Posted on October 12, 2018
Dissociative Behaviour Disorder
I learned from my shrink this morning that I may be suffering from this too. So many diagnoses at my age!
It does describe perfectly how I feel when I become a bully, and yell, get angry and all that.
It’s like I see myself from above, or below, or beside or wherever. I see what is happening, what I’m saying, or writing to people, and I don’t even know how to stop, like it’s coming from a place that’s not me. I just keep saying things or doing things, or writing things. I’m not saying that I’m Sybil or anything, but the diagnosis makes sense.
So because of my anger last night I’ve isolated myself all day.
It’s either passive or aggressive.
Or it’s fear.
Or it’s just easy.
People talk about the same shit in here. They talk about depression. I’m sick of the same conversations. My psych and my counsellor say it’s my inability to tolerate things. Like when I check out of meetings when they get boring.
I was never shown how to tolerate things. My dad never tolerated a single thing, especially lateness.. But I just don’t think I care.
I’ve had headphones when I leave my room so that even if I’m not listening to anything people will ignore me and I can ignore them because, you know, I can’t hear them.
My shrink says it’s because I’ve never really learned to grow up, to mature.
I want to go home but my shrink says I’m not ready. I don’t know why. I’m not doing anything different here. I hide in my room.
Most of the inmates have been here tonnes of times. One woman with kids and who’s only in her 30s says she’s spent 6 months in total out of the last two years here.
Isn’t that proof that none of this works?
I didn’t take any valium today. Tomorrow will be a different story. I’m catching up with friends for Jeff’s birthday. I will take all the valium.
Posted on October 11, 2018
They tell me to drink more water, all I hear is:
“Drink more coffee.”
We were talking last night about the good old days, when people with “mental illness” were just crazy and they were locked up in wards with other crazy people, or just in rooms with padded cells, and maybe just strapped to a bed. Before all this CBT and having to work on yourself bullshit came along.
It seems that, despite the civil right abuses and all that, mental illness was just so much easier back then.
The girls and Jeff came to visit me today. Wanna see?
It was everything I needed. The day started out great. I was on such a high and I knew it would end so I decided to ride the beautiful cloud for as long as it lasted. I was so surprised when it dissipated so quickly though. So I asked my unicorn to bring the girls, and my unicorn brought the girls, and they jumped all over me and changed my world for a while.
Still I wonder about real change. Lasting change. I am an angry aggressive person. You know those manic people who run or spend? Well I think my mania is my anger, the way I express myself towards others, the pride I feel in my ability to out-bully.
I find any other way of being quite boring, you see.
I don’t know how else to be.
I don’t know if I want to be any other way.
Others don’t like the way I am, though.
Not even in here.
Already, I’ve made enemies.
Someone tonight said to me:
Well you’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?
Well, maybe I am.
Posted on October 10, 2018
The one where I meet a real Russian!
My temperature is a little low. I woke up without a “wake up” knock because I didn’t take any Seroquel last night. I was trying a theory and it worked! And I don’t feel like shit this morning, either!
It’s funny, yeah, I thought working with animals, especially dogs, would be my everything. It’s the longest job I’ve ever had. But I guess it’s true what they say (for some), that if you turn your passion into a business, it just ruins it. I think I’ll keep this jewellery gig small. Maybe if there was Instagram when I was making jewellery things might have turned out different.
Today I’ve gone from a little manic, you know, when you think you can do ANYTHING IN ONE DAY, to feeling blue and melancholy. Nothing too extreme. But I guess that’s the lack of care.
So if Jeff and I are the opposite when it comes to dealing with stress:
Me – High Stress ——————————— Jeff – More self-compassionate
Then how do we deal with this? I’m always on edge and he isn’t. Hmm?
I feel like he’s too relaxed.
I feel a bit relaxed when he visits. It was nice, I even called my mum and the world didn’t collapse.
But then tonight, there’s a new woman. A REAL Russian. She totally understands when I was telling the others that Russians don’t smile because they’ll literally send you to an asylum if you walk around smiling. So we’re all sitting around comparing disorders and deciding who’s got the worst diagnosis and I feel a bit shit because it’s not me.
She also broke my heart because I started teaching my self Russian on a phone app this week and it’s totes hard. Anyway, so she asked me why I want to learn Russian and I tell her it’s so I can read Dostoevsky in Russian and she tells me not to bother that not even Russians understand him.
I am so devastated that I’m not washing my face tonight.
Posted on October 10, 2018
It’s late; clearly my finest writing time.
I see a lot of sadness here. There’s a drug and alcohol section but it’s separated from us, the regular depressives. But even they are sad, managing their sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness with addiction.
Why are we so sad when we’re so much more connected than we have ever been? There’s a guy I mentioned before, T, he’s the one who hears voices, but I reckon that was due to him taking drugs and alcohol, or did the drugs and alcohol helps him quash the voices? I might ask him tomorrow, now that he’s in our ward.
I don’t remember many times when I was not sad. The Russians are meant to be sad too. Maybe they’re happier that way. Has our quest for joy and happiness mad us sadder?
Posted on October 9, 2018
The one where they teach us about self-compassion.
Studies have shown that entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs because they want to. But, the ones who remain successful are those who are self-compassionate in times of hardship or failure.
Wait, am I writing from my groups book? No, this is a thing I learned.
Is this why Jeff is so successful? Because he is self-compassionate? (I asked him this and he says he’s not always that way).
I don’t think I know what self-compassion looks like. I think it looks egotistical and self-congratulatory and I’ve forgotten the other word.
Here’s what self-compassion looks like on paper and to a therapist:
- Respect – aka not thinking someone is a dickhead
- Being helpful
- Temporarily giving someone else priority
- Being gentle
- Giving a chance to be heard
- Offering genuine, kind words
- Showing genuine affection and support
- Being non-judgementalThe definition of self-compassion on paper and to a therapist is: Acting the same way towards yourself as you would to others when they are in need.
All I want to do is scream into a pillow like an autistic child, but I don’t think they would like that here.
I do it anyway, and I don’t stop. I literally didn’t stop.
I put a pillow over my head (I think it was supposed to be under my head but it was my first time), and something very strange and primal came out, sounds like I’ve never heard, from a place I didn’t recognise. It just kept coming.
I remember this sort of depression, pre-diagnosis, pre-medication. It’s horrifying. It doesn’t make me feel better and I left a tonne of mascara on the pillow.
The only thing running through my mind is what a weird sound it is, also when will it stop, and will the doctors come and jab me with something or take me to a sicker psych ward.
They soothed me with Seroquil and i fell asleep all day until I soothed myself with Survivor catch ups.
My time here feel squandered. Some say “just rest” but I don’t want to. I want to do something with my time, finish writing my books. Finish reading some books. Otherwise it all feels squandered.
Word of the day: Squandered
Posted on October 7, 2018
I feel hungover. I can barely open my eyes.
No standing BP – it’s high enough
When I used to drink, I didn’t really get hangovers, not that I could remember, because I drank vodka with panadol chasers. Someone smart taught me that.
I’m not sure why I write down by blood pressure. I think I take some pride in my usual low BP (not like it is now,but when I’m not here).
Last night made me think of Survivor. You know how people start out with *plans*, but plans to be a different version of themselves so that the others will be *fooled*. But their true colours always come out, just like on Big Brother and the rest of the reality shows.
That’s me. I started out meek and nice, and now look.
I’m a mimicker. I pick on other people’s behaviour. There’s a manic woman here who comes out at night. I become manic. I’m the mob in mob mentality.
I was still awake at 12.30 last night, 2 hours after my night meds, so I asked for more Seroquel. That was a mistake.
If they give me sleep meds so easily, why won’t they give me day meds? Such a conundrum.
Today is Sunday, which is usually a no makeup day for me at home, but I feel it’s not right here. If I let myself go, even if it’s once a week. what else could happen‽ And anyway, I think I need the paint therapy that makeup gives me.
So today will be more brain zappy than the past few weeks have been. My shrink has been weaning me off Pristiq for a while so the zaps have been minor. They will probably be major today and the next few days.
When I took myself off Effexor for 5 days a few years back without telling anyone, I got brain zaps and body zaps and thought I was going crazy. I googled it, and it’s a real thing.
How do you explain brain zaps to someone who has never experienced them?
Here are some ways:
- Imagine a plastic zipper and it’s continually being opened and closed for a millisecond, then for a second, then 1.2 a second, then 2 seconds. Imagine this in your ear, continually, all day and all night. Now imagine it inside your head.
- You know those mosquito zappers that people have outside in summer? Imagine one of those going off in your head every 3 seconds, maybe less, but at a slightly lower decibel.
Here’s a sort of example. It’s duller than this but just as constant.
Still on the mood stablilisers – they’ve been working such a treat – so I should be nice and lovely for when Jeff comes to visit later with my baby fluffies.
Right now though – sleepyville.
How many coffee pods does it take to wake up a mental patient?
No, really. How many?
Saw my baby girls and went down to Werribee river or somewhere. They’re just been brushed out and cleaned up and both Honey and Peaches got filthy in the water and they all got full of burrs and grass seeds. Yay for Jeff’s Sunday night!
We had awesome burgers, fries and onion rings from the Truck Stop Deluxe. Yummmm.
It ended badly when we got back between me and Jeff. I won’t go into it. It was just shit.
Zip Zap Zip Zip.
Posted on October 6, 2018
I’ve been thinking this morning about some of the group sessions, about values and goals.
Values don’t have steps or end dates – they might change over time but that’s it. Like, I value music, but I don’t want to make it (that’s a goal) but I do love to see live bands, and that really makes me happy. Another one of my biggest values is creativity. I like to surround myself with creative people. I also want to write. So my goal associated to that value is to write. My current SMART (yawn) goal is finishing the book that is practically finished. So the idea is to chip away at the goal until it’s done.
Now, because I’m such a sad bastard thinker, all I can see between the desire and the goal is a hundred million mountains, and I fucking hate climbing anything. So they keep telling me that it’s about chipping away at the mountains.
It sounds like my only options are to climb the mountains or to chip away at them. Is that right? No, really, are those my only options? Can someone please tell me.
I feel guilty not being productive with my writing in here. I mean, Van Gogh was at his most prolific while crazy and in asylums. I haven’t looked at a work of my book. It feels like a hundred million miles away.
Jeff is coming for lunch today. He’s bringing me faux pho (rice vermicelli salad with grilled pork from the Pho place in SUnny Sunshine). He’ll then take me across to the shopping centre so I can get my nails done. I thought getting tid of the SNS would be a good idea, but, for real, my nails are and have always been shit, so I am getting them coloured!
There are no group sessions on the weekend, so maybe I’ll chip away?
Jeff’s visit was so nice. We went to the plaza and I got my nails done and got some salad mix so I can have something healthy if I don’t feel like eating the meals.
He tells me that he’s spoken to the doctor. I may be in another three weeks. But I can’t imagine ever leaving.
Posted on October 5, 2018
PM – My nurse didn’t talk to me all day and I didn’t get my evening BP checked. I told you he was a CUNT!
However, there are things I’m really glad about:
Jeff got to go out with Genn to see Jen Cloher. Sure I would have like to have been there but it’s okay. It’s people like this that make me happy to be. So much talent.
And then, because I’m feeling good and, you know, a bit fun, frisky, I decide to hang out with the Sad Bastards.
I get confident
I get loud
I get sweary
I say things people don’t like
I get told off for being offensive with my sweariness (and blasphemousnous, I guess)
I get told off for being loud
I just wonder, I really do, especially after seeing so many of my future selves in here, if I am am ever going to win this battle of trying to change how I am.
Because, let’s face it, if it wasn’t for the others, I wouldn’t give a shit how I am.
I just don’t see a different future, and the attempt to change is so exhausting. This is how I look like after a day of trying to work shit out and, finally, to be told to shut up and I take some white pills and Seroquel.
Posted on October 5, 2018
Well, amazing what can happen in a few short minutes.
This morning, I pulled down my holland blind; this is how I learn that they are held up by magnets. I just pulled gently, I swear. I’ve never had much luck with blinds. Like that time in 1987 when I was living at this old woman’s house in Geelong when I first moved there for uni and it just fell down when I pulled it. She was so mad. But her house smelled of cauliflower and death anyway.
Maybe I should rest today, but I know I should get up, make up and dress up like I do every day.
Today there are classes about Values and Goals. So I decide I am going to be curious.
Last night. Should I tell you about last night‽ What’s there to say, really? It was shit. I cried in my room. If I was at home, I would describe it as that night when I drank too much and took all the pills and wanted to die. I went to bed at 5-ish, thinking it would go away but it didn’t. By 7.30, I raced with my cardigan over my head so nobody could see me sobbing like a crazy person (Holly, it’s my old lady grey cardi with flowers but it doesn’t matter much here). Sorry for the bleakness but there you go. Luckily I was able to take the Seroquil, Valium and whatever else all at once. I called Jeff, which I swore I wouldn’t do because I don’t want him to share the really bad times. He video phoned me with the dogs and cats and I think it was worse because I saw everything I had to lose and still didn’t care. I cried myself to sleep, which, thankfully, came on quickly.
I’m not eating much, which is a fucking miracle.
Jo Vraca has lost her appetite.
You know those illnesses where they say that you’ll lose your appetite? Well, that’s never happened to me – except that one time I drank water in Burma and couldn’t eat or drink for days.
I always hoped to get a tapeworm. I also hoped to get Karen Carpentered. I never got the former, but I definitely got the latter.
My eyes are burning today, like they do after you’ve cried a lot. But I’ve decided after last night’s shenanigans that I will not cry.
The wonderful thing about being in this sort of hospital is that you can totally be yourself. You can:
- Sing to yourself (although people will complain about you during the weekly community meeting)
- Have tics
- Not eat
- Be moody
- Go and hide away – although not for long because they’ll come and ask you if you’re feeling safe and wanting to harm yourself
- Listen to sad bastard music all day
- Wear Furkenstocks
My shrink visits me today, although I wasn’t expecting her. I wonder if it’s because of last night. Yep. She already knows about it.
She tells me I can go out tonight still. We have tickets to see Jen Cloher at the Spiegeltent, but I don’t trust myself to not drink or have another episode like last night and I just can’t handle that. Jeff will go with Genn. He deserves a good night out, and Genn is always a good night out, as is Jen!
Our values workshop
B (he’s 75-ish and very different from my parents) tells me that people don’t like his style of living, that he drinks too much. Everyone wants him to live a certain way and yet all he wants to do is sit on his back porch and drink. So he’s given up. I feel like he’s my future, and it’s bleak, but also feels inevitable. My dad was an alcoholic, I know now, but he’s changed. He’s mellow, and boring. My futurr. But it’s come early.
I’ve said it before, the only reason I don’t drink and take a thousand Valium is because of other people – they don’t like me when I’m drunk, they worry when I drink and take multiple Valium at a time (pussies).
But it’s like the guys at the pub recently when I did some secret day drinking. They started off strangers sitting away from each another. The more they drank, the closer they sat to one another. By the end, they were sharing a table and having a good old laugh. What’s wrong with that? Why is this not okay.
B and I have a lot in common like that – we could be those old dudes at the pub. But it really freaks me out that he’s given up because he’s comfortable with where he is and that’s the future I foresee. These values and goals workshops work for people with some drive. What if you have no drive? What if, like B, you’ve been there and done that? He’s been coming to these places for years. What hope do I have? Booze used to be my Obi Wan Kenobi – nobody else saw it that way, but I did, and it was fucking fun. And what business is it of theirs anyway?
I ate lunch today. Yay. I actually felt like it – veggie frittata with roast veggies and a slathering of Lurpak butter!
This is not public hospital, yo! We get Lurpac butter!
Then I come back to the room and dance in the mirror to some Nick Cave. This one.
I’m creating a playlist I’ll keep adding to. It’s called Jo’s Sad Bastard Hospital Music
I sit back down to write this and wonder why I’m not as talented as these sad bastards. I think of all the creatives who, at least, seem sad and depressed, and yet they’ve nurtured their creativity. I think of Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Courtney Barnett, Adalita. I don’t know. Maybe they’re really happy and solid, actually.
There’s this guy, T, who hears voices. He’s 26 so Saturn Return and all that (I swear I don’t give a rat’s about astrology but the Saturn Return is real, man). So this kid is also in the drug unit, so I guess that hasn’t helped the voices. I used to hear the voices, for maybe 20-25 years. But then I met my shrink and the meds helped. Anyway, T tells me that he likes my eye shadow, that it matches my hair. I’m flattered because it’s true; it looks especially nice today. I feel especially nice today, actually. I washed my hair and it looks pretty.
But then I think, Jo, you’re taking a compliment from a kid who hears voices and clutches a pillow everywhere he goes.
Other than the two groups, lunch and meds, I haven’t left my room.
By the way, I hate my new nurse. He is a a fucking cunt who asks too many questions about why I need to take my Valium exactly 4 hours after the last time. He asks me if I’m anxious, and I go into tapping mode again. I tell him I don’t have anxiety, I have depression, mania, and I am pre-empting the overwhelm after what happened last night. Does he know what happened last night, no? Then stop giving me a hard time. I actually say these things to him and it’s obvious that five days of group sessions about managing interactions with people have NOT rubbed off on me.
I want to call him a CUNT and wonder what the consequences will be if I do. Anyway, he’s my nurse and he hasn’t even said a word to me all day.
I think my mum’s been trying to call me because I get calls from a private number, but I just can’t talk to her because I know I’ll lose my shit and she’ll say all the rubbish people who have no idea always say:
Don’t worry about it.
You’ll be fine.
Think happy thoughts.
Think of everything you have in your life.
But your life is so perfect.
Where’s my fucking rifle?