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Ghost in the House. Saturday November 26, 2016

Today we are publishing the fourth blog in a series of five written by Mary:

There's a ghost in my house. It is me.

Oh, I don't quite flit through the passages, trailing grey draperies, clanking chains and making "woo woo" sounds, but I am a ghost all the same.

My children enter the sitting room after school to find me sleeping on the sofa when they expect me to be cooking their tea. If they need a drink in the night they might find me, heavy eyed but sleepless, wandering aimlessly. They pile into the kitchen at top speed to find me staring in blank incomprehension at the stove.

My eldest daughter takes the spatula gently from my hand. "Go and lie down, Mummy," she says. "I'll cook dinner."

"I should - " I begin and she takes my elbow and steers me back to the sofa. "You are ill," she says, in that firm voice that will earn her a good management salary in a few years' time. "You need to rest."

She is right. I know she is right. There are holes in my brain. Sometimes I cannot even remember how to open a tin of soup and heat it on the stove. I – who love to cook! I am not safe in the kitchen.

Maybe this is what Alzheimer's feels like.

I drift from room to room; purposeless and forgetting what I came for. Yesterday I went back into the dining room/library five times to get the same cookery book. I kept forgetting. And the cookery book was to tell me how to cook something I have cooked a hundred times before. But I had forgotten how.

When I catch sight of myself in a mirror it is a surprise, because I feel invisible and without substance. I feel that I am not really here.

I check my diary constantly – and still forget appointments twenty minutes after reminding myself of them.

So far, everyone has been understanding.

Most of the time I feel I have no substance, then abruptly, the focus changes. I am real and the world wavers like a mirage. I cannot rely on anything being material. I am not drunk, but everything shifts in and out of clarity as if I had drunk half a bottle of vodka.

My friend smiles at me and suddenly I can see the skull beneath her skin, beneath her immaculate makeup.

Yes – this is a scary place to be: some ghastly joke of a carnival fun-house ride.

So I cling to routine as if to the rail guiding me through a hall of distorting mirrors.

And the mirrors show a pale and shaking wraith.

It's the only true thing they show.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Tychi's Mum Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 6:04am

Good morning Mary, once again thank you so much for this blog. It again described perfectly the way I feel in a crash and I'm unable to function...even the simplest of tasks feel impossible to acheive. How can it be this difficult to put a load of washing on I berate myself...
I have saved this as a favourite and will be asking friends and family to read it to gain further insight in to how I'm feeling.
I agree wholeheartedly with The Painter's comment yesterday. You ARE incredibly gifted and I too, very much look forward to reading your book one day.
It goes without saying, I am delighted that you are starting to see the wood for the trees.
Wishing you all a calm and restful day.
Tychi's Mum

Mary Wednesday Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 7:56am

Thank you *so* much for your lovely comment. I have been feeling that there blogs were mere indulgent litanies of my own misery and almost regretting putting them out here. Knowing they are able to help is just brilliant!

Sally Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 6:16am

I can only echo Tychi's Mum's comments, Mary. A perfect description, eerily accurate, and
Ike TM, one to show and say to people " See, it's not just me!" Although in truth, your state sounds even more extreme. Yet also empowers you, when well, with incredible creative gifts to share with the world. Cruel that you can't have the one without the's balancing act I suppose....but not to be wished on anybody, The down state. Terrifying indeed.
Lovely description of your children, Mary.

Mary Wednesday Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 7:58am

Thank you. And yes, my family are generally very supportive, especially Tom and my eldest daughter.

Hopeful One Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 8:06am

Hi Mary - you continue to wow me with your vivid descriptions of how it feels like during a downer. It must be really scary. You appear to have very good support but I do wonder how bipolar individuals who have no support manage?

Today's laugh

A woman in Brooklyn decided to prepare her Will and make her final requests. She told her rabbi she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered all over Macy's. "Why Macy's?" asked the rabbi. "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week."

Mary Wednesday Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 8:14am

Snigger! Thanks for the giggle, HO .

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 8:55am

Good one. Thanks :) love TF x

Jul Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 8:59am

Ah. Love this Hopeful One! Julx

DAVE Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 8:52am

Hi Mary,
Thank you for your comments yesterday.

Can you ever remember a time in your life, where you seem to have more time on your hands, when going to bed at night and waking in the morning feeling refreshed ? This may have been a time as a young girl growing up, there were no responsibilities, no pressures, just your Mum helping you to get to school...Even then all your main concern was to do homework and pass exams.
As you grew up you became more responsible, then you got married and for a year or two, there was just you and your husband, enjoying each other's company...Your responsibility was to look after your husband, ensuring he was fed, clothed in clean ironed shirts, and the house was a priority to keep clean and tidy.

In that time 'bubble' you may have felt more energetic, more alive, less demands, Basically you had plenty of time to do exactly what you pleased.

That was the sum total of your responsibilities, ALL that took to your mind...As time came by, children arrived, and the workload trebled, but you coped, still young enough to be able to manage your chores.

In these early years of a family life it is not easy, children's attitudes, opinions, traits, dominate our responsibility to ensure that they're brought up correctly. All these phases are extremely demanding.

Then suddenly they've all left the nest.......Maybe you are still 'RUNNING' at the same pace as when the Children were at home....What happens.....You have got older, you cannot run and maintain this pace, but you do because you feel great ('HIGH'), but then you come crashing down....The BURN OUT the 'LOWS' take COMPLETE CONTROL of your mind, lethargy, tiredness, no interest in anything, difficulty in talking to people. 'Doolaley' in mind, you start trying to ANALISE,you may think people are staring and pointing the finger !

Management of our time is ESSENTIAL, demands need immediate attention, so DEAL with as many demands as you feel comfortable...The rest will wait until tomorrow....Putting back energy into your own MIND BANK, will give you that feeling express earlier, when you had more time with just you and your husband......

Self-monitoring, Self-awareness is a VITAL part of our life as we mature, a change of priorities is essential, to find that...INNER PEACE and HAPPINESS..I keep banging on about.

Just my opinion, and how I cope with many demands at 72 years of age.
God Bless you Mary.
Dave X

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:48am

Dave I have replied to you but accidentally done it as a comment. See down 3 or 4. Love TF x

Anne Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:01am

Dear Mary,

You are incredibly strong. I have anxiety and fear and this cost so much Energy. So hold on it will pass. What a blessing that you have such a Supportive, loving Family. For me it is so hard to accept that my boyfriend loves me, when I don't and don't want to be me as such a mess.


Jul Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:05am

Mary. You made me laugh..your comment to Tychi's Mum when you wrote "indulgent litanies of my own misery and almost regretting putting them out here" referring to your thoughts about these blogs. But don't worry please. They are a bit dark (eloquently dark though) but you were depressed and also they seem to be helping others realise just why they have the feelings you describe which is one of the purposes of your trilogy plus two. I am glad to read you are feeling better. I will be really interested to hear your views on Citalopram. Glad it's helping but at first it can make you feel very odd can't it? Your last one tomorrow? You need have no regrets. Julxx

Mary Wednesday Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 11:42am

Oh yes, Citalopram can indeed make you feel odd. And yes - I will write about it for Wednesday.

LP Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:15am

Hi Mary,
Your daughter sounds great. A chip off the not so old block?
I get the forgetfulness and pushing your self to through the motions when you're really not up to it. For other people's sakes. I have trouble putting my needs first when I really need to.
Wishes for plenty of self care to us and all. LPxx

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:18am

Hi Dave
Just to say that I think Mary's situation is probably not quite as you think. From what she has said she has children still at home and she works so has more responsibilities than you have taken into account here. I am sure Mary will take what is relevant to her along with your blessings. (And just for info my husband does his own washing.) Love TF x

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:49am

Oops This was meant to be done as a reply to Dave's comment above. Not a comment in its own right. Sorry. TF x

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 9:46am

Mary Another wonderfully written description. I think I experience some but not all of this so a couple of your earlier blogs chimed more for me. I am so glad to hear from your replies to yesterday's comments that the anti depressants are kicking in and you are feeling somewhat better. You sounded a bit tongue in cheek when you said you might write about your antidepressants, but I'd be interested to read it. An ode to antidepressants from someone who can actually write sounds good.
Love TF x

Nicco Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 10:35am

Hello Mary and thank you for your blog. You have described perfectly how I feel when going through a relapse of the M.E. I suffer from which affects the body, mind and emotions. I'm so glad you have such a supportive family. I pray sunshine and energy for you. Best Wishes, Nicco.

The Gardener Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 12:32pm

Really nothing to say not said by others. You seem to have some alarming symptoms. I know it's not the same (hope not) but lots you describe are like Alzheimers. Are you on a huge quantity of drugs? Something that may be helpful. Had an awful dramatic time with Mr G last year - he seemed totally deranged - he was suffering sodium deficiency - seldom thought about. I had been used to him wandering into the kitchen for a glass of water when he was thirsty - and had not noticed he had stopped, and was severely dehydrated - sounds obvious, but not something people think about. Other extreme, some people don't even go to post a letter without a bottle of water with them. I'm feeling smug - flushed with energy after a night's sleep I've mowed the lawn, made loads of soup in the other house (saves smell in the house we live in). Silly reminder to any who are addicts of Flanders and Swann 'We're terribly House and Garden' (but we live in the house next door).

Jul Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 2:19pm

Hello Gardener. I read your comment yesterday thanks! We are coming to France tomorrow, stopping overnight in Orleans. I don't fancy arriving to a cold damp house at 7 in the evening.This way, we will get there at lunch time starting off from Orleans.My party went well according to everyone else. I wasn't sure myself and still have doubts Lol! Thank you for asking. So glad you had a good nights sleep. It makes such a difference. I should know! Bon Courage. Jul xx

Lexi Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 1:43pm

Hi Mary. Your blogs so eloquently describe what I refer to on myself as "the drowning." You describe so well what it is like in the moment. Everyone who suffers from or knows someone who does should read this series. It sheds so much light onto what is going on beneath the shell, under the surface...thank you so much for sharing. You have a beautiful gift for writing and it is helping many, myself included. I am curious to hear what therapies have helped. I started taking medication about three years ago. The first did nothing but the second has seemed to keep me level. Keep hanging on Mary. Xo lexi

Tychi's Mum Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 8:01am

Hi Lexi, I too, would be really interested to hear about medications and therapies that have helped. I am four years in to my journey and now taking my fourth medication (Lamotrigine - a mood stabiliser) which, so far, is not working for me. When I am well I am hopeful that we'll get there and we'll find the right combination of drugs to keep me stable. When I'm in a crash the future looks very bleak indeed. I think that my world has ended and that the cylcle of weeks of depression followed by more weeks of feeling "well" will never end. How to remain positive....that's the question. Wishing you all a day filled with lightness and brightness. Tychi's Mum.

Tychi's Mum Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 8:03am

Hi Lexi, I too, would be really interested to hear about medications and therapies that have helped. I am four years in to my journey and now taking my fourth medication (Lamotrigine - a mood stabiliser) which, so far, is not working for me. When I am well I am hopeful that we'll get there and we'll find the right combination of drugs to keep me stable. When I'm in a crash the future looks very bleak indeed. I think that my world has ended and that the cylcle of weeks of depression followed by more weeks of feeling "well" will never end. How to remain positive....that's the question. Wishing you all a day filled with lightness and brightness. Tychi's Mum.

g Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 5:13pm

very good writing Mary , describing feelings all of us may have had but ... my but is that when you do everything the same and expect a different result ... unless you do want to go on on this see saw for all kinds of reasons , creative or others , there are other protocols to try which you may have done and this one works for you , sorry then , but it does not have to go on and on like this and in a way you are lucky too .... I feel almost forced to write a blog now about a different bi polar experience , to redress the balance , no , not the balance , just show a completely different picture and another way of coping and another hope ...still it may be beyond my capabilities. I am going away for a few days and I will be back for a short while before Xmas break in the sun that I so desparately need for vit. D and my mood , I doubt that I find time to write about it but I will , maybe in the new year . You have done something I thought nobody could do , thank you.

g Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 5:18pm

who chooses the thought for the day ? The person who writes the blog or Caroline ? It is always so fitting . Kudos.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 5:32pm

Hi g, it's the Moodscope team that choose the thought for the day. We try to make them as relevant as possible if we can. Caroline

g Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 5:30pm

I was very surprised by TG's paranoia re. censorship yesterday or even earlier.. I have not had anything censured and wrote lots of crap so far but at the same time I feel very safe here. I think Caroline is doing a great job moderating our mad outpourings. However in a few instances when I was concerned I did write directly to Caroline and the points that I raised were handled by her extremely sensitively so instead of throwing aspersions one may consult Caroline in private if in doubt as to the appropriateness of their post before posting, me thinks aloud. On the other hand it made me curious . Has anyone had their post removed for any reason and how did that happen ? Was their a discussion about it ? Or was it automatic ? Somehow I do not believe that it may have happened to a regular member.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sat, Nov 26th 2016 @ 5:39pm

Hi g, we do remove the odd comment from time to time, but it's not very often. We would only remove one if it's spam or particularly nasty or contains bad language. If we do, we write to the person who published it to explain why. Thanks for the compliment! caroline

g Thu, Dec 1st 2016 @ 11:47am

You are welcome and most deserving of praise .Thanks for the answer to my question. I am happy with this answer.

g Thu, Dec 1st 2016 @ 11:50am

dear Caroline ! I forgot to include your name in my post and it looks strange . sorry .I have another question . will you see automatically that I added to a previous day as it looks that we may add something to years old posts ?

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Thu, Dec 1st 2016 @ 1:17pm

Hi g, yes I see all comments. Caroline

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