TW: contains a very mild reference to self harm.
Recently, things have been getting a little easier for me. My mood has picked up slightly, I’m managing my anxiety better (not needing to use my emergency Diazepam other than at weekends, when things are more hectic around the house) and I feel relatively positive about the future.
There are a number of possible reasons for this small improvement. I’ve recently had my dose of Quetiapine increased to 400mg, my Psychologist has indicated that there is a chance I meet the necessary criteria for a diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) and I have discovered Art as a form of therapy. In addition, the Open University have produced a ‘Disabled Student Profile’ for me, detailing the difficulties I have around studying and offering a number of measures that may make life a little easier should I return to study this Autumn. To clarify, I have attempted, but failed, on a number of occasions to complete some modules in the Natural Sciences area. This was noted by my Student Support Team, who approached me and asked if there was anything going on with which they may be able to help. My Psychologist has read this profile and assured me that it is 100% accurate and would be fully endorsed by any professional. So, in a sense, I’m making an attempt to build a life around my illness and all the limitations that come with it.
I won’t deny that things are far from where I’d like them to be. I still struggle with SH, my appetite has been such that anything other than the plainest of foods (cereal, toast, tea biscuits, Ready Salted Hula Hoops (that one’s for you, @mrsvjdw) have become a seemingly insurmountable effort…
And then there’s the volatility of Mental Illness in itself. I know not to take things for granted. I no longer get disillusioned by a couple of ‘good days’ and, this evening, I had to pull the brake on an impending project. My Mum has taken the next three days off work, the plan being that together we would decorate my bedroom. But faced with the sudden reality of what this would involve – moving furniture, undercoating, gloss-work, buying curtains, buying duvet covers, shampooing the carpet – I realised I was being slightly railroaded. I understand the sentiment. I understand that this is something my Mum thought we might do together. But I don’t have the energy for a time-restricted job, a three-day event. And I don’t have the disposition to cope with chaos.
So now I feel lousy, guilty, sad, and that I’ve disappointed my Mum. My bedroom does need a lick of paint, but I prefer to do things gradually, at a pace more suited to me. We can still pick out some new bed linen. I wanted to make a collage for my wall and have asked my Dad to get me some plywood for the cause, so we could find some material to cover it and make a start. When I feel up to it, I’ll move my bed into the spare room and paint. There are things we can do instead, but I still feel like a wavering, dithering pain in the neck.
Fighting a Mental Illness is like living on a knife edge.