Monday, 27 August 2007

I have been becoming increasingly stressed out about going on holiday and stayed up all night drinking on Saturday. This is now freaking me out as I now also have to worry about any drunken crap I posted on the internet. Alcohol and the world wide web are a seriously bad combination. But as I said the other day, it is my responsibility for anything I've done and to make amends wherever I can.

Things got worse yesterday and by this morning I was getting worked up into a minor frenzy, with anxiety, nausea, restlessness and an impending sense of doom. My wife managed to get me an appointment with a doctor so I could get some benzos to tide me over the next week. So I've now got Diazepam. I took one earlier and had a wee snooze and now feel much less stressed out.

My wife has just taken the cat away to the cattery. I was too pathetic and upset to go with her. Imagine a grown man getting emotional over a cat, sheesh! Anyway, we fly out to Spain tonight for the week. Tomorrow we will be on the beach, I hope all goes well and Mrs Mo gets to enjoy her well earned break. Adios mis amigos.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

I went nervously to my appointment with Frau Hoff this morning, ready to be punished by the Nazi inquisitor. I was going to give her my name, rank and serial number and nothing more.

After being called in, I kicked off by immediately saying that I didn't want to go through any lengthy assessment or form filling and she could read my notes if she wanted any background info about me. I expected her to be a real jobsworth and demand the formalities were completed, "rules is rules". To my amazement she was really laid back and calmly said "Yeah, whatever you want, that's exactly what you said the last time". Seems we met last year and at that time I was profoundly defensive and refused to participate. But I don't remember ever meeting her and in particular I didn't recognize her name, which is strange as I used to have an incredibly good memory for names and numbers. I can't believe my memory is so shockingly bad. Anyway, she turned out to be really nice and natural and struck up a really good rapport with me. I was very impressed, she is the nicest person I have met in the health service and treated me like a peer, a normal human. Unlike some professionals she didn't grin and patronise me like I was some poor infected specimen. I would be happy to see her again.

Anyway, the upshot of the OT assessment was that I wanted to either get involved in some music project or do some simple manual labour. In the past I have usually thrown myself into things 100%, working 18 hours a day and got furious when other people didn't show the same commitment. Following this I tend to get despondent then eventually fall into misery and drop out. So we agreed I'd be best involved in a voluntary organisation where I could drop out from time to time and be accepted back once I'd cooled off.

Unfortunately, living in a remote area there is no opportunity to get involved in music production. Frau Hoff is going to investigate a "user group" I might wish to get involved with and she asked me if I would approach SAMH who she thought ran a work programme for nutters. I checked out their website but despite it's slick appearance, you need a degree in orienteering to try and find out what services they provide in your area. OK, you've now got your degree in orienteering, but without the Rosetta Stone you still have no idea what all this spin is about. Funky logos are great but come on! What mental health services do you provide for nutters in my area? "The most significant ambition we have identified is to raise the aspirations and expectations of people who use mental health services"... I'll interpret that as something quite nebulous and not very substantial then... or as they say in New York "a load of baloney".

I eventually found their local address by Googling and then travelled 25 miles to ask if I could do some volunteer work. The lady told me no, they only accepted formal referrals, apparently you need evidence of madness to be eligible to dig ditches for charity. Fuck! Yet again I can't believe how hard it is to try and work for nothing in this country. Why does nobody want free labour? When I said I could get referred, the lady smiled and said they no longer provided this type of service due to their funding being removed. I could see she was smugly thinking "We told the Scottish Executive this would happen if they removed our funding and sure enough here's a loony looking for work. "Well what services do you provide?" I asked... "painting and computers"... "hmm, I am quite involved in music production, anything like that?"... "no, just painting and computers, the only other thing we do is jewellery making"..."Oh well, thanks very much, bye bye". I leave the mental health charity with a spring in my stride and manage to cross a bridge without jumping and also walk by Boots the Chemist without buying large quantities of paracetamol before making the long journey home.

So a great big hand to SAMH whose ambition is to "raise the aspirations and expectations of people who use mental health services". We all have our dreams.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

I'm really wound up about seeing this OT woman tomorrow. All I want is some info on available opportunities and services to help me get my arse into gear but I'm sure she will insist on carrying out some Nazi style interrogation first.

Once again I'll have to answer the same barrage of questions about how I spend my days and at the end of it she'll probably suggest things I've already tried out extensively (like exercise and planned short activities) without any benefit. Yup, I'm pretty sure Frau Hoff will insist on a strict exercise regime. I've previously tried to do some voluntary work clearing paths but declined as they insisted on an interview and assessment to make sure shovelling shit was the right thing for me. I really don't want interrogated or even to be among people, particularly not clinicians or bureaucrats. I just want to see if there's anything out there to stimulate me into action.

As well as meeting Frau Hoff, I'm pretty anxious about us going on holiday next week. I've already made a cock-up of our online booking and we're still waiting on our replacement tickets arriving. To try burn up some nervous energy and build myself up for the trip I've been trying to do more. Getting up every morning this week and doing some recording in the studio. I also went out for a walk today, first time for ages.

Monday, 20 August 2007

I was fascinated to read the comments left in response to my last entry by "thirteen" (hey, thanks for taking the time to write). Although obviously a dreadful experience for her, it was great to hear such a candid and concise account of someone affected by another persons' bipolar crap. "Thirteen" shows remarkable insight describing how when manic, some people will "love anything with a bloody pulse". What I wasn't sure about was whether the guy felt that being bipolar absolved him from all responsibility? Sorry if I've picked this up wrong.There have been loads of times in my life (much to my regret) when I have been mildly euphoric and hurt and offended people with my loudmouthed "witty" sarcasm. I don't believe that I have been ill then, that is just my personality, sometimes I am an arsehole and it would be an absolute cop-out to blame things like that on my illness. Just as there have been hot summer days when, like everybody else, I couldn't be bothered to mow the lawn and sat in the shade drinking beer instead. It would be stupid to medicalise it and say... "oh I just haven't got the same drive because I'm bipolar". Ninety nine point nine per cent of the time I am completely responsible for my actions.

Even when I have been ill and stayed up all night drinking and buying guitars on ebay, I haven't just thought afterwards "oh well, that had nothing to do with me, not my responsibility, I was ill". I'm not suggesting psychotic people should be held accountable for their actions, nor should they feel despair and guilt for the rest of their lives. But in my opinion it is only natural to feel ashamed after the event. If you don't agree and think that they should be cuddled and assured that none of this is their fault consider this... You have just undergone surgery and are wakening up in the recovery room. The nurse is telling you everything has gone fine. You notice she has a cut lip, you ask her about it. "Oh it's nothing" she explains "you were just a bit confused coming out of the anaesthetic and lashed out a bit". Do you think "Oh that's OK then. I was in a drug induced confusional state. Couldn't help it, not my responsibility"? Or do you feel mortified and apologise repeatedly? .... Well us loonies sometimes feel like that too. That to me is the norm. For someone to shrug their shoulders and say "Hey, I'm bipolar. Get over it", that's weird.

Friday, 17 August 2007

I got a letter today addressed to Joe Nutter... well, not really "Joe Nutter" but that name will do for now. I used to work as a psychiatric nurse and when I first went mad and was referred to our local shrink my true identity was concealed. Unfortunately I didn't have to wear a mask or anything like Batman or The Lone Ranger which would have been fun. No, they just gave me a pseudonym. I presume this was well meant and done to protect my identity. Perhaps in case another health professional decided to risk everything and don a balaclava, dress up in camouflage gear and break into the NHS offices in the dead of night to force open the mental health filing cabinets, searching for the notes of any afflicted colleagues so he could out them. Oh, imagine the shame of it... "That man is officially mad!!!" Oh my God, the dreadful stigma of mental illness. Well... anyway... nobody consulted me about this. So you can imagine my surprise when I got that first appointment letter addressed to Joe Nutter. I thought it disappointing that the very professionals who, as part of their role, should be trying to remove the stigma of mental illness should try and hide my dirty disease.

Apart from annoying me (and increasing my already paranoid state), this pseudonym of Joe Nutter has caused me real problems in the past. The last time I went manic I was refused access to services as the computer had no record of me existing... it later transpired that I only have electronic records as Joe Nutter. My wife and I have repeatedly asked for this pseudonym to be removed and for only my real name to be used but still it crops up. What a pain, it's like banging my head on a brick wall. Whatever I tell the mental health services they ignore (read previous 500 entries for clarification). Anyway, this letter today was an appointment for me to see the Occupational Therapist next week. So we'll see how that pans out.

I've had a huge number of visitors to my blog today from Bipolar News, I haven't a clue how my feed ended up on their page but it was really funny seeing how their referrals have responded to my shit. Almost every single person left my site within 5 seconds. I guess it must be so dismaying to discover that in the real world, bipolar mood swings take place over months rather than hours. While glossy magazines diagnose Britney Spears as bipolar due to her erratic daily behaviour (are people really so naive to confuse being an arsehole with mental illness?).

I'm afraid life as a bipolar dude is only glamorous and exciting for a couple of weeks each year. Even then, your state of euphoria is quickly discovered when you proclaim yourself as Jesus and you quickly get hammered with Olanzapine. The remaining eleven months are mostly spent in hibernation, curled up like a hedgehog under your duvet. Only popping out briefly, either to be humanely electrocuted or to abuse alcohol and moan to the world, courtesy of a dodgy internet connection... yes I too have AOL.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

I had my bloods taken for valproate levels yesterday. Later the health centre phoned my wife to say the lab had rejected these as I had taken my depakote that morning. Apparently I wasn't supposed to take my morning dose of depakote although neither I nor the nurse/phlebotomist knew this. Anyway, I went back this morning and had more bloods taken.

The phone rang at 10:30, I presumed it was my wife to see if I'd got on OK at the health centre. Surprisingly it was my bipolar friend who wanted to meet up for a coffee this afternoon. I reluctantly agreed as although I didn't feel like going out, I had encouraged him to keep in touch.

The tickets for our forthcoming holiday arrived in the lunchtime post. Unfortunately, my wife was stated as male on the tickets. I phoned Thomas Cook who said I had entered the details wrong on the online booking form and charged me £40 to change our ticket details. I was really pissed off after this. £40 seemed a real rip off and a cost we could well do without, but it was not just the £40, but my increasing incompetence in form filling and every day life in general. I used to be quite intelligent and now I am incredibly thick. That is not just self deprecation due to low self esteem, that is how actually I am now and I don't like it. I have never been athletic or handsome or well built. But I have been witty and intelligent and relied on my winning personality throughout life ;o) .... now I am thick and miserable, what is left of me? Nothing, just a moronic boring twat.

I couldn't face going out. My wife contacted my friend and cancelled our meeting. I went to bed and sulked for the afternoon. What a guy I am, a real Captain Kirk... read that as rhyming slang for jerk.

My wife saw our GP this afternoon and is staying on the Citalopram meantime. I am really making things tough for her. I wish I wasn't here.

"I took a walk down Terminal Street last night
To see the ancient faces living there
I saw the sunken eyes of agony
And saw the desperate stations of despair"

Friday, 10 August 2007

My wife and I met with my psychiatrist today and all he did was infuriate me. No change there then. There is no therapy or treatment. He justs asks questions and I tell him stuff about myself which he immediately forgets and that's it, end of story. Isn't care in the community fantastic.

"How are you, how have things been for you since we last met?".... "OK. Much the same".
"Has anything changed?"... "The most significant thing is that my wife is now depressed, off sick from work and taking Citalopram"... then my wife interjects "we're here to talk about you Mo, not me". I explain that her being depressed has a profound impact on me and how I am coping. The shrink looks at us indifferently in silence as if to say "I'm only getting paid to look after you and I'm damned if I'm getting involved with her moans" before dismissing the subject by asking "How have you been spending your days?". I explain I am still lying in bed most of the time, getting up in the afternoon to make the evening meal and going on the internet at night. "Are you going out at the weekends?"... (is he fuckin nuts? Oh yeah, I don my white suit and medallion and go clubbing most nights, taking centre stage on the dance floor or in a cage hanging from the ceiling and disco dance like John Travolta on acid before performing my hilarious stand up comedy routine to a packed house before heading out to the beach to run naked and watch the sunrise)... I remind him I don't go out anymore. "Oh.. are you still walking the neighbours dog?"... hasn't he heard a word I've just said or is he winding me up? I tell him the neighbours sold the house and moved away in April (perhaps I should have included that the dog went with them and did not hideaway in the attic and take up squatters rights... I imagine John Hurt playing the part of the dog "I am not an animal, I am a human being!").

He asked my wife if there was anything she was concerned about. She wanted to know at what point she should contact the psychiatric team if I was really down and had been in bed for days on end. He said that sort of thing would only be a concern at the start of an illness like mine. I had now spent so long hidden away at home attached to my bed that she needn't bother (perhaps he could have added that if my corpse was actually rotting it might be an idea to call the undertaker). He said just to contact them if I was manic and putting myself at serious risk. My wife also pointed out that my mood can fluctuate during the day, irratable early on and calmer in the evenings. I hadn't been aware of this. He said he would give us a mood chart to fill in for next time... but didn't give us one.

The only positive and productive thing at the session was that he said he would consider adding another mood stabiliser. I asked what drug he was thinking of and he replied "Olanzapine or Risperidone". I explained I had previously had bad reactions to both these drugs (my notes are sitting on the table for fuck's sake, ever consider having a quick look at them, even for a laugh) so he suggests I try Quetiapine. He says I should get my valproate levels checked first to see how the depakote is doing before getting any other scripts. I've arranged this for next week. He also said he'd chase up the OT, perhaps she'll see me before she retires.

Fuck, what a waste of time! Well I suppose if nothing else he has at least provoked me out of indifference and into writing. Maybe that was his plan? I doubt it though. I am becoming more and more convinced that my psychiatrist is a complete and utter inadequate buffoon, a first degree arsehole. Maybe I'm too harsh, perhaps he has presenile dementia. Or perhaps my paranoid ideas about the doctors trying to destroy my life were not delusional at all but were in fact true. It makes no difference if he is a crap doctor or not. I am a certified lunatic. How could I possibly challenge his competence? Any complaint I made would be viewed as the paranoid ramblings of a nutter. I would get a nice patronising smile and be assured that all the doctors in our perfect NHS trust were highly qualified professionals who were monitored by strict clinical governance. Then again, so was Harold Shipman... shit, I just noticed, they have an uncanny physical resemblance!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Mrs Mo cracked up at work today. She came home in tears this afternoon. I am so pathetic there is nothing I can do to help her.

We must look such a pair of scrounging phonies, neither of us at work and her on Citalopram and me on Depakote. I can see everyone judging us as a two inadequates lacking in moral fibre. What has happened to us? We were decent people who worked hard all our lives. Although we started out in poverty, we never begged or borrowed. We went without anything we didn't have cash for, we saved for everything in our lives. All those years for this? Fuck!

Friday, 3 August 2007

I've been rotten with the cold for most of the week but am now on the mend. I just realised that I've never had the cold, the flu or any physical illness since going mad in 2004. Maybe there's a good side to antipsychotics, maybe all my medication induced blubber protects my fat bloated body from germs.

Although I no longer see any old friends or colleagues from the real world, I do sometimes chat online with people from a little trivia quiz community I've been part of for a few years. I was chatting on a quiz the other night and managed to offend a couple of folks with my "satirical humour" (read that as taking the piss). Upsetting people was really the last thing I wanted to do. I've written letters of apology which they've accepted but I'm now reluctant to participate. However, I'm so shallow and flippant that whenever I decide to avoid such situations and alter my behaviour, it only ever lasts a brief moment in time. I'll do it again soon enough. I've never known where to draw the line between being witty and hurting people. It's been a constant theme throughout my life and makes me the arsehole that I am.

Mrs Mo is now smoking with great vigour and assisting the Russian economy with her vodka consumption. I wish I could do more to help her. She has suggested I open my blog to the public again though I'm not too sure why. Hmmm. I guess there's really nothing to hide now as I'm completely divorced from society these days. I'm fairly cautious about what I write anyway as I know she'll be reading it but I will try to avoid being too scathing about folks and using nicknames like "The Pirate" lest I get discovered again. Oh well, I'll take the plunge and click on the button... ah that's it. Painless.

Right, I'll get back to lying on the couch watching old reruns of Columbo and wait for my OT appointment.