I find it really tricky on updating people on how things are going for me- or answering questions like how have things been sincerely because it just always seems like there has been so much, and to such extremes that I either find myself avoiding answering or sort of just saying okay or up and down to get out of answering and then jumping to something quantifiable but meaningless like ‘volunteering is good for me.’
It’s something people close to me will recognise. My family now know the tricks I use with people and sometimes help me move past the question but I still don’t know how to answer it with friends, where I truly want them to know what’s being going on so that I can feel validated and cared for.
I will now give an example of ‘what has been going on with me’- an update if you will and hopefully this will show how hard it would be to summarise.
-On the whole the last few weeks/months my mood has taken a downward turn, I feel low and drained a lot of the time which I thought had been fixed by my new medication so me and my team have decided to up the paroxetine because when I am like this it becomes even easier for me to get pushed over the edge and spiral into emotion dysregulation.
-This has been the case recently- within that lowness there have been times where I have self harmed and become suicidal to the point of getting to a station I planned to jump in front of the train at in London and sitting there with my head in my hands, crying with family texting desperately as I decided the future (or lack of it) of my life.
-There have also been days where I have not been suicidal but I have been so overtaken with depression I have laid in bed the whole day as silent tears trickle down my face and I feel so utterly empty and disgusting inwardly and outwardly. Mental torment such that I cannot describe or recall exactly in between episodes.
-To add to this- I’m on my period which affects me a lot, I had to have a few days of recovery from how hard christmas and new year was, my grandmother has been in hospital and been moved into a care home, my Mum’s autoimmune condition and blood pressure has flared up seriously and my Dad was rushed to A&E due to some faulty test results but he has since been diagnosed with prostrate problems and possibly very slow moving cancer.
-This said, I have also achieved a lot recently.
-Some small things include attending some exercise classes, starting journalling more regularly to track my lifestyle, starting the road to getting confirmed as a Catholic at Easter and asking someone successfully to be my sponsor and becoming a lot more mindful in managing my illness.
-One big thing was doing my first CAMHs Unit peer review with the Royal College of Psychiatrists- travelling to and from Birmingham on my own, staying the night in a hotel and assessing the unit making helpful contributions whilst finding it very triggering and bringing up a lot for me emotionally and trying to manage it.
-My DBT sessions have started their step-down phase after almost a year of intensive treatment as planned, so I stop my group in a few weeks and I have moved to seeing my therapist every two weeks instead of weekly. This is very scary and difficult to manage in itself.
-Finally, I have been getting up to 50 texts and 15 calls a day from a man at a group I go to who has become obsessional with me. Some nights I wake up to find murder sent to me over and over again as he links me to current child murder cases and pedophilia or pretends it is his brother and that he has killed himself because of me, other days I wake up to I love you my darling wife- I have bought you an engagement ring and organised for my mother to meet you. Just to confirm I barely know this man. It got to the point yesterday I had to go to the police with one of the staff from the group and my care coordinator to report it, we stayed while they took various statements for 3 and a half hours, whilst a clearly unwell woman repetitively coming in yelling that the police had abused her and to lock her up in the crown court- clearly very drunk. The CID are now investigating my report as harassment with malicious communication and it is possible it may go to court. I am scared this man might be around where the group is (as he has now been banned) and follow me or that he will harm or kill himself as he has threatened to do and that will be on my conscience for the rest of my life.
So what do I say when someone says Hows it been?
My life is changing so much, I am learning and suffering hugely. Up and down just doesn’t cover it.