Written the night before I started my MRes Studies
"This tuck me seconds to write, but I thought about it last night. I think about it every night. why? Karl typed it into google, google gave him an answer. His head didn’t explode. His friends mocked him, but they loved him really. They need him. He was there from the start. They where there from the start. They said things they will later regret, but they ment it at the time. They where misinformed, joking, saying there opinion and / or trying to stay neutral. They did the best they could all of them, karl, his mum, the father. His heros he looked up to them all. They where his gods. They warned him about the devils, the crooked cops, the nazi nurses, the nazi men who pulled the trigger. I know I have seen there uniforms. In museums, the facts are there on the wall, in black an white. History is written by the victors, but they never really won. They killed, because they loved with passion, and hated with passion. There is no middle ground. There is no grey., im a nerd. A super nerd. Big bang made that cool again. Its sooooooo in this season. An tis’ the season to be jolly. We sang it in school. Maybe not that exact version. The copyrighted one. A basterdised version. Sang by kids who couldn’t really sing. They where terrible really. But we loved them every last one. An now one of them is a star. In that constilation I know. Rob taught me. We marvelled at the big dipper, orion, the plough. Some folk believe they burn brightly and predict there future. Its all clever, marketing. Papa was my hero. The explorer. The new world scares him. He ran back to the ship, with terror, with so much energy. With news. You’ve got to read between the lines really, don’t take it at face value. Its all clever linguistics and I probabily pronounce it wrong anyways. I have a regional accent, I get my tv guide from the sun. dad is a red . . . red white and blue. Symbolism and the psychology of colour. Im not acrededited but ive got a good grasp of the basics. The fundamentals. I read from the source, the seminal works. All of them. Hungry for knowledge like the catterpiller muncing his way through all the greens. I lost him, her. Was it a boy or a girl. I’d never eat one, not unless I was in your house. Its respectful that way. The idiot who travels the world. I couldn’t write some thing this profound in any other language. Except the language of love, art. The shit covered canvases are a joke. But you pay good money to see them. Because they where illiterate, they tell there story on the walls. Some idiot will probabily paint over them anyway. Newton was right you know, so was Einstein. A drop out, that quits, worked in a patent office. What would the neighbours think. He probabily stole that idea, and claimed it for his own. That would make a good cartoon. Just make sure its aired in the right countires and everyone pays the right price. Get em’ while there hot, unless you like them cold. All my favourite comedians are super intelligent. So confident and self assured. Tears of a clown my ass. They are laughin all the way to bank they trust most. Unless it’s a charity gig. Even then you can joke about drugs. The good ones not the bad ones, the ones that take away the pain in the long term. Ease your suffering, while you work out the best decision. Unless your time is up. Death will be beautiful. Id love to go to my own funeral. Probabily my fault I died. I was too old, fat, tuck the wrong advise. To be resirected. Now that would be glorious. No funeral for me. Id know what all the critics said. Haters will hate. Don’t hate the player hate the fame, game, blaim. My last words will be my best, unless im drugged. My loved ones wont understand . . . not yet. They will eventually. In there own time. Watching the clock, not watching the clock. Its all relative really. Actors are ten a penny. Not all of them get it. That’s why they do it part time. They arnt motivated by the trappings. Someone could always move the goal posts at the last minute anyways. Id rather be the goal post. On the side lines, with my pad, my pen. I could claim the header last minute. If the ref aint lookin’. I joke obviously. I don’t do contact sports. Not since the acciedent. It wasn’t anyones fault, really we where just kids. We died way to young, the odds where always in our favour. Sometimes characters get killed off premiturly. We cheer if they where evil. We cry if we knew them. Your not alone though. The whole team is there and we are all in this together. I’ve never formatted anything this bad before and made it public. Disappointed by the ending. Me too. But one day this will all be yours.
For the last few days I have been feeling “normal”. The word “normal” projects images in my mind of high school debates discussing the definition of normality and what exactly normal is?
All that I know is that I can’t remember a point in my adult life where I haven’t been experiencing a crushing low or a manic high. That surely can’t be normal? There seems to be something else at work affecting my cycles other than purely OCD.
Through my own research and everything I have read on the topic I’d label it as manic depression, although I haven’t had an official diagnosis yet. Over the years Doctors and other professionals have only seen me in the pits of depression, when I am tired out from anxiety and just want to hibernate under my duvet. I question everything, my direction dries up and a get fatigued stressing over my new found lack of purpose in life.
I’m a scientist and analyse everything. As I slip into depression from a high my mind obsesses on how to get back out of it and into the fast flow of life again. How did I get out of it last time? What thoughts did I have that turned it all around? What did I read? What advice did I listen too?
I visit my GP and see if there is anything they can suggest, perhaps a change in medication, to lift me out of my slump. Another period of depression gets typed on my health record.
But what about when my mood pendulum swings around to the other side? Recently it has been dawning on me that when I have not been in and out of the Doctors surgery because I am down, it is assumed that everything is OK or normal. I have spent years only visiting the GP when I’m in crisis on a downer, when I have reached a point that I know there is nothing more I can do to help myself and need additional support. I have never felt the need to go and see a Doctor because I’m “too happy” though, that just seems crazy!
I have known this rationally over the years, but taking myself to the Doctor to say my mood is too positive, just hasn’t felt like the right option at the time. I tell myself when I am in a depression that “next time I’m up I will go and see the Doctor and explain how I am feeling”, but don’t. I’m just too busy. I have purpose again, I’m off to change the world with monstrous goals I am busy achieving, working hard, socialising and partying.
Everybody is moving to slow for me, people just don’t have the urgency I do and the idea of wasting ten minutes sitting patiently still in a Doctors waiting room seems excruciating painful. There is also the fear of what the Doctor might prescribe to level me out. I don’t want to be normalised. I have earned this high, I paid for it by enduring months of depression.
Over the last eighteen months I haven’t had a choice though. My manic highs have spilled over into psychosis on several occasions, leading to sudden crash’s of paranoia and delusions. The home treatment team and my GP have witnessed what happens when I indulge in my natural highs without admitting that they could be a problem. Hallucinations have convinced me that I have reached the end of my life and then tuck me on journeys to hell and back.
There is only so much that my body and mind can take and it seems that they have been pushed to their limits as my cycles have become even more extreme.
I have been levelled out with a proscription of Olanzapine an anti-psychotic to collaborate with my OCD medication, an antidepressant called sertraline.
Since my last high in November bubbled into psychosis, I had dipped back into a state of depression and general apathy and lost-ness.
This has lifted over the last couple of days and for the first time in my memory I feel “normal”. I don’t feel depressed neither do I feel high. It has been a strange few days as I am used to being one or the other.
As I am aware of my cycles, when I am depressed I know it won’t last forever and that I just have to see the storm through. The scariest time is the first time you experience depression as you don’t have that hope of joy returning to your life. Now I just carry on doing what I have planned to do, waiting for the clouds to clear dawning the start of a new manic spree.
Since I began the Coping Skills workshops a few weeks ago I have been more aware of my emotions. I have not been trying to feel better, rather just noticing my emotions and moods and simply accepting them. When I felt the hold of my depression a few days ago, I channelled those feelings into a poem, using my state constructively. I have now figured that no matter what end of the spectrum I am at I can channel my energy into something creative.
I have also traded my usual information rich texts and autobiography books for fiction, that I have been reading on the way to my volunteer placements. Ideas and plans for the future are starting to grow roots again. I attended my monthly OCD get together in Chester the other night, which always helps to be around other people who understand the situation I am in. As we chatted ideas for future travel and career directions tuck form.
I don’t know if this is a new found equilibrium or the tipping point on the scales, only time will tell.
As I spiral down I try to make sense of everything. The big questions, the ones you only have time to ponder once all your immediate needs are met. You’re sheltered, you have food, you’re not under attack. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?
I look for answers everywhere, the whole world and everybody in it is my teacher. Great minds have grappled these questions over the millennia, and it gets me down that we still don’t have any true answers.
I’d love to switch off from it . . . well I do, I have manic highs where I rush around all busy, surfing through society working, building, exploring, travelling, partying . . . but I inevitably crash back down to earth in a pile, with a giant question mark bouncing repeatedly off my head. Why?
I met a wise theology scholar who told me that it is good to question the big things. I’m ad-libbing but the message I tuck away from our conversation was that although we will never have the answers to all these questions, we can still take something away from asking and apply our findings to our life.
In retrospect it may not have been the best advice for me, as I obsess over most things I turn my mind to. As I go deeper down the rabbit hole, the smaller I seem and the more unanswered questions arise.
At University I specialised in Genetics and Human Health, in which my favourite areas of study where the origin of life and evolution. The speculations of how the building blocks of life formed in the prebiotic soup gripped me. I loved exploring how evolution by natural selection acted up on the most primitive forms of life to give the array of species we see on the planet today. It fascinates me that this process could chip away over the years to produce human level consciousness that can then pounder how it all happened in the first place. I find it mind boggling that there is a possibility this could have happened on other planets. It had to have happened at least once as we are here to ponder it.
But I am getting carried away with myself, or maybe I should allow myself ramble on so you can see how my mind works, going round in loops, tying itself up in knots.
During my degree studies I specialised in niche topics, narrowly focusing on the mechanisms of certain biological systems. What my mind craves now is a more all-encompassing truth. The secret of the entire universe. One overriding law or rule that answers everything.
As a devout atheist at University I couldn’t t see how my first year tutor could juggle his biological knowledge with his Christian faith. I like to think that I never say never and have always kept an open mind.
I now find it hard to say in black and white that I am an atheist, as over the last few years I have had a stirring that there is something more at work. Maybe the term spiritual atheist describes me at the moment, or is that a contradiction?
Eighteen year old me would think I was crazy (well I guess I am) for writing that. Spiritualist conjures up images of crystals and Mystic Meg in my head. I’d like to think he would give me the podium to explain . . . and so I will.
I started to get feelings that there is something greater at work as I walked through the woods and hills around Wilmslow in Cheshire. There was something about breaking away from the hamster wheel of routine and just reflecting in nature. Of late I have had this feeling while backpacking through European cities, where I am not staying and laying down roots. I feel like the proverbial fly on the wall, watching life as it passes by. Detaching myself from the system and merely observing everyone else wiz around on the scalextric tracks.
I really value my time volunteering in the kitchens of an Adventist Christian camp each year at Whit, and my days spent there have really helped coax me out of my spiritual shell. I would love to believe in the Bible word for word but I just can’t [to clear this up, I believe there was a great preacher called Jesus, but I can’t accept he is the literal Son of God]. To me there is some underlying rule that governs energy and matter in the universe and it is that underlying connectivity that I would call God.
I continued my spiritual quest online, reading up on Buddhism, in which I relate and find great comfort in there ideologies (although, I fall at the hurdle of reincarnation). Their use of meditation / mindfulness is the funky new buzz word in psychology helping people with OCD and Anxiety disorders remain calm through the hustle and bustle of life (but that is a completely different story altogether).
Recently my thirst for knowledge has turned to Philosophy. Upon finding this field, with its translation from Greek to lover of wisdom, I can’t believe it has taken me so long to discover. My first steps into the world of philosophy began with Socrates, who in contrast to me, never wrote a thing down.
Socrates was on a mission to work out how to live the best life conceivable. I can associate with that as I cast my thoughts back to the mind-maps that have scattered my walls over the years, the stacks of self-help books I have devoured, and the organization of the sections of my life on my computer.
Socrates believed that theorizing is but one way of living a good life philosophically. He is widely recognized and allied with the phrase “know thyself”. It has been recorded that he once said “I am still unable to know myself; and it really seems to me ridiculous to look into other things before I have understood that”. This passage really resonates with me as like Socrates I have recently shifted my attention to discovering more about myself with analytical introspection.
I take nothing at face value anymore and question everything. How does a specific thing make me feel? What automatic thoughts creep into my mind when I think about that topic? I think deeply into everything in this process of understanding myself and the world better.
I have to pull myself back out of this self-observation and soul searching as I don’t want to end up like Socrates where it consumes my life, with the search for wisdom becoming an obsession. The longer he struggled to know himself, the more puzzled he became.
Pandora’s box has been opened. Welcome to the downward whorl. I wave you into my OCD World.
At some point over the last week my mind has ground from the steady hum of excitement for the future, to a dull mush of nothingness. Everything was going fine, I signed off a recent blog post cheerfully with my up and coming plans, now they are all turned down and beige with a side order of anxiety.
The coin flips fast, although this is the first time I have been fully aware of it happening. Over the last few months I have heard the phrase “early warning signs” repeated to me over and over by various health professionals, that I guess the lesson of looking out for them must have finally sunk in. I see my rhythms more clearly now, yet I still feel powerless to stop them.
Although it is a comfort that each bought I survive I become more self aware, I am still at the mercy of my moods. What use is this new found understanding if I can’t practically apply it to lift myself up.
I guess it’s fill your boots when you are high, and batten down the hatches when you are low. I can’t settle for that existence, not now that I am taking on water, so I try and think my way off of the sinking ship.
I am a scientist by training, a problem solver (and apparently now a wannabe writer :p). I analyse why I feel this way, rather than just let it happen. What could I have done differently? What got me out of it last time? . . . Time. . . Time is always the answer. You have to see out the storm. I made hay while the sun was shining and now its winter in my mind.
I just want to stay in bed for days and hibernate under my duvet till spring. I know that’s not the answer though. I need to put one foot in front of the other and plod on. The momentum will come on its own accord. I have made an appointment for tomorrow morning so I don’t lay in bed and decompose.
I am writing this rather than napping (which I could easily do in this lovely warm jumper). I enjoy writing and know I just need to carry on doing things I enjoy. I feel guilty about that. I’m twenty six, yet I feel like I am living the life of Peterpan. I should not be off work doing things I find fun in my bedroom. I should be out earning my millions, pumping tax payments in to the governments coffers to support me when I am old and decrepit. I’m not supposed to be falling to pieces now, we save that for when we are old and in ruins.
So how did I end up in a ditch again? I had my manic high and was completely aware it was happening. Even as I type now, I am increasing in velocity thinking about it. Every idea was golden, and I had the energy to achieve every hare-brained scheme. I went on a manic shopping spree and bought myself more tweed jackets, bright t shirts and shiny new belt buckles. Nobody was moving or talking fast enough for me. Why don’t others have the urgency to move onwards and upwards? Mindless chitter chatter is like potholes in my way as I reach eighty eight miles per hour and zoom back to the future!
I didn’t need a Flux Capacitor like the Docs DeLoren, I had my own potential energy stored up from my last crash and now it was powering me through the time jump everything in vision became a blur.
I was prescribed Olanzapine to slow my thoughts and ground me back to reality. Boing . . . thoughts start to slow. Snap . . . I’m not magical Doc Brown. Crash . . . welcome to the real world. Collapse . . . you are in debt with the energy bank and they are here to collect their outstanding payment. Crap.
My brain is my only asset and I need that to work out what the hell is going on. Back in real life I start to think deeply, and begin to spiral down. Socrates ain’t got shit on me, when it comes to overthinking.
I’d give anything to have that high back now, but I keep taking the antipsychotics as I have learned to respect the Doctors decisions. I’d love to get out of my face drunk but together with the pills I may drowse into a coma.
There is no escaping this reality, and as writing is helping, I’m sure my thoughts and philosophy on this world will make my next post.