Thursday, 3 January 2013

Realistic New Year Resolutions

My new years resolution this year was to start smoking and so far it’s going very well.

Admittedly I hated it to start with, namely the head rush, and had to pour cans of coke down my neck to combat the taste, but in order to give up a guilty pleasure I needed another guilty pleasure and a second new years resolution is to give up the booze since my folks - monitoring my lubricated antics over the festive period - have threatened me with rehab.

I’ve heard, read, experienced that people with bipolar love to drink, snort, shop, gamble, ‘hold hands’ because the quick fix attached is similar to our natural buzzers and we often prefer to self medicate than listen to our doctors.

Another thing we ‘forget’ is that drinking on top of our meds stops them working properly. THIS is my reason to quit, even if just for a few months (or minutes) because 2012 has seen two psychiatric admissions, a break up and a bingo habit and I need to see some positive changes in 2013 or I will simply leave Walford (yes, I believe ‘Stenders is real, give me something to cling onto).

Other new years resolutions include..

- See more of people - I actually have more conversations with my pet guinea pigs than people. As a writer I need to be more nosey, find out what's going on in other peoples lives, swear to secrecy and then change names.

- Practice the drums more - I’m getting crap on the drum kit. How am I to be the nagging thirty something drummer with her Take A Break magazine and Ovaltine on the floor tom in a band with teenage comb overs unless I practice?

- De Clutter - My flat is starting to look like something from a Channel Four documentary on hoarding. Because I make installation art I often hang around skips and scrap projects like flies and drag useless materials back to my flat with the promise of bringing it to life.

As humans we are more likely to list the things we must change and forget the things that worked for us in 2012, like.. er.. changing lightbulbs or remote control batteries. Other things I learnt last year to take with me into 2013 is..

- You can’t fix other people - I spent the last five years trying to eliminate someone else’s baggage, instead I just added to my own. The only people you can fix are yourselves, and you need to swallow a bit more than pills and self help books to do this. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and CAT (Cognitive Analytical Therapy) are great tools.

- Go against the grain - not only is this a fabulous method for cutting fabric to make cushion cover binding, it also works when you’re so low you can’t face the outside world so you FACE THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Fresh air and change of scenery works on both the mental and physical being.

- Don’t ask you don’t get - Although we’ve been hearing this since the age of five some of us (me included) still think good fortune will come to us if we sit and wait quietly. Last year I wrote for some of my favourite magazines and supplements because I asked to. I also had a three month solo exhibition - since art school - of my textiles art because I asked to. If anyone had of said no I would’ve been exactly where I was anyway.

Whatever you decide to do or not to do in the coming year, have a marvellous new one!

To read this in the Huffington Post..

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hypomanic Episode and Drinking Shaving Foam

‘Hypomanic episode’ may sound like a TV documentary about biochemistry but it’s something I go through about once or twice a year, usually triggered by stress (that can also be ‘fun’ stress), prolonged periods of insomnia (this is what usually gets me) and forgetting medication even just for a couple of days. 

I don’t usually know I’m hypomanic until its over, or I’m taken to hospital and it’s explained to me. The things I obsess over, usually the welfare of animals, are at the time ‘normal thought patterns’ and delusions or commonly to me the presence of people around me from edwardian hookers to a big budget film crew, are part of my daily make-up.

I recently had a hypomanic episode, accompanied by mixed episode (horrid.. manic, depressed and anxious all at the same time, exhausting) brought on by five consecutive days of little or no sleep. I even tried to drink myself to sleep but that fueled my mania. I stalked people, obsessed over cats, put my full address on the internet and invited people to come round and help themselves to stuff, even threw stuff off of my balcony, being spurred on by people with me on my balcony (there were no people on my balcony). As if that wasn’t bad enough a previously planned date turned up, and not only was I emptying the contents of my house out of the window, wide eyed, tears speeding down my cheeks, but Fatal Attraction was on the TV. What a catch.

The following day my good friend Sheena came over - she had judged my mood swings by the crap I was putting on facebook - and she took me to hospital. As if five days of no sleep, mixed episoding and a domino rally of incident after incident isn’t enough, a doctor will see you, ask you questions, take notes, then you wait, and then another doctor will see you, ask you questions, take notes, and then you wait, and then. if admitted, another doctor will see you, ask you questions, takes notes...

On the ward I slept constantly. I woke to eat, take pills, then went back to bed again. I was watched every fifteen minutes. They took away my belt, shoe laces, even my business cards(?). I did the sleep thing for about five days before I started talking, taking part in group activities, therapy, seeing visitors etc.. it was going very well until I got attacked by a psychotic woman (patient, not staff) who left her teeth indents in my arm, and I panicked, not because of the attack, but because I realised for the first time that I was on a psych ward for psyched up women and I was one of those.

The following day I went to see the Turner Prize and forgot to go back. I woke the following morning in a Crack den with messages on my phone from the ward, the police, my friends..

A week later I was discharged - it was a bit of a Sarah Connor moment from Terminator 2 where I said everything I thought they wanted to hear - and I went back home, so long as someone stayed with me (Sheena).

A few days later, I was back in hospital, this time following swallowing a box of soluble cocodamol (it was like drinking shaving foam) with brandy. The following day all I could talk about to the doctors, to my visitors was about cats (the animals not the musical) and cried constantly, and, I lay in a bed for two days with only a clock on the wall right in from of me, were they trying to make me more insane??

Because what goes up, must come down, really down. The more up, the more down. Hypomania, suicidal.

I still have Sheena staying with me, I owe her big time. And I’m banned from booze as my worried parents have been threatened me with rehab and I don’t want to go because you can’t drink in there. 

Happy new year!