Some years ago I was very ill. My medication wouldn’t work, I had big problems with sleep (including hallucinations because I was getting so little sleep), I was mismanaging money to the point where I was forgetting to charge my utility cards and always running out of gas and electricity and I was a mess.
Mentally I was, it seemed, in charge of a brain that refused to stop being manic and my brain felt as though it was becoming more and more irritated to the point that I wanted to rip it out and scratch it. I was having storms in my head that I couldn’t control and I often wanted to die.
I hated going out and yet I had to as I lived alone and people like me are just on that line which means we don’t qualify for home help. I trudged to the shops when I needed to and, as I had four cats then, it was fairly often. I hated shopping then even more than I do now and everybody knew about it.
If the checkout operator in shops tried to talk to me I would ignore them but they keep on chatting because that’s what they’re told to do and eventually I would snap loudly and then I’d get angry with myself and shout a bit louder. It got to the point where, in a supermarket with 27 checkouts to pay, there was only one or two cashiers that I hadn’t shouted at.
I remember giving one woman a harder time than most and, rather irrationally, it was because I hated her hair and I’ve avoided her for about three years. Today she was overseeing the self check checkouts and I didn’t notice until she came up to put extra carrier bags on the one I was using.
I stopped her and briefly told her what I’ve written above and apologised for giving her a hard time. What she said surprised me – she didn’t remember any incident when I was nasty to her and comforted me as we chatted. I thanked her and told her that she had made me feel better about myself and I felt reassured that when I am extremely ill I’m less of an irritant to people than I thought I was. I do need protecting from myself though and I must never forget that.
I have made peace with someone today and even though we’re never going to be friends I am a little less of an enemy to myself.