A butterfly’s wing
A chocolate space-hopper
A house of playing cards
on a rickety table
A matchstick model
of the Burj Khalifa,
in a bouncy castle
A Ming vase teetering
on the edge of its pedestal
as a herd of Heathens
tramps towards the Viking Hoard Exhibition
This is how I feel at the moment.
I may appear capable and even look content at times, but the slightest thing throws me. My electricity provider put up the amount they are charging me by five pounds a month and it send me into a day of panic and self-harm and fear so strong I’ve been unable to look at my emails for five days.
This is how I feel.
I only changed over to the company that suppplies my electricity at the end of September. They use some weird system whereby they charge me the same amount each month and the total adds up to the amount equal to the electricity I used during the year. I don’t really like this system, if I had known they used this system I woldn’t have changed. I was tempted to change because they said that the figure I’d pay each month was ten pounds less than I paid with the previous company.
But then they sent me an email saying they had recalculated the amount and were increasing it by five pounds. But I’ve only been with them for 6 weeks, so they’ve had just one meter reading in that time for them to come to this conclusion. I think they are crooks. They have used one datum to assess my energy usage when I gave them a whole year’s worth of data of how much I used in the previous year.
One datum has no meaning in statistics, a sample of one tells you nothing about the population because to get a standard deviation you have to divide by the sample size (n) minus one. and n as is 1 you’d be dividing by zero.
A lot of people think that the answer to a division by zero is infinity, but it isn’t. There is no answer to a division by zero. When you divide one thing by another, you are effectively saying that the divisor added to itself a certain number of times will equal or exceed the numerator. So to say that the result of a division by zero is inifinite you are asseriting that at some point in the adding of the divisor to the sum of added divisors so far (both of which is 0) there would be a point where adding yet another zero would produce a number greater than zero. But this can never happen, even if you go blue in the face or the universe comes to an end, you’d always have zero. Even after an infiitite number of additions you would still have zero, so there is no result when the divisor is zero. It is impossible.
So these crooks at the electricity company have made this new estimate on totally spurious grounds and they should go back to the original estimate until they have enough data to make an intelligent new estimate of what my elelctricity bill might be for a year.
But it all smacks of trickery. What if they over estimate? When will they pay me back the money that they would therefore owe me for over-charging me for electricity. What about just getting me to pay for the electricity I use? That is what we do in other transactions.
All of this is making me stresssed. I cannot deal with stress at the moment. I spent a month in hospital in August and I am still recovering. Stress is bad for me. Now I’m at the point where I dare not open my email. This is stress and it’s bad for me. I rue the day I changed electricity supplier to a bunch of crooks.
Having a mental health condition sucks.
I was just thinking.
if physical health services worked in the same way as mental health ones it would be like this
You have osteoporosis and you break your arm
There isn’t anywhere you can go with it, but you have a telephone number to ring
You call them and say ‘I have broken my arm’
They say: Let us be the judge of that
You say: No, I know it’s broken, this has happened before. I need help
They say: Are you still able to make a cup of tea?
You say: Yes, I can use my other arm
They say: Is the arm black, smelly and gangrenous?
You say: No. It only just happened. I want it treated so it doesn’t get like that
They say: Well, if it gets like that, call back. But for now, go and make a cup of tea. Good-bye
I tried to create a map of the mind, but it got very confused. I have drawn up a description of how the mind works instead.
The heart (chitta) holds memories and past experiences. It brings up emotions and automatic responses to things (like feeling scared when we see something that hurt us in the past)
The intellect (buddhi) which decides what is true and what is false.
Discursive mind (manas) is that bit of the mind that is always thinking. The bit that we often consider to be ourselves.
The senses – taste, sight etc..
The watcher – which is our consciousness that observes what is going on in mind and outside.
If we give our attention to discursive mind it makes us unhappy. In a wise person discursive mind is just the bridge between the senses and intelect and the heart.
Unfortunately, we cannot see the workings of the intellect so we often ignore it and try to act upon what discursive mind is suggesting.
Mindfulness and meditation are ways of escaping the dominance of discursive mind and allowing the intellect to make decisions for us.
Today I am feeling strangely peaceful, discursive mind is quieter than normal. I want to encourage this and to use it beneficially so I am going to stop doing all this thinking and play my guitar.
Yesterday I was hypomanic, or possibly real manic, or maybe a bit psychotic. Whichever it is, I was proper mad.
In the afternoon I was working on tidying the studio, but I had in my mind that I was going to do some self-harm – proper self-harm. It would have to be later, though, as I was going to the crossword club at 4pm for a couple of hours. In preparation for the SH I sharpened my kitchen knife.
When I got back from crosswording (I know, that isn’t a word, you can’t just add -ing to a noun to make it a verb) I ate my burrito and didn’t feel elated anymore. So I went out in the garden in the nude to get some FEELING into my skin – it is Autumn here and the temperature was about 10*C. So the cold on my skin made me feel good again.
I practiced the SH with just a light touch, then changed tack and drew what I wanted to do on me – it was to be diagonal cuts all down the right-hand side of my body. But instead of doing that I went and shaved off half my hair – the hair on the right hand side of my head. I was laughing as I did it. Laughing madly.
After that I went to bed, I had used a lot of energy and I felt tired.
But what is going on? Why have I got this ‘war’ against the right side of me? When I woke in the night (about 1am) I was considering cutting the right hand side arm / leg off all my clothes. Why?
It’s like psychosis – where a person has an unusual but very strong belief – except that I don’t know what the belief is. Somewhere in my mixed up mind there is an idea that something is wrong with my right hand side, but my crazy mixed up mind hasn’t deigned to tell ME what that idea is.
Or is this what having mania is like?
Maybe I have hit on something here – that mania is like psychosis without the reasoning.
I don’t know.
I am doing a show on mental health called Altered Minds, Altered Realities as part of Camden Fringe.
I have schizoaffective disorder and I wanted to show people what it’s like to struggle through life with mental difficulties, and to thrive and laugh despite it all. So I talked to lots of people with different diagnoses and created this play of six dark comedies that portray six different mental illnesses.
But it’s far from miserable with humour, songs, poems and even jokes scattered through the show and some fascinating characters: there is Doug who cannot get out of bed; Larry is trying to solve a mystery and Gus is having a life and death struggle with a kebab.
Come and meet them at Camden People’s Theatre at 7:15pm from 22nd to 27th August – tickets from http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=620
Today I have been in the London town of Camden promoting my show ‘Altered Minds, Altered Realities’.
It is a show with 6 characters all with different mental illnesses and is always very warmly received by those with experience of mental difficulties. It is on at the Cemden People’s Theatre from 22nd August to 27th.
If you can make it, or know anyone in the area who might then please visit the ticket website here. http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=620
It is a funny show that I based on the testimonies of real people with mental illness, as well as a lot of my own experience too.