As Desperate As An Ice-Cube In Hell

I thought about turning on the TV tonight, but I can’t get my head around watching it alone. Since my separation, I’ve hardly really watched TV at all. Which is weird, because it’s not like me and Ex really watched anything together toward the end anyway, mostly because we couldn’t be in the same room as each other. I vaguely recall spending most evenings either beading with my headphones on or laying in the bath for hours with a bottle or two of wine, while he either slept on the couch in front of the TV or skulked off into his shed to pretend he was busy.

Before it got like that, back when we did watch shows together, it was always what he wanted to watch. Typical male king-of-the-remote-control stuff. He would fall asleep and I would gently pry the remote out from between him and the cushion. I would slowly turn the volume down before changing the channel, hoping that the sudden shift from one show to another wouldn’t startle him awake. There’s an art to it, but I never mastered the skill. I invariably failed and would receive a glare and a, “I was watching that.” He would reclaim his precious prize, switch the channel back and nod off again.

Now days, if I’m faced with the challenge of deciding what to watch, I’m like a crippled little lamb. So mostly, I don’t watch anything except for The Walking Dead. If I’m with someone, I can watch, but I can’t make the choice. Even if there’s something that I want to watch, I’ll concede to someone else’s preference. It’s part lack of confidence in speaking up, and part being so desperate for company that I don’t want to risk them deciding not to join me on the couch.

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You see, I’m stunningly needy. I’ve only just come to realise this. I’m fairly certain that everyone who has ever dealt with me has been long aware it, while I’ve been existing as a shapeless mass of oblivious desperation. I’m horribly lonely, even when I’m not alone. I require constant reassurance that I’m a good person, a good mother, that I exist, that I’m not losing my mind, not a burden, not a hellish mash-up between The Blob and Freddy Kruger.

When someone doesn’t want to spend time with me, I “know” that it’s because of who I am as a person, or how I look. If someone rejects me, I feel like hideous monster who should be shunned from society. Conversely, if someone chooses to spent time with me, I feel like maybe I matter. If I’m lucky enough to spend the night with someone or be shown affection of any sort, I start to think maybe I’m not so bad. So I crave touch; a hug, a hand resting on mine, any kind of gesture. It’s not romance or love that I want, it’s just the feeling of being worth…. something. Hell, some days, I would be happy to be punched me in the face just for the sake of human contact, some kind of acknowledgement that I’m here and I matter. And that’s not a healthy way to be.

I’m learning a lot about myself as I work through this process, and most of it isn’t great and it hurts like Hell. But all the same, I’m glad that I’m figuring myself out, so that I can work on fixing it. Three steps forward and two steps back is still progress. Eventually, I’ll have found all the little pieces of me, I’ll cut back the rot and I’ll be content to be me. I’m not going to get any younger or prettier, so best I start learning to accept myself now before I’m a lonely old hag preying on handsome young Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door, insisting that they have one more cup of tea.

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Catharsis

My head isn’t in the best of places today, but it’s probably just necessary to work out the kinks (although, some kinks I’m happy to keep ). It’s 1.30pm, and I’ve only just gotten out of bed, but today isn’t for pressure, today is for catharsis and for planning. My house is a mess, but fuck it. I don’t need to impress anyone today.

Today my plans include, sitting and crying; laying on the couch playing games on my phone; writing a list of small goals and a plan on how to achieve them; drinking lots of water; cat and rat cuddles (not at the same time); mindless drawing; walk on the beach.

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I need to stop trying to be what other people want me to be. I was me for a little while there, and I’m going to get that back. I need to stop feeling guilty for not being good enough, strong enough, generous enough, pretty enough. Changes are coming.

A Public Service Announcement For My Fellow Mentals

I have changed anti-depressant medications, and it was an awful experience. I have since found out that the standard New Zealand practice for changing SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) medications is different from that of the rest of the world.  Australia advises a withdrawing period of 4-7 days, waiting 3 days before starting the new medication. America is on the most cautious side of the scale, reducing Zoloft over a period of 4+ weeks, waiting 7 days then introducing Escitalopram.

In New Zealand we just switch straight to the new one immediately. Going cold-turkey from Zoloft is risky and difficult, particularly if the dose is high and has been taken long term. Withdrawal can take several painful weeks. I thought it was unusual, so I made a point of asking the doctor if that was correct. She told me that because they’re both “short-acting” drugs an immediate change is suitable. This is so unique to New Zealand, that it is even mentioned as a side-note in the official UK GP Guidebook.   I have my suspicions that it is likely to be about money. In New Zealand we have a heavily subsidised healthcare system. In my area, I can see a GP for $17 and get prescriptions for $10, and three months worth of meds for $5, the government foots the rest of the bill. It’s pretty sweet. But it’s not perfect.

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I believe the reason that the method for switching SSRI’s is an over night change, is because weaning means more doctors visits, more prescriptions as each week is a different dosage, and therefore more cost to the Ministry of Heath. So people are suffering unnecessarily, because it’s cheaper. And I mean really suffering.

I was unable to function. It felt like I was moving through treacle, my head was spinning. I couldn’t make sense of anything. The simplest things were baffling. I was profoundly sad, and tired. At first, I couldn’t do much more than lay down and cry. There were times when I was detached from reality that I felt like I was an observer, watching the world from the outside. My responsibilities as a mother became monumental hurdles.

It’s been six days now, and I’m still feeling pretty run-down, but it’s getting better every day. I have learned a valuable lesson and I will never, EVER make a cold switch again. Always insist on tapering off SSRI’s

Good Times.

My last 7 days have been like this:

Thursday: Anxiety says,”Who needs cuticles? Let’s gnaw those fuckers off!”
Friday: You know what goes well together? Depression AND anxiety!
Saturday: Let mix things up a bit. How about we completely lose our shit, and throw in some massive panic attacks with hyperventilating?
Sunday: Panic attack hangover, ugh. Still got housework done, yay me!
Monday: Profoundly miserable.
Tuesday: Pretty damn good actually.
Wednesday:  Lots of aimless wandering. Why am I holding this box of cereal? No, this doesn’t belong in the bathroom.

Yesterday I went to my doctor. I’d been putting it off for a while because I didn’t want to accept that I couldn’t get my mental health under control by myself. However, it’s become increasingly obvious that I can’t so I had to do something. The end result is I have changed my medication from Zoloft to Escitalopram. Changing meds is very rarely a fun experience and my memories of starting Citalopram (slightly different version of the same drug) years ago are unpleasant. Two weeks of feeling like I was on an icky, muddy high. But once the side effects wore off, I found them quite effective, so fingers crossed.

I took my first one before bed because they’re suppose to make you drowsy and the doctor says they should improve my insomnia. But, first I have to deal with the unpleasantness. So I’m here again in the wee hours, I’ve had two hours sleep. I’m crazy tired but can’t drift off, and I have a hazy disconnection to reality like I’m viewing life though a camera’s lens. So my apologies if this post reads like jumbled up nonsense. Starting to feel kinda nauseous from the spinning sensation, so I’m going to lie down for a bit and hopefully get some sleep.