It’s a never ending nightmare
A long dark tunnel
A permanent panic attack
Pain in my chest
Never feeling safe
Down the rabbit hole
I’m reaching out
Trying to slow my fall
Wondering what is real
Hoping I will wake up
Holding in my rage
I turned it in on myself
I haven’t posted recently, on any of my blogs, because I have really not been well (mostly physically, but that has an impact on mental health too of course).
I always seem to be worse in the summer for some reason, and even though (thank God!) I’m not suffering from hayfever to anything like the extent I usually do, I really feel knocked out and completely zapped of energy, more confused and disorganised than normal and really just struggling to drag myself through each day.
I wanted to write a quick post though to mention that I had had a very bad reaction indeed to Citalopram.
I have struggled with depression, which I have really had incessantly since childhood (and I suspect it is largely due to the head injury I had aged 12 when I was knocked off my push bike in a hit and run ‘accident’ in 1983).
I liken my depression to a mild, grey cloud that never goes away. Most of the time, I just live with it. No amount of positive thinking, yoga or mindfulness takes the cloud away, but it’s manageable, I have more or less got used to it.
My GP gave me citalopram for depression and anxiety and I tried it because I thought it was worth a try.
I was only on 10 mg of citalopram for about 5 days, and almost immediately, my little grey cloud went from a mild, manageable thing to a horrible big, thick, dark, heavy cloud that seemed to engulf me. I woke up feeling suicidal the first morning after I started taking it, and every day afterwards. When I stopped taking it, it took more than 10 days to come out of the thick dark cloud, and to be honest – more than 2 weeks later, I have a niggling feeling that the world would be a better if I wasn’t here. That’s not me. I don’t normally feel like that. (I do regularly feel despair, and I often feel that it’s not worth carrying on, but it’s more a feeling of laying down and waiting for death rather than actively trying to end it all. The citalopram reaction was more of the latter.)
I wasn’t imagining it. It was palpable.
Additionally, during the days that I was on citalopram, I had a greatly reduced ability to urinate. It just so happened that I needed to do a 24 hour urine sample during that week. It’s the second or third time I’ve had to do it this year, because I’m currently being tested for Cushing’s and/ or other pituitary gland disorders. Usually, I do so much I can’t fit the whole 24 hours in the pot, which takes 1200 ml. (The previous time, I only fit 18 hours in). This time, in the whole 24 hours, I managed 200 ml. I have no doubt whatsoever that citalopram was to blame.
I made a point of not reading the paper insert before I tried citalopram, not wanting to give my suggestible brain ideas! But of course afterwards I checked and both suicidal ideation and inability to urinate were listed in the potention serious side effects.
The reaction was so severe, it has made me wary of trying any other kind of pharmaceutical solution for anxiety or depression. It’s not the first time I have reacted poorly to anti-depressants, but this was by far the worst.
I’m not a person who would advise other people to not take the meds they need. Far from it. I know that meds help a lot of people, and you can only tell if they’ll work for you by trying them.
But for me (perhaps because there is Bipolar in the family, or for some other reason) I don’t seem to suit pharmaceutical meds. I think I need to start looking to food, herbs and natural solutions.
5htp has worked for me somewhat with no side effects. Not spectacular, but seems to ‘take the edge off’ without doing any harm.
St Johns Wort did not work for me, in fact it sent me completely loopy. But for others, I know this is a good natural solution that works.
People are different. I know plenty of people who swear by their anti-depressants and others who are equally opposed to them. I even know one lady who controls her Bipolar using homeopathy.
Each to their own!
What works for you?
Are there any natural solutions you recommend?
Or do anti-depressants work really well for you?
Psalms: Psalm 122
OT: Isaiah 2:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44
Epistles: Romans 13:11-14
The Psalm for today was 122, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
I was unable to go to church this Sunday because, in addition to my own health issues, I am now looking after my mother who suffers from bipolar disorder.
My mother always becomes anxious, tearful, angry as Sunday rolls around. Having grown up in what was effectively a very abusive religious home, she is deeply conflicted about church. She wants to be there, she yearns for community, but it is tainted by the memory of forced religion.
I, meanwhile, would love to be there but my health more often than not prevents me, and I am constantly angry at the way the church neglects us, rejects us, forgets us.
I saw this poem on a facebook group and decided to share it because the words are so close to my own heart.
How baffling you are, oh Church,
and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I would like to see you destroyed,
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is.
I have seen nothing in the world
more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false,
and yet I have touched nothing
more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you,
because I am you, though not completely.
And besides, where would I go?
Would I establish another?
I would not be able to establish it without the same faults,
for they are the same faults I carry in me.
And if I did establish another,
it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ.
And I am old enough to know
that I am no better than anyone else.
– by Carlo Carretto, from The God Who Comes
Hi people 🙂 A happy post for a change. I’m feeling good!
I have been so down for so long. All the heaviness of the past few years just heaped up on me and I was so weighed down I couldn’t get up. There is obviously a situational basis for my misery – I had the most miserable year of my life living by the beach (ironically) because I was ill in an unsuitable house, with financial troubles (not to mention marital, car, family troubles!) and no friends! But it was more than that. The stress had worn me down until I had no mental or emotional strength to fight it.
But then, there’s no rhyme or reason to depression.
I feel better now, but there’s no particular or obvious reason why I should feel better. I just do. I’m sleeping better too, and hopefully that means that the vicious circle is straightening itself out. I hope I’ll be able to shrug it all off now and things will start to look better on a permanent basis.
I know I keep saying this, but I don’t have the life I wanted, or hoped for, or thought was right around the corner. But we hopefully have some good things on the horizon, and I truly am grateful for all the good things I have.
(But, do you know what? the glad game doesn’t work when you’re deep in the pit.)
I started a dose of amitriptyline about 3 weeks ago, and honestly I usually forget to take it, so I’m not sure whether or not it’s having any effect. But at this point, knowing what the deep pit looks like, I thoroughly recommend taking whatever hand is held out to you, just to get your head above the parapet where you can see the sun again.
Funnily, you know – I have been down in the pit deep enough to ask my GP before to give me anti-depressants, but that GP refused (bizarrely, a few years before, when I was desperately trying to get a proper diagnosis of ME, I was offered anti-depressants when I didn’t need them). This time, I just casually mentioned to my new GP that battling ME makes me feel a bit depressed every now and then, could I try anti-depressants?
It totally depends on the doctor you get. If you need it, don’t take no for an answer, or by all means find a better doctor. They are so variable, and some of them are complete buggers.
So now, despite contemplating moving house again for the 7th time in just over 5 years, I am actually looking forward to moving. I think. I mean, I’m not looking forward to the actual moving of course, that would be crazy. But I am looking forward to being settled.
I’m looking forward to living right in the centre of town where everything I need will be within walking distance. I’m looking forward to living in a place where I already have a bunch of good friends who can’t wait to visit us.
Incidentally, I keep wondering why I found this place so unfriendly? I can’t work it out. I don’t think it has anything to do with Cornish culture, because we’re not even that far down into Cornwall, and it isn’t that Cornish here. (And before I am accused of being racist, I never thought it was that, but the suggestion keeps getting thrown into the mix, so I thought I’d mention it. Whether there is a truly Cornish culture, or whether what we’re experiencing up here is just countryside culture is another topic.)
I think the problem here has been a mixture of being here at the wrong time, with the wrong aged children (home educating never isolated us until we moved here, but the HE group in this place was just filled to the brim with under 8s. The only families with teens we knew passed through and moved away long ago) and apparently having nothing in common with any of the people we met. It can’t be helped. I think we weren’t meant to stay here, it was just for a season. I do just wish that season had been a little easier. But anyway. It’s nearly over.
And here’s another irony for you. After all this time – five years with virtually no friends despite huge effort on my part to be social and gregarious (without appearing desparate! lol) to no avail – I just discovered a local vegan group that didn’t seem to exist when I searched for it a year ago, or five years ago, and I’ve MADE FRIENDS.
So here’s what I am expecting to happen: when we move away, we will be coming back here to visit and go to the beach more than we ever did when we lived here.
Isn’t life just gloriously ridiculous?!
p.s. I just passed my one month as a vegan mark. It’s about as long as I’ve managed to stay vegan before, but this time I have plugged into social networking for accountability, and I’m thinking about getting a vegan tattoo. That would probably keep me vegan. Oy vey.
We’ve been in the housing association accommodation now for just over a year, and I think that, on reflection, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that – even allowing for some of the awful things that happened in the past – this past year has been the worst year of my life.
I used to really believe that gratitude and positive thinking could make a difference but now I am pretty sure that nothing can make up for not having your basic needs met.
I am not going to bore you with the details, I have already gone on and on ad nauseum.
Good times always seem to be around the corner, but somehow (it seems to me) hope, if it’s false hope, is the real killer.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Purim Sameach or Happy Easter to you, whichever you prefer.
Don’t forget to move the clocks forward tonight if you’re in the UK.