Lithium has left the building.
As with it has most of my control over my anxiety and emotions. This is not unexpected but its impact has been more so than I dared to think of. Maybe it was sheer arrogance to think I could come off of such a strong weapon against mental war and expect to come out unscathed. Perhaps. Perhaps it’s because I’ve felt so alone in dealing with it, not having much NHS support (and when I say not much I mean practically none), not having a therapist, not having my family nearby, not really having friendships that really understand…not, not not. How could I not feel unsteady and without?
Out of Office
Please forgive my honesty and negativity as I layout withdrawal as I have experienced it.
I may hide behind jazzy clothes, ever changing hair and every other ‘I’m fine’ amo I have but that’s not to say I haven’t been in pain and struggiling to maintain normality. What I have immensely struggled with is communicating how negatively I have been feeling, how alone I have felt in my head. I have set up such a standard out of office that people are unconstiously blind to the negativity surrounding my brain like it’s own layer of bone and teeth. After all why would you question ‘I’m fine’ however trite and robotic the response.
The Sound of Silence
Which begs the question, when an illness is silent and invisible how can we express ourselves succiently without damaging relationships and expressing what we really need? A few times I have reached out to friends and expressed my need for company away from the darkened corners of my mind, however ‘is anyone around tonight?’, ‘anyone free for a drink?’ has been met with no response. I should note I did also reach out before my withdrawl to warn people what was going on, and that I might not be myself for a while. Perhaps these questions and warnings were too veiled behind my casualness.
Perhaps it’s because people have their own lives going on and unless smacked full pelt in the face with an SOS, might not realise what reaching out from mental illness is.
Regardless it’s felt shit and lonely.
Amongst that negativity I have had unpresidented support from my boyfriend who has been there whatever time of day, to do what ever is needed; from literally pulling me out of bed, doing all of my washing up, to listening to every negative thought, anxious torment and feeling in order to bring me out of my head and out into the world.
You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are.
I have been lucky enough to have a couple of friends who have kept in close communication – not constantly asking how I am but ensuring they’ve heard from me and making time out of their schedules to make me feel less alone. Which has been wonderful and I am grateful but as with an anxious mind, the focus has been on those who haven’t been available. My hostility and sadness about it has made the positive people in my life pale in significance to the swarm of negativity that thunders in my head, despite my gratitude for having them.
The struggle of coping largely unmedicated and in fear of what is to come next, whether, as I increase my new medication (Lamotragine) I’ll be able to manage my rapid cycling Bipolar, manage working, manage relationships and move forward, or whether or not this anxiety will fade, is real and terrifying.
As always I am hopeful. But right now I am filled with fear and worry of the unknown and feel isolated within it. If you hear me, reach out. Make yourself known, knock down the bones and teeth that stand in the way of us. For those of you that have already chipped some of that away – I am grateful for you and thank you for being here with me.