The comedown started on Monday night. I hid myself in the ‘fishbowl’ as I like to call it- a small room with glass windows on two sides. It was probably a former nurses watch post, and literally fits just a chair in it. But it’s the only place on the ward that gives you a semblance of privacy. So I crawled in there and sat on the floor and had a little cry as one of my favourite nurses instructed me to do. After a few minutes she came in to see how I was. It was starting to hit. Where I was, why, this new diagnosis. And I was petrified. The glitter and magic dust that had doused everything for months was starting to wear off, fade away, the grey starting to seep back in. So nice nurse started to talk me down, and pretty soon, all the night staff were in offering me reassurance. Another of my favourite nurses popped over from another ward, spotted me crying and came in and joined us. She cupped my face in her hands, wiped away my tears, told me it would be ok, that coming down isn’t nice.
In the following days, I stumbled along. Torn in two; flitting between bouts of tearfulness and lingering elation, the nurses still insisting I take my haloperidol as per the doctor’s orders, telling me firmly that if I felt ‘fabulous’ and ‘great’ and ‘eggcellent’ then I really wasn’t as calm as I was insisting I was, was still a little high. In hindsight, I can see that they were perhaps correct, because today I am well and truly back on planet earth, and I’ve landed with a crash.
The nurse from the other night popped over onto our ward again last night, told me my high had been unsustainable, that I was coming back into balance now- and it was a GOOD thing. Today staff that are back on shift after a few days off have said the same. Only today it doesn’t feel like a good thing. It’s a relief in lots of ways to be level again; to not have the burning sense of agitation, the restless legs, compulsion to move, the worms in my brain…but something still doesn’t feel quite right. I’ve spent much of the past two days in bed- and practically all of today moping, feeling slow, lethargic, heavy- all those lovely feelings that typically accompany a depression.
Last week the consultant warned me to let him know if my mood started to tip the other way- if I started to slip into a depression- so he could stop the haloperidol. Today I tackled him on the corridor as he breezed through the ward and he asked if I’d had any more bouts of tearfulness as per Monday night and I confirmed that I had. But I wasn’t sure if this is real sadness (depression) or if it just feels like it is, in comparison to how great I was feeling before, and I’m actually ‘normal’. That’s what I’m struggling with at the minute- clocking how I’m really doing.
I’m restoring balance, trying to find solid ground after months of soaring amongst the clouds, and all the while I’m petrified, terrified of coming down too much, of missing the landing, going overboard, a rickety propeller plane titling too much to one side and going off course, right hand wing dragging across the ground. The nurses are assuring me this is normal, an unsurprising way to feel given that this coming down business is all new to me, that I’m just coming down to an even keel. So I’m trying to just be, but I can’t when I’m so damn worried about swinging the other way- like both my outpatient and inpatient consultants have warned me about. I don’t feel reassured when they way I’ve been feeling last night and today feels more akin to a low than ‘normality’. The nurses are all promising me that this lithium will do the trick, it’ll have me settled, balanced, stable in no time! So I guess we’ll see. Tonight is Day 4. So it’s too soon to tell, I suppose. But I’m keeping everything crossed that my mood really is just part of the comedown, and not the start of a depressive episode.
God lithium, work your magic, please.