I am seriously wondering if someone (who doesn’t like me) has, unknown to me, stuck a sign on my back saying “pick on me” this week. Mysteriously, each time I change my clothes, I still seem to have the sign plastered there for all to see. Having spent time with my brother this morning, I sent him a text a few hours ago to ask whether he noticed the sign. So far he hasn’t responded. I’m not exactly sure what conclusion I should draw from that.
Some weeks seem just determined to make things hard, and this week has achieved that for me in so many ways. I thought bad things were meant to happen in three’s, but so far I’ve counted six. Here’s a run down (and I promise it’s the short version):
1. My trial to come off lithium failed (as I told you in Ten Years Later, And I Have My Answer). You’ll be pleased to know that I am back on the original dose. Just waiting for it to kick in.
Actually the day after my psychiatrist told me to start the lithium again immediately, my GP (General Practitioner who handles day to day medical issues) objected, and wanted me to wait another week “just to be sure”. Basically I quoted my last post at him and explained why waiting wouldn’t be a good idea… and then I ignored him. Meanwhile as I wait for the lithium to kick back in, I have all the usual symptoms of depression. It’s a few years since I was last depressed. I hate that it is back.
2. The implication of my inability to get off lithium now means that I can not get medication to treat my fibromyalgia (the whole point in trying to come off).
3. A further implication of my inability to get off lithium is that I can not get adequate pain medication for fibro symptoms that can not be treated. All I can use is paracetemol (an over-the counter analgesic) and a very limited amount of codeine. Neither of these do anything for the worst problem, which is nerve pain.
4. An implication of my inability to get adequate pain medication takes a blow at my intention to use extra medication so that I could deal with the extra pain caused when I try to giving up smoking again. (See Unseen). Actually my GP denied any knowledge of this issue, and had no willingness to hear me on the issue of pain caused my nicotine withdrawal. He basically told me to “toughen up and try again“. I can’t say I was too impressed by his lack of compassion, empathy and helpfulness.
5. Totally unrelated to numbers one to four, I saw my endocrinologist yesterday for a routine check-up for my auto-immune condition Graves’ Disease. This has been in remission for about 10 months now, and I half hoped that he would discharge me from his care and send me on my way (on the understanding that the disease could come out of remission at any time.). What he told me instead is that it looks very likely that the disease is coming out of remission. It’s a wait and see game now. More blood tests in a couple of months to draw a definite conclusion, and a reminder of what to do if acute symptoms return in the meantime..
Grave’s affects a number of areas in the body, but the biggest impact is on the thyroid gland (producing a pretty serious condition called thyrotoxicosis), the eyes ( I won’t tell you what it does to the eyes simply because the thought of it turns my stomach), and speeding up the heart rate beyond healthy. It’s not a pleasant condition to have, nor is the treatment particularly appealing for this ‘nuclear-free’ kiwi. More about that if, and when it happens.
6. Just when I get to Friday and really think I’ve had enough… today the Pain Management Clinic, a public health service designed to help me find alternatives for pain management has refused to see me. Apparently I am simply not a priority, to the extent that they haven’t even put me on a waiting list. Being unable to get off lithium, this referral was essential, but it seems it’s not to be.
So what do you think? Is it reasonable to conclude that sign is on my back? Are my stars just not aligned this week? Is it one of those weeks when I should never have got out of bed? Hmm.
What do I choose?
Despair or Hope?
I’ve been struggling to do much reading this week, finding it too difficult to concentrate even on a short blog post. I manage the first couple of paragraphs and then drift off. It’s a symptom of depression. One thing that I did manage to read, made me stop and think. Hope Is A Choice. Actually, if you’ve got the time, and the concentration, there is a lot written on this premise. I’m inclined to think it’s true, that for me hope is a choice.
Hope is an easy word to say, and I know I use it a lot in my writing, but actually it’s pretty hard to practise, especially when times are tough, and there is a ‘pick on me’ badge on my back. Actually there had been a fair amount of despair going on here in the last few days. All these health (including my mental health) issues I’m dealing with are chronic, with little to no hope for complete recovery.
When I said in my last post that I had proven to myself that lithium kept me out of prison and out of a grave, I wasn’t kidding. That’s the reality, especially if I choose to go down the road of despair.
One of the extra difficulties I’ve faced this week is what Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) adds to this scenario. BPD enables me to split too easily between my emotions. What that means is that one minute I can be happy and full of hope, sure that all this will work out. But shortly after I can be completely depressed, despairing, withdrawn and without hope.
Actually it is this reason that has stopped me from posting this week. If I post when I’m feeling good, you will get one impression which might be quite different from what reality is. That has consequences for you, as the reader, trying to understand but it also has a habit of kicking back at me. It’s hard to explain but I’m sure fellow BPD sufferers know the issue well.
What I really need to say is that this week has been really hard, and it’s not over yet. I have some practical issues that I am going to have to try to resolve, but as yet I don’t know how I will do that, and frankly it doesn’t seem like I have a lot of support from the medical fraternity.
Sometimes this week, I have seen very little hope. Other times, I have had to go back to borrowing hope (see Borrowed Hope). I felt disappointed to have to do that, but it was necessary because I had lost sight of my own hope.
As for now? Deep inside I have a sense that this will work out, that my health can be revived and that hope does exist for me. Although I’m not sure how it will look. Sometimes I have to look a long way to find that sense of hope and in the meantime I guess I’m suspending judgement. I’m not choosing despair. No matter how bad I feel, I refuse to go back down that road again. I can’t afford to do that to myself.
“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
― Ellen Bass
- Ten Years Later, And I Have My Answer (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Unseen (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Borrowed Hope (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Hope Is A Four Letter Word I Use Now (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- The Anatomy Of Hope [BLOG] (positivelypositive.com)
- The Second Coming of Hope (positivelypositive.com)
- Finding Hope & Acceptance (livingwithcfs.com)