In the Light

shhh, I don’t want to say this too loudly, just in case I jinx things, but since the lithium dose was dropped back down to 800mg, things seems better….

Not so low. DH’s personality seems to have returned. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

JOKE

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Many dreams come true

How lovely it is to a few days of happiness in the house. I don’t want to be like people who only go to church when things are bad. I need to be focusing on the good times and not just the bad here. So, you know, even if my dream at the moment is just to have some good days, it’s a start. It challenges the neural pathways that are set to ‘low’ at the moment.

Heard a cry for mercy, In the city of the damned

Not much from me today, just a list DH sent me today, and the list I sent back.

His:
I haven’t been out socially for over a year.
I have cut myself off from friends
I don’t run/ exercise anymore
I don’t care about people anymore, complete loss of empathy
I have lost all interest in my business
I find it hard to do simple things with my children
I feel I have lost my wife
I feel I have been in a perpetual state of nothingness for a long time
I don’t know how to change
I think I need more medication
I need and want more therapy
I don’t understand what is happening to me
I am very scared that this is permanent
I think about killing myself
I feel tired all the time

Showing that to the psychiatrist on Monday

Hers:
I’m terrified that this is permanent.
When you’re at work I don’t have to worry about trying to communicate with you.
You are taking away and giving almost nothing.
I can’t talk to you about anything.
I don’t have much support from you.
I’d rather not talk to you because talking to you is at best unfulfilling, at worst, infuriating.
I want to have a life that involves friends.
I want a partner back.

I can try to understand as best I can but the truth is I don’t want explanations any more. They change nothing.

BTW lyrics from For Your Life

Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run…

…There’s still time to change the road you’re on

So there you are, half swimming, half drowning along, thinking that life is reasonably cruddy, when you find out your sister-in-law has also had some sort of breakdown, has been on a massive alcohol and methadone (more on that in a minute) binge and is out of control…

That’s certainly what happened to us yesterday – the panicked phone call from my mother in law, the mad dash over to my sister-in-law’s place (my husband went, not me) and then a day of texts, phone calls, calling the police, trying to get her sectioned (they wouldn’t arrest her), going back over to her flat, over to my MIL etc etc.

And amongst all this, the revelation that she’s been on methadone for the last few months, which of course means that she’s been using heroin. We all thought that episode was over 15 years ago but apparently not.

I don’t think anyone is hugely surprised. Horrified yes, and definitely upset, but not surprised. Although the fact that she’s managed to hold down a hotel manager’s job is pretty impressive.

Probably the most upsetting thing (from my perspective) is how upset my older two have been. They are very interested in what’s going on, are very worried about their aunt and it’s clear to me and my husband that they are FAR more aware of what’s wrong with their dad than we gave them credit for.

Cue plenty of guilt and remorse. Part of me is glad that DH has been able to see this, see the effect that the breakdown has on everyone around the breaking down person, but mainly we’re sad that our children are surrounded by mental illness. What effect is this going to have on them? Are they destined for the same path and what can we do to stop it? Can we even do anything? Are we honest and open with them? Do we admit we took drugs?

My husband and his sister both took a fair amount of drugs, although my sister in law waaaaaaay more than my DH. How much of an effect has this had?

I just look at our innocent, gorgeous, amazing babies and I want to cry. Our need to protect them is so strong. What must my mother-in-law be going through, seeing two of her babies have breakdowns, attempt suicide, drink themselves silly? I really hope that’s something we don’t have to go through but I really don’t know where to start.

If you’re dancing in the doldrums, One day soon, it’s got to stop

Despite his low mood, we’ve managed to have a reasonable day at Whipsnade this week, meeting up with some old friends. DH was just about ok, not terribly involved, not all that helpful as a co-parenter (made up word) . I was reasonably annoyed about his lack of enthusiasm but when we got home it occurred to me that he’d made the effort to be there, to just about participate, and while I’m not falling over myself in gratitude, I do appreciate the effort he made, and I told him this.

However, his lack of empathy, engagement, personality etc are concerning both of us, and I suppose the big annoyance is that the lithium is very possibly the cause. It seems to be curbing the highs but not helping curb the lows. And actually, I’d take a few high points as a relief from the unremitting bleurgh of the lows.

The depression robs us and him of ‘him’ but the lithium seems to be making it worse still. He’s just an empty shell.

When I heard of bi polar people preferring not to be on mood stabilisers, I thought they were selfish and possibly idiotic. However, if the stabilising effect just keeps them at borderline catatonic, then I can quite see why they’d rather NOT take lithium.

You’re in the darker side of town

The sun being out makes a huge difference to most of us, and rather surprisingly we have had some lovely weather for once on this Easter weekend. It’s warm and sunny and I wish that’s how I felt. I wish that’s how we all felt.

So as I sit here, husband is very quiet and low. Yesterday (Sunday) and the Friday and Saturday, he was ok. A bit subdued but we’ve had a good couple of days. But the clues are there aren’t they? A couple of lagers with the rugby? Acceptable. Two more the day after (with more rugby)? Hmmm. Taking the kids out twice? Ding ding ding (that’s an alarm bell ringing).

And today he says he knows why people top themselves. I’m almost numb to these comments now, as shocking as they are. Why? Do I not think he means it? Do I think he means it but I don’t care? Do I wish I had a way out too? I don’t know.

I can hear the kids in the garden, they are so happy in the sunshine. Admittedly the Easter egg sugar rush hasn’t abated so they are exceptionally hyper and happy, the lucky little toads.

As a teenager I loved bad weather, it suited the gothic mentality of the teenage years and even now I sometimes find the sunshine too bloody cheery. I suppose I feel I should be outside enjoying it.

It also serves to remind me how very unsunny life can be. Today the gorgeous Spring weather is shouting ‘Hey, get outside with the kids and have fun’, which couldn’t be more different to DH’s mood. The contrast between indoors and outdoors, in his head, inside the kids’ heads is dramatic and harsh.

The Crunge

Yes, it is actually a Led Zeppelin song title but WTF is Crunge?

But it’s a good name for the atmosphere in the house at times.

I’ve had this thought – people with mental illnesses, particularly depression, are not very likeable and this actually quite a big problem. Because when someone is unlikeable, it’s quite hard to be around them and not want to punch them square on the chin and shout ‘You’re being a nob (knob)’.

Maybe it’s just me of course. However, it’s really hard to feel empathy or sympathy for someone who actually isn’t that nice at times.

Yesterday I muttered something about doing the vacuuming and he said ‘Why bother? It’ll just get all grubby again’. Now, this may not sound totally annoying, but it was just the tone of voice. So I just said, in a nice voice of course, ‘Oh well, I won’t bother then’ and wandered off.

I’m doing a lot of yoga breathing, mixed with saying ‘Oh shut up you miserable arse’ to myself. This combination seems to work well. Ying and yan, if you’ll excuse me mixing up my Asian references.