Wagahai Wa Shimauma De Aru

Today has picked up a bit, but it started at a low – When you’re at the bottom of the Norwegian Trench, swimming a hundred metres up won’t get you to oxygen, so I’m still not doing great. This morning was absolute hell – Flashbacks to some horrible things, to the point that I lost track of what year it was, then lost anything approaching control and smashed a load of crockery and glassware.

This precipitated me cleaning until I’d badly injured myself (Two dislocated hips, hands bloody, right shoulder wrecked, left knee similarly wrecked)

I debated phoning the GP. Over the years, I’ve tried every family of antidepressants going – Some did nothing, some made me numb and forgetful, some sent me into uncontrollable mania, a couple made me more suicidal. I thought about talking therapies that could be offered – I’ve been CBTed enough, and it’s done wonders, but I hate talking to therapists and I always worry that I sound like I’m patronising them and that I think I’m superior. I also despise the whole setup of people looking at me and doing the sad eyes and asking leading questions. And, well, the last time I went to a mental health service (Other than CBT For Pain, which was decent) I was threatened with a BPD diagnosis for being uncooperative (I didn’t want to take Venlafaxine, which had made me feel horrific in the past, and didn’t want to take Quetiapine, since it had such a bad reputation and had stolen a year of my sister’s life) – And I do mean “threatened”, as in “If you don’t cooperate and take the Venlafaxine, we’ll give you a diagnosis of BPD, and then it’ll be reviewed whether you actually have EDS or not, or if it’s just somatoform illness. Which means that your pain medication will be stopped, whilst the specialists work that one out, either way.” in almost exactly those words.

I decided against phoning the GP, and spent half an hour instead bending my fingers backwards.

Eventually, at some point, I started feeling more like myself. I downloaded Sketchup, and started working out how to make buildings (My goal – Design a city with interlinked Metro and light rail, where everyone lives within 200m of a railway station, 20m of a public lawn, 1km or 10 minutes by rail of a school and within 30 minutes of the university, airport, CBD, and hospitals.) My city is currently a load of multicoloured origami papers, stuck to the wall above my chaise with plasticine. Transit hubs are cranes, educational establisments are cicadas, hospitals and surgeries are yakkos. Fields are just flat pieces of paper, because they’re fields. It’s a start, and when I start really playing with it in Sketchup, I can make everything architecturally pretty as well. I can see towerblocks and offices-above-shops being a big part of the model, meaning that there’ll have to be tall buildings, and because this is me designing it, there’ll be rooftop parks and terraces in the CBD.

Maybe my project for this year can be building a little utopia.

3 thoughts on “Wagahai Wa Shimauma De Aru

  1. I am of course intrigued by your title. Is it related to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_a_Cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru)? I Googled Shimauma – ah hem. Then wished I hadn’t. It gave OH quite a turn!!!!

    You had a crap service from your CMHT. I have heard the stuff about the ‘threat’ of a BPD diagnosis quite a few times. Though I suppose you could accept the diagnosis and then demand the appropriate treatment which is DBT (something that I have had good reports of). Why that was somehow tied into your EDS diagnosis being legitimate is quite beyond me!

    What you don’t seem to have been offered was a good CPN, something that has been a life-line for me. I started off with a chap and promptly developed a crush on him (oh dear) but fortunately was re-allocated to the nurse clinical lead for the CMHT, a formidable Irish woman called Patricia. She soon knocked me into shape!

    You should also have had much more choice and control over medication. There are many options. Some go meds-free, others take a while to find out what’s best for them. I’m on lithium – the gold standard mood stabiliser, plus venlafaxine. I also have the luxury of diazepam and zopiclone PRN, a privilege I (almost) never abuse.

    Anyway enough wittering. I hope today is better than yesterday. ♥

    • Ha, due to the vagaries of Japanese pronunciation, shimauma (zebra) is probably also a bunch of slightly-rude things as well. I get… A manga, and a website selling ink cartridges. Rather sweetly, it’s from “shima” (Stripey) and “uma” (Horse).

      And yes 😀 I adore Natsume Soseki, and I Am A Cat is one of my favourites of his books (Well, the first couple of short stories out of it, after a while it gets a bit obvious that he was writing to a deadline). He just does the most beautifully evocative writing, really getting across the culture-clash of late Meiji-era Japan; The chattering classes experimenting with Western formalwear and social mores, whilst also trying to decide which Japanese cultural properties were worth keeping, the working man quickly becoming almost a separate species, but also iconically “Japanese” to a bourgeoise that romanticised them as a remnant of a noble past, the constant struggle between exploration and introspection – All told through the eyes of a stray cat, in this case. He did a lot of fish-out-of-water stories (Young country boy goes to university in Tokyo, Tokyo proessor goes to teach at a rural school) including a travelogue of his time in London (Which is both funny and perfectly observed). Much reccommended,

      I have no idea why it was tied to my EDS diagnosis, other than because the therapist thought that all my pain was factitious/somatoform/psychosomatic/generally make-up. Considering how long it’s taken me to comee to terms with it being real pain, and not just another facet of my laziness and cowardliness, this wasn’t healthy.

      I’ve not been offered a CPN, no – I don’t think I even have access to the crisis team anymore. What I want is to stay unmedicated, and basically just have the safety net of knowing that when I have really bad episodes, I can call someone to talk me back up out of them. But, basically, the CMHT here is terrible. Punitive, heavy-handed and insensitive.

      Thank you 🙂 Your knowledge is, as always, much appreciated.

  2. CMHTs are a post-code lottery. I struck lucky.

    There are few successfully unmedicated people on Bipolar UK – most notably for me, a chap by the name of Robb (cat avatar). He goes it alone successfully, with no little skill in self-management, as do others. They are a minority it’s probably fair to say. I have an awful lot of time for Robb.


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