I’m (fairly) normal.

I woke up the next morning full of apprehension, today was going to be make or break, I was starting my anti-depressants. I hated taking tablets, a headache would have to be pretty bad for me to reach for the paracetamol, I don’t know where it came from, maybe the evil doctor that used to stick a spoon down the back of my throat during my examinations as a child brought on this fear of pills, especially the big ones, Oh I hadn’t even thought to look at the size of them!! Luckily, they were a normal size, which I swallowed with a fizzy drink (the bubbles stop you feeling it go down – little tip there for you.) The doctor had gone through the side effects but I never usually suffered from any of those things, that just didn’t happen to me.

I got into work and was feeling an unusual lack of appetite, maybe it was the anxiety of the morning and taking the first tablet, oh well, I certainly wont starve without breakfast, in fact I could do with losing a few pounds. By lunchtime, I was feeling a bit sick, probably because I hadn’t had any breakfast, so I took myself off to lunch. When I got there I just didn’t want to eat anything, I love food and never miss lunch, its my time to meet with friends and have something good to eat, plus I still felt sick. I forced myself to eat a salad (I am queen salad dodger by the way, they bore me) but the sickness lingered and I was now exhausted.

I got home and didn’t have the energy to cook a dinner, so we got a takeaway, which I barely touched and I went to bed, still feeling sick. After another day of feeling sick & tired, I decided to look up the side effects, I remembered the doctor saying side effects could last up to a week or so. There we had it, tiredness & nausea. Maybe I was making myself feel worse just by looking at the symptoms? Dont read any more, you might start getting those too!

The sickness & tiredness lasted over a week, I even went home from work one day, on the plus side I was too exhausted to be anxious about anything. Then the fog slowly lifted, I didn’t notice it at first, I guess because you don’t really notice that little voice in your head unless it’s there. I remember the first time I realised that the tablets were actually working, my boyfriend said something that would normally have annoyed me and I would have snapped at him and probably gone off in a sulk, but I did something completely unexpected to both of us, I laughed, I dont know who was more shocked. Then I started to notice it more and more. The things that would usually bother me or make me anxious unnecessarily, werent. I kept waiting for this nice, relaxed me to disappear but it didnt, it hasnt.

I have now been on the tablets for 6 months. Dont get me wrong, if I havent had enough sleep, I’m hungry or hormonal I still get pissed off or tearful, but only like a NORMAL person. For the first time in god knows how long I felt sane and rational and also very very sorry for my poor boyfriend, who although not perfect, had literally been my rock. I honestly don’t think anyone else would have put up with the lunatic that I was. I went for a review in December and the doctor said he didn’t want to take me off of them over Christmas as that isn’t an ideal time and I am to go for a review at the end of next month to start coming off of them. I’ll admit, I am nervous about slipping into my old ways, but if I do, I know there is help, that I can get through it and that I am not alone.

From A to D

I had entered the ballot for the London Marathon and somehow got in. I had mixed emotions about doing it, I thought it would be good for me to have something positive to focus on but also I was bricking it. I’d been pretty good for the first months training, I barely drank alcohol too but despite my seemingly healthy lifestyle, I kept getting ill. I joked with people saying my body needs alcohol as it seemed whenever I went without it for too long, I got a cold or a virus, things I had never been prone to before plus my libido was at an all time low, another thing that was out of character. I was hoping that all this exercise would boost my mood, as I kept reading it would but if I’m honest it didn’t really I was either at a complete high or I was at an all time low and the highs were few and far between.

After the marathon was over, the lows got worse and worse, at first I thought it was because of the build up and now it was over, kind of like a bride after her wedding, but it just kept getting worse. I would be at my desk at work and for no apparent reason I would feel such an overwhelming sadness I would have to fight back the tears. There were no highs at all now and I was annoyed with myself, why was I feeling like this? I have nothing to be sad about, nothing at all. My life was pretty perfect and my divorce was finally coming to an end. Any day now! The straw that broke the camels back was when I went to lunch with my boyfriend and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t go on like this, I had tried everything to lift my mood, vitamins, meditation, reading books & articles, CBT, counselling, exercise, I’d even had my thyroid checked. I didn’t know what else left there was to try apart from the one thing I had been avoiding. Medication.

I was always reading articles about mental health, trying to keep up to date with any techniques that may help with my anxiety, depression is often mentioned in such articles and I would sometimes read them and think “that sounds like me” but dismissed it as I didn’t have anything to be depressed about! I had a good job, great family, nice home & fantastic boyfriend. How could I be depressed? Whatever this was, I knew I could not carry on living in such misery, I wanted myself back, I missed me!

So after much deliberation and lots of tears, I booked myself in to the doctors.

My perception of antidepressants was that they turned you into a zombie and that they were addictive. I’m not even sure where this came from, but I has always been very anti anti- depressants, but knowing I had tried every other avenue, I knew it was likely that this was going to be offered to me and I was so far gone that I was actually worried they were going to turn me away with no options at all and nothing would change.

After four weeks of crying on a daily basis, the day I went to the doctors, I was extremely happy, I was almost annoyed as I thought the doctor would think I was making it up. I sat in the waiting room nervously awaiting my name to be called and it seemed like forever, the next thing I knew I was sat opposite a doctor who actually looked more nervous than me.

“So what can I do for you today?”

“Well I can’t stop feeling low and crying, I’ve tried everything¬†vitamins, meditation, reading books & articles, CBT, counselling, exercise & blood tests but nothings working, typically today is the first time I have actually felt good. I didn’t want to go on tablets but I feel this may be the only way forward, but I don’t want to be on them forever, I dont want to get addicted. What do you think?”

It was like verbal diarrhea! I don’t even think I took a breath. To my relief (and probably his now I had shut up!) he agreed that I had tried every possible avenue and that he would prescribe some anti depressant for 6 months, I was to come back after I had taken them for one month to see how I was getting on.

Where these really going to work? I was scared!