Finding my balance

have a policy of being honest on HoT, even though it sometimes gets me into trouble. I think people worry that I’m exposing parts of myself that should stay hidden for my self-preservation. My view has always been that there is no point in sugar-coating things and living a lie. People should know that being a working mum of twins isn’t always roses and kittens.

In that vein, I need to report that I’m back on the Anti-Depressants again. They have been prescribed to help me deal with my extreme anxiety which leads to mild depression. I’m not a complete basket case – yet.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not happy about it and I feel like an abject failure.

Things were going really well with the withdrawal. I was down to 5mg a day (basically, using it as a placebo) and managed to successfully wean myself off them completely in early November. I felt really good about it….and then I crashed spectacularly at the end of that month. I started having difficulty sleeping and I lost count of the number of times I lay awake in the wee small hours as I worried about a million and one tiny, insignificant things and ended up feeling like an elephant was lying on my chest. I started throwing inanimate objects in sheer frustration. I went into hyper over-analysis mode. It’s a vicious circle: I’m naturally anxious and that makes my irrationally angry so I throw something and then I’m angry with myself for losing control and then I worry that I’m not coping and it just gets worse and worse.

The really bloody annoying thing is that I have nothing to be overly anxious about. The girls are doing brilliantly and I’m enjoying them so much. My job is now more stable than it’s been for years and it’s really fulfilling. Dh is just great. I have a lovely family and a really good circle of friends.

The problem is me. I just keep sweating the really small, insignificant things. Here’s an example. I have a friend who ‘Likes’ a lot of my photo albums on Facebook. Recently she stopped doing it. One night I lay awake wondering why we weren’t friends any more, why she didn’t just block or de-friend me and what had I done to upset her, etc. In the cold light of day I knew this was utterly ridiculous, irrational, narcissistic behaviour. Multiply stuff like this by ten or twenty different worries every day and it becomes a problem.

I went to see my GP and explained things. She said I had relapsed and advised me to go back onto the anti-d’s at a higher dose but not at the whoo-whoo level I was at in 2009, this time for at least a year. I went back for a one month review today and was able to report that I felt much more ‘balanced’ and that the tablets were having a positive effect. I haven’t thrown anything for at least a month. I’m still irrational but aren’t we all? I’m also sleeping better.

I have also been offered counselling but I’m hesitant to pursue it because the system has changed in the last eighteen months and I won’t get to see the nice lady I had six sessions with before. Also, in the ‘Big Society’ in concerned that I might get a well-meaning volunteer that will listen to my worries and tell me to stop being a middle-class whinger and to have a bath and eat some chocolate. In all seriousness, I don’t think I need counselling. The sessions I had before were enlightening and I know what the problems (with me) are. I really need some self-management techniques.

I don’t like being a medicated mother. It sits very uncomfortably with me. However, I also believe that if you have a problem you need to face up to it and seek help. There’s no point trying to be British about it doing the classic pull yourself together thing. There’s so much stigma around anti-depressants and I don’t really know why. It’s not like you choose to be anxious and depressed. You just are. If medication can help you to function normally, why not take it?

In the battlefield of life this is a minor skirmish. A tiny surface graze on my temple. I’ve dealt with far worse. If this is how I keep my mind balanced, I’ll do it.

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2 thoughts on “Finding my balance

  1. Your honesty in refreshing about a subject that many people go through and choose to hide. However, it’s hard to read that you’re feeling so low and I wish you a very speedy recovery. Remember to be the most important person in your life and look after yourself. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Thanks Jan. I was in two minds whether to write about it as I know it’s a difficult thing to tackle, and equally hard to read about. I think we take our mental health for granted and it’s very hard to admit that we’re feeling anxious or depressed. We’ll happily tell people when we’ve got a cold or flu but we won’t admit that we feeling mentally unwell. I think it’s the British ‘Stiff upper lip’ thing. Hopefully writing about my anxiety will make it less of a taboo subject.

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