For reasons too numerous and too complex to go into today, I am back on the antidepressants; 40mg Fluoxetine. No messing around; straight into a decent dose of artificial mood-enhancer.
After 16 months of being drug-free, true to form the Black Dog has returned to lay me so low that I question the value of my very existence. This wasn’t a decision taken lightly either by me or my GP. I spent 45 minutes with her yesterday, 5 minutes discussing my recent encounter with kidney stones/renal colic and the rest of the time reasoning the advantages or otherwise of going back on medication for my extreme low mood.
When fully functional, I can argue black is white but I had no defence against her solid and sensible reasoning that good old Prozac will again buy me the time necessary to sort myself out. I am not great at looking after Number 1 and to say that I had a lecture in personal well-being and making sensible choices is an understatement. Everything she said was absolutely true. I can’t deny that but sadly I am not in the position to do what I need to do to recover from this dreadful illness once and for all.
For now, I have to deal with it with the help of chemical intervention (Fluoxetine) and more counselling/talking therapy until such time that I can wave goodbye to it forever. At 50 years young, I am fast running out of time and options but I am still determined to die happy.
What an achievement that will be.
is good and getting easier.
Many years of CBT treatment are without doubt helping but I still have my reservations about the extent of the benefits with particular types of depression. I do enjoy challenging my thoughts and assumptions and proving myself “wrong” but have to say that being a hyper-sensitive and very observant person, my first instincts are usually right. Hence the limitations of the CBT approach.
Since I have stopped “taking the tablets” my head is clearer and my level of reasoning and ability to follow up on my conclusions have much improved. I have more energy and interest in certain parts of my life which had been sorely neglected. I am also now able to streamline and tailor my life to suit me and my needs.
Looking back I was clearly ready to ditch the meds for a while but without doubt used them as a crutch during some difficult times. Not wanting to jeopardise the equilibrium that they provided with reduced effort on my part I kept popping the pills. That’s fine and it was right for me at the time but no more. This is my time and I intend to enjoy it without the brain fog that the ADs induced when I didn’t need them.
There is no one solution to this illness and it would be extremely arrogant and ill-informed of me to say otherwise. You have to find your own answer but it can be done.
Note: No one should stop taking medication without consulting their medical practitioner. If you are considering stopping your meds, seek guidance from your GP/CPN/psychiatrist/psychologist.
I still have to pinch myself but I am now on week 5 living drug-free. No Fluoxetine (Prozac) and no Amitryptyline. For the first time in several years I am off the anti-depressants and in charge of my life. I’m sleeping well and feel calmer and more content than I have done for a good many years.
I’m not saying that it’s always easy as it most definitely is not. I’m not happy, smiley all the time but who is? Small set-backs can still produce tears of despair and frustration and Monday mornings ain’t great. So it is for most people.
I have worked hard at getting to this stage and I should be proud of my efforts. However, caution makes me very modest and I take nothing for granted. I just enjoy every day as it comes and every day I cope without meds is another secret triumph. I’ve had a couple of really crap days. Serious issues at work combined with minor frustrations would normally have condemned me to a tearful, hopeless and helpless victim of circumstance. But that old chestnut ” Keep calm and carry on” symbolises my approach to the various hurdles I’ve had to face over the last 48 hours and it worked.
My psychologist always told me that the best cure for depression is how you live your life. It all sounds so easy and we have had many a debate about his apparent all too easy attitude towards the treatment of depression but I do understand what he means. My life has changed for the better since I have indulged my creative tendencies and not pooh-poohed them as an extravagance. For me now, to be creative is a necessity and an outlet which must be allowed to function daily for as long as necessary. If that means I am up to all hours making things, writing, painting, or just thinking up ideas then so be it. It is no longer a luxury. It’s a must and it keeps me sane.
What more of a reason do I need?
I am working away from home this week, and during dinner with my colleague last night I was trying to explain how the on-line mood monitoring tool Moodscope works. I use Moodscope everyday and find it an invaluable tool to monitor the ups and downs of my moods and identify what the triggers might be so that I can avoid a recurrence of a dip.
We also got thinking about how I could achieve a 100% “happy” score instead of the rather poor results generated recently. We had a few laughs with this and some of the more obvious ideas included winning the lottery and swallowing a month’s supply of Prozac in one go (not to be recommended). When I really got thinking however, the answers were much darker and far more fundamentally life-changing than I care to discuss. But it made me reflect seriously about my life and my expectations, something which was definitely reflected in this morning’s Moodscope score of just 12%.
At this point things become very personal and everyone will have their own ways and means of dealing with “life” and what makes them happy. Relationships and circumstances are complicated. It is too easy to say “change it”. It is not always possible in the short or medium term.
But thinking positively I have to believe that things will eventually fall into place. I need to stay optimistic and stay focussed on the present and have faith that the future will look after itself and me. I can only love and be loved as who I am. I am “me” and it’s too hard to pretend otherwise any more.
Strangely I’m starting to like “me” after spending too many years in the self-esteem wilderness. I am at last rediscovering my core being, finding out what really makes me tick and what excites me. This is the way forward but the road is full of frustration and hostility, upset and regrets and it is these emotions which override all others. Until I conquer the root causes of these feelings a 100% Moodscope score is well out of reach and winning the lottery will not make much impact at all.
I have a mountain to climb.
I’m looking forward to the view from the top. Whenever that may be.
“The steeper the mountain the harder the climb the better the view from the finish line.”
Lift Up Thine Eyes…