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

Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

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…

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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.

Exploring the depths.

Hi peeps. I still don’t feel inspired to write. I plummeted right down over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend. Most of it was OK, but by the Monday I was so down, tried to be sociable and met friends for lunch but it just didn’t do a thing for my mood except possibly to make it worse.

My moods are not usually that stubborn. ‘Stuff’ has really got to me lately. Beginning with the psychotic breakdown in April. And now the break-up of my long-term relationship: the two not wholly unconnected. I’m getting older. Cumulative losses are breaking my back.

Weather has been crap to boot. What happened to the summer?

Reflection on ‘relationships and me’. No wonder I hold back from falling in love, from being vulnerable in a relationship with someone I really like. I’m devastated and distraught over the loss of someone who was very very far from ideal, and who at best was only partly committed and partly there.

My fear of people continues apace. At the same time I am desperately lonely. My self esteem is about as low as it gets, not for the first time. 

Ex called last night. It was a relief to have a civilised conversation with him. I had thought he was angry and bitter but he said no. He said he could accept that it just wasn’t working. I said I hoped we could be friends but it might take time. The difficulty I am having is that I don’t know if I can really let go. Let go of the intimacy, trust that it does not mean I will be cast into the void forever. Abandonment.

‘Mind’ is telling me I am a pariah. That I should ring a bell to announce my arrival so that no-one else need risk contamination.

I told you my self-esteem was low. The psychotic episode hit me so very hard. I had dared to hope. All of that seemed to come crashing down. Can I believe in myself, with or without episodes of madness?

At the end of it all this is depression. Just surprised I am still so down. Am I still ill? Yes, it would appear so.

Sad beyond words

Hi. I’ve had a rough week emotionally. Have been frankly weepy at times…This morning I was doing my computer course at Learn Direct and a memory suddenly surfaced a propos of ? and the tears just started to well up. I am in the full flood of grief. Grief for my lost life, for my child who could not live with me, for the warm, close and nurturing family that I (and therefore he) never had.

All, I suppose, triggered by this latest ‘loss’ of my sanity and consequent loss of the hope that I had of staying well. Oh, and the loss of my relationship, because I have kind of given up on it. And the depression is telling me I do not deserve another one.

And if that all comes across as reasonably self-pitying I can only nod, agree and apologise.

But having got that off my chest I’ve spent two days at work and staying busy and productive definitely helps. Also I have decided to adopt a kitten from the RSPCA, and the lady came round to my house last night to check me and my premises out as suitable. Apparently I will be put in touch with the foster carer of the kitten that needs a home and will go round and see it. They are ‘knee-deep’ in kittens at this time of year, she told me.

Also my friend came back from holiday. I had really missed her, and we went for lunch and then to our local outdoor ‘lido’. I did enjoy that.

And I am calling this post ‘Sad beyond words’ because what I can say here really is the tip of the iceberg. Somehow no words can properly express the feelings and in any case, I don’t want this blog to be one big introspectathon. The truth is I am hurting too much to make a lot of sense, too withdrawn to think beyond surviving this right now.

Mental Illness Impacts on Relationships Part 47

Hi all. Things have been a bit all-over-the-place for me emotionally over the last week. Even by my standards! I decided to go and stay with my Mum at the weekend, in my wisdom. It was a scorcher – she lives near the coast – seemed like a no-brainer. Why can’t things ever just be that simple?

The first 24 hours were fine enough. We chatted lots, went to the beach, went swimming in the sea. Then we went for an Indian meal. I don’t know why but my mood plummeted into my boots around the time we had the meal. Maybe it was partly the situation…eating a meal alone with my mother on a Saturday night. Feeling like a useless, washed-up failure with a history of broken and discarded relationships and an empty life.

Anyway we had been going to see a film but I had to cry off that and got an early night. The next day I was struggling again with my mood…until I exploded with anger and resentment at my Mum. It was a broiling hot afternoon, even near the coast, and we went for a hellish drive and an even more hellish walk, arguing as we went, both now really upset and saying a lot of stuff we didn’t mean and maybe some we did.

This is unfortunately a pattern. I now rarely go to see my Mum or if I do I only spend one night or just an afternoon. It’s the same when she comes here, sometimes even worse because I feel territorial, as if she is invading my space.

I am naturally ashamed of my behaviour. Depression doesn’t make me dignified, silent, poetic or melancholy. It is so raw and painful I frequently cannot contain myself from exploding with irritation or lashing out with anger. The excruciating guilt, shame and remorse follow close behind.

I spoke to my Mum on the phone today and we smoothed things over. We were both quite devastated by the argument. With all the ambivalence, the history and strain there can be between us I know that she loves me to the best of her ability. She suffers, seeing me suffer. That is the bottom line. That is why the relationship has been strained to breaking point, but has never broken.

I am not over this depressive episode. It’s a time thing. As I tried to explain to my Mum (who does not really understand depression first-hand) the best way to recover from depression is to recover from depression. Only when you start to recover can you start doing all those things again that give you a sense of self-worth and build you up physically, mentally, spiritually. When you are in the full throes of an acute phase you often can’t do more than keep breathing.

Anger in depression can be a dangerous thing if it drives you to alienate the people who are closest to you. I have been in serious danger of doing just that. But I went to my CBT session today, and that is definitely starting to make more sense. The rapport with the therapist is building too. Then this evening I went to a marvellous OA (Overeaters Anonymous) meeting. Relationships are powerful things. Scary, yes. Terrifying, sometimes. But I know I need them…

Lovely to be here at WordPress by the way, and lovely to be able to read my ‘stats’ and comments and know that I’m not nattering away to an empty room! Love you … Zoe.

Still out for the count

I’ve been ill with the flu and more or less out of action all week, any plans scuppered. Am hoping to get to Bonkersfest on Saturday, at Camberwell Green, South London, though. Anyway I’ve been interwebbing away today, hardly commenting or writing anything, just reading and imbibing others’ wisdom. Been at SF Jane’s for the last couple of hours, she is really something else. I am impressed by her to the point of paralysis. She is so alive, so intelligent and articulate. And the way she delivers the videos as well as the writing. And her story. OK, I’m just gushing now.

It may be partly the depression but I don’t have a lot of self-confidence or esteem right now. I don’t rate my abilities highly. I feel a little bit brain dead. Reading a lot of other people’s blogs is good but there comes a point where I need to start doing something myself. Finding a way to frame my own thoughts.

I am still gutted that I had to go back on meds because I had a recurrence of mania. I suppose I felt that I would have to stay on them forever and that meant giving up hope of recovering by other means.

You know what? I don’t know any of this. I don’t know what the future holds. I feel too confused, ill and fog-brained right now to come to any clear conclusions. For me God or a Higher Power seems to be something I need in my life to have any sense of security, peace or equanimity. Chaos and mental torment have ravaged me of late. I still don’t have my feet on solid ground.

Take care though…