Your Stories

Your Stories

Mind are looking for participants for their next round of videos telling your stories of life with what is commonly termed mental illness. More info living here:



This recent radio silence has come from work commitments. As in I actually had some – a state of affairs which is surprising to me and has been to psychiatrists and social workers over the years. Despite scarred arms and a history of highly…impractical behaviour, I’ve been put in charge of a branch of my company. Over christmas too, which was intimidating but somehow we managed not to implode.

Things are going well, and my employers are happy with the way things are. Personally though, I am concerned. I’m not looking after myself. Because of recent seizures I’ve upped my lamictal, off my own back. Though I’m not powerfully stressed, I have adopted some discouraging behaviours. There’s this new ritual of buying a can of beer from one off licence on my way home, then buying another at the next I come to. Its a nice way to wind down obviously, but given the lithium eating into my organs, I know this is the kind of thing which could really come back and bite me in the arse. Certain stratas within me do not care.

I have a care plan with my GP, following my discharge from the psych service. Hinging on blood tests, with minimal contact. Quotes from the document:

  • Potential for weight gain with Lithium. Potential for Lithium toxicity and renal dysfunction in the long term.

I refer you to previous remarks – booze, off licences.

  • Relapse indicators – Over activity leading to manic behaviour, paranoid ideas which could get worse.

This one is my weighty concern. I lied a lot in those final consultations. Or omitted things, which is a more accurate way of putting it. I failed to mention that those ‘paranoid ideas’ are becoming more prevalent.

I hold out- loud conversations with myself. Sometimes ranting, sometimes debating what’s happening and what we’re feeling. There’s that term which sometimes get thrown around: “invasive thoughts.” There’s an increasing sense of invasion.

  • On mental state examination, he presented with no abnormalities of his mental state and had good insight into his condition.

First part no. Second part hope so.

There’s long been this enduring sense of ending myself. Hurting myself in slightly less terminal ways too. For me the scariest part of all this is that its not depression or misery or desperation like it used to be. Its (un)logic; an almost perfect storm of hyper-focus and critiques on the state of the world and my experiences as a┬áhuman being. I can’t resolve disconnects between the fallibility of love and the fact I can live with what I know. I feel I shouldn’t be able to live with the memories of the friends and family I’ve lost, that I can handle knowing what happens to someone consumed by addiction or anorexia or psychosis or violence or abuse.

There’s a vein of survivors guilt too. The notion that better people than I are no longer here. People possessed of grace and beauty and intellect, who simply made things better for those in the lives they embraced. And here I am, this hypomanic, slow-burning cold flame of insanity. Doing impressions of a functional human being.

I’m debating whether or not I should return to the psychiatrist. This rebels against my more Icarus beliefs, but the simple fact is that there is no Xavier School for Gifted Mutants/Lunatics. For better or worse I could make Dr Sri listen, and he was willing to at least approach the matter practically, even if we didn’t always agree on the nature of what was happening. Its a state of affairs which even Sascha DuBrul has had to touch on. Sometimes lithium works. Sometimes you’re limited in where you can turn.