Tuesday, 27 October 2009

On Holes and Ladders

Even if you are VERY unobservant, you may have noticed that there hasn’t been much added to this blog in the last month – in fact, it’s almost exactly a month since I last posted.

There are all the usual reasons & excuses – been busy, been on holiday, been a bit tired etc. but I’m now facing up to the real reason – been a bit bonkers again! If you’re unaware of my bonkersness, you can check it out here!

I’ve been trying to fight this bonkersness for a while, but things have gradually come adrift at the seams – I’ve had to defer my OU maths exam for this year because I reached the point where seeing a maths book was making me feel physically ill with anxiety, I’ve taken the odd day off work here and there, I’ve maybe drunk more than I should, eaten too much cake, stared at the lightbox to help the SAD situation, tested the patience of the Wonderspouse somewhat, and got to the stage where I’m sleeping about 2 hours per night!

However, I’ve finally stopped trying to fight it and given up for the time being. After a very peculiar week in France (being on holiday while bonkers is quite strange), I’ve come home, not gone back to work, booked a doctor’s appointment, STILL failed to unpack (it just seems way too difficult), forced the Wonderspouse to wear trousers that don’t fit because he has no other clean ones, and, this morning, burst into tears at the sight of two Weetabix!!

I’ve also just posted a slightly odd status update on my facebook wall:

“Opposition to installation of ladder currently occurring. Might spoil the view apparently. Strengthening of arms for better grip on ropes is being suggested. Searching for maps so as to find alternative route not going near hole.”

so I thought I might explain it here. At least I’m actually writing something again, which is more than I’ve done for weeks (even before the posts dried up, they became progressively less numerous). Strangely enough, giving up on TRYING to write a blog post has actually produced one!

Some time ago, when I had a small wobble, I described my mental health as having fallen down a deep dark hole. I’ve come across this description before, and it felt appropriate at the time. The resulting conversation on my facebook wall included a friend “fetching ropes” and “pulling on ropes”, and so the analogy continued.

I’ve actually found it a rather helpful analogy. Again, this morning, ropes, climbing gear, pulling me out and so on have been mentioned, and I’ve now continued the analogy even further.

Installation of ladder means going back on antidepressant drugs (which I don’t take for the reasons cited in the post linked to above). Spoiling the view refers to the blocking of appreciation of music, art and so on – all those things I love so much. Strengthening of arms refers to being able to do it on my own (preferred choice if I can manage it). Finding an alternative route means looking (again) to see if there are changes I can make to my life to stop it happening again (or, at least, to lessen the effect or make it less frequent or something – I’m not being too optimistic here).

So that’s the current state of play. The way I felt when I woke up this morning I was almost ready to say “Who cares? Just give me pills!” However, as today has progressed, what I think I shall say to the doctor tomorrow morning has changed. Support from friends online (messages, comments, a poem, and so on) and a bit of reflection makes me wonder if I can carry on doing it on my own.

And, in many ways, life isn’t actually that bad at the moment. There are things going on that are particularly good in fact. Things that give me quite a lot of cause to be optimistic and hopeful about the future. Things that make me feel that the fog in my brain will eventually clear. Things that might just mean I can clamber out of the dark hole on my own and learn how not to fall in again.

Now it’s just a question of how far down the hole I’m actually going to fall this time. Have I admitted the situation to myself early enough not to end up at the very bottom where the sides are steepest? Can I find some way to get inside my rather chaotic head and get it all back to some sort of order? If there’s no other way out then I’ll get a ladder installed, but I’m going to try the climbing route first. I can feel many people pulling on ropes from above, sending flasks of tea & bars of chocolate down to help sustain me on the journey.

Hopefully I’ll see you at the top!