Last Night

August 13, 2007 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Last night I was writing about how mental illness is categorised when I heard a noise. My flat is filled with noise at night. The flat upstairs has a leaky overflow pipe. Drops of water fall down and, depending on the breeze, hit my boiler’s overflow pipe. This results in the entire pipe, most of it inside my flat, making a loud clicking noise. There’s plenty of people in the building who get in late at night. Suffice to say that a single noise does not mean that anything’s invade my flat.

So my response of frantically tidying so I could more easily see if there was a creature of some sort here was perhaps not the most rational one. I’d been feeling vaguely agitated all day. My mum had called earler and I ended up ranting about my doctor (while avoiding any mention of my codeine mis-use). And with the sudden burst of activity, my anxiety exploded.

The visual symptoms are the worst bit of it. They got bad enough, possibly for the first time, that it was difficult to read from my monitor. I ended up sitting, curled up, on my sofa as everything devolved into chaos. Every surface was a mess of static. Shimmering lines moved across my field of vision, around a central circle of darkness. My peripheral vision was filled with moving patterns of light. There was a certain amount of dizziness to this. Making sense of anything became harder and harder – too much information to process, too much random craziness to filter out.

After a while, though I’m not sure exactly how long, I managed to get up and turn the light out. This made it worse for a while, the patterns continuing in the darkness, eyes awash with moving lights (mostly red, for some reason). Until my night vision started working, I was horribly disoriented – the sensation of movement in strange directions without any actual movement taking place. Eyes open/eyes shut, it didn’t make much difference. Music running through my head: “Justified candy / brandy for the nerves / eloquence belongs / to the conquerer”.

Lying down, still looking for the invading creature with my shimmering, grainy night-scope eyes. Dawn approaching behind my shut curtains. Disorganised thoughts giving way to sleep for a few hours. Eight AM. Wake up. Fall back to sleep. Nine AM. Wake up. A fly or wasp buzzes around the room. Sudden fear (I’ve been intensely phobic of wasps since I was a child). Just a fly. Hold open window, fly gets confused, smashes into mirror once or twice (the hazards of a visual system based on polarised light), then manages to find the exit. Too jangled to sleep again. Sit up. Drink Pepsi. Smoke cigarette. Vision still mildly screwed up more than normal. An edge of fear. Too many thoughts.


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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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