Oh how I love my good days. When I can wake up in the morning, shake the cobwebs out of my brain and go about my day like any other “normal” person. I love being able to make a pot of (decaf) coffee, sit down to my computer, check my emails, and plan the day ahead.
On the good days I can write blogs, make phone calls, plan supper, do some shopping or tidy my house, drive my car, and then relax with my husband for the evening then go to bed.
On the good days I can go to bed and read for a while. Just lay there and enjoy the warmth of my bed, the cuddles from my dogs, soft glow from my e-reader and have some time to wind down and enjoy a book.On the good days, the Helpers are there but they feel calmer. No one is crying, fighting or making me feel anxious.
On the good days I hallucinate but the hallucinations are not as defined or look as real. I hallucinate smells too but on the good days that seems to fade to the background. I smell the salty air of the ocean from outside my window, supper cooking, my dogs farting (OH SWEET MERCY), or the soft smell of peppermint that I dab on each morning to keep my more present.
The good days are such a gift and they do happen more often now. At least part of most days qualifies as good and for that? I am grateful.
Then there are the bad days. I try to wake up but my eyes will not open and each time they do, it is painful and bright. The cobwebs in my head are thick and sticky. They are not going anywhere fast. I try to make a coffee but can not remember all 3 steps. Water, coffee and turn it on. It can take me over an hour to get it right. Then I forget to drink it.
On the bad days, I sit down to my computer and can not recall the password. It’s my password that I have been using for years but I just can’t recall it. I eventually open my email or I just sit and stare at the screen. I try to read the emails and I stare at them but I can not keep track of the lines and don’t truly understand the words anyways. I shut that down and wait in hope that it will eventually turn in to a good or better day.
Write a blog? Forget it! I can try but the words make no sense. No one thought follows another. It’s a really good thing I am so “Type A” and have several blogs ready to use just for these times. I get them done on my good days.
I can not drive because I don’t trust myself to stay present or be able to give the road or others on it the respect that they deserve.
Quite often people call me or drop in and it takes every ounce of energy to try to focus on what they are saying. I am not generally very successful but I try. I do try really hard. Most people who actually know me are very patient but those who do not know me often wonder what I my problem is. I’ve heard many of their comments over the years. “Is she on drugs?” “Is she the one with a brain tumour?” “What is wrong with that one?” I’d love to say something witty but can’t.
All of a sudden it is supper time and I haven’t even taken anything out of the freezer let alone begin to cook or plan at all. I try to make extra meals on my good days so that I have something to pop in the microwave for moments like there but at this time of day? The bad days still outweigh the good about 5-1. I need a chef!
My husband asks me to come sit with him to watch some TV but I sit there like a zombie. I usually can not even tell you what show we watched let alone the story line. Hours pass and while he watches TV, I am too busy watching whatever I am hallucinating that day. On the bad days, the hallucinations are very real and even though I know they are not really there, it is hard to not jump out of their way or put my arm up to protect myself.
I smell the stink of years ago. Certain people, places or things. They are no longer there but my brain smells them and then my brain accepts the smell as fact and I am instantly triggered in to recalling past events. It can happen as often as every 5 minutes or so when things get very cluttered in my mind.
The Helpers are upset. I only have any real contact between a few but when I am having a bad day it seems that the ones whom I have developed some relationship with are not the ones that take over the “sound waves”. I hear a little girl crying non-stop, a VERY angry man rampaging around because of things I do not yet understand, an older woman who I do have some regular contact with “Aggie” who bears a striking personality resemblance to my mother. She says what my mother use to say and does her best to make the child cry louder and the man more upset. I am sure Aggie has some redeeming qualities… somewhere… I just haven’t found them yet.
The worst part about the bad days is going to bed. My inner world is loud, I can not concentrate, I can not relax or even hear the meditations I put on. The next thing I know, I am too tired from my long day to have the power to keep the hallucinations away any longer and I spend a lot of time trying to fall asleep but the time is really spent talking to the hallucinations, begging them to leave me alone, pleading with everything inside of me to just give me peace and let me sleep. I can’t read my book, the light hurts my eyes and the words make no sense. My covers that felt comfy yesterday are thick, too thin, too hot, too cold, and they do NOTHING to protect me from all that I see.
This often continues until very late in to the night and even right through until the early morning.
The balance between the good days and the bad was heavily tipped towards the bad for most of my life but there has been a lot of shifting over the past 2 years. Part of that shift is being able to recognize and appreciate the goods days far more quickly now. I try not to allow the worry of my day turning for the worse or perhaps the joy I feel today still being within my grasp tomorrow. I try to get a lot done on those good days so that when the bad ones arrive, I am a bit more ahead of the game and don’t feel so pressured to try to function at full speed.
So, enjoy the good days, keep a gratitude journal of the good things that happen each day so when you feel really down, you can look at the lists of happy thoughts and more easily prove to yourself that things will get better again. They always do somehow.
And try not to be too hard on yourself. It is easy to blame ourselves for these bad days that are caused by whatever issues you are dealing with. I often think back to my bout with cancer and thinking how no one looked down on me for needing to rest from chemo. No one thought I was weak, lazy or useless because I had cancer. It is no different with a mental illness. We are not lazy, useless or “less than” anyone else. You need to do anything and everything to start to heal and then to continue your healing journey.
I have faith in us. Together we can do this.