Apparently, it has been almost three weeks since I last posted anything here. That’s an awfully long time – it must be about the longest I’ve gone in the almost 6 years since I started this blog. I feel like I owe you a few words of explanation. I also think that – given that I sometimes look back at my blog as a way of gauging my mental state at various points in time past, as a means of correcting for my tendency when I’m well to underestimate the extent to which I can be unwell – it would be useful to have some kind of record here.
You should not read this if you are a normal person uninterested in the minutiae of my mental state. Also, probably lots of triggers relating to mental state, feelings, emotions etc. Please don’t read if you’re feeling fragile yourself.
So, anyway, I’m sorry to report (to my curious self, in 6 months time, who’s probably thinking that things weren’t actually all that bad, surely?) that I am currently not doing especially well. (Though I am on a slight uptick at the moment – hence the reason I have sufficient spoons to put together and publish this post. So take it as read that I am describing how I felt circa 2-3 days ago, rather than right now, when I am feeling a bit – a bit – better. Clearly, I hope the uptick will establish itself as a trend, but only time will tell.)
My mood is through the floor, along with my ability and inclination to do anything. Cleaning my teeth and preparing one meal a day – which I look at like why I would want to eat it instead of eating it – have taken what feels like super-human effort. Almost no variation in mood, and no feelings of active misery or melancholy – which, paradoxically, would indicate a reduction in depression.
Anxiety has been very high, especially overnight. Panic attacks at the rate of two or three a day on the worst days (day in the sense of 24h period). Self-protection and self-comforting rituals (in handwashing etc) have been very high. Lots of hypervigilance, especially to sounds, especially at night. (Also to – non-existent – insects, slightly oddly.) Lots of avoidance (over and above usual avoidance) of almost all things.
Extreme disruption to sleeping patterns. Very strong feelings of choking/ drowning at the point of falling asleep, jerking back to full alertness (and sometimes triggering panic attack). Unable to fall asleep until exhausted, usually around 6am.
Badly degraded concentration – both duration and intensity.
Very, very poor memory – forgetting things in daily life, not just inability to recall trivia. Also, a very disturbed sense of time. Frequently waking with no sense of what the day is (having to check the date on my alarm clock, then check calendar to find out). Frequently have no sense of what time of the day or night it is (surprised on checking clock to find that it’s hours earlier/ later than thought). Poor memory and poor sense of time combining to mean I have very large voids – long stretches of time, amounting sometimes almost to whole days, when I have no memory of what I did, or even a sense that I was around to do anything. This I will admit is slightly scary.
Some feelings of depersonalisation. Some “that’s somebody else’s hand” moments (where I look at my hand, and sense it as being someone else’s). These are still the foremost amongst my varied mental phenomena in their ability to freak me the fuck out.
Some sense that I am inhabited by someone else, who is sharing (occasionally directing, never controlling) my movements/ thoughts/ feelings etc – them living physically inside me, their skeleton welded to mine, especially in my forearms and neck – but can “catch” these thoughts as they pass and persuade myself implausible and therefore unlikely to be true. This not distressing at all (the “person” is benevolent) – weird, but not upsetting.
Some mild visual phenomena – large, white, gauzy moths (size of my outstretched hand) flying around. Again, not at all distressing: they’re gentle creatures, and pretty to look at. These do seem real when they’re around (i.e., feel real as well as look real), but I easily recognise that they aren’t when they aren’t.
On the plus side, very low paranoia. Some thoughts about surveillance re. a car that parks outside with its headlights on for about 15-20 mins every morning around 4am (not always the same car, and not obviously a taxi). But this is, I think, odd enough it would catch the attention of anyone, and the feelings are manageable with distraction/ rationalisation techniques.
So, there’s that.