What goes up must come down is the age old analogy. When I’m up life is great, like up, up and away good. Nothing is a bother, I’ve got energy to spare. Fuck sitting still, that’s for losers right?
But when I’m down, fuck am I down. I’m the shit on a snake’s belly after it’s been trodden on by an elephant. Who would have thought just opening your eyelids could be such hard work?
Mind you, it’s not as hard as pretending to be “normal”. During the down phases I spend so much energy pretending that I’m ok that there is nothing left for anything else.
I’m sure this correlates directly to the lack of feeling and sensation when nestled in the black, all- encompassing trough. How can you enjoy things when it takes the energy output of a small town just to function without anyone noticing you’re broken?
Light and Dark, Up and Down – are they just be a matter of perspective? Is one man’s down another man’s up and vice versa?
That thought got stuck like one of those odd little brain thorns. Barbed and stuck in my mind, irritating me till I decided the best way to draw the damn thing out is to rant about the effects of Therapy and Anti-Depressants and talking to strangers on the Internet.
Just remember that the Pros and Cons are interchangeable depending where I am (and you are) in your own personal cycle. To paraphrase Paul and Michael “Ebony and Ivory, live together in perfect Harmony, unless your brain is broken and you need help to fix it”
Pros: Where else do you get to sit for an hour with a rapt audience talking about yourself? Great in an up phase, fuck yeah, clarity, finding connections, discussing the living shit out of things and it’s on the NHS despite the best efforts of the government to fuck us over.
Cons: I’ve got to sit and talk about myself for an hour. Who in their (sic) right mind wants to listen to me? Gently, I’m being guided back along all the closed off corridors and locked rooms inside my mind, opening the doors a crack and peeping inside.
Conclusion: Therapy is amazing. Amazingly insightful, amazingly painful, amazingly engrossing and amazingly terrifying. All at the same time. In the early days of being in therapy I found myself looking at all my relationships differently. Questioning them, stress testing them almost. Are they ones I want to keep or are they ones it’s time to let go. Am I fucking a particular relationship up or is it a mutual clusterfuck? I’m looking and dealing with my own issues – are they and should I care? Do I have enough time and energy to take their problems on as well as my own?
Having said all that, I was due so start back in Therapy last week. The therapist phoned in sick.
Pro: more time to prepare and come off my meds.
Cons: He thinks I’m “Tappy Lappy, Nuts, Crackers, Mad bad and dangerous to know”. Probably.
Pros: They definitely got me out of the worst down periods I’ve been in. I’m a child of the rave generation. Pop a pill and feel better – let’s do this. 50mg is for wimps, I want 200mg. Yeehah! Everything is so fucking………..normal.
Cons: Everything is so fucking normal. Normal, normal, Normal. Normal Brian, 45 Normal Avenue, Normaltown, Nornmalville USA. Boring in fact. Stale. Stuck. No ups, no downs, no black no white, nothing.
And this is the positive benefit. There are a whole host of side effects linked with SRRI’s. At the risk of over sharing, my personal highlights have been.
Weight Gain: On average the weight gain in 25% of people taking SRRI’s is circa 10lbs. Let’s round it up as the tablets also reduce your motivation to get off your fat arse and exercise.
So I’m calling it a stone. 14lbs of fat where nothing has changed really other than the ability to put on weight simply by breathing. As I’m weaning myself off the meds the weight is coming off. Not by magic and not all at once but there is a sense of breathing the fat away.
If I could market that as a fad diet, I’d be rich.
Decreased sex drive: Sertraline killed my sex drive faster than getting married did. And that was fucking fast. Then having kids chipped away at it but the tablets dropped it off the edge of a cliff. So much so I went to see the GP about it, wholly expecting a tablet to fix the problem (rave generation again).
His advice was “I just need to suck it up”.
That was it, word for word. If I hadn’t been so fucking normal at the time, I’d have either laughed at the implied joke or told him to fuck off. I did neither just went back home to Normaltown.
There are a couple of others but there is still a limit to how much information I’m comfortable sharing
* and Yes, I’m looking at you Having Difficulty Reaching Orgasm*
Conclusion: Fluoxetine scares me, it left me like an extra from the Walking Dead. A total Zombie but one who had to function instead of just biting people. Sertraline did something, although I’m still not sure what.
Maybe I’ve never found the correct tablet or dosage but they aren’t for me long term. Everyone is different, if yours work for you keep taking them. Be happy, don’t feel isolated or that there is a stigma attached. More people than you think are on the happy tablets, they just don’t talk about it.
Strangers on the Internet
Pros: Twitter, Forums IRC, Reddit etc. I’ve had all kinds of interactions with people who I will never meet in real life. I’ve learnt obscure facts, shared stories, laughed along with and felt sad for people (mostly who’ve lost their dogs). All of these have gone some way to making me feel a little better, a bit at a time. When depression hits and causes you to withdraw socially it can be a viscous circle. Just having a tiny glimpse into the world at these times is brilliant.
Cons: Facebook. Just fuck right off. I know your life is so much better than mine. I don’t need to see your perfect family, in your perfect house doing your perfect things. How come nobody says things like “I love my kids but they’ve been little shits today or I’m only friends with you on here to see how fat you’ve gotten since school”
Conclusion: It’s good to talk. To anyone, someone, your dog, your plants, yourself. I’m a socialable loner, in that my default happiest state is on my own. I’m very comfortable in my own company but I recognise it’s also very bad for me if I avoid people for too long.
People need people. And people need dogs. Dogs are brilliant. Fact.
I’m going now
Life is all about the ups and downs. Some of us seem predisposed to going higher and falling farther than others. Sometimes we need a ceiling and sometimes a safety net to stop our minds bouncing us into oblivion. Sometimes we just need to read some random blokes ramblings on the internet.
When the going gets tough, give yourself a break. It’s ok to admit your struggling.
Hope you smiled.
Thanks for reading.