As you were

Okaaaaaay. So. Well, it’s a few weeks without lithium and I suppose it’s all a bit ‘as expected’. A moderate high on Sunday, followed by the slump yesterday. Maybe he seemed overly chirpy on Sunday and although I said to my mother-in-law that he wasn’t hypomanic, even as I said the words I knew I was probably wrong.

And I was. But I also said that we have to accept that he will be up and down. And although I’m trying very hard in that department, I don’t know that I have accepted that yet. I certainly get annoyed when it happens – here we go again.

DH is very much “Don’t forget I’m going through this ‘raw'”, which is his way of describing his emotions without drugs. And really he’s no better or worse off than he was when he was taking anti-depressants, or lithium, or Pregablin.

And of course, if he’s not better taking drugs, then why should he take them? I do accept that.

He didn’t want to go to therapy last week – “It just makes me feel worse”. No, it doesn’t. I can in fact see a huge improvement over the last month or so. Maybe it’s coincidence and has more to do with him coming off meds and feeling like he’s in control. And when he was in that NHS group he was definitely not any better. He hated going and when he came back he was really low. But the new therapist is different and DH comes back pretty positive – surely that has to mean it’s doing him good?

With mental illness there’s no visible signs of improvement – no bone that’s healed, or tumour that’s shrunk. No obvious way of seeing that you’re getting better. With mental illness it’s often a slow-paced, gradual decline of symptoms or a decrease of low periods, or a settling of manic periods that signal an improvement. DH is going to have to get better at recognising what’s happening to him and to embrace the good times and deal with the bad. As am I.

Go up west and buy yourself something nice

A rare day out in London today, even the West End wasn’t too busy. London feels familiar, yet strange. I worked in London and yet now, after 10 years of not going up five days a week, it feels different. Admittedly Oxford Street has a weird feel to it, and on a drab Monday in October it wasn’t total tourist chaos.

I dunno. Not explaining myself very well….

DH was seeing a client today and a day in the car always cheers him up. Not. So he came in and I can see immediately that he’s not in a good place. Angry. Tense. Fine on on the surface and if you didn’t know him, you might not be able to see it or sense the tension simmering away.

But this is a good illustration of his mood. “Is there any bread?” (payday tomorrow, we are slightly on emergency rations). “Yes, there’s some fresh French bread.” Him: “We haven’t had any bread for ages.”

I didn’t rise. Wanted to tell him to eff off but didn’t. “Well, there’s French bread. I’m going shopping tomorrow.” Him: “What the fuck has happened to the shopping in this house?”

I took a deep breath. “There’s no need to be so antagonistic such an objectionable arse”

I left it at that. Can’t be arsed to apologise and frankly there’s nothing to apologise for. It’s not like there’s nothing to eat. It’s just there’s nothing he wanted (cheese on toast for the record).

Luckily he went to bed and I spent the next two hours working (working from home seems to involve me working every evening – I suspect time management isn’t my forte). I can hear him up and about upstairs however, so I doubt he’s asleep. Probably worked himself up in to a mood and thus the cycle of not sleeping and low mood starts again. We’ve had maybe a week of him feeling brighter. I shouldn’t be so pessimistic but the heart sinks when you see another low coming in. Will he be angry, or depressed, or anxious. Or all three. How long will it last? What impact will it have on me?

Here comes the rain again

So it starts – not eating. Not sleeping. Not really talking. And the biggie – the dog’s being weird around him. The signifiers that alert me (as if I didn’t know from his face) that he’s really really struggling.

DH says it’s just the effects of coming off the lithium. And I suppose in a way it is, the effect being that the lithium is no longer strong enough to control the anger, the fear, the blackness.

Also, he’s starting to say ‘I want something, don’t know what it is’. Which usually means he wants a drink.

This is very complicated – does he just want a drink to numb the rawness and intensity of his feelings? DH says it will all ‘settle down’ but I have become a pessimist when it comes to his moods these days. You can see he’s in turmoil, deep dark swirling forceful turmoil. I don’t think he can get out of it on his own. Should I trust him? I don’t think I should. How can I? He doesn’t know the answers any more than I do.

The road is long

with many a winding turn. And dare I say it, but so far the road off lithium is actually okay. I don’t know if I’m imagining it, and if I didn’t know he was coming off it, would I even know that something fairly significant had happened.

His psychiatrist rang this week and the phone call went something like this:

“How are you doing?”

“Okay”

“Any palpitations?”

“Well yes actually.”

“Yeah, watch out for those, people coming off lithium are at risk of heart attacks.”

“Oh. Right.”

“It does say so in the leaflet.┬áIf they get really bad, you need to go to hospital.”

“Er, okay. Thanks. See you in a few weeks. Unless I’ve had a heart attack of course.”