Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hullo again!

Well hullo again :)

I've been thinking of blogging again these last few days, and trying to compose something upbeat in my mind for you to read, but it's no good; if you want an update I'm afraid it won't be a very upbeat one. Is that ok?! If it isn't, you've had fair warning- by all means leave now if you wish. No offence taken. Why would anyone want to read anything dull or depressing?!

*** *** ***


First off, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has left comments, emailed me, sent cards and even presents. It's amazing and truly wonderful, and if you had any idea of what a lift each one gives me.... 


There is none. Yep, three months on and I'm precisely where I was. No progress at all.
A woman from social services came, to assess mum. She offered us one day at a Day Centre per week. That was in January. I hadn't heard anything, and was about to chase her up when I got a phone message this week saying that there were 'still no places' and did I want to add mum's name to the waiting list? In other words, after all this time, she isn't even ON the waiting list. Meanwhile, of course, mum has forgotten everything about the idea of a Day Centre, let alone remember that she was, once, interested in giving it a try.


We saw the neurologist in December. She said she'd like mum to take some pills that would help her memory and other brain functions. She wouldn't give us a prescription saying it would be easier to get it from the GP. So off we went to the GP, who said she couldn't prescribe that particular drug as it was blacklisted in this area- too costly. She wrote to the neurologist for an alternative. She has written twice so far. Still no news. So mum should have been on this helpful drug for 3 months now, and isn't.....


I spoke to my brother, the one who lives about an hour away, at Christmas about things, saying how I was finding it hard to cope. If I just had one day off a month, I said, it would help. He agreed, saying that his total of 2 visits in the last year wasn't enough, and said he would come and take care of mum one day a month from the new year.

He came down for a day in January. He came with partner and 2 young boys. Great for mum to see the grandkids, I suppose. But he spent just 3 1/2 hours with mum, then drove her to our house, where I fed everyone. In that 3 1/2 hours he had dragged her round a few shops, taken her to MacDonald's (his partner was flaberghasted that mum didn't know what to order, so ordered for her and was then agrieved and surprised that mum didn't eat any cheeseburger) and almost got her injured when she fell out of the car- he has a 3 door, and squeezed her into the back. She tripped on trying to climb out. Why wasn't he helping her???

Since then, nothing. No contact with her. SO much for monthly visits.


One phone call this year from the brother in Mexico. He left a message on mum's phone. That's it.

One phone call from my sister in Australia this last week-
she rang mum: mum is losing her hearing and has trouble on the phone. She couldn't hear my sister. This annoyed and frustrated my sister who then left a less than friendly message on my phone, shouting that she was so pissed off because 'all mum kept saying to me was "I can't hear you I can't hear you" nonsense'.
-Finding that message really pushed me flat down. All this week I've been tripping over between angry and upset. Upset- I feel bullied again. Angry- how dare she speak to me like that! And she is frustrated after one phone call???? How about getting on a plane, coming over here and living my life for a few weeks. THEN she'll be frustrated!


Luvbug applied for several teaching jobs in January, and the schools didn't even have the decency to write back! It makes me so angry, especially when I see the knock-on effect. I want to ring them up and tell them off, but don't, of course. Now he is getting temp work, mostly different schools each day. This is OK except for when he looks into the future. He feels washed up.  As in my life too, things are OK if you only look at the present, one day at a time, not at the bigger picture. But like me, he has trouble taking one day at a time.


I saw the psych-doc in January. I actually saw the same one twice! Wow! Normally I see one 4 times a year and it's a different one each time, and I'm extremely lucky if they have even read my file. But this one was ok. He remembered my situation and had even written to social services to chase them up, saying look, she can't cope, help her out.

This time I presented with evidence of things not being so sweet. I'd been cutting myself. A knife, but when that proved inadequate, scissors, cutting strips of skin off my upper arms. I'm not going into why. I was losing it. There are plenty of self-harm sites where you can read into it if you're intrigued. All I can say is that it causes a break in what you're feeling inside. Not even feeling inside, more a whirlpool going round in your head, and then the cut makes a change in the whirlpool. I knew it would be too hard to explain.

So anyway, this p-doc took me off the anti-psychotics that I call my little blue back-up pills, and put me on pregabalin. This is one of the anti-epilepsy drugs that mum takes! Apparently it is also prescribed for pain and for bad anxiety.

Well the first few days I took it, it made me feel drunk. NOT A BAD FEELING. Since then, it has settled down and just helps me cope. Like when I am so frustrated at my groundhog-day existence that I am in tears, I will take one. I have 3 a day. But God knows, if I am hiding in the kitchen biting my lip and trying to hide my tears, I take one, no matter whether I am due one or not. They do help.

Side effects- sleepy. Oh boy, sleep sleep sleepy. And it's culmulative; I am dead in the mornings, so those few precious hours I have before I set off to mum's are now mostly lost to me. And weight gain- 9lb in the first 3 weeks. And still gaining, despite dieting and walking.

And they don't stop the stuff that the other pills stopped, so I am now back to hearing things that are not there. Shuffling feet, laughter, whistling, all these I've heard in an empty house. Could have sworn that Scooter was under the bed just now- heard his sighing, puffing and blowing in his sleep. Ahhh. Stretched down to stroke him and- not there....


None at all. No inspiration. I made a Valentine card for Luvbug, but even this I left till the last moment! I feel as though it's just finished, over. Fear it will become something else I am leaving behind. Like playing the clarinet or gliding. Things I Once Did. Card-making might be joining them. I don't know. Two many comments about it not being real art, or that I could do better, maybe? Possibly. Mainly it is down to lack of time, lack of space, lack of time to make space.


Ah, Scooter. My lovely lovely big black cat. He will be 18 on the 23rd of this month. He is so lovely. Since his sister, Fluffy, died in December, he has become more vocal. He loves fuss and attention even more. He loves to lie in front of the fire at night and purr. I lie with him there, and watch tv for a while, till my back can't take the floor any more! I feel guilty and horrible at having to go out and leave him each day. He looks at me and doesn't want me to go. Sometimes, on my way to mum's, I have cried because really I would rather be home with my cat. A sign that the stress is just under the surface. 
I stop before I get to mum's each day and check that any tears are wiped out of sight, I take a deep breath and make myself smile before I ring her doorbell..... this is my life. If I don't look ahead, or up, or around, I can do it. Today it was sunny. We went to a garden centre. I thought it would be an 'up' day. Instead, when I saw all the new plants, and thought of my garden, and knew that I would never have time to do everything I would like in it, I just felt suffocated.


Angel and Kirby said...

Helena, I am so sorry that your family has deserted you and your Mom. I am glad I do not know them because I would give them a piece of my mind for you! My Granddaughter is a 'cutter' too. She is improving with help, but her life is not as overwhelming as yours. I do not have any sage advise for you, just caring that are there and wishing I could do more for you!

Helena said...

Angel and Kirby, you are always first and just seeing you r picture makes me smile! Thank you for coming by again!

Underchin tickles :)

freebird said...

I can't understand why your mom can't get in to a care residence. If she can't take care of herself anymore and you are having too hard a time it seems you ought to be able to get put on a list and perhaps at the front of a list.

It sounds like you and your luvbug are having some tough times. Well, if you are getting back to blogging and can wipe away the tears before you see your mum then perhaps you are yet hanging in there. I hope so.

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

Dearest Helena! How wonderful to hear from you today....I have been thinking about you these days. I know life is being crushed out of your body right now and you feel hopeless and we feel helpless. Like Angel and Kirby's mommy said, I wuold also give your family a good German talking too!!!!
You just carry on one day at a time...do not look to the future!!
I know what you mean about the flowers and visits to the garden center....that is why I do not go there...I remember the me I used to be and it makes me feel like a failure... Take heart that spring will come and Luvbug will buy you a primrose I am sure...
You will always be an artist! ALWAYS!!! When the time is right...you will create again, be it months or years from now.
Please know how much we care...it does help to write your feelings down here on your blog...that is what it is for. Your true friends will understand and those who do not...do not matter anyway.
Pet your kitty, hug your Luvbug and carry on...love Karla and Misses Peach

Chris said...

Oh Helena I feel so sad for you and the tough times you are facing. Having mental health issues myself I know that the help we sometimes so desperately need is NOT out there. It makes me so angry. Even when it is it's all about getting rid of you asap. I often feel like a number rather than a person when like you say you don't seem to ever see the same person twice and the only reason they know your name is because it is written on a piece of paper in front of them!!
Your situation is soooo bad and it's time someone sat up and took notice!! Being a carer for your Mum shouldn't be expected of you just because you are family... what the hell do we pay our taxes for...bloody health service(sorry I shouldn't rant but I feel so angry for you).
Please know that WE care about you sweetheart and hey it's good for you to vent on your blog so go ahead...it's YOUR blog and it's lovely to see you post for whatever reason.

(((((HUGE HUGS))))
Chris xx

CherryPie said...

I am so sorry that you are having such a tough time and life is like climbing up a hill.

With regards to your Mum's treatment. You could try writing to your local MP explaining the situation, he might take it up on your behalf.

Feronia said...

Dear Helena,
I am so happy to see you blogging again! I missed you :) But I am so sad to read how hard things are for you.
I'll email you today.
Emily x

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Very sorry to hear that you are having such a bad time. Your siblings are very selfish and as much help as a chocolate teapot.
Your poor mum! The daytrip from hell!

If only you could get some good, practical help so you could recharge your batteries. Don't give up trying to find it. Is there a Health Visitor connected to your Dr's practice, or are they a thing of the past these days?

Love and hugs all round xxx

Sandy Kessler said...

Two friends younger than me have died back to back the last 2 weekends. It seems to make my bland, sad small life seem wonderful..sk

Found art blog said...

I'm wondering if this is a case of "we're not going to change a thing until the wheel (you) falls off". Meaning either you have a stay in an NHS premises yourself for a while, or you give yourself permission to unplug the phone and go to Southend for a month.
As an aside, what would actually happen if you phoned Mum's doc, gave him Epping brother's phone number and then "quit the job" for a couple of days? Or 24 hours even?

Chrissy said...

I quite like found arts comment because I know that you need a short break...I understood all you wrote here and I have never suffered depression. However, I recognised that merry go round of ever decreasing circles, trying to get some help and getting nowhere. Imagine if you were not around...somebody would have to help. So, perhaps you need to get Luvbug to help you with that one cos it sounds like he needs some respite too X

Di said...

Helena, this posting really moved me - at the same time making me feel even more helpless that I can do anything to improve things. Except to be here and offer a shoulder. But, I do agree about the suggestion that someone here made to contact your MP. Thinking of you - will email ASAP honey! Di x