My MSc department were recruiting, and as my mother spotted their advert a second time, it was like history repeating.
I was asked just four questions in my interview with three people. On being offered the job the next day, I considered my MSc award might have made it awkward for them to turn me down. My start date was January 1997.
Clare and I saw each other from late 1993. I'd been drinking too much for some years and I even got a driving ban (the obvious cause never repeated,) therefore long commutes back and to from my mother's house were necessary.
Shortly, Clare's elderly mother died leaving her alone. I decided to move in, but it wasn't an especially emotional choice.
Clare bought a dog called Digger, a formidable looking staffie. She was new to dogs, but I'd known my stepfather's Labrador. I later wondered if Digger was intended more as an attachment for me, than as a pet.
In 1998 a third psychotic like episode was beginning. With better insight I gained earlier treatment, and it cost me just a handful of weeks off work.I was briefly hospitalised, and as had been stated before, lifelong prophylactics were initiated, because having had three episodes it was practically a certainty that further episodes would occur, especially if left to!
I was started on Lithium.
Interestingly, whilst I've not been problem free, I've never had a fourth admittance since Lithium was started.
Six years after my first psychiatry appointment I was diagnosis with bipolar disorder. It is common for it to be mistaken for schizophrenia initially, as was my case, and with some people a bipolar diagnosis may require around ten years of history to accertain.
Whilst not the most stressful job, mine was soon out of contract.
I still had the piano, and it was increasingly important to me. That life aspect was under my control, as was true of the past, little else was.
With humiliating delusions, I realised that dog breeds broadcast covert information about their owners or walkers. That meant Digger had been tarnishing my local reputation.
At school my brain was good at making connections. It often led to my hand being the first in the air to answer questions. But with mania the remotest ideas can be reached and validated by multiple links in a second even.
Clare had dabbled with Scientology when it first arrived in the city. I became convinced she was manipulating me with skills from the church.
Whilst we were still living separately I tried to end the relationship. Clare was really upset about that. Years later a work colleague told me that "I'd put another person's happiness before my own."Those words were probably the most bittersweet ones anyone has ever said to me, and in John's gospel he recorded Jesus saying, "Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Living with Clare caused a stunting of my personal growth, especially my confidence, etc. She was fifteen years my senior and had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that began just after her mother died, some time after we met.
I was protected by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) at work, but with many sick days and human resources meetings, my name was at the top of the redundancies list as part of a major restructuring. The DDA may have helped prolong my employment to its thirteen year total.
I've heard it said that despite the DDA, if a company no longer wants you they'll find a way to lose you. I think they did in my case.
In fairness it wasn't all my fault that I lost my job. My ex-line manager did not manage. He availed himself for rare random problems, and mundanities like signing leave cards. He allowed our working environment to become an anarchic power hierarchy. I had technical skills which may have led to survival in a skills hierarchy, but ironically, even in a university they were useless. Having made a serious mistake when I left the other university I'd worked for, i.e. my first job, I was reluctant to do anything but sit tight in this one.
Clare got septicaemia four years before I lost this job. She spent two weeks in intensive care then seven months in isolation, in "Infectious Diseases." We married on her return home in the summer of 2012. During her admission her RA continued to damage her hip. Her remaining six years were spent disabled and wheelchair bound, including at our wedding.I pushed her everywhere, and became increasingly responsible for her personal, and most intimate aspects of her daily life.
Clare was quite a poorly type. She even survived blood poisoning again. However, after being transferred to a nursing home after yet another hospital stay in 2012, she passed away alone in her room one morning. Calling early that day, I found her.
As awful as it sounds, seeing her like that gave me hope my life could improve?
Things did improve, but the video on this page shows where I had to start from. I'm frankly "off my head." Clare perhaps encouraged my Risperidone to reached, at times, levels as high 12mg/day.
I was lost: a possible domestic abuse victim even?
In a while I began a partial withdrawal from Risperidone. I also reduced Depakote. I'd read on a website that it's hard to come off the latter. I've since decided that information is unreliable. Thankfully I had the good sense not to mess with my Priadel (lithium). NHS psychiatry later said that coming off lithium is very likely to cause a relapse. I'm coping with still being on it after a really long time, but do blame it for a lessening in some types of memory abilities.