Cognitive Dissonance.

I want a drink. I want less responsibility. I want a pet dog. I want to see my friends. I want everyone to fuck off and leave me alone. I want to be admired and respected. I want to be invisible. I want to climb mountains. I want my bed. I want a drink. I want to feel the sun on my face. I want to never have to open the curtains. I want more money and new stuff. I want to give away all the shit I own and don’t need. I want to protect everything I own intensely. I want my kids close to me forever. I want my kids to hurry up and grow so they don’t rely on me to be responsible. I want a drink. I want my husband to need me and want me like he did when we first met. I want my husband to join another band so I can have more space. I want to buy this house that we live in so I can feel safe and secure and never have to leave. I want to close all my social media accounts and move to the other side of the world alone and start again. I want a drink. I want to feel connected to the family I grew up with and hug them without awkwardness or reserve. I want to cut off every person that knows me through to the bone so that I never have to see myself through their eyes. I want to get fit. I want to sit in my pyjamas all day and night and have people bring me food. I want a drink. I want to turn back the clock and not ask for help. I want to talk until there’s no talking left about the shit that keeps me insatiably wanting. I want to stop wanting. I want a drink. But I want sobriety more.

Sickening necessary reminders.

Another reminder from fb of one of the many times I nearly destroyed myself with booze.
I was so ill that day and it was the day that me and my sister were taking my mum out for a meal to celebrate her finishing cancer treatment (not sure why I’m wearing a Christmas hat, I blame the kids).
I remember how my insides were shaking, I couldn’t eat anything and I genuinely thought I might be dying. I definitely don’t look very well.
I obviously didn’t stick to the status. It took me another 6 and a half years of regular alcohol poisoning 🤦‍♀️

On another note, somebody recommended this to me but I can’t remember who. It is an excellent work of fiction about the devastating effects of alcoholism. Well worth a read. I couldn’t put it down.

One day at a time.

Day 604. Prozac now out of my system. Medication is, as I initially suspected, not the answer for me but at least it seems to have had some sort of rebooting effect on my brain and banished the black dog.

I spent the weekend feeling utterly in love with life, the world, nature, my children, the bearded one, and a renewed respect and warmth for myself. It was a wonderful weekend of explorative treks through woods and over mountains, great food, big feelings, much gratitude and every kind of love ♡

I’m alive again properly for the first time in months and I can see the physical difference in myself when I look in the mirror.

I talked to my daughter about the fact that I had been feeling very low lately but that I’m better now and she responded simply with “I know”. I like to believe I hide it well, but children are intuitive.

It was good to wave my smiley happy children off to school this morning with a big honest smile on my own face. They know the difference. The weekend was wonderful. Today is a good day. I won’t think too far ahead in fear of letting the dark stuff back in. One day at a time. And in spite of the clouds, it’s a beautiful day ♡

Back to my senses.

I’m feeling again. Oh the relief to be awash with emotion, to be released from the detachment of chemical induced derealisation.

I’m still shakey from the prozac but my mind is wired and my responses are heightened. I read my book this morning and stayed focused. I showered and found my voice again, realising I hadn’t sang a single note since taking the pills. I love singing. I love music. I haven’t felt inclined to listen to anything but today I have. I listened to Suzanne Sundfor, and London Grammar and Michael Kiwanuka and felt the hair on my arms stand on end as I succumbed to goosebumps, my whole body taught with feeling the music, the pleasure centre in my brain getting brighter as I danced around the kitchen feeling silly and euphoric.

I’m having the best day I’ve had for ages. I’m appreciating all the little things that I have been neglecting to notice and appreciate. I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old flame. It’s emotional and life affirming. I know it will pass and become normality again soon, but God today is beautiful ♡

I feel so grateful to be back inside myself. Yes I’m an emotional wreck prone to depressive episodes and crazy mood swings. But they’re the antithesis to this mad love and lust I feel for life, and one can not exist without the other.

I’m so glad I have experienced the numb void of not being able to feel. I know this euphoria will wane as I settle back into normality but for now I’m basking in the warm glow of sensational feelings returning.

I won’t ever turn my back on myself again. The solution is somewhere inside me. I was a fool to think that killing off my feelings was the answer. But at least it’s shocked me out of the grip of the black dog, even temporarily. I won’t wait for it to return. I have my notes that I made on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy last year. I have St John’s Wort, CBD oil and various other herbal aids. I have yoga, mindfulness, meditation, running. I have the appointment for counselling. I am starting right now to put the barriers in place so it can’t come back. And if it tries to, I’ll be ready.

You need to feel life’s terror to feel its wonder ~ Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

I’d rather kiss the ground than kiss a starless sky ~ Biffy Clyro

The absence of feeling.

I didn’t expect to be sat here on day 600 feeling nothing. But here I am. Prozacked up to the hilt. Numb in every way you can imagine. It’s bizarre to think that last week this was everything I wished for; to just stop feeling, to cut it off completely. Now here I am with my wish granted, and it’s the most boring, vacant, unfulfilling place to be.

I haven’t been able to exercise while on these pills because I’m so out of it. I can’t focus on anything so can’t read my books. I keep forgetting things. I’m exhausted but can’t fall asleep. My mouth is constantly dry so I’m constantly sipping water so I’m running for a wee every 5 minutes. I’ve got tummy ache and I’m off balance. But I was totally willing to put up with these side effects and persevere until I realised how numb I am physically and emotionally.

I feel no joy in anything. I’ve lost interest in everything. I’ve got no patience with the kids when they’re telling me stories about their day because I feel nothing 😳

It’s been 30 hours since the last dose but I’m still totally stoned. I hate it. I watched something sad on the tv and felt nothing. This isn’t me.

Most infuriatingly there isn’t a cat in hells chance of me achieving an orgasm on these things, which I feel no shame in admitting very publicly is number 1 on my list of sober tools. I’ve used them to combat many a craving in the past. And now the option is just gone. I can’t stand being touched because my body doesn’t feel right, so of course the bearded one is feeling concerned.

I could put up with the nausea, the insomnia, the weird poo’s, the sore dry mouth and the forgetfulness. But the complete lack of joy sexually, and the flat numb feeling, even towards my children, are deal breakers.

I know people want me to persevere and continue taking them, but after reading thousands of personal accounts on Google of people unable to find any enjoyment in sex while on antidepressants, and also the terrifying stories of people never getting that feeling back even after stopping, I am not willing to take the risk that I’ll be a joyless frigid zombie unable to cry at sad films or gasp with pleasure at the fireworks.

I do not regret trying these pills. They’ve succeeded in breaking the morbid depression that I’ve been in. But even now, 30 hours after popping that last pill, I’m struggling to write. I haven’t been able to read any of my books because I can’t focus. And my usual outlet of letting the words flow from me into my blog has been impossible and is still hard.

I am not considering trying another type of antidepressant. They all have similar effects. I’m extremely sensitive to anything and I just know that anything I take is going to have a profound effect on me in a negative way that doesn’t match the positives.
I’m glad that I tried them because it’s broken the deep hell I have been existing in for the last couple of months and given me a chance to catch my breath. But now I’m desperate to get this shit out of my system so I can go back to being me again, and I have a plan of action against the depression.

I have got my first counselling session next week which is a huge relief. And I’ve ordered St John’s Wort, and Ashwaganda capsules. Both are herbal serotonin uppers. I’ve used St John’s Wort in the past with no negative side effects and it definitely worked. In the fog of the last couple of months I seem to have forgotten about them until someone reminded me on the sobriety group.

A fellow sober pal has sent me CBD tea which I’ve not bothered with while I’ve been on these pills because there doesn’t seem to be much point. And I have my beloved CBD oil which I know helps, and my CBD alcohol free beer that I was so excited about not so long ago and that I hardly feel anthing for in my numb state.

I want to get back to being excited by things, moved by things, driven and determined, melancholy and euphoric. I want all the feelings back. I have learnt my lesson. It is not absence of feeling that I crave. It’s finding the joy in life and managing the darkness. I will find a way that does not involve numbing myself to a mere existence.

I’m drinking loads of water and hoping I get some proper sleep tonight and hopefully start feeling a bit more normal tomorrow.

I don’t want to take any chemicals. It feels so wrong after clearing my system of anything like this for so long. I’m so thankful that the counselling is starting next week, and thankful too for the reassurance by lots of people in the sobriety groups that they came off antidepressants with the help of these other herbal supplements instead. I need to get back to exercising once I get some energy back. I’m just sat around feeling nothing and eating everything. This isn’t living. It’s existing 😳

*Reflective side note added a few days after:

Now that my mind is clearer I feel that I should have added a note to my post that I’m so pleased for the folk that the medicine works for and I definitely do not mean to put anybody off trying them. I am absolutely glad that I tried because I wouldn’t know what I know now. I am grateful for what the experience has taught me, and now I can move forward from it. I just always feel compelled to share my experiences as honestly as possible but I don’t want it to put anybody off trying something that could be wonderful for them ♡♡♡

Prozac nation.

I swallowed an antidepressant for the first time in all my 34 years yesterday. And it got stuck in my throat. Unsurprising given the mental block I have on being cool with taking pills.

I sat sipping water from a crystal tumbler as if it were whiskey while I enquired on Google about the drug I was currently coaxing past my larynx down to the waiting stomach enzymes, keen to get cracking on the job at hand.

As I read I felt the muscles in my throat ease the pressure and allow the pill to travel to its destination. My mind became calm and passive as I surmised that no side effect could be worse than the sickening anxiety and black hole depression that has consumed me these past weeks. I can’t fight away the aggravating teeth of the black dog by willpower and a session in the gym anymore. A walk in the fresh country air is forced and unfulfilling. I return more tired and depleted with no energy or patience for my job as mum and wife.

I’m prepared for a rough couple of weeks as my body adjusts to taking the pills. I feel lighter at the prospect of the sun breaking through the clouds. A bit like I’ve been issued a release date after being initially served a life sentence to serve in a perpetual state of anhedonia.

I’ll find my way back to the world where I can feel the same joy as my children instead of seeing them through a veil, not quite able to touch them, their voices muffled. My children save me every day. I could never leave them. I owe them everything ♡

Depression.

I’m in a slump. A real pit of despair that I can’t see the end of. Every day is a long hard slog that even by the end offers no mercy when I find myself unable to stop the tears from soaking the pillow. Sleep is fitful and never enough. I’m exhausted and depleted. I want to disappear or hide or drown in a myriad of lovely drugs. But I’m a mum. That’s the long and short of it. I have to stay present. I’m responsible for these amazing little people, and I will smile for them every day to keep them happy. I will laugh with them even while my heart is frozen because I need them to feel full of all the good things in life. Mummy’s laughter lifts little hearts. That’s what I can do best in this life, even when I’m broken.

I am frightened I’m going to drink. This dark place I seem to have settled in is more merciless than the others I’ve been in over the last 20 months of sobriety. My eyes are constantly spilling over with tears while my chest is in a knot of inexplicable grief.

Someone close to me told me to stop looking to the past and focus on the future when I confided about the sadness. I didn’t respond because I was confused. I’m not thinking about the past and I am pushing towards the future. I have no explanation for why I’m like this. I don’t know what to do. I’m still waiting for an appointment for counselling for PTSD, but I have no idea how long that will be, and right in this moment I’m clinging on to normality with broken finger nails.

So yesterday I went to a SMART meeting, which is a lot like AA but without religion. I’ve never been to any kind of recovery meeting and I always held fast to the belief that I didn’t need to. But standing in front of the wine rack with tears streaming down my face at 8am isn’t really the actions of a woman who is keeping her shit together very well by herself.

So I went. And I sat. And I waited. Half an hour went by and nobody turned up. Not even the leader. With wet eyes and burning cheeks I accepted the receptionists apology and returned to my car. I drove home without seeing the road, surprised to find myself parked in my driveway.

I’m lost and bereft, and all the while I don’t want anyone to know. I have done so well and I have told so many people on so many occasions about the magic of sobriety, about how my anxiety and depression upped and left once I kicked the booze. I was so naive. I was in the thick of the pink cloud. And now I’m out in the cold, shivering, wondering who the hell pulled the rug out from under my feet.

I realise now that I’m only just arriving at the starting line of what it really means to recover. With an aching heart I now know that I didn’t escape the wrath of a tumultuous childhood and early adulthood. The experiences that people gasp at when I confide have left scars in places that I thought were unscathed. I was wrong. I’m damaged. I’m not well. And I’m so tired that I don’t see how I’m going to fix myself.

I’ve admitted defeat and accepted I need medication now. I don’t even care to be honest. If I don’t have prescribed help then I know I’m just going to find a way to try to help myself instead. And I know from the past that my substance choices don’t work.

I got an appointment at the doctors for today after an infuriating hour of trying to get through to the busy appointment line. So I washed my face and managed a half decent set at the gym while holding onto the knowledge I will be discussing options with the doctor later.

So of course the universe decided that little bit of comfort should be kicked out from under my feet aswell. My daughter messaged me from school to tell me that the mysterious allergic reaction that she started with at the beginning of the week has worsened and she’s in pain with her eyes. I’ve given my doctors appointment to my baby girl of course. For how could I go to see the doctor with an illness that the children can not see or understand when my daughter is suffering a very visible ailment? I’m a mum. This is what we do.

I’ll try again next week. The slog continues.