Started Writing: 12.18

Just for context. I’m eating lunch as I write this.

Two crumpets sharing one slice of cheese. A packet of Pom-Bears (because I am a proper adult) and can of Diet Coke (I miss being able to go out and get a decent coffee to fulfil my caffeine needs).

It was this time yesterday that it all started up- so I guess I am a little nervous.

Maybe I’m hoping that writing this will help ward it off. It would take magic to be certain. But then words and magic have been interwoven since the ancient Egyptian god Thoth had a remit that covered both. Probably before even before that.

This time yesterday my heart started racing. As my heart raced faster, my brain ran slower; until one was pulsating and the other was made of a thick sludge.

A thick sludge seemingly capable of roaring with voices.

I stammered upstairs and crawled into bed, pulling my Mulan blanket up around my ears. My mum registered that something was wrong, and used a portable heart monitor to check I was ok. Then she checked I’d taken the right amount of Diazepam. That I hadn’t consumed more caffeine than I normally do (I drink just enough to keep conscious). Eventually we came to the conclusion that this wasn’t normal, but it was just one of the things that “happens” to my body sometimes. Usually we would book a doctor’s appointment in the wake of something like that; but I don’t want to go in and risk getting the virus. I’m basically now just hoping that it was a one off, and carefully monitoring things.

As a psychiatric patient I take medication that no-one understands. No-one actually knows how it works. There is little to no evidence that mental health conditions are caused by any kind of chemical imbalance. It’s just a tidy narrative. A tidy narrative is useful when you’re marketing a drug; but in reality it is irrelevant at best. What happened yesterday could be a result of one of the drugs I take.

Just as easily, it could be a symptom of my illnesses; because no-one actually knows what is wrong with me either. In medicine a “disease” is something that They know the cause of. A “disorder” is a pattern of symptoms that is recognised as an illness, but which no-one knows the actual cause of. I didn’t realise this disease/disorder difference existed until I read about it in a Siri Hustvedt essay. I have four disorders. Bipolar Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder- which used to be called Borderline Personality Disorder- a term I much preferred. DIGRESSION ALERT- They changed the name of Borderline Personality Disorder because it had horrific connotations- both because it is common amongst serial killers, and because within services it is basically a way of labelling “difficult” (almost entirely women) patients. What they failed to realise, was that if they were going to change the name, the most problematic word was never “Borderline”, but “Personality”. I’ve spent my whole life trying to come to terms with the fact that I am not at fault for being ill. When I hit adulthood and got diagnosed with BPD, it was like They were telling me that it was me that was at fault after all. That there was something wrong with my “personality”. In reality BPD is a mental health condition with a range of symptoms, none of which make you a different person-END OF DIGRESSION. As no one knows what causes my illnesses, the potential is that anything could be a symptom. Was yesterday just a really weird panic attack? That morning I had experienced sleep paralysis as I woke up- was it an after-effect of that? I don’t know. No-one knows. Maybe I should re-read some existential philosophy?

Sometimes even knowing the causes of things doesn’t help. We know what causes Coronavirus. The clue is the second half of its name; yet the fight against it is mostly done in the dark. I find it weird to be in a world where everyone is worried about their health. Where no-one knows what to do to stay “safe”. It is the uncertainty I feel before I go to bed- unsure who I will wake up as tomorrow- but magnified by the seven-to-eight billion people living in the world right now.

Finished Writing: 13.03




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