I am apparently being put on ‘a huge’ waiting list for psychotherapy. The pyschiatrist seems to finally be taking notice of things, realising that after at least two years of venlafaxine at a high dose I’m not getting any better. I’m still in the same patterns of up down n all over. I’m not sure what’s made him appear far more concerned this last visit, making sure I have the crisis line number, than all the others I’ve said similar things in. But it’s nice to know something is shifting in my treatment, that things seem to be moving however slowly.

I’m still failing to do the work I should be doing. My brain is lost in what I have termed the ‘forest of endless distraction’ . I just can’t seem to concentrate, even on simple things. I’ve given up reading proper books, which is something I used to love because I just can’t seem to read a page and remember what was on it, or even have the will to sit down and start in the first place.

I keep whooshing between lethargy and agitated fidgetiness, being barely able to move to being unable to sit still. I had a rather embarassing and annoying episode of toddler style fidgetyness in Italy. I had gone to a concert with my parents in a nice old church, I thought it’d be nice relaxing music. Instead it was boring organ music that went on for approximately ten billion years. I could not just sit there and take it, I was doing my hair, fidgeting my feet, swishing my legs, basically fidgeting as much as one can whilst still sitting down. I was in a terrible mood too. I’m ashamed of it really, I’m a grown up I should be able to sit through something boring and at the very least not descend into toddler mode.

This stuff is really starting to affect my work, I’ve pretty much done sod all in the last month or so. I don’t know how much longer I can go on faking it. I am fed up of this endless circle of varying moods and never being stable long enough to do anything useful. I’m just really, really fucking fed up of everything.

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One of the side effects of my medication (venlafaxine) is the dullness I get everything seems muted and I’m not quite sure I feel like myself anymore. I have no spark, my brain is so slow,  everything just crawls along. People comments on how stable I am, I just feel beyond bland and useless as if my brain has been medicated into some sort of submissive porridge.

It’s why I haven’t blogged for ages, I just can’t think of anything, or I can think of things but I can’t transfer it from my brain to the page. Work has been a struggle too, even after a lovely holiday I now feel this big lump of grey sludge descending as I spend hours trying to do the simplest tasks and concentrate beyond five milliseconds.

It’s just so draining trying to be ‘normal’ I feel like I don’t have any energy left for anything else.

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Yesterday on twitter I got talking to people, someone mentioned their mother’s medication had been changed from a brand to generic without her consent and I got into a discussion about what happened to me, other people weighed in and said they knew many other people who it had happened too as well. Despite what doctors say some people DO react differently to different brands of the same drug. Forcing this change through without consent to save money IS NOT ON. In this new era of NHS cuts and dismantling how many of us have been lied to or changed our medications under little supervision when we could experience some pretty nasty side effects?

I was changed to a new medication, without discussion I was just told it would happen, by letter something to do with a review of everyone at the practice and how they had been told to save money blah blah and ‘was the same drug really so you’ll be O.K’. I was changed from Venlafaxine extended release (venlafaxine xr) to Venlafaxine plain old no extended release. Lo and behold for the few weeks as my body got used to changing medication I felt like crap, the usual side effects, shakiness, night sweats, sleeping problems, dizziness, anxiety depression etc. I told my psychiatrist this and the GP,  they  told me it was nothing and it was the same drug so it shouldn’t happen. The pharmacist who served my mum (who was picking up my meds for me) was concerned and didn’t understand why they were changing me rapidly instead of easing me off as I am on a high dose, she wanted to phone to the GP but it was a weekend and I needed my meds, I couldn’t wait and risk withdrawal and after all I had been reassured it was ‘the same thing’ and I would be O.K.

I hesitate to say my medication was changed without consent, but it was certainly changed without INFORMED consent, I was given misinformation and my genuine concerns over side effects of changing were ignored. I’d had very bad experiences changing anti depressants before, though the time before last the very nice GP who I think has left now who oversaw one change was very honest with me and signed me off uni for a month. That’s the kind of treatment I expect and deserve, saying ‘yeh it’ll be shit for a while but don’t worry that’s normal and stick with it for a bit then come and see me if it’s still bad’ is immensely preferable to being pretty much lied to or having the truth skipped over. I agreed yes, but only because I was reassured it was the same thing and the only difference was I’d take it twice a day instead of once and there was the underlying attitude in the air that I had better change or else, I’m always a bit weak when faced with medical types especially if I’m not feeling too good. Not to mention the ethics of belittling the genuine symptoms of someone with mental illness, making you wonder if maybe you are just being paranoid and making it all up.

This is not acceptable. Yes my new medication saves the NHS money but forcing through a change in that way is wrong, unethical. It just adds even more ammunition to the feeling that I am just ‘parked’ on the NHS, my treatment is the bare minimum and no one gives a shit. Talking therapy is unavailable apart from short term CBT or counselling which does not work for me but there is no way I can afford to go private (nor would I wish to being against private medicine)  for long term psychotherapy which I feel I need if I ever want to get my life ‘sorted’.

How many more people have had this done to them? Does anyone else have similar experiences? I’m tempted to investigate a written complaint or something yet at the same time I’m not sure I have the energy to face it .

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There is a fish tank in psychiatrist’s waiting room (on the nhs too, gosh!) and I have blogged in the past about how my favourite resident of the said tank, orange gravel moving fish, sadly passed away, or perhaps made a brave escape attempt into the water cooler. From my latest visit today it seems the whole tank has been repopulated (some sort of powercut disaster?  an aggrieved patient? or just the short life cycle of fish?) and now includes a very depressed looking fish. Maybe it’s some sort of empathy fish, or an especially sensitive fish and atmosphere of the place has got to her/him. I have a new favourite psychiatrist fish, I hope it survives.

In other news I am really not comforted by the fact my psychiatrist is umming and ahhing about my medication again, saying he’s not sure if a higher dose (I am already on a pretty high dosage as it is) would work or a change of medication either, apparently I’ve been on most types of anti-depressants before. I’ve been on fluoxetine a.k.a prozac and paroxitine a.k.a seroxat a.k.a the highly ironic branded name of ‘paxil’ , which haven’t worked so he seems doubtful a new one will. The anti-depressant I’m on now, venlafaxine again with a bitterly ironic branded name of ‘effexor’ which also manages to sound like internet slang, isn’t really working. It keeps more stable than some others but I feel so lethargic, it seems to have a definite numbing and sludgey sort of effect, a veil of clammy, stifling grey-beige apathy, the sort of nihilism that’s absolutely no fun. I still suffer hideous depressive bouts, suicidal thoughts, self harm all that malarkey so I have no idea if it’s helping much, and yet again the side effects (depression, suicidal thoughts, yadda yadda) listed are pretty much the same as the symptoms I have anyway so how on earth can I tell what’s what? It’s like ridiculous post Kafka joke; ‘this is an anti-depressant but the side effects include depression so good luck figuring that out and if you’re not mad already ha just wait!’

I have been given two months to think  about it. Yet again it’s the same old same old nothing seems to work no one knows what to do and ‘experts’ look confused, oh living with depression what a circuitous existence. I’ve been here so many times before I’m starting to wonder what the point of anything is if my life is  akin to constant repeats of Top Gear on Dave, an infinite loop of irritation.

 

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‘Bent out of shape by society’s pliers’ a line from “It’s Alright ma, I’m only Bleeding” by Bob Dylan, an artist who has got me through many a good and bad time since I was young. It encapsulates how I feel.

I have been tweeting prolifically from my bed this morning;

Chloe Miriam@chloemiriam

I shud blog this twitter is too short.

My depression is made worse by a society that won’t give me space to think in such a bleak way, it turns destructive when denied #mentalhealth

The #antidepressants just seem to numb me I feel nothing, a void which is worse than the ups & downs at least with them I feel alive

after A few days of a reduced dose (by accident) I feel my mind coming back! But dr says I’m not stable enough to reduce #antidepressants

1of those days where I simultaneously feel invincible & want to do a 1000 things yet unable to get out of bed#wtfmoodswings #antidepressants

 

I now have the urge to write a full post, a strong urge. All the feelings that have been subdued for so long by my medication have come flowing back, my life, my soul,the fire in my belly or whatever you wish to call it. I know I am medicated as this being often wishes destruction and despair on me, yet I am never sure if the intense numbing (which no one ever seems to take seriously as a side effect) is worth it.

I feel the dark moods are more a problem for a society that won’t give me the space I need to deal with them, that pathologises what I feel as only human, that denies me the time and space to just feel as utterly despairing and miserable as I need to. If society was more open, if I did not feel like a freak every time I mentioned I felt depressed or suicidal or that I think of these sorts of things in an abstract way a lot of the time and explore things intellectually, if I voice thoughts like it doesn’t really matter if I die because if I am dead it won’t matter; thoughts I don’t often mean as intentions but are just things I think about, that I can’t help but think about. That what I feel and think makes society uncomfortable, perhaps it leads to questioning too many things, so I am told I should not feel this, or I should strive to make it go away as soon as possible, to deny it, to never let it take the time and exploration it needs.

I do not enjoy feeling suicidal at all, I do worry I will go beyond the thought stage one day, after all I do self harm and have taken small non lethal overdoses for the hell of it, having no intention to die but just some sort of curiosity or strong urge to do it. Yet it is precisely because I feel like that that I resent having these feelings and thoughts metaphorically beaten out of me, told they are wrong, that I must not feel them to be ‘healthy’. Yet these thoughts and feelings are as valid as any, they never truly disappear when they are pushed down, out of sight, perhaps that’s why they have become so violent and viscous; I have been told my whole life to not say certain things. That it isn’t ‘normal’ to say stuff like ‘well everyone dies’ even if it is true. That you should not think about the dark side of life, yet it’s there whether we like it or not. That ‘positive thinking’ is good and I should try it whenever I feel down. That I should not read Sylvia Plath, or Camus or listen to depressing music even though I feel a wallow in angst helps me far more than ‘cheering myself up’ by painting on a false smile and engaging in shallow psychological short cuts. I have always been a bit gloomy, an Eeyore, I have had these things said to me since I was a small child. Don’t say this, “ohh don’t be so depressing’ the insinuation something is wrong with me because I think about things people find uncomfortable to hear. Is it any wonder I end up so fucked up? That all that curiosity and thought ended up being so destructive as it was denied any time or space to just be, perhaps the irony is if society let me be miserable I wouldn’t be so fucking miserable half the time. If it’s perfectly socially acceptable for people to inflict their happiness and good moods on others why shouldn’t bad moods be given equally open status?

Yet at the same time I feel so hideous I also have the capability to feel amazing. That sense of mild euphoria you get from just ‘being’ and realising it, feeling like god or the world or something is letting you in on a secret by showing you how wonderful the world is whilst others rush past and ignore the marks left by climbing plants in paint that stun in their intricacy, or the feel of the breeze on your skin, or the smell of damp tarmac mixed with blossoms in spring. The beauty of language, how words can just dance through my mind, often in rhyme or poetic flow, how I need to write things down because if I don’t my head will explode as it contains so much. The ideas, the thoughts, the intellectual capacity I get in rushes to describe my views on the world, to form coherent dialectics on this that and the other, to feel that fire again that I am alive and that I feel, I think, I am and that I matter.

After having accidentally reduced my dose  due to a bank holiday prescription miscalculation (that would make an excellent pretentious indie band name) these feelings are all flooding back. It is not until I feel them again that I realise how utterly deadened I have become on anti-depressants that whilst I may be ‘doing well’ according to outside eyes it is at a price, a price which my psychiatrist seems reluctant to even acknowledge. The more time passes the more I feel I am not sure I am willing to sacrifice those moments of wonder for bland stability. It’s not as if I don’t get depressed on antidepressants, I do it just seems to be a duller, nagging ache of depression as opposed to a sharp, acute all encompassing surge. Yet I never feel truly happy on anti depressants, not even for a moment. I just don’t really feel anything and I think that’s a big problem, it’s very hard to try and sort out your life or to try and do anything worthwhile without feeling anything. I have no motivation whatever I do I feel the same sort of ready meal uniformity, I have no impetus to do anything that involves effort as I feel nothing as reward.

Above all I suppose I feel some sort of arrogant desire to not to be ‘normal’, to revel in my unconventional mind. I don;t want to give in and become a beige, pebble dashed box going along with the systems I despise and fitting in and not causing trouble. I want to stir shit. To make a noise.

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