When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for September, 2008

Arabic, friends and more kitten talk!

Hi peeps. I’ve been a much happier bunny all round this last week. Life has got its taste back. I have recovered my enthusiasm and excitement about things that I want to do and so forth. Last night I started a course in Beginners’ Arabic, which believe it or not is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but had thought that it would be too much, the way I was feeling. As my mood was so much better I thought I would try and join, two weeks late notwithstanding. The very nice Somalian/Yemeni teacher was understanding and helpful though and has offered to tutor me up to the others’ level on Saturday mornings. Part of me thinks I’m a little mad to take it on, but provided my mental and physical health holds I should be OK. I have good language learning ability. And I really just wanted to do something that’s both fun and challenging.

Other good things are unfolding in my life. My new friend who lives nearby. We’ve been getting on really well so far. I hesitate to say much about it. I don’t want this friendship to go the way of some others that seemed to start promisingly but kind of fizzled out for one reason and another. I have a tendency to get very enthusiastic at the outset of a friendship (or project) but don’t always have the long-term staying power to see it through. I will say this though. If you asked me to name one thing that I feel would most improve the quality of my life I would probably say ‘more and closer friendships’. It’s one of the regrets of my life that I haven’t been a better and more loyal friend whether through my own faults and flaws or because of circumstances (such as the illness) beyond my control.

Then there is the delight of Merlin the kitten and Amber the older cat. Merlin gave Richard and me a turn on Saturday when he disappeared completely for several hours. We hunted everywhere, combed the neighbourhood and the back alleys, calling and calling. It was getting dark and I had more or less given up hope when I was standing in the kitchen and I saw to my great relief his little black front end coming through the cat flap. The prodigal kitten had returned!

I kept him in for a while after that. Now he is allowed out again, on good behaviour, with a collar with a bell on it on which I have written all our details. He is also microchipped naturally. He so loves to be outdoors and usually I have to say he is sensible though adventurous. Of course he’s neutered too. And I have noticed in the last few days he seems to be bonding with me more. He’s affectionate, likes attention, and sleeps on my bed, where before he shared Amber’s. Basically I adore him. I realised that when he disappeared. I would have been devastated if he had been lost. How fragile our happiness is!

Look how big I am now!

Look how big I am now!

What’s more we had some beautiful idyllic days of Indian summer sunshine. After the damp squib that was August it was most welcome and, nicely for the workers amongst us, it came over the last two weekends.

Take care dear peeps. Love, Zoe.

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Citalopram etc etc…

Think I forgot to mention in my last missive that two weeks ago I saw my shrink and she put me on the antidepressant Citalopram. And whether by coincidence or whether the two are related, my mood has definitely lifted in the last few days. I’m afraid I am sceptical to the last about psych meds. My experience is that they do not (consciously) make me feel better, but have sometimes made me feel worse. Other times they disappointingly seem to have very little effect one way or the other.

My experience of depression is that it invariably does lift eventually anyway, new drug or no new drug. But for now, I feel inclined to give Citalopram the benefit of the doubt. You never know do you. Maybe it’s the wonder drug I’ve been searching for all these years! I like the fact that it’s meant to be good for social anxiety and the like as well as the depression. It seems to be quite the flavour of the month, as I know quite a few people who are on it.

Like Stormgazer I must say that I love this time of year. Perhaps paradoxically it seems to be the time in my life when I make a fresh start. It’s always linked with starting a new course for instance, which I’ve done so many times, almost always with great excitement and anticipation. I also really get off on the colours. I often come to a standstill when out walking, just transfixed by a particularly beautiful tree.

Which reminds me that Richard was over at the weekend, we are quite aimiable at the moment and we went for a long walk on the Sunday up through Alexandra Palace, and along the Parkland Walk at Muswell Hill to Highgate Wood. Richard once did a course in Arboriculture and Tree Surgery, and so he knows a ton about trees. By the end of the walk I was amazed, mainly by my own ignorance and by how many different varieties of tree there are. If you asked me to name all the ones I could think of I would probably only come up with about ten.

Don’t know much about tree-ology…but I do know that I love them…especially  decked out in their autumn clothes.

Talking of clothes that’s another reason to love autumn. Clothes get interesting again. You have an excuse to wear more layers, and be creative. Some of us (usually the young and the skinny) look better the less they wear. Most of us it’s probably the other way around, certainly it is for me! Yesterday I treated myself to two lovely Merino wool jumpers and a smart shiny black padded jacket from Uniqlo in Oxford Street. Aah, retail therapy!

Take great care of yourselves dear peeps…

In a deep blue funk…

Hi peeps. Things are still rough. I came out of the crisis unit after two weeks today. Have not had the heart to blog in all that time. I was grateful for caring people around me. God, I was just grateful to be around people. I realised that living alone when I am depressed exacerbates the condition.

I brought the kitten into the unit for the second part of my stay. I wanted to have him close at hand so I could feed him regularly and keep tabs on him. Plus it was a lot of fun for me and the other clients and the staff! Except that he escaped a couple of times into the massive garden there and was keen to test out his untried climbing skills on the massive shed roof and the big trees! Talk about a cat with nine lives…

I am relieved to be safely back at home with him in one piece. Here he has already mastered the cat flap and enjoys the freedom to go back and forth. So far he is sensible and does not stray far. Amber, the older cat, has a love hate relationship with him but when I brought him back after our time away she sniffed his nose in an almost affectionate way before giving vent to the inevitable ‘ssss’!

They are often to be found stretched out together on the spare bed. They make me smile with their antics and I am important to their existence. That’s well worth the smelly cat litter and nigh on endless trips to the supermarket for their food!

I am getting bored with my voluntary work. I guess it might be time to start looking around for something else. A lot of the time, though, I am just stuck in one gear. Survival gear. Just getting by.

I made a potential new friend in the crisis unit. She lives a few streets away in a similar house to me, has a similar-sounding life (complete with cat) and a lot of the same interests. It’s all good.

Take care peeps. Love, Zoe.

Black Dog Tired

Time for an update. This week I have been so depressed I have not been able to work. I am hardly able to walk, even. When I go out I walk slowly and painfully along the road like a much older woman. Could not do yoga.

Things I still do. Get up in the morning. Wash and dress. Take baths. Cook. Eat. Feed and pet cats. Water plants. Go out because if I stay in too long it becomes unbearable and I need to be around people even though I also experience pain in their presence. Look at email and look up stuff about personality disorders, social phobia and various sorts of therapy that might offer me a little chink of hope, however small.

I am nothing if not resourceful.

But emotionally I am one big mess.

I am going back into the Crisis Unit. It is only a few months since I was last there. But I had run out of resources and Things to Do to feel in any way safe.

Have been thinking about how much I have always hated my dad. How I could find nothing redeemable in him. That I perceive him as sub-human, in that respect. I basically prefer Hitler to my father. He was a vegetarian animal-lover remember! In the case of my dad there is no balance in my emotional response.

I guess I am still, emotionally, reacting as that vulnerable young child. No, actually, I don’t know. What I do know is, this hatred is corroding ME. It can’t harm my dad in any way as he is four years dead. I feel so very stuck. And that, if I could begin to forgive him or at least see his humanity, I might be freed from my own harsh self-judgment.

Have I got PTSD, BPD or Social Anxiety?

Been shopping around for therapeutic possibilities. And I am prepared to pay! Let’s face it, therapy after two years on another NHS waiting list is not a lot of bleeding use to me right now. I just know that I can’t do this alone. I need affirmation, and hope.

Good to talk to you, peeps. Love, Zoe.