Happy Birthday to me.
It’s not a fun experience, to celebrate on a psych ward: realistically, you simply do not. The day trickles by precisely the same as those before and inevitably after it. It is boring and feel rather pointless, but you live and you breathe and hope that next year will be different.
On Monday, I will have a meeting with a care co-ordinator who will be the person assisting in the referral to a new unit. I genuinely believe I have a reasonable chance of acceptance, but funding remains a concern. I am under orders to stop fretting about it, and concentrate on getting well.
The problem being I have no clue what ‘well’ is.
I have been using the treadmill daily for over an hour, until my feet blistered (literally) and my calves have seized. They hurt like a sonofabitch. I have chosen today as an eating day – and recovery day for my confused limbs – and tomorrow I intend to simply not eat for a day and see what happens. It is part thought experiment, part boundary pushing, part clinging steadfastingly onto one of the most obvious markers of being ‘ill’.
Once you’re in the madhouse, you feel sane, because everybody else seems less sane than you do. Introspection is a struggle at the best of times, let alone when you’re comparing yourselves to others and, for once, finding yourself remarkably well balanced.
This does not factor in the self harm, the exercise abuse, the raging bulimia. This does not factor in the terror in your head and the speed of thought, and the sense that if you stop doing something, anything, writing or reading or colouring or tidying or something then you’ll simply cease to exist. If you’re not worrying about your future, that you won’t have one.
I try very hard to remain rational, but there is a disjunct between what I think and what I feel, and those work in separate spheres. I cannot affect how I feel whatsoever, and so when I am ill, it becomes my puppet master. Each thought is shadowed by emotion and, terrified, runs amok and I can’t even begin to bundle them somewhere safe until the storm is over, partly because the storm can last for weeks. A manic episode makes every thought sprint through the streets and I, naked and cold and in quite a lot of pain, tiredly ask them to kindly slow down because if you just listened, you’d realise you are being irrational and normal life can start to emerge once again.
I’ve never been a very good runner.
Spoke to a nurse, who is one of the types who genuinely cares about their patients. This one is called Sarah. A tall motherly type of woman, blonde, wears a nice dress and exudes a type of comforting familiarity. Knocks on my bedroom door and walks in while I am mostly asleep, wants to catch up a bit, see how I am.
I talk a good game for approximately three minutes, before the cracks – so large you can drive trucks through – become laughably apparent. She notes that I always seem bright and bubbly, that maybe it’s a facade, and I agree while laughing with tears polluting the corners of my eyes, unbidden.
I am bulimic, and throwing up every meal.
I am terrified about what will follow discharge, either
1) Inpatient, which is frightening because I will lose my entire life for a very long time, or
2) Home, where I think I’ll be dead within six months.
I am unable to deal with stress or fear, and keep destroying my arms and legs with scratching.
If I leave the hospital, despite technically having leave, there’s a good chance I’ll step in front of a car.
I am really rather suicidal at the moment.
My impulsivity is scary.
Second-guessing yourself at every turn is exhausting.
I don’t know how I feel.
My mood is swinging so fast it’s making me feel physically sick.
When she left, I cried for a solid ten minutes, unable to breath.