A World of Mist and Cold

It looks like Silent Hill outside (I took this last year but it’s a pretty decent approximation if you triple it and remove the sun plus it saves me having to leave my duvet on the sofa). Like the original game, where it was used to masterful effect and you genuinely felt claustrophobically lost.

Except with ice that wants to kill you.

I took a tumble (not ice related but ow) at the weekend and so I’m much more cautious than usual (which is to say I’m at DEFCON 1 normally) but this weather, ugh. The cats agree with Ceri roasting on the windowsill, D curled up between my ankles on the duvet and Isis nesting behind the sofa with as much fur contact on the radio is as possible without her actually, you know, cooking.

I have smart cats.

Imbolc is coming in just a few days and I live in hope we’ve broken winter’s back. The constant grey bleughness is miserable. Oh and it was so bad yesterday, Norwich had an alert out. Good job I wasn’t out there then.

My memory is still bad, January isn’t a time to try dealing with insomnia. Frankly, January isn’t a time for dealing with anything.

But yeah, surviving over here. Sorta anyway.

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The January Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder, coupled with the depressive side of bipolar and a slight issue when it comes to a loss of my beloved canine mobility aid, means January is sucking hard. There never seems to be enough cash lying around (and I just bulk bought cat food for my feline overlords). Said cats are trying to compensate with ALL THE LOVE but it’s not quite enough to tip the tide. Oh and apparently it’s going to snow tomorrow.

No. Just no. At least, if it does snow, I have a couple of books to read, good books and a comfy sofa on which to sit.

Sadly the sunrise is something I’m seeing little off, it’s usually dark for most of my commute into the city. However, when I do see them, they’ve been stunning. I usually sit in the cab of the bus, right behind the door which affords me stellar views of the A47 (/sarcasm).

And, oh fucking gods, please don’t snow.

Understand I don’t hate snow per se, I just hate what it does to my mobility, specifically in the frozen and slush stages. I have zero issues with walking while it is snowing and, in fact, quite enjoy it. It’s the best time to go to the supermarket, in fact, as everyone else is not there.

I’m neither properly depressed nor manic at the moment, but I am still miserable. I don’t want to go into supermarkets (because it’s all too easy to spend money) and I certainly don’t want to go out after dark. Even putting a letter in the post was too much this morning (so I gave it to the postwoman as she brought me a Lakeland catalogue). I’m able to get coffee and go into the city but that’s about it.

However I’m also trying to meal plan and use up the contents of my freezer, I’m also trying to cook a meal a day and eat lots of soup. Soup is warm and filling and the garage sells nice baguettes that are right next to the bit where I stand to get my coffee. If it does snow, I know I have gyoza and bread, leftovers from tonight, various meat stuffs and enough to make spag bol for the weekend.

January, by its sheer definition, just seems to make everything harder. I can’t concentrate (though that could just be because I’m watching Homeland which requires it.) I need to go to Zumba but the idea of being in a room of people with loud music after dark just makes me want to hide behind my sofa with Isis. This also means I can’t settle on a project, even though I have a new short story on the front burner. I just lack the motivation to work on it, or anything else. I’m waking up but from then on, the days just drag, then it gets dark and cold … Rinse and repeat.

At least, if I go into town and top up my Nero card, I’ll have coffee and a comfy seat that doesn’t keep moving (my desk chair is now making death-rattles and sinking every time I sit down in it). Warmth, a croissant and WiFi is a bonus. I just feel lost, uninspired and very mundane which means spending a lot of time just surfing the internet and watching TV shows on Netflix. I know all this is a passing thing and it will get better. Just hugging Bramble the other day did me wonders, ditto the small puppy I fussed as I waited for the bus. Watching Gismo and D size themselves up is also entertaining (and D is currently losing the war).

New Dog would help right now but it’s not going to happen on my schedule, it’ll happen on Guide Dogs’ (which also explains why today sucked because they called me and, for two glorious seconds until I saw it was their main switchboard number, I thought it was THE call, even though I know better). No one does matching visits in January because there aren’t any dogs (another strike against the month IMHO).

Yeah, I wish I could say positive things but I can’t. I’m going to take an eARC and curl up on the couch with some music on then go to bed, it’s all I can do until this weather decides if it’s going to be awful or not.

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The Creatives’ Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Box of Bastet’s Makes Everything A Little Better

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Because sacred cat plushes really do cheer me up. I should have brought the entire case home with me from London. So, instead, I’ve been hugging my own cats and dogs; it’s the cheaper option.

Anxiety is a bastard.

Seriously, it’s been sneaking around like a ninja and jumping me when I least expect it. First thing in the morning and last thing at night seem to be the best times.

I know this is a side-effect, I can only hope it will eventually go away. For now, though, I’m stuck taking medication that gives me a couple of hours respite or finding a Bramble/Isis to hug. I keep crying, randomly, in front of my best friend and finding comfort in food (ramen FTW) and quiet restaurants with my headphones on and a good book playing.

Writing … well it’s been happening but I had the first tinges of burnout. That forced me to step back. I’m writing the bits I want to write, snatched scenes mostly in The Broken World. Jaada breaking codes, Jaada sensing the wrongness of history and making a friend whom she can never love but will love her regardless.

On a personal front, I’m trying to see my friends, cancel anything in the least bit stressful or triggering and just take it easy. I’m not depressed but anxiety still wears you down. I keep having to remind myself that if I was a diabetic I wouldn’t spend half an hour debating whether to take insulin.

I wouldn’t mind but it’s not like I have the ‘traditional’ panic attack. I don’t hyperventilate; I shut down and I run. My instinct is hard-wired, after decades of abuse and PTSD, to ‘run the fuck away to somewhere safe’. Fortunately, I have understanding friends and this usually happens when I’m not in their company.

Right now I hate being alone because it makes me worse, sitting in public is only slightly better but I need my headphones and a distraction (yay music and books). Being at home bring with it added stresses but at least I can write distraction-free.

But I want food I’ve not cooked, coffee I’ve not had to nip out and buy. This necessitates outside and doing things. It doesn’t help that my body clock’s alarm is set in the region of 5:30am either. I miss lie ins.

At least I’m doing the smart thing and trying to reduce things which might make me worse. Also coffee. Turns out Mhairi has been having the baristas replace my caffeine shot with decaff … sigh.

I don’t even care but it does mean the IBS hasn’t been quite so crippling. So there’s that.

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The Balancing Act: Finding “Solace”

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My self-worth isn’t great right now. I’m trying to write but it’s like getting blood out of a stone. My brain screaming at me that I’m a terrible writer, that the two rejections I had this week were personal and signalled my ultimate failure as an author. I cringe at the thought of sending more stories out and yet there’s a call coming up that I’ve promised myself I’ll submit a story to.

After the name-changing of the other day, I had a temporary high which means, of course, my mood was always going to crash back town. It’s not as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago but it still feels particularly dark at times. I can find fractured moments of happiness in Disney movies and the Game of Thrones rumour-mill, listening to certain pieces of music and eating things which are bad for me. Though I do have a bag of carrots in the fridge that I’m sharing with the hound.

Yesterday I didn’t write a word all day. Instead, I wasted time on the internet, reading and posting until it was time for an appointment on the other side of town. I took the bus because I couldn’t face the walk from either of the two routes I can use, I even arrived early because it was better than lingering in Starbucks for another half an hour.

Of course, I could have slept in, I could have been kinder but I’m a creature of habit. I did, however, walk back into town, past the barky German Shepherd Uni hates. We had lunch, which was cheap and filling (bonus points to the fact I was craving cabbage and new potatoes). We capped off the day with an epic 99 that took me back to my childhood. The seller even made Uni a micro 99 which she definitely appreciated. It was exceptionally warm and poor Un, well she’s getting fluffy again.

As part of my run of jobs on Monday, I booked her a slot to be clipped for the summer. It’s expensive but worth it, she’s already feeling the heat and it’s only just gone from sub-arctic rain to a few, precious, glorious days of summer. She’ll thank me in two weeks. In the meantime, I’m carrying water and her bandana, even retiring my jacket because denim and heat, they don’t play well together.

My big focus for this week is the short story I need to write. It’s a space mermaid story and I’m hurrying to get it done not because the call is coming (it’s at the end of the month) but because I want to have my crit group look the story over first. I have a better idea of the storyline for “Solace” but my desire to write, it’s still not easy. Plus the deadline is making it much harder, inducing a panic that I won’t be done by 1st July.

This annoys me as normally deadlines are my fodder, my fuel. The trick is, of course, to go back to what MRK taught me in the short story class I did. Outline the story, write down what happens and then, when my muse returns in a coffee-fueled flood, do the story. Worse case, as long as it’s done by Wednesday, the group won’t be too put out but I still feel bad. We each understand everyone has problems writing sometimes and this week, it’s my turn.

I want this story to be good, though. I want to love writing it, the desire is there, but my mood flattens it. I want to nip to the garage, buy a pint but I can’t afford to lose either the money in my purse or the addling of my brain. So I’ve put on Game of Thrones and am trying to outline, hoping that will help. At least I now have a much clearer idea of the antagonism in the story and the ending.

That’s something and, right now, I’ll take anything I can get.

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Exhaling

154638_10151350439671449_1979273517_nI was lying in bed as I do on Sunday mornings. There’s no reason to get up early, the supermarket doesn’t open till ten and there’s no immediate need to get coffee. D was curled up on my side, Uni at my feet (because it’s their bed not mine, apparently) and I suddenly realised I was feeling better. The spider web of confusion and misery had gone.

I know when this all started, though not the reason. I know exactly when I hit rock bottom and exactly who helped me climb out of the pit. I’m still climbing, I think, but my mood as been a little better (so the raised dose must be doing something).

It struck me that I felt like I’d just broken the surface of the water, having held my breath and am now exhaling. I’m alive, the air tastes beautiful and all the cats have been so affectionate, even Ceri who isn’t the biggest fan of being picked up and snuggled. That said, I can’t tell if this is it for my current mood or if I’m going to slip and fall again. I hope not because I’m not good at climbing.

The worse thing isn’t the mood, it’s the guilt at the number of people I’ve worried. The number of days when I was genuinely suicidal and the lack of control I had. It’s a horrible feeling, that lack of control. There is very little you can do and the worse part is I had no one, outside of my network, to turn to. They well you, the mental health and wellbeing teams, to ring the crisis hotline but what’s the point? They regard you as suicidal only if you’re cutting yourself, if you’re thinking of killing yourself in a very manifest way. Oh and there are no beds in the entire country.

So what’s the point in even calling them?

Worse I always present as an aware patient, it’s to do with my autism. The stereotype of suicidal is that you’re a mess, incapable of living day to day life and you’ve ended up in A and E for whatever reason, or the police have been called. Oh and I can’t actually walk into the path of an oncoming car or off a bridge for one reason: Uni. She’s trained to stop me doing that exact thing and, even at my lowest moments, I would never EVER make her participate in my death. It’s not fair on her and would be the most selfish thing I could ever think of doing. My choice is my choice, but I have no right to make it for her.

That’s not me. I can’t actually walk into the path of an oncoming car or off a bridge for one reason: Uni. She’s literally trained to stop me doing that exact thing (we even did a test) and, even at my lowest moments, I would never EVER make her participate in my death. It’s not fair on her and would be the most selfish thing I could ever think of doing. My choice is my choice, but I have no right to make it for her.

Social services, like everyone else, they don’t factor in things like assistance dogs.

Uni has been super clingy, curling up at my feet and following me around. She even wagged her tail at D yesterday which made me realise thing are improving between the two of them. The littlest things can be the most relieving.

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Acknowledging Depression

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I wish I could say I was feeling better. I was supposed to see the Wellbeing Service this morning but the appointment was rain checked. A part of me is frustrated, I wanted a chance to talk to someone. The rest of me is glad because it means I don’t have to do the questionnaire above. Variations of it appear in all parts of the NHS and it covers things like employment, phobias, anxiety, and, of course, suicidal intention and self-harm over the course of the proceeding fortnight.

The problem is, it assumes those last two things can be easily quantified into ‘yes’ or ‘no’ which is bullshit. I don’t cut myself (the ‘traditional’ form of self-harm). I also grew up in a family who worked in the NHS; I read medical textbooks for my own amusement, endured some horrific procedures and am pretty good with first aid. It also means I can be my own worst enemy. Oh and once I take my meds I become a zombie with zero recall the following morning. A couple of months ago, I woke up with a bruise that went up my entire leg; I have no idea where it came from other than to assume it was somehow self-inflicted.

I’ve spent the better half of a week being triggered by the merest mention of suicide (Ta, Eastenders, which I don’t even watch). I found myself wondering whether my stash of quetiapine, diazepam and three days worth of sleeping meds is actually enough to even do anything. I doubt it but I don’t like how I find myself gazing at the pile of tablet sleeves sitting on my desk, surrounding my phone and my computer. If I say anything, my GP will put a hold on the meds (at least the sleeping tablets/diazepam) and not having those will make me much, much worse. I can ring the mental health crisis line but there’s no point, there’s nothing they can do and there are no beds. Plus I have an

I can ring the mental health crisis line but there’s no point, there’s nothing they can do and there are no beds. Plus I have an unchangable appointment that I’m not moving for anything. Again, my local mental health team, they can’t cope. I’d have to actually try something/cut a few veins before they’d even look at me. All because I’m too ‘aware’ and I wish I wasn’t; I’m not raving, I even smile and laugh, but it’s hollow and makes me feel even more guilty because I’m not ‘properly suicidal’. Shouldn’t I, at the very least, be serious rather than messing about with people’s time and emotions?

I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Walker’s blog, she’s one of the few people who openly blogs about life with bipolar. The highs, the lows and her brutal honesty helps when bipolar comes with such stigma. Few people talk about the suicidal thoughts, the side-effects of medication (which everyone seems to ignore in favour of the fact they’re mood stabilisers) and knowing someone else is going through the same thing, it’s almost reassuring.

I walked/dragged myself to Zumba last night and all I could smell was the rain and the whiff of weed; hypersensitivity is one of the signs that all isn’t well. I had to leave because the sound was just too much for my sensitive ears and would have given my a migraine if I’d stayed.

Right now I’m exhausted, looking after myself is almost too much. Changing the bed after vomiting animals (thanks guys) has wiped me out. I’m doing it in stages, while I try to decide what I’m actually hungry for. I went as far as the garage for coffee, chocolate and rhubarb crumbles and that was me done for the day. The weather is miserable and probably not helping, after all who wants to wander in the rain?

I was supposed to have this appointment, the cancellation was almost a relief. Except I’ve done nothing bar listen to Epic Rap Battles of History, started at my computer and watched S5 of Game of Thrones. Oh and get the last of my Kickstarter rewards in for my backers. Except it’s going to be two weeks minimum before I can even think about packaging everything up and, while I know it can be done in a calm, ordered and speedy fashion, I’m just to freaking tired to even consider it.

I want chocolate, sweet things (hence the rhubarb crumble) but the quetiapine has made me crave everything and I’ve put on so much weight. I look at myself in the gym mirrors and actually cringed last night. I know sweet things are the prime side-effect but it doesn’t feel like they’re working, so I maxed the dose. I can’t take any more than 750mg but it also means I now have to talk to my GP about trying something else, which means being re-referred backed to a psychiatrist and possibly losing my CBT place. If my meds are switched, I’ll have to either lower the dose and gradually replace the quetiapine or just go cold turkey (my usual method) and hope new meds will help.

Worse I can’t write. Well, I can but all the words feel forced, hollow. I look at my work, my short stories and the personal rejections and all I can feel is that I’m the worst writer in the world. How could I submit such drivel to pro-markets? I know, really, my work isn’t that bad but it’s so hard to actually look at a favourite story and be devastated when every market I send it to isn’t interested in a purchase.

I quit like Kate Elliott’s comments, they make a lot of sense. I’m trying to follow them as much as possible. All my projects are suspended (short stories and novels) except for my Patreon and I’m trying to be kind to myself (Isis hugs help and she was waiting for me when I got home, so pleased to see me I nearly cried). Uni is sitting on me because she knows something is up, the cats are shadowing me for the same reason. I’d like to think it’s because the cats care but, in truth, they wouldn’t notice if I was here unless the bowl was empty. Uni, at least, gives a shit.

The only thing I know for certain is this will pass, eventually (the key word here and bane of my life), and that I hate that damn questionnaire beyond question. All I can do is wait, acknowledge this is part of my illness and hope it eventually lifts. Except that waiting isn’t my strong suit and there really is no telling how long this is going to last. Worse case: I could be like this for another two weeks or more.

I don’t want to be like this but I want to be a statistic even less, so I hug my animals and hope for the best.

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Remembering Why

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Just before I was diagnosed with bipolar, I got this tattooed on to my right arm. When looked at from the perspective of someone shaking my hand, they’re the chemical formulae for serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is what decides if you’re depressed (when you don’t have enough of it) and dopamine, well too much makes you (or, rather, me) manic.

I got it to remind me not just to take my medication (which is making me feel miserable right now, due to the side effects of weight gain) but that it’s a better thing than dancing between high and low. It’s also there to remind me that walking the narrow path between the two is something I have to do on a daily basis. Mania is wonderous, you never want to end. The creativity, the ease of everything, it’s like being able to fly, but at some point you’re always going to come crashing down.

Hard.

Worse, you never want it to end. But, in two weeks, maybe three, that glorious feeling evaporates and, if you’re lucky, you don’t break anything in the fall.

Depression is almost easier, you use the darkness, rely on the banal tasks to get you through the day. Eating, doing laundry, feeding the animals, going to bed and waking up just as tired. I make a point of meeting friends, of being there for the people I care about and hugging as many animals as I can get my hands on. Then I count down the days. At least, you know it’s going to end and, unlike mania, it will be an easier thing because you’re not crashing, you’re climbing up out of the pit. As long as you remind yourself that a new day is a new start, it’s okay. Any scars, mental or physical, you accumulate on the war are simply proof of survival. I’ve actually lived through worse.

At least, you know it’s going to end and, unlike mania, it will be an easier thing because you’re not crashing, you’re climbing up out of the pit. As long as you remind yourself that a new day is a new start, it’s okay. Any scars, mental or physical, you accumulate on the war are simply proof of survival. I’ve actually lived through worse.I find music I love, television which entrances me (hence my

I find music I love, television which entrances me (hence my Game of Thrones rewatch), and wait through the days. Living on my own actually helps because it forces me to do the things I’d otherwise relegate to a partner, I don’t have anyone so if I don’t do the basics, I’ll starve … or the animals will eat me.

I also try to keep some kind of schedule.

Monday: Early starts in Norwich. Coffee and Game of Thrones, lunch and time with friends. Sailor Moon Crystal.

Tuesday: Zumba.

Wednesday: Whatever. I’m trying to use Wednesday as the unplanned day where I can chill out, have lunch with Uni, do errands. Get a massage. Free run the hound. Wander the shops.

Thursday: Zumba.

Friday: An early start with appointments, maybe coffee with friends. Home, knowing the weekend has arrived and I can sleep in.

Saturday: Coffee and a lie in. Start my house cleaning. Do the washing.

Sunday: Another lie in, perhaps an early night. My writing crit group meets in the afternoon. After that I’m free to write or just watch TV, knowing no one else needs me to do anything. I’ll put the washing away, hang clothes, empty the dishwasher.

And we begin again.

What I didn’t realise, though, was that the little white tablets I take to regular my mood aren’t infallible. No one bothered to tell me, instead they were touted as a miracle which would finally put my mood on an even keel, like a seesaw with someone sitting in the middle to keep the weight of the kids on either end from sending me stratospheric or into the earth.

Then I got stressed. Physical stress, mental stress, it doesn’t matter though both just makes it worse. Stress means those little tablets, they might we well be placebos. Last year I had five manic episodes and I’m still dealing with the fallout. I’ve just had my CBT confirmed (mainly to deal with crushing anxiety) which should start this week and that’s a great thing, even if it’s taken sixteen months to get anywhere. People keep telling me to hang on but I’m so used to waiting a long time for things … but I’m not suicidal, I’m patient. I have to be because the cogs of the local mental health surface are so rusted over they’re barely moving.

Unfortunately, I’m also about to do something which, at worse, will trigger another manic episode. It’s a necessary evil, pre-planned to be as easy as possible. My credit cards are tucked away, details removed from websites so I can’t just purchase stuff. The amount of effort involved in prep has been stupid, from dog-related stress to making sure I’ll have food in the house. I can deal with the actual event in my sleep but it’s the rest of it that’s going to be a headache. I’m worried more that I’m going to end up with an unexpected manic episode than I am about physical pain because the mania is, hands-down, actually worse.

So I have my tattoo, there to remind me, there to help me remember the line I have to walk, a tight-rope. Balance was never my strongest suit but I’m getting better at it because falling or flying is worse.

I just need to remember why.

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The Creatives’ Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder: The Down Swing

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My friend Kim posted this last night and it really struck home. I’ve had a horrendous fortnight and Monday just sealed it. Uni ate something as we were walking to the bus and, by the time we got into the city, it had started giving her bellyache.

Now Uni is normally a quiet dog but when she starts whining and pawing at me then it’s obvious there’s a problem. The last time this happened she was sick for three days with colitis. This was much more minor but I ended up having to take her out without a bag because I thought she needed to pee.

Cue my first of two encounters with self-righteous members of the public.

See here’s the thing. All non-disabled people get blind mixed up with deaf and so decide to scream rather than take a more gentle stance.

So I got “EXCUSE ME!!!!” and wild gesticulation. I was trying to get Uni back into Starbucks at the time and go retrieve a bag. You’d think the sheer fact I’m obviously taking a four legged friend into a place of business that we weren’t just people on a street.

Also, legally, I don’t even have to pick up after my dog. I do when I came but there will always be times when something gets in the way or I simply can’t find said shit. Or I need to get a bag because my dog has made herself ill.

So I turned and snapped back at the older woman who was trying so hard to get my attention, telling her my dog was sick and I was about go to and get a bag. Yes, I’m very aware she’s taken a shit and do not need you to tell me. Thank you.

Then I walked inside. By the time I got out again thirty seconds later she was gone.

My stress level goes through the roof when Uni is ill, especially as she spent the whole morning needing to go out repeatedly. And it wasn\t even the first time I had to deal with people. I got two old dears who came over as I was getting her to pee for the fourth time who uttered the immortal words.

“We shouldn’t disturb her …”

This is after they’d walked right over, begun asking me questions about how long I’d had her, tried to pet her and Uni suddenly didn’t want to pee anymore.

OMVFGs!

The whole thing just put the icing on my cake of unhappiness, leaving me weepy and desperately needing Bramble hugs/the reassurance of another guide dog owner who is not afraid to, politely, tell people to piss off.

Apparently I’m not allowed to use the F-word, or indeed any expletives, when dealing with the public. Sigh.

I’m trying to be more assertive in my dealings with the public but this makes the fourth time in as many months that I’ve had random strangers decide to scream at me because of my dog’s need to engage in a perfectly natural bodily function. And it’s always scream or an ‘excuse me’ loaded with blame.

FYI: Bus drivers do not like you bringing bags of shit onto their buses because some random person and her husband in a car decided I just had to pick up shit in the one place where there was no bin. I had no idea she’d even gone.

People make my mood even worse sometimes.

Anyways, thanks to all that, I’ve not been in a good place. The rest of it is related to the guide dogs kerfuffle and the stress of Mother’s Day (a massive trigger for my mental illness/PTSD). I’ve been left in a place where I just can’t cope and have been so glad of my small handful of beloved friends who’ve been actively looking after me, making sure I take it easy.

I’m trying to focus on the little things, like the sun coming out or the smell of my vase full of blooming daffodils. Not the nightmares, the self-harm or the quandary of ‘do I?/don’t I?’

I spent the last few days fixating on whether my time is done. Mhairi keeps reminding me I’m stressed and Uni is similarly playing off my emotions. I know this, we do it regularly, except I turn that into self-loathing and the feeling that I somehow shouldn’t have her and don’t deserve her companionship.

Even if I rang my GDMI today, he wouldn’t retire her. She’s healthy, loves her job (her job being getting fuss; I’m the sideline) and he’s aware of my somewhat self-destructive, paranoid depressive bouts. Plus even if Uni was, she wouldn’t work again, she’d simply be rehomed and I’d have to wait a minimum of six months before getting a new dog.

And I’d have to go through class again. Right now that’s not even a thing I can do, some messed up am I from my first time doing it.

Then she hugs me and smiles (it’s a creepy dog teeth thing most people find disconcerting but is actually Dog Love) and everything feels a little better. Bramble hugs are even better but I know, when I curl up with Uni, that she loves me more than anyone else. Uni reserves her true feelings for me, she thumps her tail and we play catch and I know no one else has this kind of relationship with my naked dog.

I know, realistically, that I need to eat well, not drink alcohol (erm …) and wait it out. The downswing will pass, it always does but when it’s triggered by things I can’t control, that makes it seem so much worse than just normal bipolar-triggered misery. This is stuff I can’t control and I’ve never been good at handling that.

Today I’m making a point of chilling out, I’m doing things I enjoy, I’m going to Yo Sushi! for lunch, then to Waitrose to pick up a couple of nice things (ham, cheese, good bread). I’m going to write short stories and celebrate another rejection and the promise of being able to submit another piece to one of my favourite markets.

I’m going to look after myself and get through this.

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