I had forgotten why I tend to get so miserable directly following relapse. Now I remember. I cope with the down time (that was my version of coping, by the way) because I know things will improve. They do improve, but they never improve enough. A few days after feeling like this, the brain has gone again, the pain is worse because I’ve been more physically active in the interim and I still have the cold that I started with over six weeks ago. In a few days it will be better again. And then it will be worse. And if I plan anything for a particular time on a particular day the chances are against me being able to do it because, however much I rely on the personal delusion that I have more good periods than bad, this just isn’t true.
This is a pretty terrible conclusion to come to, but there is a point of view that says it doesn’t matter if most of my life is a fog or discomfort, so long as I get enough joy out of the good times to last me. Only I’m not sure I buy into that. Or perhaps I am yet to adapt to living like that. My expectations are always placed a few notches above what I actually manage to achieve, but I don’t know how to bring them down any lower. I don’t know how to live with the assumption that things are not going to get any better. Then I would be no use to anyone. At least like this I can remain engaged with the world, even if it means letting the world down on a regular basis.
Actually, this is bollocks. I haven’t really let the world down, just some of it and then only slightly. This is just those little imps coming out to torment me. Why is it that depressive thoughts always appear like some great revelation? Suddenly you’re convinced that when you felt all right you were deluded. But you’re weren’t at all; you were all right until the tiny green bastards started planting ideas in your head.
There is probably a chemical explanation as to why, following a period of significant illness with resultant exhaustion, heightened stress and inactivity, I am not thinking happy thoughts. I am exhausted, I am frustrated. I am finding it difficult to fill the time because I can’t do many of the various things I enjoy doing. Progress with my book, my big project, my raison d'être is deathly slow. I want to give money to help the survivors of the South Asian Earthquake, but I don’t have much money – then again, relatively I am very wealthy and spend a fortune on unnecessary things – so this whole camel through the eye of a needle crap has been going round my head all week. Our government is about to pass this bloody awful piece of legislation just because Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Liberty wasn’t available in braille or talking book format. Oh and my headphones broke.
And just look at the list of things; hands up any other idiots who have been too tired to read a novel but have been spending their time considering the arguments of Isaiah Berlin? Hands up anyone who gave to the earthquake appeal and spent more than a few seconds working out how much they were prepared to give and where their financial responsibilities lay in an international context? Who, during an ordinary phone call to their mother on a Sunday afternoon, having spent most of the day lying down doing nothing, attempts to explain the influence of Platonic dualism on the Semitic religions and what the Enigma Machine was? She did ask why the Church is so anti-sex and it struck me that dualism was a good starting point – I only really lost her around Thomas Aquinas. I can’t remember how we got onto the Enigma Machine, but I swear I didn’t start it.
So in summary, I am really okay, only my health is crap again, my mood is being dragged down with it, I am being poked and prodded by naughty imps and I can’t find the EXIT command in the Complex Yet Irrelevant Thought program (why did I even get installed with that? Most people got Common Sense For Everyday Situations or Intermediate Small Talk for Grown-Ups). Need to watch out though. Today I was looking in the cupboard and had forgotten what for and in frustration, without thinking, I slammed the cupboard door against the side of my head. It was an impulsive thing, really an accident. But it made me a little nervous of myself.