Xmas

December 30, 2007 at 4:00 am 1 comment

Fuck waiting until tomorrow, I’m not going to sleep yet and if I’m awake enough to browse porn, I’m awake enough to write about stuff. Let me unzip my incredibly heavy bag of clothes, christmas presents, books and – most importantly – notes, and I’ll begin.

First, things haven’t been going quite as wonderfully as I’ve been pretending they have. My flat’s a mess again; I haven’t prepared myself a proper meal for quite some time; I’m still not sleeping right. I think things went a bit fucked up when I stopped smoking, which is a wonderful, positive, blah blah blah, but kind of screws with your sleep, and we know what effect that has on mood…

One of the notes I didn’t make while at my parents’ house, because at the time I was too upset to bother writing shit down was along the lines that nobody should believe any of my own assessments about my own mental states because I really don’t have a fucking clue. That I’m not bipolar or anything else, I’m just fucked up. But hey, I probably am bipolar, because things were shit at Christmas, but I didn’t want to kill myself very much. Sadness, annoyance and futile anger, but not suicidality. Separating these things out can be such a chore.

So anyway…

Saturday 22nd December

There have been no arguments, although my father and I have fallen back into that old pattern of disagreement. Any opinion expressed is immediately counterd with an impassioned argument in favour of the opposite. For example, while watching TV, the London 2012 Olympics logo comes up on screen. I mention that, like pretty much everyone else in the UK, I think it’s rubbish. So my father leaps to its defense. Whenever I catch myself doing this I stop myself. Or at least I try. In fact, it’s safer to express no opinions of any kind while my father and I are in the same room.

It is impossible to talk to my mother while he is around. He interrupts and derails the conversation.

He does not like me or want me to be here. I am tolerated only because my mother would make his life miserable if his dislike of me was overt.

She has a theory about why he is like this. She thinks he is jealous of any time she spends with people other than him. My sister lives nearby and he is certainly less than welcoming to her. In conversation earlier, he mentioned how much he dislikes my sister and her family coming to dinner (as my mother does occasionally invite them to do so).

Sunday 23rd December

Oh holy bleeding Christ on a stick (I’m using these contorted blasphemies a lot at the moment to avoid saying the word ‘fuck’ in front of my parents). Christmas is ruined. We were going to go over to my sister’s house for Christmas day, but they seem to be succumbing to the flu, so it seems unlikely that this will now happen. Which means I’m stuck in this house.

Meanwhile, my father becomes ever more annoying and bizarrely childish. When I actually tell people about this, I always wonder if they think I’m making it up. So my father suggested that we watch a film on TV. I mentioned that I’d seen it in the cinema a few years before and that I didn’t think it was very good, or that my parents would enjoy it. My father insisted that we watch it. After the first fifteen minutes, my mother reached for a magazine. This was the cue for my father to snatch up the remote, turn the TV over and, when questioned (by my mother) about this rather odd behaviour and confronted with the apparently outrageous suggestion that he could watch it while my mother read her magazine, shouted angrily at her. Even though he, as it turns out, didn’t much like the film either. Then he sulked and turned the TV off.

My mother and I talked while he was busy sulking behind the newspaper. This seemed to anger him again and it wasn’t long before he interrupted, forcing us to take a quiz.

Those are not words I’d expected to ever use. Without a word, he shoved pen and paper into our hands and, without any preamble, told us to write our answers down and began to ask us questions from something he had found in the newspaper. Rather than arguing and making the scene any more weird than it was already, I went along with the quiz. Talking was not allowed, and any attempt to actually communicate, rather than simply writing down answers was silenced with a bark from the self-appointed quizmaster.

Seriously. What the fuck?!

And things deteriorated from there and it’s now been mutually agreed that me staying with my parents is one hell of a bad idea and won’t happen again.

Still, I’ve worked out what’s wrong with my father. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. It explains a lot. If you’re interested, take a look at The Right Stuff, an essay by CBT therapist Steven Phillipson. I’m not going to go through it now, but this bit, among many, struck home

For many who have close contact with an OCPD sufferer there can be a pervasive experience of being ill at ease, while in the company of someone with OCPD. Often, being with persons who evidence this diagnosis, feels like walking in a field of land mines. One never knows when you’re going to step on one and pay a heavy emotional price for crossing the rigid standards. This ever present threat creates a tremendous amount of trepidation, resentment, and tension. These land mines can present themselves in association with seemingly random topics.

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Christmas is Over Flu

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Margaret  |  December 30, 2007 at 11:50 am

    So, Happy New Year then!

    Tidy your flat, pick up where you left off, cook a few meals, get back on track. I understand your need for a label for how you feel, and have been down that route myself in relation to myself and others, and still do travel that road … but I think we’re all too wonderfully complicated for any label to adequately define us. Christmas with your father was never going to be a bundle of laughs, but at least you seem able to see it from the outside, and that, presumably, enables you to imagine what fun (not) it must have been for a child growing up with that and so be kind to yourself. ‘Tis history, though, and so last year …

    I’ve survived Christmas with my father, and two visits with my sister whom I hadn’t seen for a year and a half. My husband and my daughters proposed a toast to me afterwards and I felt pleased with myself (I confess). It’s only possible because I no longer think of my father as my father – or rather I no longer expect anything from him that a father should be able to offer a child. Sounds terrible, but it works – for all of us including him. Same goes for my sister.

    Hope you enjoy the New Year.

    Margaret

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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?

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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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