Channel 4 goes MAD

I was recently linked to this website by a friend. It’s a brief explanation of three common but misunderstood mental illnesses, funded by Mind and Rethink (two of my favourite charities within the UK).

It’s very much a simple overview, but I think it’s a good initiative. There really needs to be more discussion and awareness about these illnesses and I think this goes a long way to starting it.

The joys of housekeeping

I am by nature a fairly messy person. I grew up in a pretty small house, which inevitably was permanently cluttered – more so in recent years with four adults living in it rather than two adults, two kids. I like being surrounded by stuff, things, junk and items, minimalist designs always feel far too empty.

It’s only good up to a point though. One of the main outcomes of a bout of mood episodes is a very, very messy living space. Clothes on the floor, dishes on the surfaces, that level of mess. It becomes a rather vicious cycle; it’s (not so) surprisingly hard to feel good when your surroundings are so unpleasant, but the less good I feel the harder it is to sort it all out.

So, and apologies for the profanity, I have a feeling that http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com/ might just be fairly useful. I could do with no nonsense daily reminders to simply make my bed, and at least re-organise one area. Even more important is the focus on short bursts, rather than marathons. It’s good to be reassured that it’s ok not to be able to do it all in one massive go.

On monday I move into my new house that I’m renting with two friends. I’d rather not be ‘the messy one’, or at least, not by too much! Hopefully this’ll help with keeping on top of things right from the start.

A few thoughts

This diagram basically sums up studying for me, especially over the last term. It’s never good when trying to finish some coursework just feeds into an already dangerously low mood. If you stop, there’s all the guilt of giving up, but the more you try to work, the worse you feel for not being able to write anything of any worth.

My course has the handy situation of requesting a piece of coursework practically every single week- and this is only first year! Next year that’s only going to get a lot worse. It’s hard not to burn up with jealousy at the philosophy student with an essay every so often sometimes.

The only stage I can see the break the cycle, personally, is between missing work and stressing out. No one ever likes that I do this, but after a certain point, I just prioritise my health, and I refuse to feel guilty for making this decision.

Thankfully, after doing that last term, things have been arranged that my exams are in August. This means I have a lot of self teaching to do, but I’m finding actually I hugely prefer being able to work on what I want, when I want, just me, some paper, a textbook, a laptop for journal articles and some music.

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I told a couple more people about identifying outside of the gender binary recently. Both conversations were pretty awesome.

The first was with a guy whose attitude is if that’s how you identify, that’s cool. If you prefer a gender neutral name, then that’s what I’ll do. So much love ❤

The second was with a person who identifies basically the same way I do: a mix of both. That was pretty unexpected, but it was damn good to talk to someone who totally gets it. That there’s such a difference between ‘butch female’ or ‘femme-y trans-guy’ or ‘effeminate male’ or whatever and feeling androgynous, even if you can’t explain why that is.

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I am really not sure how I am meant to fix my own sleeping pattern. It’d be very much appreciated if any doctor had any idea what the hell to do, or allow me to see a specialist in sleep so we can work out why I wake up the later it gets and feel tired in the morning.

All I know is that going to bed earlier does not mean sleeping earlier and staying up all night  and day results in 40 hours awake and a massive sleep where I wake up late afternoon/early evening.

Language and gender

I’ve been thinking more about this (thinking is just about all I ever do, it seems sometimes).

The thing that really bothers me about all this, far more than any body part, is the complete absence of language to communicate the experience of being non-binary gendered. Every time I’m called ‘girl’, ‘woman’  etc there’s a twinge of ‘oh, my boobs define my entire being to you too?’. Especially when those words come from people I know are trans-friendly, and  I’ve explained the situation to them.

What words could replace them though? The male equivalents only work in the sense of ‘huh, you didn’t just associate my identity with my body parts, nice’. It’s a shame it’s still a binary term that feels incredibly restrictive to me. I don’t think ‘not associated with years of mis-gendering’ is quite the same as actually feeling right.

Obviously, my birthname is another factor that really doesn’t help. Nor do I think it’s any coincidence that the gender neutral nickname that forms part of the title of this blog is the name I like people using best. It’s so non-standard though, I’m not sure if I’ll ever go through the hassle of changing it in all areas of my life, especially not with family.

There is but one thing I can and will do though. Fuck defining bodies by their parts. If you’re female, your body is too. In other words, the very last thing I have is a female body. I don’t care how it looks to you, it’s not. That’s true whether you’re a layman, or a doctor, or my mum.

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In other news, this has been the most productive night for nearly two months now. Only about 200 words and some references  to go, and this is practical report no. 1 out of the way!

 

 

A mildly worrying pattern

2004 – unwell

2005 – mildly better, but not great

2006 – about as ok as I get

2007 – getting ill again

2008 – as ill as I’ve ever been

2009 – slowly recovering

2010 – again, basically ok

2011 – getting ill again

2012 – constant cycling, at least one incapacitating low, more than one high already.

This has been a vague idea floating around in my mind for a while now, but I only just wrote it down tonight. Upon doing so, I think the only words might just be ‘ah. shit.’.

It’s imperative I find the right medication cocktail, and soon. The only problem is that I’m at home now for the next three weeks, and may or may not be back in Cardiff after that. Then there’ll be another stretch at home, and then back in Cardiff. Coordinating appointments around that is not easy, especially not when side effects become just unbearable whilst at home (i.e. right now, with the nausea that lithium causes).

One might argue I should never have gone to a uni so far from home. I could have studied psychology almost anywhere. Should I have to give up on the course and location I actually want just because of illness though? Would that even do me any good, knowing I wasn’t where I really wanted to be?

It’s a little easier this time around. It’s amazing the sheer difference simply knowing ‘this is the bipolar, it does this’ makes. For that reason, I will never disagree with the idea of diagnosis (though, it’s hardly unflawed). I know a little better what helps, that it passes, that other people have the same thing, and simply why today getting out of bed is just not going to happen.

At the same time, this time around, it’s a better knowledge of how it can/will likely pan out. Months of cycling, getting increasingly worse. Potentially making studying impossible. If I’m up, I can make myself feel I will get through it. Obviously, when down, it’s quite the opposite.

I can only hope I am very wrong, and prepare to not to be.

 

Only a tiny bit

I said before that I had ideas for posts lined up, but now, it feels instead like the supply has dried up. I don’t suppose it’ll last forever, sooner or later I’ll have something to say for myself.

The knitting is going well, I shall have to take a picture soon for an update. I’m beginning to manage to learn to not let go of the needle each and everytime, though I’ve not yet mastered the technique, so currently it’s quite amusingly awkward.

I’m also beginning to get just a tiny tiny bit excited for moving into my new house in Cardiff. Only three months to go, should be amazing. So much healthier than living in halls. I’m already making plans in my head for my room. I can’t bear a plain, undecorated room (well, that’s my excuse for why any room I inhabit always ends up in such a mess). My room at home though is tiny, so it’s always been easy to keep it full of awesome little things. I’m very tempted to not only cover the walls in photos and post cards (those mostly from when my cousin went travelling all over the world rather than get in lots of debt at uni. I daresay she’s the smarter one out of me and her), but also to hang some form of display from the ceiling, seeing as for once I’ll have space.

Turns out stayi…

Aside

Turns out staying up all day didn’t really work. Hypersomnia just took over and ensured I slept from 12pm till 6pm. Ah well, should be better next week when there’s actually people about during the day.

Apparently, my only option with uni is to return next January. This seems somewhat unnecessary, I should be doing better a long  before 9 months time. I hope so, at least. Right now, the effects of being down, such as this, seem to be only helping me stay this way. I suppose that’s not too unusual.

I’ll do a longer post sometime when my head is less scrambled. Gender is on my mind a lot recently, I just need to find a coherent way of wording it that someone else might understand.