More Medicine

Today is day three of taking a new antidepressant.

I’ve take antidepressants for ten years.

Citalopram, Fluoxitine, Venlafaxine, Gabapentin, Sertraline.

I’ve needed sleeping pills and tranquillisers on and off for the last four years.

Zopiclone, Zolpiden, Diazepam.

Now it’s time for antidepressant number 6.

Metazipine.

I’ve slept 36 out of the last 48 hours.

The hours that I’ve been awake have been confused and fractured. I’m unsure of the day and the date and I only know what time it is because there are clocks in every room.

I don’t really know what’s happening around me.

I cuddled Squidge when he came home from nursery and then I realised he was in bed.

The TV is on and the Northern One has been talking to me but the words and pictures have all jumbled together and I can’t pick them apart.

When I have been able to catch hold of my thoughts and force them to make sense I keep thinking about play dough.

Bear with me.

When it’s new it comes neatly packaged in the different tubs of red, yellow and blue but the longer you play with it, moulding it into different shapes some of it becomes mixed up and dries out and turns brown. The bright colours are so mashed together that they turn the colour of mud and you haven’t a chance of separating them or working out which bits were red or yellow or blue.

You know that they used to be different but that’s only because you remember and not because the muddy lump in any way resembles the original colourful doughs in any sense apart from being vaguely squidgey.

This is how I can best describe my thoughts.

Does that make any sense?

I’m not really sure.

I have a vague idea of what I want to say but it keeps flitting out of reach and the more I try to pin it down and make it make sense the less it seems to.

I’ve no idea what happened to Tuesday, even though I was the sole person in charge of Squidge. I have a vague recollection of feeding him, hearing him playing with his fire engine and pulling my hair while I dozed on the sofa. I stayed awake enough to know that he was safe but not enough to really take in anything he was doing.

I put him down for his nap at 1600, heard the Northern One come in at around 1730 but didn’t properly wake up again until 1100 today.

I feel like I’ve lost a whole day.

The feelings of panic that I’ve been drowning in over the past few weeks have been replaced by lethargy and numbness, my brain and body aren’t functioning quickly enough to feel panic.

I’m not really sure which I prefer.

My brain feels like it’s full of concrete, my limbs are so heavy that it’s an effort to lift them and my voice feels thick and sluggish.

I’ve barely moved from the sofa for the last three days and I’m typing this post very slowly with one finger because that’s all I can manage.

I can feel my brain misfiring, trying to cope with the deluge of new chemicals and keep my body working at the same time but it can’t cope so it tries to send me to sleep instead.

I had to lie down on the bathroom floor after I had a shower because I was shaking and dizzy and exhausted.

I fell asleep trying to eat my dinner and the Northern One kept having to wake me up so that I finished each mouthful

There have been times over these three days when I’ve crawled because I haven’t been able to walk.

I lay on the landing at the top of the stairs vaguely wondering if I’d be able to get up again.

I don’t think I really cared.

This is the sixth different antidepressant I’ve taken in the ten years that I’ve been battling with depression.

Six different lots of side effects and adjustment periods and wondering if this will be the medication that works and carries on working.

I’m not expecting miracles; I know that there isn’t a magic pill that will erase all the symptoms of depression, normalise my brain chemistry and turn me back into the person I used to be.

I know that even the most effective medication won’t work if I don’t work, that I have to put in the effort or I won’t feel the benefits and so I’ve battled on.

I forced myself to stay at university and finish my degree even though I desperately wanted to go home or run away to be with the Northern one. The only two positive things to come out of the three years was my nursing qualification and a friend for life who put up (and still puts up) with everything I threw at her.

I got two very competitive jobs and have done them to the absolute best of my ability, even on the days where I gave more than I thought I was able to give.

I’m so tired.

I’m tired of fighting and feeling like I always end up back at square one; that no matter how hard I’ve tried I always seem to end up on my knees begging for help.

I sit in yet another GP or psychiatrist or nurses office with my head bowed and tears streaming down my face as I recount my history for what feels like the hundredth time. They hand me tissues, pat my shoulder and tell me that we will get things sorted.

All I have to do is carry on.

Keep going.

Not give in.

I’ve kept going for the last ten years; through a degree, a wedding, three house moves, one unexpected pregnancy, two new jobs and bringing up a one year old.

How much longer do I have to keep going like this?

How many more times will someone say “We’ll fix this” only for me to end up sat back in front of them months or years down the line begging for help?

Ten years, six different medications, four different counties, four different counsellors and six different GPs.

Endless appointments, referrals, letters, tissues and tears.

This is never going to end is it?

This is my life.

No one knows how to ‘fix’ it regardless of what they say or how hard they try.

Will I still be lying on the sofa in 20, 30, 40 years time knocked flat by the effects of yet another new medication or will we have run out of options?

How many doctors and specialist nurses and mental health teams will I have to explain my history to while I sob and they hand me yet another tissue?

How many more new jobs and houses and children will I have fought my way through while people tell me that we’ll find a solution but I just have to carry on?

Will I still be here?

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