It's 0115 and everywhere is quiet and dark, and I feel as though I'm alone on the earth. I've been thinking about poetry - I can't read at the moment as my concentration is shot, but I can remember stuff from school. Can't remember what I did yesterday, but I can recall poetry. I'd like to share the following:
A man, probably TS Eliot, who was a fire warden during the war, is walking along the empty streets and he meets the ghost of a former schoolmaster, whom he much admired. He and the ghost talk and the ghost gives him a pessimistic outline of the things Eliot can expect to realise in old age.
"Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's efforts.
First, the cold friction of expiring sense without enchantment,
Offering no promise, but bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the constant impotence of rage at human folly
And the laceration of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment of all that you have done and been,
The shame of motives late revealed, and
The awareness of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools' approval stings and honour stains."
Cheerful? Not really, but not much of Eliot's work is amusing. That particular piece comes from Little Gidding, one of the Four Quartets, written in later life by Eliot, who had become an Anglo Catholic. The last stanza of Little Gidding is excellent and talks about finding oneself in simple things:
"A condition of complete simplicity,
Costing not less than everything".
Enough poetry, perhaps, for this evening. I'm a bit of a TS Eliot bore, I'm afraid, so you may well get more at a later stage, along with WH Auden's work. My favourite verse of Auden's is:
"Plunge your hands into the water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist.
Stare, stare at the window,
And wonder what you've missed."
Another optimistic few lines! I must pull myself together and try to find something else, something that makes people laugh. But maybe not tonight.
Awake at bloody 0400 and still awake now. However, I have had a shower and got dressed - a major achievement which has left me exhausted. How stupid. The intrusive thoughts are flying in thick and fast - I have to struggle to remember that a. they are only thoughts and as such have no power, and b. that I have strategies which I can employ to lessen them. It's hard to do either; how do you fight a voice telling you that you are a shit person, when your self esteem is low and you believe that?
Just had a conversation with Kate, who reminded me how physical depression can be - exhaustion, pain, dizziness - I feel all those things every minute of every day. Home treatment suggested I get some fresh air in the garden, which I did, but although it was good to breathe something other than nicotine, it didn't really help. When I'm well, I love sitting in the garden but at the moment, it's a step too far - outside makes me panic as it's endless. I already feel as though my atoms are dispersing, flying apart, and that I might actually follow suit and just explode with it all, in a kind of spontaneous combustion.
Had mushrooms on toast at 0630 and now I'm eating gingerbread men and drinking coffee; my diet isn't, as you will agree, very healthy. I can't abide the thought of getting a meal ready and in any case there's nothing I want to eat. I'm not really hungry although I am thirsty most of the time - drugs, I suppose. How I long for a bag of speed or a tablet of ritalin to adjust my reticular activating system - there - didn't think I knew that, did you? It's a part of the brain responsible for stimulation and I think mine has shrivelled up and died, along with motivation and self esteem. And what have they left behind? A barren waste, a hopeless mind.
I am finding it increasingly difficult to listen to music; I seem to have developed an exquisite sensitivity to noise, which is a bit of a bummer because I use my iPod to help with the thoughts. I'll keep on trying, but it grates a bit. Grieg's "Morning" is a case in point - I love it, but the flute is too piercing; maybe I'll try bassoon concertos instead. Their low notes might be more soothing, like the CD the tuning fork man played when I was having my sound treatment, which used very low frequency noises.
Merrick is coming round, so we can listen to music to slash one's wrists by, as he's a bit low as well. I feel some Leonard Cohen coming on ...........
Not a good day. Highspot was Erle calling in at 2. Otherwise it's been hellish - dark and dreary with no light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually took some lorazepam at 6 - I hate giving in, but it had to be done. Now I'm wondering why I didn't take it before. Depression does something weird to one's defence mechanisms - all my usual strategies are forgotten in the moment and I struggle. I suppose it's back to the drugs for comfort, although I prefer to avoid extra benzos. The night looms - I hate dark evenings - and I can't help thinking about whether or not I'll sleep. I managed last night, so there's no reason why tonight should be any different.
I spoke to my sister Dinah earlier - she always cheers me up as she's so positive about life, so thanks Bouge. She's making tomato and chilli chutney - she's very good at things like that, and I often reap the benefit at Christmas. She plays a lot of tennis in her spare time.
I'm avoiding Strictly on TV - can't stand Bruce Forsyth and it's time he gave in gracefully. I'm an X Factor girl - although it's a bit of a freak show, it makes me cringe and laugh at the same time. My voice is nothing to be proud of - it's a fag soaked bass baritone.
I think I'll go to bed and watch crap television, take my pills and hope for the best. Night night.
Well. I slept for 8 hours, and I can't describe the feeling that things might one day get better. When you're trapped in Dante's seventh circle of Hell, it's mostly impossible to think beyond it as each minute is agony. Getting sleep becomes one's life's aim. All one can think about is sleep, but to go to bed is frightening in case it doesn't happen, and then the long, dark night awaits. 8 hours was beyond my wildest dreams and expectations. But it happened - result. AND I didn't have any nightmares, which usually inhabit my sleeping mind.
Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care. Chief nourisher in life's feast. How true. The Bard must have been bipolar to know how accurate those sayings are. People denied sleep go mad - the mad just get worse. For those who don't suffer insomnia, it is impossible to describe it, in the same way that one does not really have words to describe pain. Agony? Not strong enough for prolonged lack of sleep.
Home Treatment are ringing at 0900 and then one of them will visit this morning. Tesco's (lifeline) deliver later - I'm living on fags and coffee. Having said that, Nick brought me round chicken and chips last night, and said some very kind things, so thanks to Nick. And Erle, for just being around. People talk about the kindness of strangers, but it's the kindness of friends that counts. I'm very lucky.
Voila The Tiger Lillies - looking how I feel (pale and weird). Depression is a curious beast - it removes colour from one's life, draining away the essences of things and making them translucent. I think in black and white. The rest is grey. The voices are rather insistent today - telling me I'm worthless and commenting on my actions. It's such a bloody effort to send them away and it doesn't always work anyway. Thoughts that I'd be better off dead pop in from time to time; I don't want to die, I just want it to stop.
The Home Treatment girls came this morning and I narrowly avoided being admitted, I think - I had to promise to be safe at home. I feel safe most of the time, but in the watches of the night when I'm the only person on the planet who's awake, it's trickier. My days stretch endlessly in front of me and I struggle to fill the minutes, let alone the hours. I watch the clock to see if it's time to go to bed - is 17.35 too early??
I pride myself on having quite a good brain, but it's useless at the moment. The very thing that distinguishes me as a person is the thing that is damaged. Consequently, it won't work to think positively - I've always thought that was a ridiculous phrase, because surely if I could, I would? I can't pull myself together, keep my chin up or butch it out - have you noticed how physical all those sayings are? Where's the helpful phrase for my mind? Should I gather my neurons? Cultivate my glia? High five my hippocampus? Doesn't work, does it. So I'm back to pulling my socks up and aiming for the home strait. But it's a long way home...............
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?