the infinite elation, pain, and terror of a psychological illness
friendless and nowhere to go but here
About a month ago I was in hospital, and so ill that the nurse said that I looked like a bad advertisement for death. I had lots of scans, tests, and examinations, some treatment, and after a few days I was discharged, supposedly fit and healthy. I believed I was cured of my ills ~ I don’t believe that anymore. I think I’m still very unwell.
Whatever ails me does not seem like a physical illness ~ I’m still meeting my 10,000 steps a day meditative walking target, I’m not sitting in the armchair all day, too knackered to do anything but watch TV, I haven’t taken myself to bed, and I’m not on any medication at all. I don’t think my body is sick, I think it’s my mind.
(I take some of that back, when I comes right down to it I’m physically not that strong.)
I have a very strange set of unmatched symptoms. To begin with there is the red V shaped mark on my forehead. It’s prominent, angry looking, and if you met me it’d be the very first thing you noticed. I’ve had that red V shape appear on my forehead ever since I was a young boy, and it has always been a certain sign that I was pretty poorly.
It’s like having the mark of Cain, and it tells me that in one way or another I’m fucked.
The headache I’ve got now I’ve had for three or four days. Everything I eat tastes like cardboard, (apart from chocolate). And I’m dropping things; keys, books, a full mug of coffee, (that makes a hell of a mess), and this morning while I was doing the laundry I dropped the electric iron. That thing was plugged-in and hot, but I didn’t want it hitting the tiled floor in my kitchen pointy end first, so I caught it before it hit the tiles. How the fuck I had the presence of mind to catch the iron by its power-chord I have no idea, but I did and I didn’t get burned.
Oh, and another thing, I am saying and writing the F word a lot, (and a few other choice cuss words), and that is just not the polite English Gentleman I am usually.
Generally I feel like a young boy who has been sent to see the school headmaster for a dressing-down and some corporal punishment, and that young boy hasn’t a clue what he’s done wrong, or why he’s being punished.
You know what? I think I haven’t been so well lately.
Some say that the sick never truly lose the chaos within. And that a sick thought can devour your being more thoroughly than a fever. All I know is the bravest thing I ever did was continue to live when I wanted to die.
feeling like that lost little boy today
we realise we are all alone when we need others the most
Gary Cooper in High Noon
Discharged from hospital and back at the garret much earlier than I expected. At first it was very quiet and very strange in here, after the organised hustle and bustle at the hospital. It was also cold, the heating was off, maybe I turned it off before I left. The thing is, if you live alone you are completely responsible for what happens in your place.
The first time you try living alone can be both strange and exhilarating. In theory you can do whatever you want whenever you want. You can stay up late watching TV, or you might work through the night on your latest creative project with no threat of interruption. You can decorate your place however you like. If you want to be sexually promiscuous you can bring whomsoever you want back to your place, and if you want to smoke pot and drink all night you can do that too. You don’t have to clean the place except when it suits you, and if you want to you can stay in bed all weekend.
The astute among you may have noticed a worrying trend in what I’ve just said. If you live alone it’s very easy to lose control and start living the life of a lazy hedonist, and many who live alone adopt that lifestyle for the whole of the rest of their short, sad, dangerous, reprehensible lives. There is another issue with living alone, you will have a higher probability of developing a mental illness than those who live with someone else, as long as the someone else is congenial.
For most of the time I have lived alone I have stayed sane and safe, displaying self-control and a sense of self-worth, but….. every now and again I lost that control and became something of a hedonist alcoholic fool. The thing is, I have enough money to afford to be a hedonist alcoholic from time to time without worrying about my finances ~ and that’s a dangerous place to be.
Things will be different now, I have put some secure checks and balances in place, I’m in the process of building myself a much stronger support network, and most importantly I don’t really want to suffer that much pain, or be at Death’s door again. It’s all very well being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, but it’s going to be much better if the things I do are worthwhile and benefit myself and others. Most of all, I need to look after myself; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t want to find myself back in hospital, not knowing how I got there.
Some say they like to be alone, but hate to be lonely. And that it’s OK to live a life others don’t understand. All I know is that if you live alone you have nobody else to blame when things go wrong.
for some, living alone is very like being in solitary confinement.
the night is the hardest time to be alive and all alone
It’s the wee small hours of the morning, I’m still in hospital, I still hurt, and my mind is racing ~ small wonder I can’t sleep. There are some other reasons I’m wide awake; not so long ago I was drinking heavily, the nurses are still giving me a bunch of medication at bed-time, including antibiotics, EPO, and a strong painkiller ~ these meds knock me out for a while, but that isn’t real sleep. Add to that I’m dozing during the day, getting no exercise, getting no fresh air, and I’m seeing no natural daylight to speak of.
All of which leads me to consider what it is we need to get the 6 to 8 hours of good sleep a night we all need if we want to be healthy in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
- We need natural daylight, preferably sunshine and fresh air, to reset our internal body clock. If we spend all day in artificial light, only emerging from our homes and workplace when it’s dark, then our body clock is screwed.
- Do not drink too much coffee or strong tea, or eat chocolate late at night, the caffeine screws with our brain chemistry.
- Do not self-medicate with booze. Do not drink too much alcohol, especially avoid the couple of glasses of red wine in the late evening. Better still avoid getting blasted late at night and passing out. Alcohol is very bad for you, and you can take that one to the bank.
- Do not eat late at night. You should not eat within a couple of hours of going to bed.
- Drink plenty of water, even if it means you have to get up in the night to pee.
- Avoid looking at your computer / tablet / smart phone within an hour of going to bed, and do not keep your device on the bedside cabinet. The blue light screws with your brain’s idea of when it’s night and day.
- Your bedroom should be very dark and fairly cool. If you are sweating in bed, or throw the covers off, then your room is too warm.
- Avoid sleep medication. Even herbal sleep aids are bad if you use them for longer than a couple of weeks. Anyway, any sleep medication loses its effect after a few weeks and you will need stronger and stronger doses.
- Do not take the problems of the day to bed with you. Before you go to bed spend 20 minutes or so just relaxing and emptying your mind.
Some say that they get by on very little sleep at all. And that they do their best work at night. All I know is that I can step into the night and dream of adventures with the Lady I Love.
Bon nuit et bon rêves. Dormez bien mon amour.
watch the dark moon rise
and make a darkling wish
doctors may think they’re important,
but it’s the nurses that get you well
This has got to be the shortest Jethro Tull track ever.
The nurses in this hospital have been very good to me, especially when I couldn’t get out of bed at all.
none of my nurses look like this
knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom
I think that it’s acceptable for me to be apprehensive, introspective, and a little depressed ~ I’m pretty certain this is day #5 of my lying on this hospital bed. I haven’t been able to get up at all, because of the tubes, drips, and because moving is painful for me. Being immobile on a hospital bed, with very little control of my own life, and very little privacy isn’t a joyous time.
At least the catheter was removed this morning, right after the phlebotomist took my blood for the umpteenth time. Nobody tells you that catheter removal is painful, and that there’s probably going to be blood. At least the nurses make me a cup of tea after they wake me up at 5 a.m. I thank them profusely for that.
As it happens I am not looking forward to going for a pee.
I have been trying to make the best of things;
We ought to hear at least one little song every day, read a good poem, see a first-rate painting, and if possible speak a few sensible words. ~ von Goethe
My concentration has come back sufficiently for me to do most of that ~ the sensible words thing may still be eluding me. Maybe the things I write on here contain a few sensible words.
One good thing has come out of this, I have realised that many of the people who know me on here, genuinely care about me and my welfare. I am pleased to call them my friends.
I like the California desert
I wish I was there now
hospital life sucks
In a hospital bed, in an 8 person ward, and I can’t even get out bed to go to the bathroom.
I’m having my blood taken every 4 hours, and my blood pressure tested ~ bp is 108 / 83, and my heart rate is 115, at 05:00 this morning.
Let me tell you a catheter is not fun.
Not as bad as the pain in my right kidney. Latest guess is it’s an infection, so I’m now on antibiotics But I know that stress and depression on its own can make you physically Ill.
Today I had my first bed bath, which was a little embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as having a catheter inserted into my penis by a lady doctor and a nurse.
Thank you all for your kind wishes. Lucky they have Wi-Fi in this hospital.
This picture makes me feel happier
people tend to die in hospitals
Unfortunately, after all the medical tests I had the other day I’m now in hospital with a fairly serious problem in one of my kidneys. I wondered what the back pain I’ve been suffering was all about.
I’m on a drip and lots of fluids. I feel pretty bad, and likely to be in hospital for a few days.
I will not be in touch very much while I’m in here.
I could use some good friends right now.
this picture makes me feel happier