Tag Archives: depersonalisation

Couch Potato

Bethlem Royal Hospital in London is apparently one of the foremost psychiatric hospitals in Europe. Unfortunately, because of its long and sometimes inhumane history, and because it gave us the word bedlam, it will forever be associated with the very worst type of lunatic asylum – as Wikipedia says, “the epitome of what the term “madhouse” connotes to the modern reader”.

I’m sure every city has its equivalent. In Dublin it’s St John of God Hospital. While it does  wonderful work in the field of mental health, anyone who ever grew up in Dublin shudders when they hear the words, and can still hear elderly aunts and grannies speaking of some unfortunate and saying “and the poor divil ended up in the John O’ Gods”.

I mention this because, as I wrote last week, I’ve decided to take further steps to try & rid myself of the depersonalised feeling which has dogged me for the last two years. My wonderful GP has referred me to a psychiatrist, and, because I work in the city centre, recommended me one in Exchequer Street. When I rang, though, his secretary said that he was quite heavily booked in that clinic at the moment, but that I could have an appointment next Wednesday in his other clinic.

Guess where that is. My aunts and grannies would be quite proud.

Since I’m just interested in getting better, I don’t care in the least. I actually think it’s quite funny, though Mrs Tin is a bit concerned about one thing. She knows well that I still refer to 2001, when I had a breakdown caused by stress and depression, as “the year I went mad”. One of my oldest friends is having his 50th birthday party tomorrow, and a lot of people we haven’t seen for years will be there (some of them haven’t heard the whole Tinman/blackouts/pacemaker saga yet. They have no idea of the treat they have in store).  Anyway, she has forbidden me from saying, when asked what I’m up to these days, that “I’m a mental patient in John O’Gods”.

So I won’t. Probably.

Back On the Bike

Well, I’m back at work.

My one day off was enough to at least get me back on track. I’m still going to go and see somebody about it, but at least for the moment I have the whole thing under control, even if it’s just fractionally below the surface.

Everyone here in the office thinks I had a stomach bug, apart from GoldenEyes because, well she’s my best friend in here and I wouldn’t lie to her.

So apart from her and Mrs Tin the only people who know what was really up with me are you lot (my kids think I just had a day off). As a result, I’ve discovered another good thing about blogging – you get to say things that you wouldn’t get to say to people that you know in the real world, yet there are still people who, though they’ve never met you personally, care enough about the virtual you to offer support.

Yesterday I got encouragement and good wishes from people in three different countries. It really did help, and meant a lot.

Thanks guys.

Wrapped In Cotton Wool

I’ve nicked this from Lottie’s blog:


I read it last week and thought, wow, that’s really good, it sums up the way I feel with this depersonalisation thing, and then I pretty well forgot about it.

Until today.

I’m writing this post at home, at ten past three in the afternoon. In other words, I didn’t go to work today. I was awake ontime (in fact, as usual, I was awake at half past four) but I just couldn’t face another day of having everything happening miles away, while I carried on inside my head full of cotton wool. I feel a bit mortified now, I’ve rung in sick when there is nothing physically wrong with me, but just for once I decided to be selfish.

This thing has been going on for two years now, since the time when my blackouts were at their worst, and when we still had no idea what was causing them. One day I realised that I wasn’t really experiencing anything anymore, that I felt permanently numb as if slightly drunk. I realise that this was a defence mechanism, that my brain was shutting down my emotions so that I could continue to function, without sitting transfixed by terror at the fact that I might have something fatal. It’s the same numbing process that gets people through bereavements, and then it passes over time.

But mine hasn’t. I can still work, converse, write brilliant blogs, delude myself about my blogs, entertain and be entertained by the wonderful kids that I’ve been blessed with, but I’m not fully experiencing any of it.

And this morning I just gave up. The idea of another day in the office with noise going on all around me, but slightly muffled, of being asked sometimes why I’m so quiet, of facing two packed train journeys (I’m also now panicky in crowds since the blackouts) just felt like too much so, like a teenager with a hangover, I pulled a sickie.

Still, I’ve spoken to my doctor, and I’m going see someone next week (great, now I’m in therapy). And between that and the one day off, I already feel that I can cope better. I’ll have no problem going to work tomorrow, and having missed today I’ll be so busy tomorrow that it’ll just fly. Then next week I’ll hopefully begin the process of getting rid of this.

I’ve fought heart problems, and depression, and now I’m going to fight this.

Don’t worry, I’m going to win.