I know I have been off the grid for a while. I did start a blog post in December about Christmas but then Christmas kicked in and kicked that to the kerb!. I dislike Christmas intensely and have done for a long time, so I really worked myself up this time around, knowing I was going to have to get through it whilst also managing this illness, therefore work twice as hard at pretending to be twice as happy than I actually was about everything, because that it what Christmas is right? as I like to call it , A Holly Jolly Headfuck!. So needless to say I am glad it’s all over.
I am not really one for resolutions , but I did have a bit of a lightbulb moment at the beginning of January, in all honesty it was triggered by extremely tragic circumstances. Two people who I know lost people to suicide over the Christmas and New Year period, and even though I did not know the people who tragically passed away, it did hit me quite hard. It was another reminder to me that it could easily have been me and if I am honest a couple of months ago , very nearly was.
They were two very different people of very different ages in completely differing situations but in the end they both felt that taking their own life was the only way to peace. Seeing and hearing about the impact that this had on those left behind grieving, with so many questions, it was like I was having an out-of-body experience , watching those people as if they were grieving for me, thinking about what stopped me at that crucial moment that didn’t stop them?, so much started to whirr through my head and it started to scare me. It made me realise I am not out of the woods yet, but that maybe I need to focus on trying to find my way through the trees with a little more pace than I have been, and I decided to take action.
After thinking hard and discussing my feelings open and honestly with the people I feel comfortable doing so, and with their support, help and encouragement. I decided to change my circumstances as of the beginning of February. I have done so in order to have the month free to focus on my wellbeing. Resting, relaxing, and having the freedom to be able to being pick up again on doing the things that I enjoy, to indulge myself and enjoy doing my favorite things in my favorite places, without any constraints or worry and even just a few days in it already feels fabulous and I am sure it was exactly the right decision.
I feel very privileged to be able to do this, and I can already feel the difference this opportunity has had on my mindset. I am pressing the reset button and making a conscious effort to keep myself safe and get myself well. It’s like when they say if you are looking for another job you need to make the job-searching your job. Well that is what I am doing. I am prioritising me, looking after me is now my number one job, or it is at least for the rest of February.
To coincide with this change of circumstances, I have also been back to my doctors and decided to slowly decrease my medication with a view to ultimately not taking any at all. Now I do feel at this point I need to stress that this is not the correct path for everyone. I have said it before and I will say it again , there is no one size fits all approach , and I would never ever ever ever EVER advocate anyone coming off any medication without seeking advice from their GP.
I decided it was the best decision for me to take and I shall explain my reasons why.
To start with, I am not a person who takes tablets, I usually don’t even take a pain-killer if I have a headache, I will generally just ride it out and drink water. I don’t like the thought of using any kind of tablet that changes or masks a feeling in your body, I prefer to know where I stand, however I am also not stubborn enough to refuse help if my way of managing things isn’t working, which clearly before I went to the doctors hadn’t been.
I would never have started taking anti depressant’s if I did think things were serious enough to warrant giving them a go and by the time I got to the doctors, things were serious, and I was willing to take any help or recommendation that was offered. I am not going to specify on here which meds I have been taking as I do not want people who are reading this who may be on the same to directly influenced by what I say, but needless to say a few months in I knew they were not agreeing with me.
In the past year or so I haven’t had a healthy sleep pattern anyway, but I am always a person who likes to be up and out of bed. Since being on the medication I struggle to get my head off the pillow for 9am and I still need an afternoon nap around 3pm. Another thing I found is that I am feeling very muddled and confused, I know what I want to say but I cannot seem to get the words out , or if I do they come out mixed up, and for someone who enjoys speaking in a fluent and cohesive way , this was a new kind of torture. It also occurred to me that it might be no coincidence that I haven’t been able to focus on writing either, maybe it wasnt just the Festive Fog!.
If I am being perfectly honest, I wasn’t noticing a marked difference in my mood either, and if anything the side effect and tiredness were adding to my upset so I took the decision with my doctor to slowly reduce the dosage until ultimately, as of this week, I am now pill free and things appear for the moment to be moving in the right direction, with my sleep and energy levels.
An important part of this is my therapy, and this is also something that I would like to talk about as this in itself hasn’t been plain sailing.
Just a few days before Christmas, I had a kind of ’emergency’ session if you will. I had spent the whole of the previous weekend in bed, once again going to the dark place, and I got a little scared by that as it had been a while since that had happened, so I decided I must speak to someone, I wasn’t just going to let it slide by as a bad weekend, I needed to take control of it. As luck would have it , I was able to get an appointment in a couple of days time I was so relieved that at such a busy time I was able to get in.
The appointment came around and as I was greeted by the therapist she appeared to be nice and friendly enough, that is until the door was closed and she turned into some one who you would be excused for assuming was auditioning for the role of ‘Bad cop’ in the next gritty TV crime drama, or one of those reality Army endurance shows, you know where they have some hard faced but quite good-looking ex army officer take a perfectly functioning human being and reduce them to shrivelling wreck in the name of reality TV, she was a mix of the that!.
Without going into all of the gory details, her first questions were along the lines of ‘why are you here’.. ‘what has brought you here?’ and when I explained that it was mostly due to a narcissistic bully who took pleasure in wanting to ruin my life and make me suffer as much as I could after the breakdown of our relationship, her response was along the lines of ‘but did he really though?’.
Errrrrrrrrrrmmm .. wait .. what?.
Did he really what? .. did he really threaten me?, was he really a bully?, did he really try on a regular basis to break me emotionally and leave me in a position where I was so scared of his anger I didn’t dare stand my ground and fight to stay our home. Then yes. He did. Really.
Obviously she didn’t actually say that word for word, but the vibe was definitely one of an aggressive cross-examination of everything I was saying rather than an understanding of my situation. Needless to say I very nearly voted with my feet and got up and walked out, but I was also questioning my own responses to challenging situations, and also really felt like I needed to take the help that was on offer so, against my better judgement I stayed for the rest of the hour.
At some point she mentioned my relationship with my parents and I think I started crying, for no other reason than I carry a huge amount of guilt for bringing this man into their lives, and ending up having their lives turned upside down as well as mine. It hurts me that they are suffering because of choices I made. However, she didn’t let me explain that , she proceeded to assume that I must have some screwed up relationship with my parents and this is why this all happened, she really came into her own when she latched onto that, she was of course missing the point completely but I was at this point clock watching, I had zoned out and I just let her get her text-book assumptions out of her system.
The clincher came when I told her about my immediate concern which was the bit about me spending the whole weekend in bed thinking about my own suicide, starting to pen letters to my family .. just incase.. and she said…. wait for it…… it’s a good one ….
“Oh I’m sorry you feel like that” ………….
Sorry I fucking feel like that?!!!!. I hadn’t just expressed my concern that the salmon is overcooked or I don’t feel like the wine list meets with expectation or that there was a hair in the sink and I dont feel that under the circumstances I will be paying the full bill!.
I had just told her I was concerned and scared that I may end my own life and she is passing me a plate of Custard Creams and asking me how my relationship is with my mother??!!!!.
She didn’t actually pass me any Custard Creams , we didnt have biscuits that day, I was using that to illustrate my frustration. I don’t want anyone going into their next therapy session and demanding a plate of biscuits because ‘this blogger on the internet said’ …
Anyway, needless to say I did ‘feedback’ to the provider and advised them that I would be seeking alternative therapy and that was the end of that.
Since then , and since making the promise to myself and my GP that I will only come off my tablets if I pick up therapy again. I have done , I had my first two-hour session last week with a wonderful lady and I feel like I have hit the jackpot. I left her office feeling very positive and like a weight had been lifted and I am actually looking forward to our next session. I could have easily given up on it, and it scares me to think that there are people out there who are perhaps not as strong-minded as me who have been scared off for one reason or another. If you are one of those people reading this, I ask you to be brave and try again. Do not let one bad experience scare you off, because the chances are that is exactly what it was , one bad experience.
After making the decision that I did about changing my circumstances. A couple of little things have happened, positive things and I am for the first time in a long time looking forward I am looking forward to getting ‘me’ back and it is starting to feel like I will be able to do it from the position I am currently in rather than feeling like I cannot get me back until I am back in my old position.
It is an odd thing to say but I wrote in my diary the other day that I have started to ‘feel’ again. If you read the first ever blog I wrote about my depression I talk about the overriding feeling of feeling nothing. Its awful. However in the last couple of weeks that has lifted slightly , and I say slightly because I am nervous about being too positive if that makes sense as I know it can be short-lived, however I will take any amount of positive feelings that come my way however short lived or small they are, I don’t take any of them for granted anymore.
Recently I also for the first time felt like I may be able to start and embrace my life as it is now. For the last 16 months I have felt so unsettled , I don’t want to settle where I am living, I miss the place that was my home for 20 plus years, and it has given me a constant feeling of unrest not being there. Its like if I relax into my life now, it means I have to stay and that of course is stupidity, driven by fear of being trapped. Which ultimatley is an irrational thought.
What is that saying …. You are not a tree , if you do not like where you are move, I do like that saying. However , rather continue to do what I have been doing for months running around like a headless chicken trying to escape with no particular plan. I now feel that I need to focus on being happy where I am so that I can ultimately walk with confidence to where I want to be, this will hopefully make sure that I don’t find myself running into another unhealthy situation just to run away from the one I am in. I need to stop running and I think I understand that now.
Thanks for reading.