Thoughts Spilling Out of a Brain Left Ajar EPISODE 3

So, I went to see the psychiatrist today… watch how the day went. It was rather surprising. Also, you get to see my cat, Rincewind, acting cute in this vlog post; it’s worth watching just for that.

Thoughts Spilled From A Brain Left Ajar

I was inspired by this man and his vlog to try vlogging again.  But, sheesh, it takes longer to edit and upload the video than it does just to write a blog post, so while I’ve said this is episode 1 of ‘Thoughts Spilled From A Brain Left Ajar’, who knows when and if there will be an episode two.  This is a raw, intimate look at the real me and what I struggle with daily.  Anywho, with no further ado…

The Trial and Travail

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So, my psychiatrist told me that medication is all trial and error, that it would be great if they could just run a blood test and know what would work for me…but, they can’t; you never know what you’re going to get because all the meds effect everyone differently.

I have now tried eight different meds for depression and anxiety and I keep returning to duloxetine as the lesser of all evils.

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My last trial (and, what a trial it was), before again returning to duloxetine, was with escitalopram.

The good points..well, there was only one good point, and it was a very good point: I could reach orgasm again easily. It was delightful to not have to work so hard… the relief from frustration… the glorious intensity of pleasure. However…

The broken pieces of glass in my head would not stay put. Crashing and slicing around, they blinded me with mental and emotional agony. Thus, not doing much as an ANTI-depressant. Then, there was the physical pain which forced me to my bed.

Maybe, prior to taking duloxetine, I hadn’t realised the severity of physical pain I was in. I knew my body hurt most of the time, but it was…manageable, compared to the mental/emotional anguish.

Now, the pain in my body was intense and overwhelming, further contributing to a downward spiral.

And, so, I stopped taking the escitalopram and started again on the duloxetine. Bye bye easy orgasms but, also, goodbye crippling pain.

It’s sad that in numbing the bad, the good gets numbed as well. And, as far as mood…I still want to die…but, the duloxetine helps me function by effectively killing the physical pain.

The duloxetine also holds the glass in my head in check; it dulls the sharp, jagged edges, doing little for anxiety and low mood, but keeping full blown psychosis at bay.

It’s no way to live, it’s just a way to exist a little better, to (I detest this word) survive (bleurgh, I spit that word out with hatred).

Meanwhile… (I sang live on the Beeb)

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At short notice on Thursday, I was invited by the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre that I often provide music for, to come sing at their new large Leicester centre on Friday (yesterday). That really wouldn’t be that much short notice to me (I try to stay practiced up and prepared for musical opportunities) except that then I was told I’d be being covered by BBC Radio Leicester.

Normally, I’d have been running around like the proverbial chicken sans head, thinking, “OMG! RADIO. LIVE RADIO. LIVE POPULAR RADIO.” However, they’ve recently changed my meds from duloxetine to venlafaxine and I was more like, “Nice. About time. Eh, what should I wear to be on radio?” (an ironic, but serious, question).

My friend Vee came with me and played roadie. Before going live, the man from the station came to talk to me. I introduced myself by name and said I was a local artist from Loughborough. He replied, “Excellent! We champion local artists; you should send us some of your stuff.” I retorted with, “I have done. For years now. I’ve never heard back from anyone.” He said, “I’ll give you my details and email; send it to me.”

This was/is worth getting excited over. Still, the venlafaxine is holding me in check from getting my hopes too high. And, yet, the hopes are still there. He seemed genuine.

We went live, I was interviewed (being American came into it), and then asked to “give a burst” of a song, I “bursted” decently, he got my name wrong when it went back to him, but he corrected himself so no harm was done. Then, while the show went back to the studio, he handed me a piece of paper with his details on it. He handed me a shred of hope.

Here’s the link to the podcast of the show.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p024wyv4 Skip to 1:13:37 to listen to my interview and “burst”. Shame about the stupid noise my sustain pedal was making. But, other than that, I nailed it, was asked back to the centre to do more music for them, and made a contact at BBC Radio. Not bad for a day’s work.

Embracing The Mess

It’s been a while (again) since I’ve blogged, posted, whatever. And, “whatever” about sums it up. Still in the grips of “cannae be bothered”, I have not experienced the return of my blogging mojo.

In the ongoing “Depression Chronicles”, the doctor has increased the dosage of my medication. I’m delighted to report that this hasn’t rendered my ability to (oh, I’m just going to be blunt, and people who don’t like it can go elsewhere!) reach orgasm to the realms of the lost and forgotten. One of these days someone will realise that if a depressed person enjoys something – anything – that’s a GOOD thing. If the meds take away that good thing, then the meds need to be rethought. Thankfully the stuff I’ve been put on this time have not presented me with the situation I mainly feared about being put on said medication.

Moving on (I’m sure some of you will be so glad…but, really, in the quest to bringing the issues of mental illness and wellness out into the open, the main (irksome) side effect of most of the meds should be talked about…whether it makes some people uncomfortable or not. This is what we are having to live with and those who seek to understand…well, you need to understand)!

As for the benefit side of the meds… I will be honest: I suppose I’m coping better-ish. Not great.  Not happy clappy slappy woo hoo ain’t it great to be alive (oh, please), but better-ish.

I’ve joined a few depression support groups on Facebook. It’s helpful just knowing I’m not alone in the struggle; there are others out there who “get it”.

I’m embracing the mess that is me. Today anyway. And that’s the thing, taking it day at a time, moment by moment if needs be.

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I’m celebrating every small victory, giving thanks for the decent days, and trying not to be so hard on myself on the bad days. Embracing the mess.

It’s Bigger On The Inside

The days roll by, still very much under the category of “can’t be bothered”. Eh, “roll by” would suggest a smoothness not characteristic of these rough days. But, I’m still (at this point) determined to post occasionally. So, here’s an occasion and a post.

This damned depression. I could certainly use a Doctor with a wonderful way to escape.

The T.A.R.D.I.S.

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It’s bigger on the inside.

So, too, is my journey. I wish to withdraw, to close in and down, but I keep reaching out even as I sink within.

The antidepressants are not doing what I’d hoped. What did I hope? I was under no impression that they would simply sort me out in such a way that I could all of a sudden function like the rest of the world. But, I had expected a little help in the coping department, an edge taken off. All they seem to be doing is drying up my sea of tears, all the while doing nothing to ease the feeling of torment or the inability to “function”. So, I’m a wreck that just doesn’t cry.

I guess it’s back to the doctor for me. I know she, too, was hoping that the little pill would just make things better. I’m sorry I will have to disappoint her. I’m sorry that nothing is easy. I’m sorry she doesn’t have a magical blue box that can whisk me away from my pain and struggle.

And, again, not for the last time, I wish I could just escape.

I still have HOPE and a PROMISE

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Last week I made the very hard decision to go back on medication for depression. This was not an easy thing for me to do, because I so detest the side-effects of antidepressants. But, the time had come to either do something or to go to bed and never get back out of it.

Since we cannot afford for me to have a stint in the hospital or for me just to go to bed (we can’t afford for my husband to stay home from work to take the kids to/from school, or to come home from work every single time I have a breakdown and am crying hysterically down the phone), it was necessary to do something.

So, yesterday, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor. I was officially diagnosed with severe depresion (scoring a 24 out of a possible 27 – the higher the score the more severely depressed you are) and was given the prescription.

My attitude to it is this: I know how I am supposed to think, I know what and how I am supposed to think, but my brain will not work that way; it needs some serious help. This is the first step to getting better; this will open the door for me to be able to make myself think the way I should think. This is the first step – on  a journey – to better days.

Yesterday morning, in my quiet time before getting out of bed, I felt God give me this verse of scripture:

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.Zechariah 9:12 NLT

I am a prisoner of depression. But, I still have hope, and I have God’s Word; His promise of blessing.

No, I’m not happy that I’m on an antidepressant that I know, while it’s helping, will affect me in ways I do NOT want to be affected.  But, I have hope of deliverance, from both the depression and, eventually, the crappy side-effects of the medication I have to take in order for me to cope with my every day life.

Hope is not synonymous with wishing. Real hope is not the same thing as wishful thinking. The difference between hope and wishing is as much as the difference between a dream and a fantasy: the former is inherant with power and possiblility while the latter is just smoke and sandcastles.

I still have hope. And, I have a promise which keeps that hope breathing.