Catching up

I’ve been out of touch for the past few weeks. I kept thinking of writing and not quite being able to translate anything from my brain to the page. So today I am forcing myself to write this, in the hope that I can break that deadlock.

Firstly, and most importantly, I had a really great holiday a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I rented a villa in the Mallorcan countryside and had our first proper holiday in a very long time. The sun shone, the scenery was stunning, we cycled and walked and ate delicious food. It was nourishing. I felt content for almost an entire week. That just doesn’t happen.

Here are a few photos.

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The problem with holidays is that real life often feels even more shitty when you’ve got something so idyllic to compare it to. I really tried to return to work with a good attitude, but after the first day back I just felt tired and jaded again.

Taking time off means I’m now swamped with all the work I didn’t do while I was away. I’m the only person in the firm who does my job, so if I’m not there, the work piles up and waits for me. I am so overloaded I can hardly start anything because it feels pointless trying to get through the list. I’ve discussed it with my boss, but he’s not come up with a solution to make things more manageable for me.

I’m also grumpy because the Brintellix is making me feel crappy. I stopped taking it while on holiday, because I felt so nauseous I couldn’t enjoy anything. So I re-started on it a week ago and I’m still feeling dreadful. Immediately after taking it, I feel as though I am going to vomit. That lasts for around two hours. Then the dizziness and general queasiness hangs around all day. To bring even more joy, it’s giving me vivid dreams and night sweats. It’s great. My psychiatrist assures me this will all settle in a week or so. We’re going to have to think of another plan if it doesn’t.

Therapy has been challenging as always. I don’t know what else to say about it really. J wants to know why I am doing it; why I go there and what I want from therapy. She wants me to figure out what I want from life. She’s just doing her job. But it all makes me feel like I’m failing. Like I need to show more commitment. And I can’t give her anything like a useful or meaningful response. I don’t know really why I go there. And thinking about what I want from life usually leads me into a dark place. Too much pondering the meaning of life tends to highlight to me that there isn’t one.

The final thing I want to share is that my closest friend was admitted to a state psychiatric hospital a week ago. She’s been in a bad way for several months now and has made a couple of attempts to kill herself. She was being cared for at home by the community mental health team, but now they’re concerned they can’t keep her safe anymore. I spent some time with her about 3 weeks ago, but it was so distressing to see her that way I kept a distance after that. We were still in touch on the phone, I just couldn’t cope with physically being with her. I had to do that to keep myself safe, but I feel guilty about it. I feel like I haven’t been there for her.

Yesterday I went to visit her in the hospital. It’s a secure unit, which makes it feel a lot like a prison. It’s a strange and unsettling place. Everything is clinical and stinks of industrial cleaners. They’ve put stickers on the walls and windows; butterflies and rainbows and such, in a misguided effort to add some cheer. What that really does is make it look like a primary school, which just feels patronising in an adult mental health unit. Those stickers actually made me angry. It’s dark and tatty and I hated it there. I hated seeing someone I love trapped in there. I hated thinking that if things slide for me again I could end up somewhere similar.

I’m still tired from that visit yesterday. It was draining, and I am worried for my friend. I can think of a lot more to say about it, but for now I’m going to leave it there.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. You are so caring to make time to see her, even with the way it affects you. I live in fear of being placed in an “institution” like that sometimes when I’m not in a good place mentally or emotionally. I had a similar experience too coming home from a vacation with my family a couple weeks ago. I understand the sluggish place you are in. I’m so sorry. I hope it lifts for you soon and you can look back and feel refreshed. Your pictures look so beautiful! I will be praying for your friend and that she receives good care despite the dismal environment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you. I’m sorry you’re scared of the same thing. Although the environment is horrible, the nursing staff are very caring and have been looking after her compassionately. I’m taking some comfort from that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that is comforting, and good for her.

        Like

  2. laugraeva says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend Laura, and I totally agree with you on what sounds like some ridiculous stickers.
    I hope that work begins to settle for you soon. Those photos you took are really beautiful – glad that you got to visit such a picturesque place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Yeah they were really ridiculous. Strange how something so trivial made such an impression. Maybe that’s me redirecting some anger that really should be aimed at the more serious stuff! Laura

      Like

      1. laugraeva says:

        No I totally get it, I mean, paintings done by the residents would make more sense than childish stickers as a way of decoration!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. La Quemada says:

    There’s a lot in here to respond to, but I wanted to acknowledge and validate how alienating and disturbing it can be to try to figure out what you want from life. I’m kind of at that point myself. I was in my garden today, in nice weather, pulling weeds,and I asked myself, Do I want to live in this house, in this city, the rest of my life? I don’t know. Is there something I’d really like to accomplish? Not really. What would make me feel motivated to get up and put in effort each day? Hm, can’t really think of anything. And then I get angry at myself for being so directionless.

    At my job, before I quit, it used to be the same way with workload. I’d work like crazy before I left so people would have what they needed, and I’d be so tired at the start of vacation that I couldn’t do much but sleep. Then I’d enjoy the trip and relax, but I’d get back to work only to find huge backlogs of things waiting for me. And all the balance and perspective I’d gained from work was gone. I’m sorry; it’s a shitty feeling. Mallorca, however, looks wonderful.

    I’m sorry about your friend in the hospital. It’s kind of you to go see her despite how hard it is. And you are right; the stickers are insulting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks for your thoughts on this, and for the validation of how unsettling / scary it is to need to think about the ‘big picture’. I get angry with myself over it too.

      Liked by 1 person

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