Alone in the crowd

I am lonely although i’m not alone

There are others here who share my home

They’re never very far away

But don’t really listen to what I say

And if they did what could they do?

It’s me that’s got to pull myself through

It’s like I’m surrounded by a wall

Through which no one can pass at all

I may as well speak in foreign tongues

Im atop a ladder without any rungs

Marooned on an island without a boat

Unreachable,  far removed, remote

Inside a sealed off tomb enshrined

Locked inside a tortured mind

I wonder if there is a way out

Something I’m really beginning to doubt

I’ve tried for years to loose this chain

But it only ever tightens again

I need to find relief somehow 

From the isolation I feel right now

So here I am in the dead of night

Feeling this strange compulsion to write

I have to get this off my chest

If I am to get any sort of rest

I’m picturing my untimely demise

So it must be time to close my eyes

I don’t yet know if they’ll open again

I’m hoping not, I hate this pain

I’m going now, before it gets light

I wish you all peace. Farewell. Goodnight

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  Voices

I don’t know how to counter

The voices in my head 

The ones that call me stupid,

The ones that want me dead

For the second night in a row

I’ve called the crisis team

Why does it always happen at night?

Or so that it would seem

They’re trying to stop me writing this

Those voices in my head

Filling me with anger

And emotions that I dread

I know what’s going to happen next

It was talked of yesterday

That if I couldn’t hack it

I’d end up far away

In a unit unfamiliar 

(Then again they’re all the same)

Imprisoned and frustrated

By my fast malfunctioning brain

I cannot let this happen

I won’t pull through again

It’s happened once too often

This diversion from being sane

I’m pacing up and down the room

Headphones in my ears

Hoping to drown out the words

That are playing on my fears

I’m scared by what is happening

The voices are never good

I know that I need treatment 

to nip it in the bud

I don’t want it to get so bad

That my choice is taken away

So I’m taking action early

Then I still can have my say

In what treatment I am given

What to take and when

I want this nightmare over

For it to never happen again

But it isn’t just the voices

Causing me such pain

It’s knowing I am being watched

By strangers once again

I know that they are out there

Waiting patiently and calm

While all the time they’re working out

Just how to do me harm

I’m frightened by my shadow

I’m so far on the edge

Wondering who is hiding

Outside behind the hedge

And silently they’re plotting

Planning my demise

I feel them boring into me

Those red demonic eyes

Yet whilst I write, my will to live

Is hanging by a thread

I don’t want them to kill me

But I still wish I were dead

This really isn’t making sense

My mind is in a spin

My resolve grows ever weaker

My patience wears so thin

I’m signing off now for a while

Help should soon arrive

Maybe I’ll be back again

If only I can survive

The price of stability

Once I was a whole person

A functioning human being

Capable of most things

Today that’s not what I am seeing

I accept I have an illness

But your pills render me inept

I’ve lost the power to remember

The knowledge I once kept

The warnings that came with them

Did not worry me at first

They mentioned little ailments

Blurred vision, constant thirst

But never did the leaflets

That in the packets came

Tell me that my memory

Would never be the same

Yes I lose my house keys 

And forget what I have said 

But that’s not the sort of memory loss

That makes me wish that I were dead

I’m referring to a deeper loss

One I fear I’ll never regain

The one that makes me wonder 

If I really have a brain

Learning used to be such fun

I’d study night and day

Since being on medication

It’s all been taken away

I used to speak five languages

Translated books for fun

Now I’m really struggling

To use my mother tongue

I try to read for pleasure

But stumble from word to word

I’ve had to resort to audiobooks

Repeating what I have heard

I’ve told the doctors, the nurses

As far as I am able

That I cannot live this way for long

For the sake of staying stable

It’s not that they lack sympathy

But they have a common goal

To keep me on an even keel

No mater what the toll

Surely there’s got to be a line

Well it’s already been crossed

It’s one thing promoting wellness

But not if dignity is lost

There has to be a trade off

Not recovery at all cost

Of course I don’t wish to be unwell

I have to stay on track

But I need to have a life of sorts

I want my memory back

Without it I am nothing

A shadow of myself

A slave to medication

In the name of mental health

No Blessing

Times are hard for everyone

I really shouldn’t dwell 

But I can’t help but worry

That the future doesn’t bode well
The thoughts are whirring round my head

My life is such a mess

But what does it really matter?

I have no need to impress

Those closest to me in my life

Have seen me fall apart

There’s a limit to the number of times

One can make a brand new start

I feel I should go far away

But there’s nowhere left to run

I’ve exhausted all my avenues

It’s over, finished, done

I had so many dreams once

Positive internal voices

I flushed it all away though

With a series of poor choices

If only I could remove my head

Reset my bipolar brain

Live a life without this curse

That stops me staying sane

I’ve heard it said by celebs that

They like the upward swing

That ‘bipolar is a blessing’

And they ‘wouldn’t change a thing’

I find this hard to comprehend

As my highs are rarely fun

Delusional and paranoid 

My world becomes undone

What state my mind is in right now

I really couldn’t say

Thoughts are racing through my head

But I mostly feel dismay

I’m dancing in the darkness

Tears streaming down my face

Fighting with the demons

As through my mind they race

I’ve yet to meet a person,

Celebrities aside,

Who genuinely claim that they enjoy

The manic depressive ride

That anyone would choose this life 

I cannot comprehend

To glamourise an illness

Is the wrong message to send

So whilst I am still capable

Of some rational cognition

I’d like to get a message out

I guess it is my mission

Bipolar is an illness

Not a blessed gift

It tortures and torments us

With dark thoughts we cannot shift

Any raised attainment

Is a temporary short lived gain

One that is outweighed by far

With deep emotional pain

Neither is it simply

A frequent change of affect

It alters thought and behaviour

And leads to self neglect

It’s such a varied illness

The parameters are vast

It makes many a sufferer

Feel like an outcast

So I have a message for you

To lay the myth to rest

Bipolar is no blessing

But an inconvenience at best

Distraction is the key

So I’ve written a bit lately about the struggles I’m having so I thought I’d depart from the doom and gloom today and share something more positive.

I have a good friend who always seems to have my back of late. I was resistant to her trying to get me out of the house at first but have come to my senses now I’ve done it a few times. She knows that if left to my own devices I will stay at home every day, venturing outside only for a sly cigarette, choosing mainly to spend the rest of my time hiding under the duvet or plugged into my iPod and ignoring all attempts at contact from the outside world. I was comfortable doing this but now I realise just how isolated I had become. Even when my family are home on an evening we tend to stay in our respective rooms, communicating only when absolutely necessary but my friend has made me realise I need human contact. Yes I have some wonderful online friends but I have missed face to face spoken word conversations.

My RL friend has not only been my personal chaperone of late, she has introduced me to other people who are struggling to socialise which has been lovely. I am widening my circle of friends and actually enjoying the company of others; something I haven’t done in a long time. This week we have been to various places ;I am fortunate to live on the outskirts of a major city so there are plenty of places to spend time. We have drunk far too much coffee and smoked too much but it’s been worth it. She has introduced me to an arts cafe where, despite not having an artistic bone in my body, I have produced a vaguely recognisable collage of an owl and a slightly wonky pair of earrings. Small things I know but I am pleased wih my achievements. A visit to our local museum also proved to be an enjoyable experience accompanied by a slow walk around the grounds of the adjoining Abbey.

These sound like very small achievements I know but they are huge for me given how reclusive I had become. It’s not all been a walk in the park if you’ll forgive the pun, yesterday I was unable to physically manage a walk around the lake. I guess not eating is taking its toll. My friend has helped me with his too and I’m pleased to report I’ve actually managed some solid food today; just a little but it’s a start. 

All the above is keeping me going through the day when mh services are letting me down. On an evening I chat to an equally kind and helpful friend, online this time. My friends are my world at the moment and I’m very lucky to have them in my life. They provide the distraction I need from my health and social difficulties and I am very grateful to them. 

Let down again 

It takes a lot for me to ask for professional help and consequently I end up in crisis before I actually get the help I need.I feel unworthy, a nuisance, untreatable and guilty for taking up someone else’s time. I’ve told my CMHT this countless times. I am told that this inability to reach out is the reason I have a CPN still. Why then do they think it is ok to frequently cancel on me? Today I received a phone call from a secretary telling me tomorrow’s appointment is cancelled. No explanation, no apology but more importantly no enquiry as to the state of my mental health. I felt too uncomfortable to volunteer the information that I am not coping. I haven’t seen my CPN for weeks because she has been away and cancelled a previous appointment just as I was heading into crisis but I thought ok, these things happen, I can cope a few more days. Then the secretary announces I can’t have an appointment for another 3 weeks! (I am supposed to be on at least a visit a fortnight) I am heading for crisis again and I’m scared. I can’t eat or sleep & I have fainted twice in the past week. My mood is all over the place but I attribute this more to my struggle with food than the bipolar. Never the less I am scared it is destabilising enough to send me into an episode. I don’t want to end up on the ward again. It doesn’t help. All I need is some proactive community support, not picking up when I fall. What ever happened to preventative care? Guess I’m on my own this time.

Sworn enemies – a warning to others. TW eating disorder

I wrote a few weeks ago about the dark place I found myself in. I was hoping to have a positive outcome to write about but things have only got worse. My rational mind and my emotions have become sworn enemies, my body the victim. They share a common weapon: food. 

As the weeks have gone by my relationship with food has deteriorated. My mind accepts I need to eat to be healthy and survive and I try I really do but it has become an all or nothing situation. I eat nothing for days on end until I get so hungry that something inside snaps and I eat everything in sight. I don’t enjoy it, in fact I don’t think I even taste the food as I cram it down. I know I am really in trouble when I hit this point and an overwhelming sense of panic sets in. I have to get rid of what I’ve eaten at all costs. Purging is the only thing I’ve found that gives me relief. I feel cleansed and a huge sense of relief towards the end but is not the answer. It leaves me feeling guilty and so exhausted I usually fall asleep for an hour or more straight after. Sometimes I physically shake and my pulse races erratically.

Some would have you believe that purging is the magic solution to dieting without deprivation. It really is not as I’ve found out to my cost. My mind is killing my body. I now bleed every time I purge. I have small tears and ulcers in my eosophagus due to forced vomiting. I have to stop but I don’t know how. You may be thinking JUST STOP but it really isn’t that simple.i know what I’m doing could ultimately kill me but I’m trapped in a vicious cycle. 

I disgust myself and I know this isn’t a nice topic to write about but I’m doing it to warn others to get help as soon as you get the slightest sign that your eating is disordered. Sure, at first I thought I could cope, thought I was in control.  I could almost sense the pounds dropping off me. I didn’t realise how quickly I would become gripped by this awful condition again. I have asked for help but now I have to wait. like every other medical treatment in the UK there is a waiting list. I don’t want others to go through this so please don’t believe your emotions or the image in the mirror. Listen to your bodies and get help. I only hope I haven’t left it too late.

An exercise in catharsis

Forbidden love

There exists a person in my world

For whom my love has been unfurled

It’s so much more than a passing phase

This person has me in a daze

Sadly they cannot ever know

No relationship will ever grow

I’ve felt this way for quite some time

But told myself they can’t be mine

Even though I know all this

I pine for them, to hold, to kiss

This longing I have is so intense

Pervades my body, my every sense

But even if I were one day free

I’m certain that they couldn’t love me

For it doesn’t matter how long I wait

I am bi and they are straight

So I’ll fight this ache that grips my heart

I won’t let it tear our friendship apart

I’ve put my sentiments into verse

Before the pain gets any worse

I had to get these feelings out

To metaphorically scream and shout

So now I’ve put this piece to bed

I’ve bared my soul, it’s all been said

There’s only one thing left to do

To thank all those that read this through

Friendship

Not very long ago I was asked by a visibly exasperated duty psychiatrist to think of just one thing that would stop me taking my own life. It didn’t matter how much she coaxed me and tried to put words in my mouth, I just couldn’t come up with a valid answer. It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t functioning, on the contrary, it was like one of those runaway train disasters you see in the films but without the unwitting superhero aboard to apply the brakes. Thoughts were coming thick and fast but nothing positive. The more I tried to find an answer, the darker they became. I knew all too well where I was heading but didn’t have the will or wherewithal to resist. I caved. I didn’t want or believe I deserved help but knew it was out of my hands.

A lot has happened since then. I’ve had some difficult conversations with loved ones, acknowledged my sexuality and faced upto just what is wrong with my life. Now I can answer that question. The one thing that has kept me going since that awful night is friendship. I am fortunate to have good friends who have unquestioningly accepted me for who I am. I am grateful to each and everyone of you but of all my friends, one shines out among all the rest and deserves a special mention. 

I have never met this person, never even spoken on the phone although the offer to do so has been extended to me in times of crisis.  We do communicate on social media every day. So why is she so special? Well I’ll tell you why I have no hesitation in referring to her as a close friend. She has been there for me day and night, offered advice and supported me when I’ve needed it. This selfless person quite literally saved my life one night a little over a year ago when I had given up. It hasn’t all been doom and gloom. We’ve had great conversations putting the world to rights yet I have never before come across such a selfless individual. She’s the sort of person you only find once in a lifetime and I will always be grateful that our paths crossed. Life is no bed of roses for either of us for very different reasons but her selflessness won’t let me in to help. I just want to let her know that she is always in my thoughts and I am here for her if and when needed. I won’t break.

I have learned that friendship is so important in life and it doesn’t have to be face to face. We are frequently told about the dangers of social media but not everyone on the web is out to hurt you; there are some shining lights out there and I’ve certainly found one. In these difficult times around the globe it’s important that we take time for each other. Whether that’s in person or online is immaterial, let’s help one another.