Tag Archive | Seaside Therapy

Citalopram – adverse reaction

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.

However…

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?

 

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Deep, dark pit

Depression is like falling into a deep, dark pit. 

Where are the handholds and footholds

to pull myself up and out?

I can’t see any. 

Therapy

This is from a group I’m part of for recovering from Complex PTSD. It’s not my own (and actually I’m waiting on permission so I may need to come back and either delete or add an attribution), but I wanted to share it because I could easily have said the same thing myself. All the calming, positivity therapies don’t seem to have much effect, and I have been doing these things for a long time – far longer than I realised I might actually have mental health issues. Back when I thought I was just a feisty redhead who needed to calm down a bit. So what is the answer? Can things change? Is it just a long road? I wish I knew.

I have a seasalt lamp.
I have a lavender pillow.
I drink milk before bed.
I try to limit my coffee to one a day.
I journal.
I try to go for a walk.
I volunteer each month.
I limit my contact with my family.
I attend my counseling.
I take my prescriptions.
I take magnesium.
I take vitamin B.
I try to eat meat free every second day.
I sit by the sea each week.
I count my blessings.
I do deep breathing.
I try to limit sugar.
I limit my screen time.
I paint.
I draw.

I do all these things to manage my cptsd.

And at the end of all of that I’m just the same.
My anxiety roars in my ears.
My depression wears me like an uncomfortable coat.
I disassociate.
I suppress my emotions.
I comfort eat.
I cry.
I don’t sleep.

It’s a complex recipe, being well and finding the right path to wellness.

Having cptsd is a complex maze of experiences,
conditioning,
inner mind talk and responses.
And some days I manage.
Other days I don’t.

Here we go again

Mum was with us for 6 months while I attempted to function as her carer. For various reasons, it did not work out, and we took her home again in March and have arranged for professional carers to be on hand to look after her. My caring duties have not completely finished, but I now have a buffer of 250 miles or so between us, which really is much better for my own mental health (and hers, it would appear, although there are issues with her not taking her meds for bipolar which I can’t control from a distance and that is a frustration and a worry).

I expected that, when the stress of looking after mum was lifted, that I would get well again quite quickly but in fact the opposite has happened and I have retreated and isolated myself again with agoraphobia.

My physical health is quite bad at the moment, but issues have arisen (conversations on twitter and with my eldest child, mainly) which have make me realise that in fact my physical ill health may in fact be due to early childhood and repeated trauma.

The ACE score is a study which looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences, and uses it to predict a number of outcomes related to physical and mental health in adulthood. Out of a possible total of 10, I score 4 on the ACE quiz, and my resilience score is low (3 out of 14) when it should be high.

I am going to come back and look at this in detail, but it is such a hard subject to look at, I don’t really know where to begin. I feel as though I am having to force myself to open a Pandora’s Box of evil that I thought was long dead and buried.

In the first instance, though, I am told that the way back to health and wholeness (other than the standard pharmaceutical and CBT) is:

1) Talk about it.

2) Write about it,

3) Talk to other survivors and finally

4) physical exercise.

Due to the agoraphobia, physical exercise outdoors is not an option right now, it’s just too overwhelming, so I have brought the running machine in from the garage, and it’s set up in the bedroom, so I’m heading there next. I am annoyed with myself that I’m missing the beautiful sunshine and blue skies of spring in Cornwall, but it can’t be helped at this stage.

Also I have made an appointment to see my GP in two weeks to discuss the possibility that all my mental and physical illness is actually manifestations of Complex PTSD.

Just to clarify, the trauma that I received was not physical or sexual, but mental, emotional and spiritual in nature (church abuse amongst other things). I mention that, because for years I didn’t see it as abuse even though I knew I had been traumatised. What I hadn’t seen at all until this week was that I had unknowingly perpetrated some of the same kinds of abuse I had received on my eldest child. I can’t tell you how deeply I regret that.

Next time I will talk about the symptoms of Complex PTSD. I have given myself license to use that term although at first it felt a little bit wrong (because I associated the term with other types of abuse that are more serious and more damaging) but I think it fits, and in the absence of another term.

I don’t know who might be reading this, but if you have recovered or are recovering from mental/ emotional/ spiritual abuse and have Complex PTSD, I would be interested to hear from you. I can’t give any advice other than what helps me, and perhaps that can be another topic for another post.

Bye for now.

Unravelled

​I found this poem in my facebook memories for today, and had to look it up to discover where it was from. I liked it so I thought I would share it. 

The book was probably the best one I had on pregnancy loss because it was offering art as therapy rather than just commiserating about the loss. As it turned out, the art form I chose was writing (and my first attempt at NaNoWriMo was an unexpectedly intensely personal piece of fiction that I haven’t been able to even go back and edit because it was so raw, but getting it out helped me I’m sure). 

I like this poem because, while it is heart-rending and painful, it is more beautiful than dark. I hope you enjoy it.

After three months
of silent stitching

what finger let slip

what growing row of cells

unravelled, loosing life and

leaving the lap empty?

– Olson Binder, 1993

Quoted in Grief Unseen, Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts by Laura Seftel

The Best Laid Plans…

I know it couldnt be further from husband’s mind, but after this most recent unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage I had hoped than once we were in our own home finally we would be able to start the adoption process again.

But two weeks before we were due to move house, my mother had an emotional crisis and was showing such severe signs of confusion and possible dementia that it was decided she would have to move in with us.

So there goes our ‘spare’ bedroom. Mum has actually been much better in the six weeks she’s been with us, so the plan is to make this a permanent arrangement.

Maybe it was just never meant to be. Every time our situation was starting to look promising, another hurdle would be thrown up in our way.

And now of course, I’m 45 so even if I could get on top of my health issues (I’m currently being investigated for Cushing’s and Diabetes Insipidus, all relating back to a head injury I had back in 1983) it would be too late for babies.

I keep thinking that I should just give up making plans and just let life wash over me and take it as it comes. Just shrug my shoulders and accept that whatever will be will be.

Years ago (actually straight after I lost my twins), a friend suggested I get myself a puppy. At the time I thought it was a really insensitive thing to say. But now, after 13 years of empty arms, secondary infertility and multiple recurrent miscarriages, I would settle for a teddy bear.

How Illness has Affected Me

I’m sharing this as Shepherdess for the King is my friend (and I didn’t know you had a ‘Shepherdess’ blog!) And also because ME is one of my diagnoses too, which has prevented me from pursuing my calling too. I have been told by two other pentecostal friends this week that I mustn’t say that I’m ill, because saying it makes me ill. I utterly reject such simplistic thinking. And no, it’s not because we lack faith that we’re being tried in the furnace of infirmity. Please, please have more compassion and kindness than to say such things to sick Christians. Blessings, Shepherdess x

Shepherdess for the King

I don’t often talk about the illnesses I live with but for today I am. Before I became ill, I was an active mum and minister. I enjoyed taking the boys out on walks in the woods, countryside, and fields. I loved watching them explore and we always brought home acorns, twigs, pine cones, etc. in little sandwich bags. I enjoyed working with children. I loved planning programmes and crafts and then spending time getting to know the children in our church. I taught Sunday School, Junior Soldiers, worked at summer camps, etc. I also enjoyed teaching/preaching. I am more a teacher than a preacher.

I was quite active with all these things until 2010 when my life changed. I had sinus surgery in March and then later that year I had swine flu. This was also the year I became a British citizen and went to Brengle Holiness Retreat…

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