When I last saw you I was about to embark on a three-day camping adventure and however much I’d like to report that I had a wonderful, relaxing and ultimately “happy” time, I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am (in hindsight) glad I went and there were some wonderful moments scattered throughout.
It’s just that I spent the three days in a heightened state of anxiety (approximately 15 on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being ‘no anxiety whatsoever’) running on pure fear and adrenalin. In fact, courtesy of Meadhbh, I had about three hours sleep in those three days – which when you factor in the near 60 kilometres I cycled throughout the trip and the twelve odd hours a day being around other people, really didn’t help my mood or anxiety all that much!
Right now – and since my return on Wednesday – I’ve been functioning at about 14 on that hypothetical anxiety scale…leading to a virtual comatose state and the ‘shutdown’ I was most scared of. There is, after all, only so much the mind and body can take before it decides to display the human version of the Blue Screen of Death!
But, in the spirit of sharing, here are some (slightly edited) extracts from my mood and voice journals from this exhausting (yet occasionally amusing) week.
Tuesday 26th March 2013
For those of you who don’t know, which is probably most of you, Meadhbh loves to camp. She loves the silence, the solitude and the scratchy noises leaves make as they fall onto the canvas roof above. She likes to pretend they’re naughty demons (she doesn’t like the term ‘evil’ in this context) out looking to make mischief. Sometimes I think she just wants to join them! :p So it should go without saying that – being the first time I’ve been in a tent since February 2012 – Meadhbh leapt at the chance to come with me.
By the middle of the night she was acting like a child hyped up on a combination of red cordial, sherbet and ice-cream. Upon realising the scratchy noises she was hearing weren’t naughty demons but squeeorthy (her word) possums, she demanded we go ‘squee hunting’. So, at 1am, after nearly 48 hours of virtually no sleep, I set out into the moonlit campsite with Meadhbh hopping around like the Easter Bunny on acid. Whenever we saw a possum she’d let out a high-pitched squeak and bound over to it; only to get annoyed when it darted up a tree and out of sight.
After thirty minutes of these shenanigans, Audrey arrived to see what all the fuss was about. Following fifteen minutes of ‘fun possum facts’ the three of us settled down in a quiet spot by the lake for a ‘chat’.
Given the relative calmness of the girls demeanour, I seized the opportunity to ask them something I’ve been too scared to ask, but whether it was because of their good mood or recent ‘acceptance’ of my hearing voices journey, they answered the question and discussed it with surprising openness and honesty. The topic in question was their triggers (or, as they both dislike that term, the events that they take as an invitation to come to me) and for nearly an hour Meadhbh shared her thoughts without interruption from Audrey. After Meadhbh was done, Audrey chimed in with her own thoughts on the matter, extrapolating on them with a depth and insight that rendered Meadhbh jealous, prompting my Faerie Dominatrix to interrupt with added information on the thoughts she’d shared. Meadhbh can be quite competitive at times! After they had both finished – and given her absence – we debated Vanessa’s possible triggers, building a rather hefty list on what events invite that abusive bitch into my day.
After this lengthy – and useful – exchange (which I will be sharing in a post later in the week), Audrey left us to it. Over the last few weeks she’s been less critical not only of me, but also Meadhbh, and as a result seems to be more understanding of the pressure I’ve been under and my need for one-on-one time with my people. After a final squee hunt of the campsite we returned to my tent where Meadhbh changed into a pair of black (with pink unicorns) pyjamas and snuggled up opposite me. She has apparently decided she doesn’t like me being so lonely.
Following sixteen minutes of her incessantly giggling over the foraging possums outside our tent, she struck upon the idea of luring one inside with the remnants of my Honey Baked Ham Kettle chips. Once ‘captured’ she intended to train it as a pet so I would have someone squeeorthy (besides her) to keep me company during the encroaching long winter nights. Although it sounds like a ‘gag’ suggestion, Meadhbh was being deadly serious and became increasingly annoyed when I vetoed it. After a short tantrum, that saw her throw a longer tantrum after I attempted to scold her, she began singing Hallelujah (as she knows it triggers me!)
One hour of refusing-to-stop singing later, I gave her a much firmer scolding that reduced her to fits of giggles. Apparently she likes it when I become all assertive and strict. Fortunately, after ten minutes of giggling and trying to get me to tell her off again, she allowed me to try to get some sleep with the promise of two things:
1) Another squee hunt on Tuesday night.
2) That I would share with her (by Good Friday) why I’m so absolutely terrified of the fairer (more awesome) sex.
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 1 hours
- Food eaten: Lettuce Roll [LCH]; Honey Baked Ham Kettle Chips [SNK]; Roast Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Salad [DN]
After helping me draw a landscape (see ‘Woeful Landscape’ above), Meadhbh threw one of her ‘you’re such a useless and annoying shite’ tantrums after I refused to accompany Sarah to a gigantic bouncy trampoline. Meadhbh first met Sarah at one of my pool groups several weeks ago and fell head-over-heels in love with the black and white skirt she was wearing. Ever since, she has been pestering me to find out where she got the skirt from. She doesn’t seem to understand that a random fugly man can’t walk up to a woman and enquire about their skirt without looking like they’re either cracking onto them and/or a cross-dresser. So my refusal to go bounce with her – and thus deny Meadhbh’s wishes – was bound to throw a stone at the feisty Faerie’s hornet nest.
Thus, after exploding on me, Meadhbh stormed off in a huff, adamant in her belief that I was being “a pathetic wanker” who “wasn’t trying hard enough”.
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 2.5 hours
- Food eaten: Fried Eggs on Toast [BF]; Turkey and Salad Roll [LCH]; Jacket Potato w/cheese and salad [DNR]; Freddo Frog [SNK].
Wednesday 27th March 2013
Something my voices rarely do is apologise. Audrey has in the past, as has Meadhbh, but these events are few and far between. So when those two words slip from their lips it makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy. As I sat outside my tent this evening, Meadhbh slinked over from the ether and sat beside me. She was uncharacteristically silent, a little reserved and crestfallen. Only when I apologised did she start talking:
Meadhbh: You always fucking do that, Addy! You’ve nothing to say sorry for. Nothing. OK? So don’t. I should be the one saying I’m sorry. I acted like a brat. And. Well. I shouldn’t have said what I said. You are trying. I know that. So. Yeah. I’m sorry.
Me: You know why I didn’t go bounce, don’t you?
…[I’ve had to edit this part of the conversation, sorry]…
Me: Whether I do or not is completely irrelevant.
Meadhbh: So you say. I know you’re scared of women, Addy, I’m just trying to find out why.
Me: And I promised I’d tell you.
Me: Not now.
Meadhbh: When Thursday?
Meadhbh: Pinkie promise?
Me: Pinkie promise.
Meadhbh: Will you hunt possums with me tonight?
Me: Only if we do it now. I’m really tired Meadhbh.
Meadhbh: Okay. Then bedtime story?
Me: Fine. Possums, then story, then sleep. No singing, no tantrums, no insults. You promise?
Meadhbh: Pinkie promise.
Meadhbh: You need your torch.
So, for forty-five minutes we roamed the darkened campsite looking for possums. All up, we found four of them, but the squee hunt was notable for two moments:
Firstly, the third possum we found remained still long enough for Meadhbh to give a wee stroke, which made her day. Secondly, as we stood beneath a palm tree listening to the chaotic nose in the branches above, Meadhbh was getting increasingly more excited at the prospect of a possum climbing down the trunk. As the noise began to subside, she took a few paces forward and then, out of the branches, launched a gigantic black bat that scared the bejesus out of us both.
I’m not sure who screamed like a girl louder; her or me?
It took me 40 minutes to cycle the 15km back home. Unlike the trip there, it was all downhill and/or flat! :D
By the time I got down the high street to pay rent and catch up on my errands, I may have looked like a hideous hairy sweat monster, but I was running on an endorphin rush I can only presume would be on par with those wacky Siberians! :p
However, this rush lasted a mere ten minutes, before I ended up sitting on the carpet staring at the back of my sofa for seven hours. My body had given up. My mind had taken a vacation. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t concentrate, I could do nothing but sit and stare at the hideous cream material I spend so much time thinking about sitting on.
Still can’t sleep though.
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 3 hours
- Food eaten: scrambled eggs on toast [BF]; 3 slices of pepperoni pizza (with the pepperoni removed, obviously!) [DN]
Thursday 28th March 2013
All I wanted to do this morning was lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, but I’d promised I would be at the Introduction Day so dragged my exhausted ass from beneath the duvet and hiked into town, wrestling with my umbrella along the way. From conversations with my support worker I pretty much already knew what groups I’ll be doing next term, but it was worth going if only to gain a final timetable I can psyche myself up for.
This term, my focus is less on random socializing (i.e. no more scrabble) and more on education and developing coping skills. As such, my timetable consists of:
Monday: Acting Up (2hrs, AM) and Tackling Trauma (2hrs, PM)
Tuesday: ACT for Anxiety (2hrs, AM) and Mi Recovery (3hrs, PM)
Wednesday: Pool (2hrs, AM) and Men’s Wellbeing Group [?] (2.5 hrs, PM)
Thursday: Forging the Future (2hrs, PM)
Friday: HVSG (2hrs, AM)
In hindsight, it is entirely possible, especially if I can’t push past this morose suicidal exhaustion that I will die (or at the least, pass out) by operating to this insane timetable. Thus, it may be necessary to remove some of the groups (the Men’s Wellbeing Group would be the obvious to eradicate) once things get started.
After the Introduction Day all I wanted to do was come home and pass out, however, first I needed to undertake a small interview in preparation for the Mi Recovery group (Note: there will be a lot more about this on the blog in the coming weeks, as it is the group I’m most looking forward to attending, for reasons that will become apparent!) then, with all supermarkets closed tomorrow, I needed to do a food shop as now is not the time for one of my patented ‘starvation due to body image’ periods.
However, all this was thrown into disarray after I bumped into someone I can’t even remember the name of. She’s a nice person – someone I knew back in my ‘homeless’ days – but she caught me off guard and I ended up having a peppermint tea with her. Given how unfocused I am, given how exhausted I am, given how much I just wanted to crawl back into bed, I was atrocious company – something that only added to my self-hate and anxiety issues, especially with today being as busy as it’s been.
So I finally got home half-an-hour ago. I still haven’t unpacked the shopping (frozen stuff…shit!) because all I’ve done is sit staring at the back of the sofa again.
Okay, technically it’s Friday, but Meadhbh and I had a two-hour long conversation this evening as per my promise earlier in the week. She has asked if she could help me write a blog post about what we talked about. When I said ‘yes’ (why did I say this?) she got all excited and has gone off to think about how to word things. She will, according to her, be back sometime soon.
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 5 hours
- Food eaten: 2 x chocolate chip hot cross buns [SNK]; 1 x bowl of chunky vegetable soup [DN]
Friday 29th March 2013
Good Friday sucks ass! As far as I’m concerned public holidays can go rot in hell! Do people not realise that some people are socially isolated and don’t have anyone to buy them Lindt Bunnies, sit and eat fish or generally hang out and have fun with? Why doth the radio continue rubbing in my failures and miseries? Hasn’t it got anything better to do? Nope, Good Friday, Easter Monday and the two days sandwiched in between can be wiped off the face of the calendar for all I’m concerned.
Where’s my lighter?
1) Why did you just rent Skyfall hoping it would cheer you up? Bond is a fucking trigger you moronic wombat! What were you thinking?
2) Even so, why has the entire world gone ape-shit for this mediocre (at best) action movie. The best thing about it is the theme song!
3) Why in god’s earth did you rent The Dinosaur Project hoping it would cheer you up? It’s a found-footage movie you moronic wombat! What were you thinking?
4) Even so, why has the entire world not yet realised how pathetic it is to kill the female character first. Especially when the male characters are all annoying little shites.
5) Why did you not rent Frankenweenie or Damsels in Distress or Ruby Sparks or any number of actually (allegedly) decent movies you want to see?
6) Even so, why does drinking alcohol frequently make me refer to myself as a moronic wombat? Isn’t that wombatist?
I fucking hate Easter! How sad is it to buy yourself a Lindt Chocolate Bunny?
Audrey just told me it isn’t at all sad to buy yourself a Lindt Chocolate Bunny, they are, after all, the food of the goddesses. Especially as you get a little bell with them! :)
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 5 hours (yep, no sleep last night!)
- Food eaten: 1 x Lindt Chocolate Bunny [SNK]
Saturday 30th March 2013
Can I just die, please? Or at the very least have a good night’s sleep?
Thank you Patrick Kline (whomever you may be) for this wonderfully insightful comment:
Why do people think they’re being clever posting such comments on a website written by an (occasionally) suicidal mentally ill man? :/
Fucking trolls! Just what I need at the moment!
- Total sleep since 22/3/13: 5 hours (yep, still no sleep!)
- Food eaten: Nothing.