A few weeks ago we planned my birthday get-together for today as it was most convenient. The last day of a long weekend. My parents timed their visit to London from India so that they could be here on this occasion. Everything was organised even though I didn’t want to think about it. The guest list was final, I almost didn’t want this day to arrive. It is one thing keeping things ticking along, looking ‘normal’, it is quite another celebrating. It is hard to feign happiness. The contrast between the inner and the outer landscape is too stark. Tears came flooding in at the thought of getting ready for the ‘party’.
I remember 2 years ago Saagar wished me a Happy Birthday today, one day before my birthday believing it to be the day. His illness was just turning from hypomania into depression. His cognition was majorly affected. He was known not to be very good at remembering birthdays etc so I didn’t worry too much.
‘Brain fog’ is a common description of this aspect of depression – diminished ability to think or concentrate and indecisiveness.
“It’s brilliant. You get to take these tablets that keep you half asleep till lunchtime and make you fat. You can’t concentrate on anything and you don’t want to talk to anyone unless you get so angry you want to shout at them. I hide in my room so I don’t end up shouting at my mum. I don’t want to be with anyone but I hate being by myself. I hate staying at home but I can’t go outside. Seriously, it’s brilliant.” – Beth.
“What would you like for your birthday?” I got asked.
‘No one can get me what I would like for my birthday.’
Despite that, it was a good day. The house felt like a happy place with all these loving and caring people in it – my parents, some of Saagar’s friends and some of ours and some both.
It feels unnatural to be celebrating but…