting to publish anything at all.

I am tempted to start a new and more general blog. But then I, embarrassingly, worry that no one will want to read a general blog when I know that niche topics attract more of an audience as they have a sort of “hook”.

I shall have to decide. But there may be yet more delay in postings here while I do decide.

In terms of personal life things have been a bit up and down. I had my ESA medical recently (no results as yet) which destabilised me a lot, particularly as I decided to end a sort-of relationship I had developed at the same time, due to me being a little uneasy about it. Fortunately I went to visit my friend in Scotland last week and feel a lot better as a result. There are various people in my church who now know about my illness – our curate, one of the retired vicars and the director of ordinands all know, and have not run away screaming or anything!

I did visit my psychiatrist recently and decided to forestall reducing my medication again for a while as I have been a little too unstable. I am due to see her again in 6 months.

Continuing problems are the lack of jobs available in my area (plus of course that most jobs wouldn’t touch me with a barge-pole given the amount of time I have had off sick) and the fact that I get bored and end up in the pub a lot. This was an additional factor in not posting blogs as I generally write and think at night, and if I am in the pub I am obviously not writing and thinking! This is a result of another problem – for years I have been tired, almost all of the time, and end up sleeping an enormous amount and feeling somewhat impaired cognitively at other times because I am weary. No one seems to know why this would be – at first it was suggested that if I got my blood glucose lowered I would be better (I am diabetic) but when I reduced it to 32 (5.1%) there was no change. It was also suggested that the rispiridone I was taking was responsible but I have now come off that altogether and, again, no change. Now it just seems to be a “something to do with your meds” conversation-ender that I get. It is annoying.

I am feeling more settled in my mind at the moment. More stable. I am doing a course with the church which is aimed to deepen spiritual life (although so far I have been a bit disappointed) I am going to try to be more disciplined in my spiritual life – read, pray more, etc. I could do, I think, with more stillness, more contemplation, more reflection on God, and certainly more listening to him than I have been doing. I often feel like my head is too busy and confusing – heightened at times of anxiety and depression – and I think that if I force myself to be still, then I might just learn something.

In any case thank you for still reading this blog and if you have any advice/suggestions for what I should do with it/its future, then I would be most grateful to you all. I am also reconnecting with Twitter: @believersbrain

Thank you for reading.


  1. If you want to start a more general blog, you’ll at least have one reader 🙂

  2. I think general, or personal blogs can be just as effective at helping people understand mental illness and not be idiots when dealing with it, because those blogs give an insight into what it is really like to live with and experience these illnesses. And there’s nothing to stop you either including content like this in there, or writing here when the inspiration hits without pressure to write specific content or to deadlines. I’m another here reading. 🙂

  3. LittleFeet says:

    Why not write for yourself? Y’know, write for the enjoyment and pleasure that it brings. I’d come along for the ride.

  4. Hi Emma,

    The following was posted in a newspaper thread about desiring as an addition. It made sense to me and a few others. Thought it may also make sense to you.

    “I certainly cant claim any particular virtue in regard to desiring, quite the opposite in fact, but I experienced a few things that suggest that perhaps something unappreciated may be happening.

    The first lesson was with regard to my university exams. I had a fairly demanding regime of difficult exams which meant I was constantly locked in revision for weeks. During that time I visited the local gold club and suddenly felt a huge desire to play the game. I couldn’t believe how brilliant it was and constantly wanted to be out on the links rather than revising. I wondered how this beautiful game had eluded my previously.

    Eventually the exams ended and I could finally spend more time on my beloved golf. But unexpectedly I found that now I could legitimately spend plenty of time playing golf without the guilt about not revising, I no longer wanted to play. All the love and desire disappeared. The real temptation had been my fatigue and the need to deal with it.

    So the dynamic was that when there was something that I ought to be doing, I would first of all tell myself that I was justified in periodically getting my head into another space.

    Since that time I have frequently found the same thing when working on some tedious and demanding task. I can justify to my self wanting not to think about the work, but rather thinking about something else.

    The problem then arises as to what else I should think about. Invariably at this juncture I find myself being tempted to think about things that provide a high dose of escapism from the confining task that I ought to be doing, but these are often not really where I want my head to go.

    After running up against this problem quite often, I have come to the conclusion that the problem is in my desire to get my head in to different space in
    order to break free. This seems to open Pandora’s box, many other latent forces within me also join the rush for freedom.

    What I think is a better way of managing this problem is learning to relax within the task, rather than by breaking away from it.

    An analogy would be when feeling tired while running, slowing right down to a slow restful trot, rather than stopping altogether for a cigarette.

    So don’t break free from the task, don’t but down the plough, but respect my need for rest within it.

    In this way we perhaps we can manage our need for rest and recouperation whilst also keeping within our broader posture and disciplne.

    I’d be interested to hear any other views on this, for instance trancendental meditation involves attempting to lift the mind out of its confinement.

    This latter is fine, but how does this integrate with situations whereon cant but must keep ones mind on the job.”

    I thought this might help with the collapsing mental floor problem, where breaking out leaves us stranded.

  5. oops, should be “desiring as an addiction”

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