I thought it was time to write an update, not because there has been a clamber for more of my writing more to help me get a grasp on what’s actually going on.
The last installment saw the hero of our story searching for an identity, waiting for a counseling appointment, trying a different type of anti depressant and generally being unsociable. (I’m doing the writing so if I want to call myself a hero I bloody well will, you lot can come up with your own names in private.)
Well the counseling appointment hasn’t materialised I’m still in the queue. I’m on to the third type of anti depressant, the first were too numbing, the second made me too emotional, hopefully these will be just right. I’m like a depressed Goldilocks hoping that the bears don’t come home and kill me for nicking their prescription drugs.
I’m still zealously unsociable although I do use Instagram, bizarrely you’ll find pictures of cakes, shoes, jeans and beards.
Maybe I should start some kind of fetish website www.beardedmeneatingcakeinshoes.com think the name needs work www.kinkycakemunchingbeardiebuggersinbrogues.com better but not great.
I still have no identity to speak of. Though I am sporting a beard myself, unfortunately the two grey streaks make me look not dissimilar to Dave Lee Travis, fuck knows why it couldn’t have been George Clooney but I suppose I’ve got a ready made fancy dress costume.
I have accepted I have an illness, it’s tough though as you’ve no idea when you’re going to get better. I had a brain MRI, my mood swings had become so acute that the doctor was concerned there may have been some underlying cause.
For the two week period of waiting for the appointment, having the scan and then waiting for the results I’d convinced myself I had an inoperable tumor the size of a grapefruit. I started composing my own obituary and getting ready to say goodbye to people. I was quite impressed with the life I’d concocted for myself, war hero, philanthropist and all round good egg, I don’t think anyone would challenge its’ validity at the funeral.
The results were all clear so it turns out I’m just a bit of a mentalist. Before anyone jumps on the political correctness bandwagon it can’t be an offensive term if I’m talking about myself.
As I said if it was a physically ailment it would have almost been easier, instead I was once again left not knowing when and if I would be ‘better’. I use the word better in its loosest form, I don’t really think I’ll ever be 100% again but anything would be an improvement over this.
I think this constant uncertainty of when and if things would improve coupled with a change in medication had a really negative impact on me.
I couldn’t see any future, my anxiety, paranoia and the bad thoughts were overwhelming. I spent a week crying, every negative thought became the truth in my mind no matter how irrational it was. I wouldn’t bother actually engaging in a conversation with the people I was having the thoughts about, I didn’t need to, the thoughts were the truth and that was that. At one point I was convinced friends had ditched me and was waiting for my family to do the same.
It’s also so tiring, having a constant conversation with yourself, your brain continually shouting at you. I try so hard not to be this way, which leads to hours if not days of self-loathing for failing.
Things got so bad that my GP referred me to see the duty psychiatrist at the hospital. There’s actually something quite sobering about people thinking you’re a danger to yourself. I knew how I felt but was this really how I was portraying myself to the outside world?
I remember sitting in the hospital worried that they would keep me in, telling myself not to look too nuts. The problem is the harder you try not to do something the more likely you are to do the thing you’re trying to avoid. It’s like being told off when you’re a child, you try so hard not to laugh but stand there sniggering away. So I sat waiting for an hour my face pulling all sorts of contortions in a vain attempt to look normal. To be honest I’d have looked more normal with a pair of undies on my head, a flag stuck up my arse whilst singing “Happy” by Pharrell.
I was assessed and thankfully allowed to go home. The thing they wanted to know was if I was going to commit suicide? Would I really tell anyone that I knew could stop me if I was intent on doing it? I really don’t know the answer to that, I know I didn’t want to exist in my current state but wouldn’t do anything about it.
What I have recognised about my depression is that it’s very selfish and self-indulgent. Reading back through these pieces it’s always about me, how I feel, what I think, what I can or can’t or will or won’t do.
It’s been really hard on my family I don’t really mention them when I write. In my rational moments it’s hard to face what I’m doing to them. I’m a stranger living in their house rather than the husband or dad they knew and I know that’s not fair on them.
I’ve started private psychotherapy sessions to try and help. They’re not easy going it’s hard to look back at the past events of your life that have led you to this point and this illness. The sessions are only an hour long, with all my neuroses I must be a psychiatrists’ wet dream, I could sit there all week and barely scratch the surface. I get on well with the therapist which I think helps, she’s not simpering and challenges my irrational thinking. At one point I said I felt guilty about my Mum being on her own, her response was why, did you kill your Dad? For the record I didn’t, I’m not writing this with my cellmate Trevor looking over my shoulder getting ready to spoon at lights out.
I am trying to be more rational about things and trying to function, a word I over use and struggle to achieve.
I do want to be a good dad, husband and friend again. Maybe the combination of new medication and therapy sessions are a step in the right direction but I’ve thought that before. So I’ll just see what the next day brings and then the day after that.