Sunday, 14 December 2008

How Mad Are We?

I was trying to express something earlier on Mandy's blog, that was a crossover from Mo's blog, and I realised I was getting incoherent simply due to the fact that, as ever, I was trying to play down and play down just where I get to on the bad times at both ends of the scale.

I'm sure most of you have seen this scale, or something similar (I bet James Parnell wished he wrote it):

3: Severely Elevated. Can't work.
2: Elevated. Can work.
1: Somewhat elevated.
0: Normal.
1: Somewhat depressed.
2: Depressed. Can work.
3: Severely depressed. Can't Work.

Here is my version, based on what I've told the psychs I've experienced over the last year or so:

5: Catatonically Manic
4: Psychotic: word-salad, god-like knowledge that you babble to the confusion of the audience.
3: Tap-dancing and running around naked in the night.
2: Fiercely up, doing everyone's head in, starting fights.
1: Life and soul of the party, words and ideas flow out the fingertips, and the rest of the world gets them.
0: Normal.
1: Hates everything, snaps at everything, no energy at all.
2: Slumped in bed, or crushed on the fireguard on a chair.
3: Won't talk, won't eat, won't look, won't be.
4: No movement, may as well be dead.
5: Catatonically Depressed

Now. The first scale, and my scale correspond like this:

My 5 = their 3
My 4 = their 3
My 3 = their 3
My 2 = their 3
My 1 = their 2
My 0 = their 1 or -1
My 1 = their 2
My 2 = their 3
My 3 = their 3
My 4 = their 3
My 5 = their 3

I am thankful that I have never reached 5 or -5. But I've been at 4 and -4, concurrently, flipping from one to the other, trying to kill myself, then thinking it's an idiotic idea because I can fly off into the crystal sky and escape it.

I generally swim from 2 to -2, but the last two weeks have seen plenty of 3.5 to -2. The joys of mixed state.

What is my point? The scales we are asked to fill in are so constricting, they push you into denying symptoms - who wants to fill in +3 and -3 for every day? They'll only want to give you more drugs.

Personal note. I'm very lucky. I've somehow lived my life surrounded by understanding people - not necessarily mental - but people who understand. I think that is how I've escaped for so long. I also think, that because I've lived out in the world after leaving home through several episodes which I thought was just normal human experience, that I've developed lots of safety mechanisms to cope. That said, I have only done about 2 years employment for other people. I've done loads of self employment mind.... my boss can't sack me that way!

Anyway, I hate memes - I hate the way they try to cosify everything. But if anyone wants to use the Abysmal Musings Manic-Depressive Scale (now to be known as AMMDS) please be my guest, and let me know if you do.

Take care all, D.


p.s. My middle boy, shortly turning four, and who hacked all his lovely curls off himself (again!) while our backs were turned, is grunting and sleeping on the sofa. He has a cough, and I said he could sleep down by the fire. Life is good.... life is good... life is good. I need my mantras too, and I'm so lucky to have got a family. It helps. In fact, it is amazing how one can find control of a sort when a child appears in the dead of night. I wonder if anyone has researched that? Or do they all just recommmend sterilization????? GRRRR!


P.P.S. Category 4 on the Manic Scale: that runs throughout my entire being to a greater or lesser extent on a sliding scale. It's all so much more damned complicated than we ever hope to define or simply describe...


P.P.P.S. I just walked outside into the moonlight to have a fag, and realised my brain-set had changed utterly from the last couple of weeks. Like a switch. I was calm. I wasn't vibrating. I wasn't hearing things. I wasn't seeing things. It's like a superb calmness. Why?!!! FFS?? (This ppps is generally for my benefit.) Funny though, the fit has passed. It feels like it. Right. Off to go outside again just to prove it to myself.


Mandy said...

Hi David

Finally, have time and space to catch up as I have wanted to. Hoorah!

Not sure what my 0 equates to. As in not even sure what my normal is.

I know what I would like it to be. Some semblance of a family life with levels of consistency inside and out.

Fat bloody chance.



P.S>.Off to have a look at them photoshots now

Mandy said...

They are superb (the photos)

Insightful. Your friend captured the defiance of the human spirit whilst showing life in its varying states (quite a bit of life is and in spite of all the hype we have trying to drown us out).

I am glad that you (and your friend RIP) shared them with me. x

Abysmal Musings said...

Cheers Mandy.

"Some semblance of a family life with levels of consistency inside and out."

Gawd, sign me up!