So, we come to the last day of this week-long examination of my synapses and their unnerving ability to get things wrong.
It’s going to go out with a bang, not a whimper, I deem.
So anyway, we settled down at 2130 hours last night to watch the 2004 Film Dogville, a nearly 3 hour epic by Lars Von Trier. With a few breaks, for refreshments and loos, it finished shortly after 0030, and Belinda nipped over to the computer to find out who had played a certain character on imdb.
She broke the Internet. Well, ok, maybe it wasn’t her, but at that moment, the Internet went down.
It is at this point I start to feel my old paranoias returning about Internet downtime; tightness starts around my chest, and my pulse quickens noticeably. The ‘blood runs cold’ effect starts as adrenaline hits my bloodstream. I can feel my breath shorten and quicken as my body demands oxygen for fight or flight.
The removal of the network brings about the following scenarios:
1. At best, the bank has frozen our account, and the bill to Virgin has not been paid. I have been disconnected. This is by far the least threatening.
2. Virgin have been asked – by who? – to start monitoring my account real time for all communications, and have temporarily disconnected me while they set up the necessary monitoring equipment.
3. Virgin have been told – by who? – to disconnect my connection so that I cannot let the world know if anyone is battering down my door, in order to take me away (to where?).
I call Virgin and their ‘you have five options’ hoops, jump through them, and am eventually connected to somewhere in the world. It sounds like a connection from Mars or Jupiter, but no matter. No, there are no faults reported in my area, and have I tried turning it off and on again? We jump through what I know to be pointless hoops and trials which I know to be pointless because I am not artless in these matters.
There is nothing more to be done, they will have to book an engineer for next Wednesday. I accede, just wanting to get off the line. I know the modem does not need seeing to, because I tested it.
I cannot relax. I say out loud that it will be fixed in the morning when other people complain. I don’t believe it. I try to read, play a game, but nothing helps.
Half an hour later, the lights on the modem change. They are working on the dns servers now. I have network but no Internet.
So, it is now 0215 hrs, and I am sitting up in bed typing this, because I know I shall not sleep for some time. My system needs to return to normal, and it still retains some background suspicions.
I’ll listen to some music. Try some breathing exercises, visualise a calmer, more pleasant world. Belinda’s rhythmic, slow breathing beside me shows her to be peacefully asleep. She exudes calm at the worst of times. I am lucky to have her as my wife.
I hope I haven’t shocked you as to how badly my mind works when left to its own devices. I’m an ordinary guy, really, but that mind of mine – I’m not sure I should use the word brain – just doesn’t play ball at times.
I hope and pray your sleep has been a good one tonight. In the morning you may read this and wonder what the hell I am like.
I’m like you. Unlike, but like.
Catch you later. Be at peace.
I really am sad that last night (above) ended so negatively – I had just baked a successful spelt loaf, and some orange, date and ginger muffins. The supper – quinoa pilaff with pancetta – had also worked really well, and I was in a right decent sort of mood/state.
I am suffering from a hangover from last night’s drama; I can almost taste the stomach acid, and a dull ache now takes over from the sharp pain of the night time. Renitidine has helped.
The panic has subsided, the suspicions are more or less dealt with; I am left not a little numb by the whole episode. It is the ability of an electrical/electronic glitch to stir anxiety in those suffering from it, that illustrates perfectly the difficulties of life for mental illness sufferers; an everyday occurrence has the ability to cause so much disruption to mood, routine, ability to function.
I have to pick myself up, grit my ever-disappearing teeth, and start over.
Anger would be good right now – it is a very motivating emotion – but I am as flat as a pancake.
Friends help. Most of them are virtual, but that does not matter. The small messages of support, empathy, solidarity help enormously. There are often tears in my eyes when I read them. I must remember that when I interact with other sufferers.
I’m aware that, in part, this being the final day of this series of blogs has made me less cheerful than I might otherwise be; I’m not sure what I will do when I don’t have this to come to and explain. I neither want to bore people, nor do I wish to turn into a preacher for mental health issues.
Though this has been a painful, dangerous week in many ways, it has also been a comfort and a validation.
I’m going to finish my coffee.
Then do something.
I don’t yet know what.
Not making a great deal of headway. Avoiding the TV as I don’t want to see myself and thousands of others being maligned by the political machine.
It doesn’t help, the political onslaught. Fighting the disease is hard work enough, fighting governments is even more so, and as the fights tend to get intertwined, despair can set in quite quickly and easily.
My outing to Tesco earlier took another few microns off my teeth as I ground them together with the stress. I tend to grimace without knowing it – until smiling people dazzle me with their pearlies as they come in the opposite direction; they think I’m smiling broadly at them!
I’m not sure how the rest of the day will go. I just want to sleep at the moment. Sleep and forget. Seep can be so very good at helping you to escape from the world. I could do the same with a drink, but I’m aware of the pitfalls, so I abstain.
I’m going to nap. I’ve decided.
Nearly the last edit in this series … I’m going to miss it. Thank you to those who have written to say that you will miss it too.
I’m napped out, and washed-up, ready to make supper; a japanese curry with green and white beans. I’m quite looking forward to doing it, to be honest. It’s quite cathartic, is cooking. When it goes wrong, it can be a pretty dire experience, when it goes very wrong, it can bring me crashing down. But, when it tastes right, looks right, and plates are cleaned out, it is an affirmation of worth and a validation of one’s abilities.
I need that sort of validation. I guess everyone does, to one extent or another; we all like to think we are wanted/needed/appreciated.
The cooking shows how flaky the ability to function is. Function depends on so much more than gritting teeth, pulling yourself together, getting your head down and getting on with things. Function is dependant on results, and results are dependant on good function; there is a circle that – as Johnny Cash may have sang – must remain unbroken. my confidence is no measure of my success with this curry; were it to fail, i doubt if i could make a successful pudding to follow.
Belinda has had to change her off-duty tomorrow at short notice, something that also leaves me a bit nervy, a bit off-centre. Changes – especially those at the last minute – do that to me. It unnerves me, and I am aware that, even while typing this, I am rocking in my chair for comfort. I, and those like me, often need stability, almost ultra stability, which is something that does not happen in the real world. Instability also reduces functional ability.
I’m going to make the curry now then. Some nice wholemeal basmati to go with it. I’ll enjoy it while we may. It will be the cheapest we can get, soon, I fear.
Well, this will be the last post in what has been a difficult series to do. Only 35 minutes of the week left.
I decided to do this to fight against an external situation which threatened to engulf me; I decided to fight against it by taking the initiative away from those feelings and that situation.
These situations will always exist, and it may be that I will never be rid of the effects of them. I hope and pray, of course, that wellness can come, but I’ve learnt that sometimes it doesn’t. Everybody expects a mental health patient to get better; they don’t expect an arthritis sufferer to do that, or someone with MS.
I could live with a bigger space, a brighter future, less or more manageable pain; but I know that I would never have been so strong today if it had not been for this protracted illness. I am glad to be able to empathise with my friends who suffer similarly. I am glad to understand their pain, because one thing I have learnt is that there is no better medicine than someone who understands.
Tonight I’m looking forward to sleep.
Tomorrow will be a strange day. I will be a little lost not having this blog to write.
I’ll miss wondering who has been reading this – there are only figures on my page. I’ll miss hoping that someone, somewhere will start to understand about mental illness, or even if a sufferer has been comforted. We do small things, and never know the consequences of those actions.
Thank you for reading. It has been a privilege to write for you, whoever you are.
And thank you for those who have commented, either here, on Twitter, or on Facebook; those who have shared or retweeted my links, I am very grateful.
I’ll sign off this series now.
It’s been better than I could have ever hoped.