When you think you are stinky …… and it’s just your mind messing with you

The fun game that having general anxiety disorder with an extra serving of panic disorder is that everything is always escalated to a Level 5 full blown event.

Right now I am well medicated and possibly in a place in my life where my depression is generally under control.  Generalised anxiety disorder and Panic Disorder are the two other horses of Depression — if one is running, the other two will usually follow — maybe not immediately but you will eventually hear their hooves.

This is not true for everyone but it is true for me.

When I am at my worst, at my most vulnerable, my panic and anxiety kicks in to just shatter me totally.  I can tell you that it breaks you — you think you are strong enough to withstand that onslaught, but it humbles you.

You find yourself sitting on the edge of the bed crying “I can’t do it, I just cannot do this today ….. I can’t do this anymore….” and you are really really sobbing.  But you need to get your facade on and do what you do.

When my depression escalates, then so does the anxiety and the panic.

I have had some moments where there has been an escalation in anxiety or panic but it has not been as bad as it was before 2013/2014 — when things were just rampant mania all the time.

The problem with the disorder is that it escalates everything into the worst possible case scenario that you could imagine.  It never gives you rainbows and glitter, it gives you blood and bone shards.

It doesn’t even need to be taken there, it just does it in one giant leap.  And you are there.  100% committed.

When you have all three of them running rampant, basically all day you are being faced with a variety of calamities (granted most/all are imagined — but you can’t see that).  Your body is going through the emotions each time.  Each freaking time.  In full technicolour.

If you arrive to fetch your child and they are not where they are meant to be – your brain tells you that they have been taken, by some random non-friendly stranger, and it is all your fault because you are a shit mom/person who picks up kids.

When actually they are just in the toilet.

The problem is this sort of thinking goes on all the time.

I first became aware of it was when Connor was around one — going anywhere with him meant he would die.  We could go to the mall, and he would not get lost, he would be stolen.  We could go to the Blue Peter and I was afraid he would stand on the little wall, fall and then die.

And that was my life.  Me living through various permutations where they all ended in him dying.

Every event becomes the world ending.

The smallest most insignificant thing makes your brain push out as much adrenaline into your system as possible to cope with the threat that is approaching.

It really is an exhausting state to be in – your mind is constantly working out every possible permutation.  Every permutation has an outcome, or number of outcomes.

Your brain is running through each of those — not just in a a “hey what might we do here” but in a full body and brain 100% experience.

You are going through this event, and your mind and your body is dealing with each permutation — each flaming one as if it is actually happening.

It is beyond exhausting,  You are a total wreck.

I did a lot of cognitive behavioural therapy which is really good for many things — and especially good for changing the way you think.

It challenges your “knee jerk” reactions.  It asks you to look at a situation and in a very sober way talk through what is actually happening and not what you think is happening.  You never quite adjust to the fact that it is your mind that is damaging you.

My biggest issue — or the part where I lost so much energy was “what does the other person think of me” —- oh sweet Clarabelle, that was just a quagmire of filthy mud that sucked you in the further you went.

The process to out think that was quite simple:

  1.  How do you know what that person is thinking?
  2. No, how do you really know what that person is thinking.
  3. You don’t.
  4. But even if that person is thinking you are bad/stupid/stinky/what ever — why does that one person matter?
  5. And what indication have you been given that is actually what they think of you (to which every anxious person yells “I know, I just freaking know…” and then burst into frustrating tears)
  6. Eventually you get to a point where you admit that you actually do not know — this may take several minutes of repeating the same thing.
  7. Okay —so if that person is thinking you are bad/stupid/stinky — does that mean you are one of those things because that one person might think it?
  8. And there is normally when your head bursts open like a soft boiled egg.
  9. So even if that one person believed something bad about you — how important is that person in your world?
  10. Does it matter what that one person thinks?  (again normally anxiety driven people with paranoid overtures are throwing themselves on their psychiatrist’s carpets screaming …. it does, god dammit, it does)
  11. So does that make you the person that they think you are —- just because that one person thinks that?
  12. This loop can go on for ages, but you sort of get the point of it — more or less.

Anyway the conversation goes along these lines — in the beginning this loop could last 45 minutes as you argue each point as to why you are stinky or what ever.

Eventually — eventually —- you start to realise that you cannot control what other people think.

You do not know what they are actually thinking, you cannot spend time worrying over it as it will cripple you in every avenue of your life and more importantly you know you are not stinky so you don’t need to worry about it.

Keep telling yourself “I am not stinky” and then eventually (I haven’t got there yet) your brain will start to rewire itself.

The point of this story is the estate agent I rent from sent me an SMS saying when can he call me – I said “right now” and then he took about 30 minutes.

In that 30 minutes I had decided that he was going to kick me out of the house I am renting, and I would have two weeks to find something else, you know because I am stinky.  I got into a total panic — well, because I am stinky, and the prospect of finding something to rent just seemed an inconceivable idea right now.

My water usage was off the charts and they needed me out of the complex.  I had been having too many rowdy parties at my home and other tenants had complained.   I parked my car really badly each day.  My car was too dirty by the standards of the complex.  He found out about the floating shelf I put up without permission and that was the final straw.  Just add on any random bullshit you can think of.

In the 30 minutes whilst I was waiting for him, I kept checking my phone and running through all the worst permutations in the world.  I also got two emails from Pam Golding (not my estate agent) for properties to rent and that just added more fuel to this flame.

Of course when I spoke to him he just wanted to know when we could meet so I could sign a new contract.  I nearly collapsed not from being relieved, but because I was so freaking exhausted.

For fuck sake — I need to stop this “I think I am stinky” bullshit.

Dealing with depression, anxiety and panic disorder is an everyday lucky packet — it is always a journey you are moving through.  You learn to manage it, you learn to manage the way you react, you manage to learn from your mistakes – the third one is probably the most constant.  Sadly the other part is that people with depression, anxiety and panic disorders are incredibly hard and unforgiving on themselves.

The thing I have learnt in this process is that there are people around you who use your disorder to their advantage.

You get blamed for things that are not your fault, but because you cannot distinguish easily between what shit is yours and what isn’t — it is very easy to take on other people’s shit.

Your boundaries are all wonky.  You know because you are stinky.  You are primed for situations where other people’s stuff becomes yours and your brain cannot differentiate between what to keep and what to toss.

You easily become the person who is always full of shit of having shit — when in reality, it isn’t like that.

For anyone out there who is going through this, or is living with someone who is going through this —- that person needs a cushion, they need a safe harbour, they need a place where they can feel safe and taken care of.

Just a place or a moment in time where they constant worrying can lift — where they can maybe have just one thought in their mind and not the 3157 that are presently running and replicating as we speak.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but watch someone spin their heels until they eventually get the help they need.

You can keep reminding them that you are there for them —- that you are really there.  And you will be there for them when they get to the other side.

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Hello darkness, my old friend ….. I’ve come to talk with you again

I have been listening to the Sound of Silence on repeat for about two hours now.  Probably not ideal.

I am a chronic depressive.  With a side order of general anxiety disorder, and social phobia.  I have a touch of something that cannot be defined but Ritalin takes care of it.

I have not slept “naturally” since 2008.

I take medication to go to sleep and another set to keep me asleep.

I realise you don’t need to know this, but here is the thing.  There are so many people around you that suffer with one or all of these maladies, that it is about as common as a fungal infection.

The difference is that someone will tell you they have a fungal infection.

There is so much embarrassment in telling someone that you are not coping and you need help — the result is a lot of people don’t seek help.  They quietly try, and try to get on by themselves.

They wake up each morning, take a deep breath and try to get through the day.

Some get through the day.  Others are not that lucky.

They are embarrassed they are not coping — so they hide it as long as they can —- until they can’t.

Some choose to end their lives.

This is what this post is about.

Suicide is not the easy way about.  Suicide is not because you are selfish or cannot do something.

Suicide is what happens when you get to the end of your rope.  When you need the pain to stop.  To just stop.

And it is the best option available to you at that moment in time.

The darkness that normally creeps around the edges of your existence, starts to bleed into the all of you.

Depression is an illness whose main function, each day, is to try to kill you.

I know it sounds ludicrous — unless you have been there.  Unless you have felt those cold unforgiving fingers wrapping themselves around your everything, you cannot imagine what it feels like – how your internal dialogue is so painful, so unforgiving, so intent on trying to make you hurt yourself.

Finding the right psychiatrist is part of the trick.  Being on medication that can stabilise you, goes a long way to keeping the demons at bay.  Or at least in check.

Having someone to talk to  – ideally a psychologist is also very helpful.

You need to speak to someone who understands your condition — who knows what your triggers are.  What sends you further into a spiral, what pulls you back from the edge.

I cannot explain my depression.  I cannot always identify what is going to set it off.  I will often be high functioning, catching balls, doing great and something will creep up on me. Kick my feet out from under me.

It isn’t always something big that floors me, sometimes it is something that is irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things.  A hurtful word.  A sense that something is happening to me.

Then the slow, or rapid, decline will occur.  The demons get louder and more insistent.  Egging you on.

Your ability to hold them back gets more and more exhausting.  Until one day, you just can’t. Anymore.

You function, because you must.  The depression brings the suicidal thoughts.  You start to map out a plan.  It’s usually not a big jump, as most depressives always have a suicide plan.  Always.

Mine is a pick ‘n pay bag of medication I have horded for years.

I believe that suicide via this route has a 2% success rate.  Not ideal.  Depressives have an unusual amount of knowledge on this subject.  Not because they have a pinterest board.

For a few moments each day their brain is telling them something about suicide.

If you suffer with depression — please believe that you are not alone.  There is nothing broken about you — you are just wired differently.

One of the worst feelings is when the demons isolate you.  They make you feel alone as you cry in the shower, or stand in the bathroom at 2am and sob, and you don’t even know why.

You. Are. Not. Alone — though your demons will constantly try to convince you that indeed you are.

They will work really hard to make you feel alone.  Isolated.  That no one cares about you.  That you are not worth anything. That you are not worthy.  That all those things that peoples say about you are true.  That all the horrid things you think about yourself are true.

You will only hear the negative things — and believe them.

You will not be able to hear the parts that you need to hear : You are worth it.  You are incredible.  You are loved.  You are needed. You are brilliant.  You are beautiful.  You are wanted. Every day you add value to someone’s life.  You are …. worth every moment.  Every breath.

The demons do not want to you to believe that.

Somehow you need to dig yourself out of this dark, damp and fetid pit — somehow.

Just get to the top.  Get to the part where you can see a bit of light —- where you can take a breath.  Regroup.  Find your strength to fight your demons.

I am not here to tell you it is easy.
I am not here to tell you that you will win.

I am here to tell you that if you can find oxygen, and look around, and see your children’s faces and the laughter of your friends, you will know that you can do this for another day.

Maybe it isn’t your children you see.  It might be the smell of lavender, or the feeling of someone who truly loves you wrapping their arms around you.  Holding the part of you that just needs to be held that day.

All you have to do today is get through today.

I don’t mean to make it sound like it is easy — it is a fight for survival.

There will be bullies who will hurt you.  Sometimes these bullies will be in the cloak of friends and family.

There will be people who will know where your soft spots are.  They will stab you for no other reason than to prove they can.  To show you that they are stronger than you.

Life will not be fair to you —- your demons will be stronger than you can believe.  Than even you could prepare for.

No one will be there for you when you need them — when your demons are winning.

Try to hold on — try to find the strength to take a breath.  Just one.  Then take another, and repeat.

My lowest has been the thought that my children will grow up without a mother.

Even though often I think it will be easier for them.  That I am the fek up.  I keep being told I am, that I am the failure.  That my life is a series of failures.  That I am the thousand other things that I have heard from sometimes my nearest and dearest ….. and sometimes just from my inside voice.

My best so far is being told that I am giving my ex a reason to take my children away from me, because I have tattoos.

Paranoid thinking is one of the horses of the apocalypse.

I think if it wasn’t for my children I would have exited this game a long time ago.

If I go ….

My concern is that they will grow up without me.  They will not know how much I love them.  They will not know how often I look at them when they are sleeping and my heart swells so much that bits of it leak out of my eyes.

They will not know how much I adore them — every little part of them.

I sit next to them and all I think is that “I did good here, these are great kids” — I broke the cycle.

My “hold me back” is that I do not want my children in therapy because they think they were not enough.

That somehow they were to blame.

That somehow they could have done something.  Else.  More.  Different.

I do not want THAT on them.

I don’t know the answers to this freaking curse that is depression.

I know what the blackest black looks like.

I survived today —- this year has been epic.  I have had so many situations where I have been whacked on my arse — stood up and been whacked again.  To the point where lying down and just taking shallow breaths seemed like the most apt way to get through the day.

I have been at my final hour this year — several times.

I have someone to talk to — someone who understands. Someone who understands how hard this year has been, someone who understands how hard I have fought for this breath, with every fiber of my being.

Thank goodness for her — and her wisdom.  Her continued support.  Her knowing I need help and reaching out to me actively.

If you are struggling with depression, do not use your embarrassment to keep you locked into this.

I can’t guarantee that the person you talk to is going to be the right person — sometimes people give you shitty advise and they have no idea of the damage it is doing to you.

But there are people you can talk to.  There is a person for you.  Someone who will hear your pain and listen to what you need.

There is a way to get out of the hole — or at the very least for someone to throw you a life line. A moment where you can catch your breath.

Depression is  a disease — it is trying to kill you.  Every day.

Get help —- in what ever form you need.  Today.

If you can’t —– for what ever reason, then, take a moment today to be kind.  To yourself.

Allow yourself to just be.  To think a good thought about yourself.  For a moment to really believe there is something good about you.  That you are enough.

Just one good thought can plant a seed that can start to help you heal.

Every day you heal is one more day you get to breath.  One more day you get stronger than your demons.

{Because I am a depressive, doesn’t mean I need to be treated with kid gloves.  I am a roaring strong individual that has overcome and continues to do so.  I would get annoyed if someone treated me like delicate china  — the catch with a depressive is that it is often is not the big stuff that breaks us, it is the small irrelevant stuff that shatters us…. be kind to someone today, you don’t know their journey or their battles}

Depression and exit strategies …….. the holy grail of depression sufferers

black dog

I was speaking to another “depressive”(someone who suffers from depression – usually with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and possibly Stress thrown in for shits and giggles — I might have just made that word up, but it seems to work, so I am going to leave it there) a week or two ago and we were chatting about shit and things and really playing catch up.

We had not seen each other in quite some time, so it was a very nice catch up and we did spend a lot of the time laughing, and snorting.

The conversation took a turn and we started speaking about the fact that we both suffer from Depression — not the “here take one pill and call me in the morning kind” but the sort that takes you 13 years of therapy to really understand what it is you are working with.

Years of enduring shitty therapists to eventually find the good one who was able to really guide you and assist you.

Years of the wrong medication, in the wrong dosages to eventually find a fantastic psychiatrist who understood you. Who saw you at your worst, and built you up from a shivering shaking rambling idiot to someone who could almost pass for normal.  And not spill tea on his rug.

Years of guilt of what you were exposing your family to.  Years of feeling that you were a burden – you are a burden, nothing you do will change the fact that you are such a burden.

Hiding your depressive episodes because you feel your family and friends are so “sick of your shit” — when in reality you cannot hide a depressive episode for all the Zoloft in the world.

We had different journeys but they were similar in many respects.

Then strangely the conversation moved onto “suicide plans” and we almost in unison agreed we each had our own plan.

A plan we had been harbouring for years.

I am not going to speak for all Depressives here, but I think it is often something that most people do not realise about people with Major/Chronic Depression.

We have a suicide plan.  Or most of us do at any rate.

Most of us think about our plan once a day or maybe once a week.

I think about my plan in the same way I would think about whether I need new toothpaste.  Just something to tick off the shopping list.

In some cases “the plan” is quite elaborate and in others it is beautiful in it’s simplicity.

Suicide – contrary to popular belief does not need “a reason” or even “a really bad spate of depression” and is in most cases not a “cry for help.”

I think people with chronic depression do not see it as a way to get help, they see it as a way to leave because the blackness has just become too much.  And they cannot see any light at the end of the famous tunnel.

Depression is a life long illness.

It drags you into a black sinking hole where you no longer can see anything, there is no hope of small spark of light.  It is just this heavy blackness where no light or hope can pass.  You eventually start to accept that in fact there is not any light.

The blackness creeps over you like a shadow, and before you have realised it, you are enfolded in it’s robe of cold darkness and a sense of being alone – bitterly alone.

Nothing anyone says or does changes that darkness.

You feel alone.  You feel desperate.

You feel like that darkness will last forever.

You can not imagine a time when you were not being swallowed by that darkness, you cannot imagine a time when that darkness will recede.

You just cannot.

And sooner or later you cannot live in the bleak and desperate darkness any more.

blackness

Breathing is a challenge.  Faking it through the day is exhausting.

Faking it through your life eventually becomes unrealistic.

You also want to round house kick the next person who tells you to “just wake up happy….”

You do not believe you will ever get out of the hole.  So you start to think of how to just stop.  Everything.

You can be thankful and rejoice that you have the right medication, the right dose, and if you are in an emergency you just need to phone your Dr Psychiatrist and mention to the secretary that you are having a “self harm” kind of day, and an appointment will open for you almost immediately.

{Everyone do a huge clap for a great Medical Aid…..}

I have only phoned my Psychiatrist once with a “I need to speak to him” sort of day. And he magically opened a time slot in his already crammed diary because he knew that I really needed to speak to him.

My friend and I compared notes on the sort of things that we think about.

What worries us about committing suicide, what we factor in as a possibly route, time of day that would work, location and so on, and it was quite amazing how much of it was the same for both of us.

We actually laughed in a “this is really fucked up….” sort of way.

Then just to add strange, we both agreed we were technically in really happy places at this exact moment, but that did not stop the thought of an exit strategy being foremost in our minds.

Depression does not go away.

In my case, and I am thankful daily, my depression has really been under control for more than two years now, if not three.  I am on a good set of medication that I do not fuck with.

I stick to my medication.  No matter how good I am feeling, I do not tweak it, change it or think I can just miss a few.

My medication keeps me on track.  My medication keeps the black dog at bay.  For the most part.

Where I am in my head is generally a good place.

The only issue I am experiencing at the moment, is a very high state of anxiety, and stress that is influencing my sleep patterns.  And a lack of sleep or a shift in my sleep is a huge red flag of concern — I do not function well without sleep.

I realise that last blog post might not have echoed that sentiment, but I am amazed at what I have coped with in the last two years, and how much I have risen above all this shit to be more of who I have wanted to be for a very long time.

Some days I do feel like I am drowning.

But those days are few, and they usually are limited to days.  They do not start to turn into weeks and months, like before.

I am far happier than I used to be — again I realise that based on the last blog post that sounds like a whopper of a lie —- but my job is not to convince you of it.

I feel happier in the inside part that really matters.

I have a clearer idea of who I am.  I do somehow even when the days are tough, I do still feel happier with who I am.  Now. Than who I was before.

Sure I have an exit strategy ….. and I realise how insane that sounds.

How can I be happy if I think about suicide?

It is actually possible.

depression comix

{…… thanks fuck all dopamine or serotonin or what ever else my brain cannot manufacture or absorb ….. }

Actually Facebook, I do not want to do a photo montage of my great year …..

I was looking at some photographs of myself earlier today — and I realised how tired, exhausted and life weary I look.

I was smiling in some of those — but the smile was not a real smile, it was that strained kind you are forced to do, usually in group photographs and at birthday parties.

I zoomed in closer and really scrutinized the look in my eyes and it is of utter exhaustion.

It looks like someone on the edge of a nervous breakdown — or a Game of Thrones binge.  Or who is about to eat the entire pack of lemon meringue cupcakes from Woolworths.

It is not the kind of weary that can be cured by a good’ish bottle of wine and a 14 hour nap, but the sort of weariness and exhaustion that etches into your very soul.  And then oozes out of your pores.

It’s been a good year in some ways.

It has not been a good year in many others.

It has been a “fuck really ??? really” year in many more more I am afraid.

I have been really good at putting my stuff into little boxes and packing them neatly away.  I have been a high functioning {insert correct word} for much of this year – I am not sure if that was the impression I created with others, but that was definitely the vibe I thought I was creating.

Me. Sorted.  Keeping it together.  Getting shit done.

For much of this year, I have been proud of myself and my ability to just button down and get on with the stuff that needs to be got on with.  I have tried this “normal” thing and I think for the most part I managed to really give the illusion of getting it about right.

Sure there has been the odd “well that was unfortunate” and “yes, I got a lift home with Bennie the tow-truck driver because I could not find my car” — but hey who does not have those nights weeks every so often, right?

I started to feel the cracks this month — the cracks started to show and then the cracks got bigger and then I started to cry.

It really got going on Christmas Day – like the lurching jerking kind of cry.  For absolutely no reason.

I have cried myself a fucking river at this point.  I am crying now.  My guess is I will cry tomorrow.

I am actually not sure of why I am crying, nor what exactly I am crying about — but it has made reading or keeping a buoyant attitude really trying, and the red eyes are just a permanent fixture at this stage.

Sorry I have not been blogging – I have so much to say, so much in my head, but at the same time nothing.  I am also trying to pick my words wisely, and be aware of what I say or spew.

To those who have been my support this year – and really been there even in the smallest way I thank you — like really big.  Your late night SMS’s and funny images have been appreciated.

It is often not the big gestures that get you through the day, it can sometimes just be someone sniffing you and saying you smell good.

Granted when it is a strange guy at Pick ‘n Pay who does not respect the personal circle of trust, then it gets a bit awkward, but anyway.

I will blog again, don’t give up on me totally.  Watch this space.

 

dowager meme

 

 

 

 

Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves ……

Hearing that Robin Williams lost his fight to depression came as a reminder that depression is not some nancy pansy little problem that goes away if you try to be happy.

When (ignorant) people discuss depression and refer to it as an “attitude” and a “choice” I really get all sorts of riled up.

This perception that you can “choose to be a happy person”, that you can “choose to wake up happy” is really tiresome, ignorant and life threatening.

I overheard a discussion yesterday on the radio and the DJ’s were talking about depression and how their respective families view it. 

The one DJ says that if she says she is depressed her family tell her to go for a run and get some fresh air.

There were other really “helpful” suggestions as well.

I agree that often some behaviour does assist you to feel a bit better when you are depressed. But much of this is going to be a thin layer of assistance to a tumor that is festering inside your head and your soul.

Depression as a disease —as diseases go it is a very committed disease.  It has a clear goal.

Depression wants you to kill yourself.  That is what it is planning and trying to do all the time. Simple.  It is a mental disease that is trying to find a way for you to end it all.  It never lets up.  

I cannot put it any simpler.  Yes it sounds harsh, but that is what it is doing, and working at tirelessly.

I have been very lucky that my depression has abated for the most part for the last two or three years.

I can feel him there, scratching at the door some days, but for the most part, I get to function and get through my day without having the oppressive thoughts and feelings following me around.

This does not mean that I still do not think that “all is in actual fact lost” that possibly it is a better option to “just end it all” and that “maybe my life is not worth living.  If I leave now, it will cause less damage than if I leave later and people get too attached to me….”

I have at least one suicidal thought a day.  But it is usually fleeting, and does not take over my entire being.

I am not depressed at the moment — but because it is a permanent part of my fabric, my being, the thoughts and feelings creep into each and every day.

I have sufficient emotional resources – at present – to not let the nagging thoughts, the destructive thoughts, and the darkness from taking firm root.

I am lucky.  At the moment.

Depression is a bit like HIV – once you have it you always have it.  

You can treat it, and you can keep it under control as long as you stick to the strict regime (everyone’s regime is different) – but do not think for a moment that it has gone away.

Depression is a sneaky little bitch and will hide and make you think you have beat that bitch at hide and seek.

You may feel so good some days, even for weeks and then you think “I have beat this thing….” You slowly stop what ever medication or assistance you had been receiving, and sooner or later — usually far sooner than later, you find that it has crept back and invaded your life.

Just as you think that you are sitting on top of the world, it will unfurl itself and wrap it’s arms around you and start to squeeze tight — to remind you that your black dog is always there, waiting, waiting.  Biding his time.  No rush.  He will always be there.  Ever faithful.

Robin Williams —- a man who suffered from depression.  He made it his life’s work to make you and me laugh, at ourselves, at him and situations.  

Robin Williams’ comedy always had that “edge” to it — even at his funniest, there was a sense that his humour was not the “clown humour of the circus” but there was indeed something deep, dark, and complex lurking behind the face paint and bright red nose.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — is a lesson to me, that I am always at risk.  That I should never be complacent.   

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — reminds me that depression is not a fleeting bad moment, it is a life time of fighting and enduring.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — saddens me to my core.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — does not mean depression always wins, it just means that sometimes we lose that one battle.

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I read this article, and it is so brilliantly written – I loved the way it shows how it describes so eloquently how people who are funny are often using a mask to protect themselves.  

Their humour is a way for them to cope, for them to connect and for them to feel like they are accepted.

Please pop along and read David Wong’s full article on CRACKED.  

You ever have that funny friend, the class-clown type, who one day just stopped being funny around you? Did it make you think they were depressed? Because it’s far more likely that, in reality, that was the first time they were comfortable enough around you to drop the act.

The ones who kill themselves, well, they’re funny right up to the end.

 

By now you know that Robin Williams has committed suicide, but I’m not here to talk about him. He’s gone, and you’re still here, and suicidal thoughts are so common among our readers and writers that our message board has a hidden section where moderators can coordinate responses to suicide threats. And in case you’re wondering, no, that’s not a joke — I remember the first time John tracked down a guy’s location and got an ambulance dispatched to his house. Then we all sat there, at 4 in the morning, waiting to hear if they got there in time (they did).

 

Because Cracked is driven by an army of aspiring comedy writer freelancers, the message boards are full of a certain personality type. And while I don’t know what percentage of funny people suffer from depression, from a rough survey of the ones I know and work with, I’d say it’s approximately “all of them.” So when I hear some naive soul say, “Wow, how could a wacky guy like [insert famous dead comedian here] just [insert method of early self-destruction here]? He was always joking around and having a great time!” my only response is a blank stare.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/robin-williams-why-funny-people-kill-themselves/#ixzz3AGAbNdxr

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Strange thing happened at McDonalds ….

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Strange thing happened at McDonalds recently.

I popped in for a meal at a local McDonalds, and it was quite busy.  As I walked in I recognised this guy at the counter – the client side of the counter, not the “will you have fries with that?’ side of the counter.

It took me a few ticks to realise how I knew him.

I had spent a few weeks at a psychiatric clinic and he was a patient there at the same time as my “stay”.

He had some severe problems, and I chatting to him a few times.

+80% of the people at the clinic had issues that still allowed them to function in society – sure they may be a bit weird, and say all sorts of crazy shit, but who doesn’t?  Even in crazy land, you find people on your level of crazy and befriend them.  Then silently judge the people who are further down the scale in cray-cray land.

This particular guy was THAT guy.  His problems were severe in comparison to the “norm” of the clinic. {even crazy has a level of normal … who would have thought!}

I can’t recall what his diagnosis was, as it has been a few years, and really it is none of yours or my business.

Unfortunately psychiatric clinics are not dissimilar from high school.

The cool kids rule.  The kids who can’t keep their shit together get picked on.  Relentlessly.

My experience with psychiatric clinics is that there are a lot of young patients.  They form clicks. and make the kids who are on the lower rungs feel even more shitty about their existence.

Alcoholism and drug addiction trumps schizophrenia and depression any day of the week.  Much cooler stories with addiction than hiding under your duvet, and being too afraid to face the day.

Agoraphobia sufferers are clearly never invited to the cool kids table.

Let’s call this boy-man Roger for the purposes of this story.  He was ostracized and really “hated” by the other patients, and several altercations broke out at the clinic.

I felt really bad for him, and made a point of sitting with him at meals as no one else would.  I would sit with him at TV time, and then he would tell me the same story, word for word, over and over again.

I realised he had no memory past about three minutes when he was in a “bad state.”   When he was angry it was because he was confused or disorientated, and no doubt scared.

The best thing to do was speak to him, reassure him, and not get worked up when he got a bit “worked up” – many of our discussions followed this sort of format:

Him: “Nice pen”

Me: “Yes it is”

Him: “I have a pen just like that.”

Me: “Maybe, but this one is definitely mine.”

Him – searches through his pockets of his chinos.

Him: “I have lost my pen” looks at mine “it looks just like that” puts his hand out “give me back my pen….”

Me: “Maybe you have lost your pen, but this is definitely my pen – you can borrow it for a few minutes, while you are sitting here – but it is my pen, and you need to give it back, okay?”

… repeat conversation a few times …..

Though he really was very offensive when he was screaming rants, he was not a mean person.  He was just a young boy whose brain and chemical balance was just not right.  He really was struggling. His demons were far greater and louder than mine.

I could be him.  What if my son was him?  What if you were him?

Back to McDonalds.

Roger looks at me, and I can see his mind trying to place me.  I am silently begging him not to place me.

I can see he is agitated. I can see he is starting to do that body movement that is telling me that “all is not quite well over in Roger Land.”

Reunions are great, but reunions from the cast of “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” are less so.

I just wanted my McRoyale Meal (with a Coke Zero, because that will cancel out the kilo joule count quite nicely.) I wanted to sit quietly, shove the chips in my pie hole whilst reading my book and try not to be pulled into this confrontation.

I order my food, and step back to wait for them to prepare the order.

Roger meanwhile is scratching in his McDonalds paperbag, and starting to get a bit twitchy.  I believe he wanted 10 sachets of tomato sauce, and they gave him 5.

He might have asked if there was 10 and the teller answered in the affirmative.

My guess is she is probably thinking “what NUTSO is going to eat 10 tomatoe sachets with one burger?”

Clearly she has never experienced quite this level of “please give me exactly what I asked for.”  She figured she’d just pop 5 sachets in the bag, and send him merrily on his way.

Teller at McDonalds did not get training in how to deal with a Roger customers during teller orientation week.

Roger went off – screaming.  Asking for names, explaining that no one should fuck with him and so it went on.  In full scream and going off at the counter.

He was beyond upset about the fact that he had requested 10 sachets, and he had received 5.  His mind just could not grasp how she had confused this request, and how she could not understand how 10 sachets were really really important to him.  Vital in fact.

I got my meal and went to sit down.  He screamed and ranted and used really really offensive language.  No amount of smiling and nodding was going to placate him.

He was really upset about the sachets.

I looked at him and realised that when you are all sitting in “morning ring” at a clinic of your choice you are all sorts of crazy.

Varying degrees of total whack-jobs being kept in check by close guidance of a medical professional and medication.  The reason you are there is because odds are you have either lost your shit at a McDonalds or are on the road to.

Roger finished his rant – and he was actually quite frightening.  I ate my chips and sipped my cooldrink.

I knew that by the time he got to his car, and drove home, he would forget that he had even been to McDonalds.  Let alone that he had screamed all sorts of shit at the staff and the random assortment of customers who stared at him slack jawed.

After the incident was over, the customers were talking, as one does when someone goes a bit shit faced in a crowded space.    One of the women who had been standing next to Roger came to talk to me and tell me how offensive he was, and that he was probably mad – not sure what is is about me that is inviting comment, when I just want to read my book and eat my stuff off a tray.

Seeing Roger made me remember how far down my “bottom point” had been.

How much it had affected me, and how afraid I am of ever hitting that “low” again.

I am lucky that the “bag of shit” that is my set of problems, are my problems.   I do not have to deal with what other people have to deal with on their average day.

And maybe before you/me/we jump to an assumption about someone losing their shit, you give some thought to what might actually be going on there.  Maybe.

What if we treated every illness the way that we treat mental illness?

I saw this graphic yesterday, and it struck a chord with me.

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I have regularly been battling my own demons, and some days I manage it better than others.

Depression and it’s related posse – which are usually socially phobia, general anxiety disorder, alcoholism, or some sort of substance abuse – is not an illness that ever really goes away.

You get given a respite, a few days grace, but then the bitch is back and you get to start the cycle from the beginning.

I do understand how exhausting this process must be for family members, loved ones, partners, parents, children and the sundry of others who love, like and have a relationship with someone “struggling with depression.”

I would imagine it is a bit like helping someone who has a broken leg.

It is all “fuck I am sorry, how can I help?” then you help them carry their books, shuffle to the toilet and back, make them some tea, and pretty much help out where every you can – at about the point when you think “yikes I am tired of this shit” .. then the person’s leg heals.

The cast gets removed and they are “on their feet and back in the swing of things.”

Then you go to the shop to buy milk and a loaf of bread, get back and the person has broken their leg again.  And you are like fuck that shit.

Repeat the loop 3 – 6 times a year, and in the end, everyone is about as sick as crap with you and your stupid broken leg, and really just wishes you would stop breaking that shit.  What is wrong with you for goodness sake.

It is starting to look a bit reckless, and that you might actually enjoy wearing a plaster of paris cast, and not being able to function.

Swap broken leg out with depression and you can sort of see how everyone gets exhausted with you being exhausted.

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Depression is a cruel illness. It strips you of your ability to care or relate to anything around you.

It fills your mind with emptiness – and it’s all you can do to blink without giving up.

I have noticed that with each cycle there is an element of “darkness”that gets blacker and more dense in my mind.  An unwillingness, or an inability to face it again – the constant gnawing cycle of self loathing, self doubt, pain and well …. bleakness.

I think I have got better, as I have got older, at being able to soldier on through the “bad patches” to where few people do not even notice that I am in a bit of a low space .

The reality is the cycles are cycles – they keep on coming and as soon as this one is done you start sensing the new wave building, and you are never sure if this will be the wave that crashes on the beach, or tears through the country like a tsunami.

The ebbs gets lower and lower, and then “the big one” arrives that makes me doubt who I am, my worth, my sense of self, and more importantly by ability to put one foot in front of the other.

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I posted this originally on the 10 January 2012

That creeping sensation that things are not quite as they should be.

The whispers of self-doubt.

The gnawing sensation that everyone is plotting against me.

The hiss that people are talking about me.  Incessantly.  Always in the negative.

The worry that I am doing something wrong.  Everything wrong.  About to be “caught out” for doing something wrong I have not even done.  At all.  Ever.

The sounds of whispers and innuendos and recrimination.

Small sounds reverberate in my eardrums as echos.  My children’s chewing that sounds like the brass frkn band going off tune next to me.

The mental arguing and cross-questioning and “should I” or “what if…” and “maybe you need to go and fix that….”

Unfortunately it has all started again.  It was so lovely when it was gone.  It was so lovely.

And it is back – the swishing tail of my black dog against my legs.

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Voting close at midnight on the 15 December 2013, and then the fat lady has sung.

It’s not really for a good cause, there are really no prizes, just bragging rights and a shiny badge.

And then everyone goes home.

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Is there anything I can do for you?

I was really having a rough day yesterday.

There is just too much going on – I am trying to be all things to everyone, and I am working myself into a bit of a lather.  I have some financial commitments which are a bit challenging and I am starting to really feel “jittery” and wound up.

I have always been averse to the hour in the car driving the kids home.

Maybe because by that point, I have had a long day – and being trapped inside a car with three kids who are all vying for my attention, is usually the tipping point.

Last week and this week have been especially challenging to get Georgia to take her medication each day.  Even though it is crushed and placed inside chocolate spread and neatly placed between two Salticrax biscuits.

Georgia is the same child who can eat a half portions of ribs so fast she bites her finger.

Georgia is the same child who will mow through an adult plate of spaghetti bolognaise.

This child can eat.

But present her with a biscuit and tell her she HAS TO EAT IT is an exercise in frustration and humility if ever there was one.

On Monday it took more than 30 minutes to bribe/threaten/cajole/force her to eat the biscuit – and towards the end I had totally lost my rag.  Screaming at your child in the morning, is a less than ideal start to neither the child, nor your day.

Add a few other things – and by the time I had to fetch the kids – I was feeling edgy at best.  The usual fights ensued as we drove home – and when I got into the driveway, I just could not face walking into the house.  With them.

I thought about running away from home.  But where would I go?

I thought that a little stay at a Clinic might not be a bad option.  But that requires pre-booking, a letter from the medical aid and an emergency visit to my psyciatrist – and he wasn’t answering his cell when I called him.  I do think he is filtering his calls.

I decided instead to just sit in the car.  And stare into my lap.

Connor eventually came through and opened the door.

Connor:  “Mom are you okay?”

Me:  “No, not so much my boy – just having a really rough day…”

Connor: “Is there anything I can do for you?”

There always has to be one child who can see you inside your madness.

Fridays with Ritalin. Like with Morrie but just takes less time.


Dr Google is never the answer.

If you are googling symptoms for anything, then I suggest you give Clientele a call as they have a Funeral Plan for you.

I am sitting on my couch feeling fine, sipping a very nice glass of wine, if I started to google any of the “feelings” I have – then odds are I will have something that is a cross between the Ebola Virus and Anal Leakage.

With that in mind, I am always amazed that people take their advice from Dr Google, granted it could be worse, but Dr Bing pretty much never gets asked anything.

Ritalin is the swear words of mothers everywhere.

I am almost sure when I say the word “Ritalin” to you, you are thinking “cocaine for kids….”  – well you might be, most people do.  I did.

If you are ever at a mommy and baby group, and mention you are thinking about putting your child on Ritalin – there will be a fair amount of lecturing going on, and more than likely you will be lynched and not be invited back to the mommy and baby group.

We have been through a very long and very thorough process with Georgia and she is presently on Ritalin.

The idea of putting her on Ritalin was on my list way after home schooling and changing her diet to include more lentils.

It was pretty far down.  It was clear to me that I did not want my child taking medication and more importantly there were so many scary and horrific stories on Dr Google, that clearly I wanted to be a better mom than that.

Short story is that Ritalin was the solution to the problem.  Maybe I am being a bit flippant.  It may or may not be the solution, but it is an option right now.

In the process of sitting in the evaluations, the feedback sessions, the testing, the re-testing, the having her see various specialists – it became clear to me, that as my depression and general anxiety disorder can be treated by taking the “right” medication, so could Georgia’s issue.

Giving her tofu twice a week, and organic strawberries on a Tuesday was not going to have much in the way of results.  No matter how much I wanted to sing  Kum ba yah My Lord.

We are on a four month trial, and will re-evaluate in January 2014, and may decide to make an entirely different decision then.

As I sat through all the questions, monkey puzzles and evaluation, I started to realise that much of Georgia’s “characteristics” are similiar to mine.  I have worked out a different set of coping mechanisms, and time and experience has taught me to mask it under a variety of guises.

Clever me.

The last doctor we met with – who was really going to be the guy who wrote the script – looked at me at one stage and asked whether I realised that I had the same “symptoms” as Georgia.

I smiled and explained I was medicated enough for the both of us.  Once I left his somewhat erratic office – I had an overwhelming need to pack his books so they lined up, and just tidy his desk up a bit – I gave it some thought, and I realised he was not as delusion as I had initially thought.

I have specifically avoided Dr Google on the subject of Ritalin.

The last appointment with Dr Psychiatrist (I have been with him for several years, and I trust him implicitly)  – I have a check in every 3 – 6 months – I asked what the risks were to him prescribing Ritalin for me.

I mentioned a few of the things we had realised with Georgia, and how  many of those things had resonated with me.

To cut a long blog post short, I requested we add Ritalin to my script and I see how it goes.

It took four or five weeks to find the right dosage.

I don’t want to lie to you, two weeks ago I thought I was having a fkn heart attack.

I think we have the dosage about sorted or I am on a placebo dose.  Feeling much better.  Heart rate well within the “normal” range now.

I am not sure what Ritalin does.  I know it is a stimulant, and it is usually prescribed for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

I do not have ADHD.  And I will keep telling myself that.

I used to have to mentally keep telling myself to “listen to what this person is saying” – and I would concentrate on their lips moving, or focus on a freckle just to the right of their nose as my theory was, if I kept a firm eye on them, then they would not realise that the “voices” in my head were screaming or my eye really wanted to focus on the tiny little bird I can see in the distance.

Light.  Sound.  Huge distractions.  If I saw a spelling error on something then I struggled to “hear” what someone was saying as I could not get over the “thing” that I saw or heard.

I had to will myself to stay on point when someone was talking .  Not because I was disinterested, but because my brain was usually a bit enamored by the way the light hit the glass.

Or I realised I could hear the sound of a grass mower about 300 meters down the road.

Ritalin.  For me.  Has been like a light going on.  Suddenly I can hear what people are saying without (as much) mental distraction.

My brain runs smoother and I can accomplish much more in a day.

I can read with a focus that I have lacked for several years.

I have not read the warnings on Ritalin.  I am not sure if involuntary quivering, muscle fatigue or an overwhelming need to really understand Miley Cyrus is in anyway mentioned.

But.  So far so good.

Do I think Ritalin is the answer?  Not sure.

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Good dreams and bad dreams …..

I don’t dream anymore.

I am not sure why not, I just don’t.  {it could have something to do with the excessive use of medication at bedtime – I have a script before you report me to the medication police}

I sleep like I am in a coma, but I wake up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning, so I feel it is a fair enough compromise on being a rabid eyed insomniac or being the sleeping beauty that awakes from her refreshing slumbers.

The last three nights I have had dreams that leave me exhausted and disturbed in the morning.

I am not sure if this is unique to me, or something that regularly occurs to other people, but I often “struggle” to keep my dreams in check, and I often go through the day with the same emotion that I was confronted with in my dreams.

Whether that be abandonment, fear, blind terror, or arguing with someone that their patterned curtains,really did not match the patterned duvet and the rather differently patterned wall paper.

This would have all been irrelevant if it was not the room that I had to live in for the next 5 years.  And the patterns weren’t all bad 1970’s patterns.

And I could get through the door.  I had to climb out through the burglar bars to get out of “my room.”

The dream was actually about the fact that Kennith had left me.

I recall having to ride on a bicycle, really far.

Here is a tip: if you ever see my riding on a bicycle assume I have suffered some sort of emotional or mental breakdown.  The chances of me on a bike are so remote, that it would need to be connected to me, bad patterns and climbing through burglar bars to make it vaguely a chance.

I woke up this morning and was surprised to find Kennith there.  He had left me in my dream.  It was quite realistic and specific.

The rest of the day was just this strange amalgamation of strange thoughts and emotions.  I kept finding myself wondering where my bike was and how I was going to live in the room with the bad patterns.

And why Kennith had decided to leave me.  And why I was riding a bike.  Could I no longer afford diesel?

I have decided that dreaming is something I can do without.

Blank. Dead. Sleep. Is far more my speed.

As was the case in my dream.

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Image source:  http://www.stefanobonazzi.it/a-bad-dream/

Happiness is … I actually have no idea …. none

I am always reluctant to mention that I am feeling happy.

My thinking is then people start to think that “happy” is a permanent state of mind.

If like me, you have never been “happy” for very long, you realise that “happy” is not a normal state.

It is something that flits in an out of your life, without any certainty or more importantly an ability to hang around for very long.

So best not to rely on it.  When I get “happy” I immediately get suspicious. I start to wonder what it is that made me feel like this, and I start to look at the reasons for why it will pass.

A friend,Sue,asked me the other day how am I.

I always take it as a very loaded question and I start over-thinking and over-evaluating when I know the right answer is “I”m fine, and how are you…?”

Lately I have been fine. I have actually been more than fine. I have moved to a state of being “content” for much of the time.

I am not going to get all “Kum ba yah” on your arse, but I have felt more settled, less anxious and just more “quiet” in my head.

My answer to Sue was “Great actually!”

Sue, being Sue, pried a bit more and wanted to know why I was feeling great.

The short answer was because I am no longer running to an office to be on time.

I am no longer running around like a mad thing trying to be all things to all people.

I no longer feel like I am always late for everything.  I no longer feel that I am missing out on everything in my life, and my kids lives.

I feel far more in control.

I feel measured, and I am doing things that give me joy.  Small things.  I read more, I watch less television.  I have gaps in my day where I can do things I want to do — and not in a mad rush, with the accompanying guilt.

I am not suggesting I do not work hard.  I do.  Starting a new business, and trying to penetrate a market where there are existing and well established competitors, is challenging.  It is not all plain sailing and great bank balances. It is often work for no money, and making some questionable decisions, but I learn.  

And I get better.

Much of what I do pushes me far out of my comfort zone.  I am not a natural sales person.  I am not a natural people’s person, but I work hard at ensuring I return calls, I sell myself as much as I can, and I make sure I interact with clients.  

I work long hours, but I structure my hours around my “other things.”

I have started volunteering at Ubuntu House recently. I did the volunteer course some time ago, but I just never got there.

I volunteer at the House and am aiming to do two mornings a week.  It was such a humbling and wonderful experience to be at the House, and hold the babies.

I thought it would be sad.  I thought I would be trying to smuggle a baby out under my jumper.

It wasn’t.

I loved holding the babies and rocking them until they went to sleep.  I realised (again) that I don’t know any songs or nursery rhymes, but the babies do not seem to mind.  “Ten Green Bottles hanging on a wall ….” seems to work like a charm, I could start at a hundred bottles and not one baby complained – bless their cotton socks, or onesie socks.

I officially became the “baby whisperer” I put three babies to sleep singing my off key little song and rocking them just like so.  It is such a lovely feeling to have a baby fall asleep in the nape of your neck as you rock them.  That heavy feeling that comes over them. The deep breathing … it is so gorgeous and intoxicating.

Why am I feeling great?

I am great because I feel less chaotic. If I want to go to Mr Price for two hours, then I go.  If I want to go to an art exhibition then I go.  I just take more time.

I work the hours back later.  

I really feel so much less anxious and less rushed and just less manic than before ….. I think for me the answer is “not to work for someone else …” and “not to just get a job so you can work…” – I should have “gone out on my own” years ago, it would have saved me a bundle on psychiatrists and medication, and a few breakdowns along the way.

I love what I do …. most of the time.

I still do not get to sleep late as I have the school morning run, get home, make myself a cup of tea and sit down and work until 16h30 and then dash out to fetch the kids.  I get home after collecting the kids, and I usually do an hour or three of work.

I think I am one of those people who “working in an office and ensuring you are there at 08h00 and then leaving at 17h00” is just not suited to me.  

I work hard, I am self-driven, I like to manage my own time —-  but if I cannot do it at 17h00, then leave me to do it at 19h00 or 23h00.

Rushing to an office and trying to juggle three kids at school can be a bit …. well a bit enough to drive you to a mental facility.

I don’t want to say I am  happy.  But I definitely feel content, and a little bit happy…. inside … quietly …. shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

{my hair dresser decided to put curls in my hair today … I said “okay”and then I came home with curls …. true story – this by the way is a “selfie” so don’t get too judgmental on the lighting and the mood music ….}

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Apple crunching, children chewing, pen clicking madness …..

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I know there has been some debate (and for those who do not know, or do not care, seriously people actually talk about this…. and stuff) as to what Misophonia is and whether is a psychological condition, or a learnt behaviour, or a sensitivity to certain environmental elements (much like an allergy would be).

As usual the guys over at Wikipedia explain it simply enough

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”,[1] is believed[2] to be a neurological disorder characterized by negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft.[3] The term was coined by American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff[4] and is often used interchangeably with the term selective sound sensitivity.[5] Misophonia has not been classified as a discrete disorder in DSM-V-TR or ICD-10.

The disorder comprises a unique set of symptoms, most likely attributable to neurological causes unrelated to hearing-system dysfunction. It can be described as an immediate and extremely negative emotional response accompanied by an automatic physiological flight response to identifiable auditory, visual, and olfactory stimuli. The disorder disrupts daily living and can have a significant impact on social interactions.

A 2013 review of the most current neurological studies and fMRI studies of the brain as it relates to the disorder[6] postulates that abnormal or dysfunctional assessment of neural signals occurs in the anterior cingulate cortex and insular cortex. These cortices are also implicated in Tourette Syndrome, and are the hub for processing anger, pain, and sensory information. Other researchers concur that the dysfunction is in central nervous system structures.[7] It has been speculated that the anatomical location may be more central than that involved in hyperacusis.[8]

I am not sure of what it is, and why it exists. I do know how sound effects me – and changes my mood, and my ability to cope rationally in a situation.

I have always had a sensitivity to sound – I am 41 now, and have always found many noises make me anxious and stressed.  It is not always how “loud” a sound is, it is often the type of sound.

I suffer with Chronic Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

When my Depression and GAD were at their worst, I found that I was unable to process and deal constructively with “everyday” sounds.

My kids eating dinner would send me into a rage.

My husband eating a crisp green apple in bed would make me wonder if I could kill him and bury his body in the yard, could I get away with it?

The drive home in the afternoon (fetching kids from school) is an hour of torture. By the time we get home, I am so tired, exhausted and irritated, I usually go and sit in a room by myself for an hour or two to try to come down from what can only be described as a “very bad mood.”

For quite a long period I believed I had my Depression and my GAD under control, and was off medication and treatment for several years.

Of course I was not in control, and my condition was worsening, until I had a real all-fall-down in 2011 – I sought treatment, both with a psychiatrist and a cognitive behavioural therapist, and was eventually admitted to a clinic because I was not coping with anything.

I started on medication and it took some time to find the right balance.

By the end of 2011, I started to feel a bit better and more in control. My misophonia also started to subside.

Certain noises still do make me irritable and I can’t bear to be near them – but I no longer feel as anxious, and “under threat” as I used to, so for me the side effect is that noises do not bother me as much.

I have realised that certain sounds are a problem, and as much as possible I try to avoid them.  I understand that to people who do not understand how sound effects me, they think I am overreacting or just being a total drama queen – and they are entitled to their own opinion.

I have realised that some of the triggers for me are:

  • Music radio
  • Reality shows with constant changes in pitch, screaming, clapping and then the dead silence as you wait for an announcement
  • E (Entertainment Channel on DSTV) – this channel makes me feel anxious, stressed and eventually anxious – I used to use this channel as background sound, and now I realise how bad that was for me.  I stop in from time to time, and watch 10 – 15 minutes every now and then, but it still is a bit of a catalyst so best avoided.
  • Chewing – good god!  I really understand how why in medieval times they had those huge tables and people sat 15 metres from each other.  Totally get it now.
  • That sucking sound that people’s lips make when they drink from one of those squeezy bottles!  Totally does my head in.  Connor’s favourite trick is to come and stand behind me whilst I am working and phut-phut-phut in my ear.  Then I kill him.  With my mouse.  Silly boy.

I have also used the CBT training to try to “think” through a situation when there is a sound and I can feel myself reacting – it does not always work, and I do eventually have to remove myself from the situation, but it does help me to process my emotions.

I am not sure if anyone else has experienced a link with depression/anxiety disorder and how their symptoms of Misophonia are effected.  More importantly an aversion to sound is a good enough reason to avoid “keeping up with the kardashians” at all costs!

Dexter …I’d marry you if there wasn’t laws against it ‪#‎bostonterrier‬

I have a sleep disorder that appears to be linked to my Depression and General Anxiety Disorder.  The short of it is that I am exhausted at night, but either cannot fall asleep, or I fall asleep and then wake up at about 02h00 and cannot fall asleep.

I have tried several things, but at the end of the day a good night’s sleep is often the cure for many of the ailments that we start looking for remedies for.

Being a funny old world, the less I sleep the more anxious and stressed I become.  Then the less I sleep.  Isn’t that a hoot?  No, not even a bit.

I take two sets of medication at night.  One to make me fall asleep.  And another to keep me asleep.  Works like a bomb.

With one unfortunate side effect.  I often get a strange amnesia before I drop off to sleep.  I appear to be functioning normally, but my brain has actually switched off, and I often realise in the mornings I have done some weird and less than wonderful things.

Yesterday morning I woke up to find that I had posted passionate devotions of love and potential marriage to my dog.  Along with a few photographs.  I am really glad the photos were of him and not “us.”

Listen, I like my dog, I am just not sure I am quite ready to marry him, just yet,

dexter_closeup

Suicide bunny and other musings ….

I am not sure how to start this post.

This is not a cry for help.

This is not a cry for trying to convince me to speak to someone.

Really it is not.

I have this post on the edges of my brain, and if I don’t put it down then what ever I write is going to feel like I am being dishonest.  As that is not what is really on my mind.

I have struggled with depression and an anxiety disorder for some time.  I have my good days, and I have my really cannot get out of bed days, but know I must pull the duvet off and just get on with it days.

I am on the right depression and anxiety medication.  I feel a hundred times better than I did say two years ago.  I am much more level and my emotions and reactions are even keeled.  The internal buzz has more or less quieted down to a mild drone.

Good times.

The addition of IBS has been challenging – the problem with it is that I feel ill much of the time.

My abdomen swells, I look 6 months pregnant – the pain spreads out across my back, then everywhere to the point where my skin actually starts to feel sore.  I am fending off remarks about “when I am due” with way too much frequency – of course it affects how I feel about myself and look horrendous.

I hate the way I look.  I hate looking at myself in the mirror.  I try to avoid seeing myself.  Tricky with floor to ceiling mirrors in our bathroom.

If my child asks me once more if I have I have a baby in my tummy, I might throttle her.

I have changed my diet/intake of food lasts week, because I believe my issue is far greater than a few days of feeling shite.  I am reading a few books on IBS and there have been several home truths -and reading another two for perspective.

book-whatyourdocIBS

The list of what I should avoid is long.

There is no easy quick fix.

There is a however a solution if I carefully monitor my intake, and ensure that I avoid refined sugar, refined wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol – pretty much everything at McDonalds.  Clearly I draw the line at excluding alcohol.  Let’s not be rash and too hasty now.

If I am excluding that, then the reason to live starts to get a bit hazy and uncertain.

The last four or five days have been a period of exclusion and making different decisions about what I eat.  There is just no way I can continue to survive and eat as I have been doing.

I don’t eat badly or in excessive, but I just cannot eat this way for myself and be healthy and comfortable.

This requires some thought, and a bit of a rethink about my life going forward.  I am not suggesting that IBS is a bit of a stomach ache.  I am suggesting it has become such a pr0blem that affects my every day functioning – I need to decide to behave differently if living is a goal.

My other issue is misophonia – a violent, sudden and physical reaction to sound.

I generally control the sound I experience and generally it does not change my mood or the way I behave.

The only exclusion is the drive home in the afternoon with the kids from school. It has become abundantly clear that I am actually unable to do that five days a week, and ensure all four of us make it home alive – the fighting and the noise in a confined space is doing my head in.  One drive home at a time.  One at a time.  I wistfully think of giving them bus fare/taxi fare and just “winging” it. If two out of three get home, then it is a win, right?

I have been falling out of the car recently and being thankful we have all made it home alive.  I am so irritated, and tense that the rest of the evening is a total lost cause.

Music radio??

For the love of gd.  It is beyond me how I managed to listen to it for so many years.  At the moment I always have audio CDs to listen to when I get into my car.  I listen to a story, or a collection of music CDs that I know will not trigger a reaction.  More story CDs than music, because I find the repetitive nature of most songs sets me off.  It is like having nails across a chalk board, or cutting wool with your teeth.

However when I get into Kennith’s car he listens to Five FM, and I seriously start wondering if I opened the car door, and released my seat belt if I could quietly roll away and the sound of the repetitive really bad music would stop and I could roll myself into a coma and then quietly pass away.

I am weighing up whether rolling out of the car is better than stabbing him in the temple with my Revlon chubby stick.  I am not sure.  I get more irritated that he does not realise how much the noise is a factor and how much it upsets me.  So instead I sit there and stare out the window and praying the car trip will be over.  Grinding my teeth and praying.  Soon.  Let it end.

Music radio is repetitive and at a pitch that I cannot bear.  5 minutes of five FM and I would kill you to make it stop.  Like dead.  I would feel total comfort in burying your body under my lavender.

Not feeling well, makes me wound tight as a reel.

Everything totally freaks me out.  I am sore, my nerves are shredded and no doubt it just makes my stomach tighten and the cramps and spasms worse.

Priv has just had a baby. Priv is my rock, she is the reason I remain vaguely sane.  The last month (June and July) without her in her usual position has left me frayed and stressed.  I was stressed before she has her baby, as I imagined the worst possible outcome for her and her  baby.

I worried, I fretted.

She went into labour last Monday, and the week was about running back and forth to the hospital, waiting in waiting rooms, trying to navigate the public health system and worrying for her every moment of every day made my nerves frayed, and I am exhausted.  I feel sick with worry.

Priv and her baby girl are happily home and I am relieved.

But I worry.  I worry how this is going to work going forward.  I worry about everything.  I worry about her.  I worry about the baby. I worry about how this arrangement is going to work going forward.  I worry. I worry eternally about everything.  Of course when someone asks I say “it’ll work itself out” in a little sing-song voice I have mastered.

Every little thing. I worry about.  I worry to the point that my jaw is sore because I have it set in such an uncomfortable manner.

If I started biting my nails (as I did until 1999) they would be bitten to the quick and bleeding.  But I have nice nails, and no longer chew them – but I have started scratching my legs – that helps.  I also pinch my upper leg, or I flick my fingers.

I am so worried about her.  I am so worried about me and my ability to cope at the moment.

My IBS on a scale of 1 to 10 is a good and solid 8 1/2 and I feel grim most of the time.  It makes me irritable, hostile and angry. I cannot function when it is at it’s worst.  My stomach swells, I feel nauseous, I feel sweaty – I have cramps and spasms that are surely my comeuppance for not attempting a vag.in.al birth.

The last three nights as I dozed off my mind has been trying to calculate exactly how much medication an overdose would be.  How much would I have to take?  Would I prefer a 3 month coma or straight death?  Tricky, tricky — which will it be?  I have enough schedule 5 drugs to stop a small herd of goats firmly in their tracks.

Could I just go to sleep, and be at peace?  No more pain, no more discomfort, no more feeling shite.  Could that really be an option? Or is it time to schedule another little sojourn in my nearby clinic?

I don’t want to rob my kids of a mom.  I also do not want to be an irritated, upset, horrible mother than clouds their existence.  The reason they are on a leather couch in 15 years bemoaning why the fuck their mother could not just be happy.

I looked at some short videos that Kennith had taken recently of our holiday, and Georgia’s birthday party.

I am not the one smiling.  I never look happy. I look pained, irritated and angry – which is pretty much how I feel most of the time.  I am never smiling in videos or photographs – unless someone tells me to smile, and then it is forced and never moves to my eyes.

I know that if I wrote down a list of “things to be happy for” and “things to be fucked off about” – my list of happy would far exceed my “things to be fucked off about.”

I have a good life.

I have some wonderful advantages in my life, I have so much to be happy about – but I am unfortunately so deeply unhappy.

The reality is that my reality feels dark, sad, pained and confusing — and at a certain point I start to look for ways to step off the fun, but nauseating round about.

So that’s how I feel them.  Clearly not main stream happy, and maybe not Living and Loving Magazine cover bullshit, but there we go.  You know what they say …. actually I have no idea what the fuck they say.

 

suicide bunny

My 4 Year old boy is on antidepressants and that’s okay …

I read this post today, and I was humbled and amazed at the bravery of a parent.

I am acutely aware of how difficult and fraught with misguided advice and criticism the decision is to decide to take “head medication” is.

For yourself.  As an adult.

As much as society bandies around the labels “depression” “anxiety and general anxiety disorder” over cocktails at the local.

When you go through the process and find yourself at the bottom of the dark pit, and your fingernails bleeding from trying to scramble out, and find that instead of making progress towards the light, you are sliding further back into the deep dank darkness of the pit.

For what ever reason you want to be “normal”, and also want to be able to cope with life’s little lemons in a happy bright sort of way – but then you realise at some point that maybe “normal” is an inappropriate level to aim for.  Maybe.

Surviving until 10h00.  Then 14h00.  Then until the kids go to bed, and you can climb into your bed, and just lie there and wait for Morpheus to come creeping.  You know how dark your darkest hour can be.  You know that when people tell you to “just be happy” or to “cheer up” that you would kill them with a spoon if it meant you could just be happy.

You have trying to be “happy” for years at this point, and it always seems to be like silver minnows swimming just below the surface of the water.  You catch glimpses, you keep thinking it is within your reach, but it never is something you can hold on to.

It seems okay to say you are depressed, but actually taking medication in the form of pills, every day, well that is just another issue.  Taking medication would mean admitting you really are sick.

And maybe not as “normal” as you try to look and feel.

As an adult and deciding this course of action for yourself is extremely difficult.  Even as society has developed and grown, there is still a stigma attached to being a bit of a loon and needing medication to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Of course there isn’t you scoff.

Yes, there is, I say.

Deciding that your child needs medication for depression, is something I hope I will never have to face.

I have enough baggage and guilt to deal with, without having to deal with the fact that it might be because of ME that my kids are not well adjusted and their brains are not able to adapt to the daily pressures of “normal” life.

Today I read about Shawn Roos’ piece and it made my heart jump – and my breath catch.

It’s a brave and insightful piece – read it:

Don’t let stigma and saving face stop you from saving your child.

We named Micah before we knew him, and as it turned out, around the very time he was born. My wife and I had decided to adopt and were filled with a sense of purpose. We met Micah in a chance encounter in the lobby of our church.

I remember saying to Nina as I looked at this 6 month old boy, rotund and all-cheeks “It feels weird looking at a child knowing that there’s  apossibility he may just become your child.” It’s an experience that only an adoptive parent will ever know.

Turned out I was right. Two months later, Simphiwe – now Micah – became our son.  Read the rest of this brave post here.

 

Parenting is not always about making the decision whether to go with the dinosaur or the pirate theme, sometimes it is about making those hard decision.

Our children need us to be parents, their guides, their pathfinders …. it’s difficult, and challenging, and not always a decision that we make easily, but not helping your child is not an option – how long do you wait and watch the damage continue before stepping in?

 

micah

Noise really does change the way you behave …

I have always been somewhat sensitive to sound, to light, to what I deem as “excessive” in either.  Sound is probably the most intrusive.

I also struggle with space and too many people being too close to me, or even being touched too much — I really struggled when my children were small and having them “ON ME” all the time as babies do.  That hot sticky milkiness was as lovely as it was a trigger to drive me to insanity in a green clown side-car.

It would make me feel very anxious and stressed, and I would feel the panic that starts to grip me when ever any of my senses are overloaded.

The problem with all of these “over sensory stimulation” issues is that if you do not realise what they are, and you do not understand why you react in a particularly (and in some cases) violent manner.

You start to convince yourself you are the village freak!

Because what could be wrong with your children touching you, talking to you really loud, in your face, and fighting with each other for who will clamber onto your lap?

It’s normal.  It is natural.

What is not normal, natural and rational is you edging with your back towards a couch or a wall, so that you are defending your back and only have to deal with the “attack” from the front.

This weekend we were away, and I really enjoyed it.  The only thing that makes me very stressed is that when you are travelling and away from home you generally are in situations where everyone is physically together.  Together in the car.  Together in what is usually much smaller accommodation to what you are used to.

Together in that you are walking around the Cango Wildlife Ranch and your children keep grabbing your hands, and hugging your legs, and everytime you sit down it is as if two of them turn into leeches and try to suck the life out of your head, because that is where they appear to be trying to sit.

And talking and talking.  In loud high pitched voices.

Noise and clingy-ness is a natural and normal part of having children.  I  try to adjust and breath through it.

I came across the term “misophonia” about two years ago.

I thought I had stumbled on to the holy grail when I found a support forum at http://www.misophonia.com.

I sat and read people who understood what I was going through.  Who were going through the same things – and they were talking to each other about it.  Rather than sitting in their room weeping because they could not bear to be shamed by “acting funny when there is a noise you do not like.”

I was fortunate to have a psychiatrist and a psychologist and a CBT guy I could chat to – so I was not feeling as lonely, misunderstood and desperate as many people whose only support mechanism is this forum.

The forum however made me realise that there are people like me, and people who suffer more.

I recall reading a post from a guy who had to move to a small town, as he could not deal with the surround sound you get in a city.  He also had to move to a place where he could walk to work, as he found the noise of the bus too noisy, and it would put him into a state of panic.

I saw this post on the forum recently, and I wanted to share it with you:

Once again I would like to affirm uncategorically, this is indeed a real condition, with real physiological changes in the bodily functioning, even if we cannot ‘prove’ it yet.

This is not some weird psychological condition that you created for whatever reason for yourselves.

The over riding pattern of onset, identical histories and reactions, having evaluated 100s of patients and corresponded with 1000s by phone or email or Skype…..it is all to me one long running documentary that supports the fact
the Selective Sound Sensitivity/Miso is indeed a real condition, a genuine alteration or aberration in the way the central nervous system is functioning.

Many people struggle with this, every day I am asked, isn’t this just a psychological issue, like a phobia?

No, it is not.

Every day I am asked, people think I could just stop it, but I can’t. If I try harder, can I stop?

No. No more than you can try to stop the red blood cells from flowing into your arteries and veins. No, you cannot stop it by thinking your way out of it. No, you cannot stop it by simply ‘stopping’ it.

You can control your reactions, you can keep a public face, you can manage your environment for your best outcomes and highest comfort.

I really need to be clear here, in my own words, carefully chosen as I do not want to paint of picture of hopelessness, I want to affirm the fact that 4S/mis is a true condition that has biochemical and genetic components.

How we can change that is all up for grabs right now, some approaches are proving more effective than others.

And I do not mean to imply that proper psychological counseling does not help those who suffer, it surely does!

But that in itself, does not ‘cure’ 4S/miso, it can certainly alter how we manage our responses.

I need to say this often, I get so many calls or emails from people, parents, desperate for help or information and many have been told they have an emotional/mental problem. Every day I see kids who have been diagnosed with all kinds of things who primarily show signs of 4S/miso more than any other symptom.

Please, believe me, I have proof of the pudding with 15 years of contacts and direct clinical experience, this is real, this is physical, this is going to be imaged one of these days.

Dr. Marsha Johnson, Audiologist

I had spoken to my audiologist, my ear specialist, my CBT guy and my psyciatrist and none of them had ever heard of Misophonia.

The point I am trying to make with this is not that it DOES NOT EXIST, but the fact that it does, and it is often so poorly recognised that the medical fraternity does not diagnose it and thus treat it – or supply advise and expertise on how you can deal with it.

I cannot tell you how I felt a sense of “see I was right” when I had searched and searched and spoken to people about my aversion to sound, and how it sets me off.  How it changes the way I feel.  And what a revelation it was to know that it is real, and there are thousands (maybe millions) of people who struggle with the same.

How noise or particular sounds puts me into an advanced state of panic and anxiety.

Most people associate it as a symptom of anxiety and stress disorder, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe it is a “thing” that sets off the anxiety and stress, and not symptom of it.

Misophonia Symptoms:  People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by such ordinary sounds as other people clipping their nails, brushing teeth, eating, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, chewing gum, laughing, snoring, typing on a keyboard, whistling or coughing; certain consonants; or repetitive sounds. Some are also affected by visual stimuli, such as repetitive foot or body movements, fidgeting or any movement they might observe out of the corner of their eyes. Intense anxiety and avoidant behavior may develop, which can lead to decreased socialization. Some people may feel the compulsion to mimic what they hear or see.

Misophonia it is a real condition people.

stop popping that gum.  stop slurping that soup.  for the love of god stop chewing so damn loud.  leaves room.  slams door.  lies on bed in room where it is quiet until the kids find me.

{another good resource – http://misophoniasupport.tumblr.com/}

misphonia

Just how I feel …

This is a perfect illustration of exactly how I feel some days.

Fortunately I have not had a day like this in some time, and I am so damn grateful.

somedays

Not sure where this image is from, so I can’t credit it to it’s source.

Insomnia and I are long time friends ….

Insomnia was one of the “things” I picked up during the Great Depression of 2011.

I have always been a bit of an iffy sleeper.  I go to sleep easily, but I wake up 4 hours later with my brain in a whirl whilst I work through every possible permutation of everything I said, did and nearly did in the day.

Each outcome will have a new set of possibles and then I have to work through them.

Anxiety and stress is really an exhausting friend to keep.  Demanding, needy, and never looks out for your best interest.  She is not a friend you want to get to close to, and you really do not want her stupid status updates at 23h00, 24h00, 01h00 and 02h00.

Unfortunately it is one of those thing where the more anxious and stressed you get, the less you sleep.  The more tired you are, the more anxious and stressed you get, so you are exhausted and your nerves get more frayed and you desperately need to sleep.

But you are too stressed and anxious to sleep, so your brain does not get quiet and there you are staring at the ceiling wondering if you could turn the television on, and put the sound low enough so your partner does not wake.

I have a script from my guy-in-a-white-coat that gives me a small white pill of “instant sleep.”

I am fairly sure that Sleeping Beauty took an Ivedal which may explain why she fell instantly asleep.  Possibly it was in the drinking water hence the entire castle following suit.

The downside is I get a bit of amnesia before I fall asleep, so sometimes do and say things I have zero recollection of the following day.

The upside is I sleep like the dead, and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and alert, and never lie awake trying to stop myself thinking about the blinking light on my desk, even when my eyes are closed.  Sometimes I crack one eye open to see if I can catch the blinking light out.  Being tired also makes me delusional.  More than usual.

I forgot to renew my script yesterday.

Last night I had no white pill.

Instead I got finishing a book in the hope it would make me go to sleep.

Putting the light off and closing my eyes and thinking “go to sleep thoughts.”

I counted sheep backwards, I usually start at 1001 and work my way to 1.  I never get to 1, I get bored around 950.

I think soothing thoughts, calming thoughts, I take deep breaths and try to relax.

At 1am I realised this was really not working.  I put on my daggiest bathrobe, traipsed downstairs and did some work.  I climbed back in to bed at about 5am, watched a bit of tv and tried to fall asleep.

The sleep fairy snuck by at about 06h50 and blew “instant sleep” in my face.

Connor had to scream “MOM, you need to get up we are going to be late!!!”  After the third time, I got out of bed, bleary eyed and punch drunk.

I could easily be an extra on The Walking Dead right now!

It is 10h35 and I am going to make a cup of tea, find a warm blanket and see if I can quietly sink off into blissful sleep. I have no idea how new moms go through sleep deprivation and do not end up going insane

Insomnia Final

 

I have a fabulous Organics hamper to give away, but really need to be able to focus to put that together.  Promise I will do it for tomorrow, as well as announce the winner to the Disney pack ….. brain she is just too exhausted right now to do much beyond breath-aim-to-the-kitchen for tea.

 

Sleep writing and eating cake ….

sleep1

I had about a few years of sleep disturbance.  No matter how tired I was, I would fall asleep but would wake up between 2 and 3am and lie there exhausted, but unable to sleep.  My brain just did not shut down ….

By the end of 2011 not sleeping added to the general symptoms of depression and extreme stress, and really started to take it’s toll.

Any the who, my psychiatrist was treating me for a range of issues, but sleep deprivation is a real bugger, and is often the catalyst that makes it all fall apart.  I was prescribed some tablets to help me fall asleep.  Then another set to keep me asleep, and it was all happy days from there on.

I have been taking them for ages, and once we sorted out the levels so that I don’t feel lethargic or slow in the mornings, then it has been working like a bomb.

The key is that I need 8 hours sleep to allow the meds to work through my system, if I go to bed late (say 11pm) then I feel quite slow and heavy in the mornings.

The tablets are of the sort that I take whilst I am sitting in bed, as when it hits, it totally smacks me over.  There is no operating heavy farm machinery after I have taken my “sleep stuff.”

The other interesting side effect is it causes a bit of amnesia.  In some cases I still appear to be “all there” but unfortunately I have mentally left the room, and my body just does not realise, so I might be doing something or talking about something, and I have no recollection of what I did or what I said.

Last night I went to bed, took “my stuff” and sat and read my book.  Kennith brought me a cup of tea and some cup cakes and a chocolate slab.  I ate one of the little cupcakes, drank my tea and went to sleep.

Or so I thought.

This morning I wake up, and I have drawings all over my left arm.

I think “what have the kids done to me…” but then I realise that the swirls are rather advanced,and the design though from my elbow to my finger tips is a bit more advanced than my kids can manage – it is all swirls and doodles, and clearly is using a few different pens.

I am lying there looking at my arm, thinking “what the fuck” and then my eye drifts to the side table.

My pens that were in my bag, are all over the table.  There is an empty chocolate wrapper, no cupcakes and there are balls of chewing gum stuck on the plate.  It is total mayhem on my side table.

Clearly when my brain went to sleep, my body decided cupcakes, chocolate, chewing gum and drawing on myself with varying permanent markers was a fabulous idea.

… for fuck sakes …… {I should have taken a photograph!}

Depression and Medication …. its a fun game of tag you are it …

1302_crows

I have been patting myself on the back lately as I seem to be on a good level emotional keel.

2011 was a year with a slow slide downwards, and then an eventual bottom out, that left me weeping and clinging to the edge of sanity with torn and bloodied fingernails.  I’d love to regale you with tales of how I conquered that shit, but that bitch kicked my arse and then came back to poke me in the eye!!!

In 2011, I built a close and totally dependent relationship with a psychiatrist who seemed to understand how to help me.  We worked through a few options of medication until we found the “most right for today” option.

I arrived in his office when I was shaking and jibbering, so he did have rather broken person to fix. I was convinced that there was not enough medication in the universe that would possibly help me.  But I was wrong.  Not the first time, not the last time.

The right medication is pretty unbelievable.  I was in an absolute state, and many of my symptoms had stopped being psychological, and had become physical symptoms.  I had neck and back pain that felt like spasms. I had also been clenching my jaw so hard for so long that my face ached.  I had clenched my jaw so tightly that I had cracked one of my molars.

Depression and medication is a bit of a challenge.

Medication, at some point, makes you feel like you have got a handle on life and that you might try to nurture a pot plant.  At least for some part of the day.

The problem with this buoyant feeling and the twinkle in your eye, is that it makes you feel like you are “alright” and just might be coping.  So the first thing that you do is toss your meds – ‘cos who needs those when you are feeling so damn good!!

Once you are feeling good, with such a good handle on not having an emotional vomit every time you go out for dinner, well then the nest step is to cancel those Dr Psychologist appointments.

First, they are not free.  Secondly, it is an hour of you sitting on a couch talking about shit that you really would rather not think about,  And thirdly, at some point your medical aid runs out and you are coughing up a few thousand, to chat to someone, about shit you don’t want to think about any more, because you feel so damn even keeled!!

So you cancel the crap out of those weekly appointments.  Because now you have the coping mechanisms that only drugs and therapy can make you think you have.

Flush with the extra hours available in your week, and the chance of maybe a few rand saved, you face your new life with a whole new outlook.

Depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder is no picnic.  I know “depression” is a term that gets bandied around fairly freely – and I am definitely not the one to judge whether someone is having a bad day or is diagnosed with depression.

So here I sit.  Feeling not so bad.

I have cut back on some of my medication. I take a slow release SEROQUEL XR, and an IVEDAL sleeping tablet at night.  I used to take another set of medication during the day, but as time went by I realised I could cope without it, and cut back, as I felt the Seroquel was working well for me on it’s own.

I could probably sleep by myself.   I could probably.  But right now I am reasoning “why take the risk when what I am taking have little to no side effects, and what I am taking works?”

I have cancelled my Dr CBT, and I am feeling all pretty “hey check at me, nearly got this LIFE shit sorted…”

But around the edges, I start to realise that cracks are starting to reveal themselves.  Not big hulking sink-the-titanic cracks, but hair-line fractures.

It’s time I book another “just checking in” session with my psychiatrist and more importantly make an appointment with DR CBT.

And such is the “always there” black dog …… even when you think he has gone away.

On a non-related note, do you know the collective noun for a group of cats, is a pounce of cats?  I love that – my favourite collective noun is a “Murder of Crows” more … I do love collective nouns.  This last paragraph has no relation at all to the last post, but this is sort of how my brain works.