Thursday, 17 September 2009

Head Pills

How appropriate. Lustral sounds like a term used to describe a highly sexed lady. Until this evening, I had no idea that the brand name for sertraline was Lustral.
Fairly recently it dawned on me that I have been living with depression and anxiety my whole life. As a very young child, I used to be filled with blind panic over the most minor things, but I never told anybody because I was embarrassed. I used to suffer in silence. It was also a usual part of my existence to feel alone and outside of everyone else, and let's face it, I was always a bit different.
As my teens progressed, it got worse, along with my homelife (which has been previously mentioned). I used to refer to it as "my alien", because it often felt like I had something very tangible gripping onto my head and brain, like one of the crab-like creatures from the movie Alien. And everything was grey. I felt like a layer of film had been spread over my senses, preventing colours from appearing quite so bright, stopping me from appreciating the sunlight on my skin. And I was either filled with unbearable sadness, or I was numb. I would spend hour after hour after hour after hour laying on my bed in the darkness of my room.
But you deal with things. Eventually.
And there have been some big ups along the way, and some fucking deep, deep downers.
It was in April that I was prescribed sertraline. This was a very big deal, because I have always been very anti head pills, having watched Prozac fuck my mother up, a previous partner up, and turn me into a zombie during the brief time I took them when I was younger. But I had to get stuff done. I needed to find a place to live, I needed to finish my teacher-training, I needed to find the strength to walk away from my relationship with Alistair (which, of course I didn't). My doctor was wonderful, and surprisingly for the NHS, sympathetic and careful about what she gave me. And actually, it has really helped.
Sertaline reduces my anxiety to a manageable level, it tames the depression, and even reduces my OCD. Unfortunately, it makes it incredibly hard for me to reach orgasm. But I can live with that.
And my ability to deal with things improved a lot after I started taking these magic little head pills. This was helped on by the fact that I had managed to build up a degree of emotional distance from Alistair, thus removing some of the headfuckedness from my life. Perhaps foolishly, I have let myself fall in a bit deeper with Alistair. This has brought back some of the distress.
And last night I forgot to take a head pill. I did that last week, and clearly did not learn my lesson. If I do not take a pill, I am plunged into a pit of despair and anxiety. I have spent most of the day in bed, sleeping where I can, and just staring at the ceiling at other moments. And the thoughts go round and around and around in my head.
I just want to be held, but I am very conscious of inflicting myself on people. In any case, Courtney is in the next room having one of his lows. Alistair is out with the ex and her cousin. And even if he wasn't, I am uncomfortable being sad around him because he hates being around depressed people. He says he is not good with them, and ends up feeling depressed himself, and I don't want to be a burden.
Added to this is the fact that I am concerned he feels that we are spending too much time together. The other night, he told me that he was worried that we had bypassed the whole "dating thing" again. And he he said he wants some nights to himself next week, having intended on having them this week, but being unable to because stuff has got in the way. Tuesday night was one of the first nights where he slept in his bed by himself, without me, or the ex, or one of his harem. And he slept really well. I felt bad this morning, having spent the night with him, knowing that I affected his sleep. When I am ok, I don't have bad dreams, and sleep like a log, but when I am depressed, I am prone to nasty dreams, and I toss and turn. In the early hours of the morning, I woke Alistair up, he said I had screamed. And I remember doing that in my dream, but I guess I did it in reality too. He said my cries had become progressively louder. I remember the dream, but I can't describe it here because it was so weird and twisted, it wouldn't make any sense, but it was frightening.
So right now, my head is on a stupid irrational spiral. And I keep thinking about what is going to happen. Is this a sign that we are not compatible? Am I an idiot to be asking such a question? We have been seeing each other for a year... He is in love with the ex, and in love with me... Is this a sign that we wouldn't be able to live together?... We did for a couple of months at the beginning of the year, and we were happy... Should I even be having these thoughts?
I am so unsure of everything.
If there is a prince charming out there, I sure could use you right now.


  1. You know, despite the anxiety in this entry, you seem to know yourself really well and that's a good thing. Anxiety and depression are no picnic and I've suffered from them in a temporary manner during a rough period, which I know isn't the same thing as living with it daily, but it gave me a taste of how hopeless and how pointless things must seem for people who've always suffered so I really sympathize with someone who's struggling with that all the time. I hope your head pills at least outweigh the cons with the pros. I remember when I took mine those few months - I was never really happy or really sad during that time, but sometimes, the plateau was at least more bearable than the ups and the downs.

    I think it's at least optimistic that society's finally accepting anxiety and depression as real illnesses that cause real damage and that it might finally help people like yourself who struggle with it in a very real way.

  2. Thank you so much. Your words are a comfort to me. Sometimes I feel like it's all my fault, and I should be able to master my feelings, and that I am a failure because I can't always do so. When people like you say what you have, it gives people like me some hope, and makes us feel a little less ashamed.

  3. I empathise. I know how that feels. I used to take seroxat but I threw them away one day. I realised that I would rather live with my problems instead of live in a constant fog. That's not to say that is right for everyone of course, just it happened to be right for me. It makes things much more difficult at times but somehow I survive.

    You will survive also, even though it may not seem like it at times, because you have a deep reserve of hidden strength. You don't need a prince charming, but I hope you find him anyway.

  4. Depression isn't anyone's 'fault,' it's a clinically recognised condition; much like schizophrenia or something. I don't think anyone who's depressed should ever think it's their fault, though I'm aware that this is much easier said than done. It's also a bit twee for me to just say 'take heart,' as I've never suffered from such depression that I've needed to take medication but, I'm sending you good wished if it's any help at all.

  5. You mention all these things like anxiety, depression and OCD as though we're talking about a movie when all the while it must have been affecting your life in more twisted, sad ways than one who has never had any of the above could ever imagine. And not being a burden because he doesn't like to be around depressed people cause he's not strong enough not to be influenced by it? Woman, can you hear me holler for your Prince Charming as well?!

    I had to take some medication at one stage in my life that also took away my usually effortless ability to reach an orgasm. Life's full of sacrifices and I just decided to see it as an exciting challenge on the man's part to get me there :)

    Good luck and don't be so nice to Alistair all day today ;)

  6. @mysterg: I must say, I have been forced to eat my words over the head pill issue. Sertraline really has helped me, and it doesn't feel like I am on anything at all (apart from the orgasm thing). But I know someone who tried them, and they gave her the fog too.
    As for prince charming, I know, I know. I don't need him. I am not one of these women who thinks she needs a man -any man- to complete her life. It's just that I spend so much time being an ear for people, giving advice to people, mothering and fussing people... Sometimes I just want someone to hold me and protect me. There, I said it. Gah.

    @Tennyson: Thank you, my darling. And I am feeling much better today. It doesn't matter whether you have experienced such things or not. If you can reach out to someone and make them feel a bit better, that's all that matters.

    @ladytruth: Thanks, my lovely. I should say that Alistair does try sometimes. Unfortunately, I have seen how he is after other people have been depressed around him, and I worry that he reacts like that about me when I leave!
    Regarding the orgasm thing, yes, a challenge indeed. I have found that it is helpful if I make the effort to think extra-super perverted thoughts...

  7. Ok, so I'm sure I've any right to comment on this. I've never had clinical depression, I dont get panic attacks and have never had to take medication. But I have been through some grim times in the past few years and ended up having to see a shrink to get some stuff sorted in my head. Its not comparable, I know.

    But reading this just makes me want to give you a hug and give this flower Alistair a right good kicking.
    He doesnt want to be around you when you're depressed as it brings him down??!!! What the fuck?!! You have nothing to apologise for and theres no way you should feel you've to hide away in case it annoys him. Screw him!

    Yes, this is your 'alien' and your battle to fight and its commendable that you dont want to be a burden on anyone else, but seriously! When you care for someone - even if theyre not the love of your life - you will do everything you can to make them feel better.

    It also strikes me that he is calling all the shots. Time to take back a little control perhaps.

    One of these days when you least expect it some amazing person is going to absolutely knock you off your feet; I'm sure of it. Good luck, my dear.

  8. @Judearoo: Thanks, my darling. Did the shrink help, what was it like, if you don't mind me asking?

    And I don't want people to be too hard on Alistair. He has a lot to cope with too, work, the situation with the ex. And he is really quite uncomfortable with emotional stuff. He did cheer me up the other day, just by being very sweet and affectionate. I think maybe he feels like he has to distract a depressed person, or work hard to pull them out of it, or sit and listen as they splurge for several hours. With me at least, I just want to be wrapped up in affection, to feel safe, loved, and to know that someone is always there for me.
    But you are right. I do let him call most of the shots. It's not that I am a doormat, I am just really easy-going.
    Thank you for everything you have said, you are lovely. Has anyone knocked you off your feet yet?

  9. Ya, the shrink was good actually. My situation was kinda odd, and really based on huge guilt I felt on walking out of a relationship - a life, really, I left everything - even though I knew it was the right thing to do. But breaking someone's heart is horrific. I wont go into it now; tell you all about it some other time.

    I digress; my point is that yes, it did help. Simply as I wanted to protect friends and family who were already worried about me, and felt I COULDNT put them through anymore. Talking to someone who really didnt care about me personally was very freeing. And it got to the stage where my very thoughts were old, I was sick with worry and guilt and strangely bored with my own huge swamping sense of being out of focus. So during that one hour I could dig deep in and get it out of my head for a while, and after felt 'lighter'. Damn I dont know if Im explaining this very well...

    But sorry hon, I dont mean to be knocking someone you love. Its easy for me to be critical from the outside, no doubt he's good to you or you wouldnt be there. And yes, I suppose he just wants to distract you and make you smile, not really understanding that its not that straight forward.
    And from what Ive seen of you from this blog in NO WAY could you ever be described as a doormat; doesnt even come into it. :)

    I'm one of the lucky ones, Ive always been surrounded by a lot of love. With C it was more a case of barging into eachother, falling over and laughing, I think. All good.

    You'll be grand you know, you've a big heart and a natural ability to love. All will be well, girlie.

  10. Oh Maisie,

    This is the first time I'm going to post as Harri - yeah, busted!

    As you know, I don't suffer from depression, OCD or anxiety, and yet many of the people in my life have suffered from depression. It's hard to understand from the outside - I can never tell when it's the full-on depression thing, when it's just a crappy day, and when it's something else. All I know is this: you simply can not blame someone for what happens in their head.

    And if you're a meaningful part of someone's life - friend, lover, whatever - they have a right to ask for unconditional "do this to help me out right now" stuff, even if it puts you out. And you're allowed to say no - but you're not allowed to bitch behind their back about it.

    I guess what I'm saying is - it's okay to ask people for unconditional cuddles. I'm sure anyone who knows you is aware that they can come to you for the same.



You kiss your mother with that mouth?