Archive for November, 2010

My 80th post. Never thought I’d continue on with this as long as I have!! Thought I’d run out of things to say, upset and offend people without meaning to, and funny how this is the busiest day on my blog to date – more hits than I’ve ever had! What more can I say than to thank those of you who visit my musings regularly – I hope I help you in some way, and hope it continues to help in the future.

Next stop – the 100th post!

Sometimes it can just take one person.

Our office budget cannot stretch to affording a Christmas Tree this year, this is not surprising and well, even if it could, would it really be a good use of funds considering the financial crisis? It might be a small gesture to the management, but then I was set to thinking. Why should everything be provided for us on a plate? If we want something badly enough then we can make it happen ourselves. So. Just how badly did we want a Christmas tree? Were people happy just to have something else to whine about or, were they prepared to put their money where their mouth is? I’m not completely unreasonable, money isn’t plentiful for everyone else either BUT what does a decorated Christmas tree actually represent at this time of year?

To me, a tree takes me back to happy childhood memories, a time when there were no worries or stresses, I knew I would be provided for, safe, warm and happy. Lots of glitter, sparkle, over-the-top decorations, an indulgence you just wouldn’t see any other time of the year. This idea links in 100% with my post on Austerity yesterday. We have the ‘Austerity’ meeting in a few weeks. Many had expressed that having a tree would be frivolous considering the meeting we were to have. I pointed out that surely if we’re heading for a tough time we should have a beacon of hope? Despite the tough times we could all still rally together and have a small token of ‘togetherness’ and looking out for each other? The tree isn’t just about being something nice to have, but to show that we can all stand arm in arm and say ‘I care about my colleague’. ‘This is for you as much as it is for me’. Maybe i’m deluded. Maybe it’s a much more shallow thing than that. That’s the way I see it.

In this case it took one person to turn around a potentially depressing festive situation. I wasn’t prepared to put up with the whining and moaning – and amazingly the whining and moaning has stopped and so many others are now motivated and excited about the prospect and started suggesting ideas how to make it even better. In fact, a great suggestion was that any left over money can be put towards tree chocolates for those that have contributed. Another incentive for those wavering to cave in and donate. As a result of all of this, there are smiling faces, and an excitement about the coming festive season – not doom and gloom, and a constant reminder of things to come when we pass the empty space usually occupied by the tree.

I know what it’s like to feel down. Low. Hopeless. Perceiving nothing to look forward to. It just takes something simple, something small. The little things to lift your chin. Grand gestures may feel good initially, but i’ve never known anyone who’s made a grand gesture not have a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth afterwards by someone commenting or something happening to tarnish the deed. But with small gestures, thoughtful gestures… Hope and understanding is there.

So this Christmas, despite the lack of money, resources, grand gestures etc, think of the small things, the things that put smiles on faces, show consideration, thought and care for others, for those you love, and well, all of those who are struggling too, because there are many who are, even those who wear the most convincing of all masks.

All it takes is one person to reach out and change things.

Am I creative because I’m Depressed? Or Depressed because I’m creative? Or is the answer neither? Creativity is something that many people describe as ‘being talented’, ‘naturally gifted’, something special, something innate that cannot be learned, only developed from what we have naturally. We’ve all been in situations where people ‘try’ to act but cannot, mainly because they can’t connect with the feelings of the imaginary situation. Does having a ‘mental illness’ mean that the heightened emotions that we feel enable us to empathise so much more intensely? Is it then a coincidence that the most eminent actors and actresses have been known to have mental illnesses?

We talk about people having a ‘scientific’ mind, thinking in a certain way – it’s happily accepted that logic and science and engineering and being able to think that way is admirable, even though again, those eminent scientists often have mental issues, i.e. Autism, Depression (again) and many others, but it’s never stigmatised to the same level of so called ‘artistic’ pursuits.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to tackle anything – i’ve completed an undergraduate Artistic degree, then re-trained in a postgraduate Scientific degree. Suffice to say I struggled with the Scientific mindset – I find it difficult to see in black and white, believing in only that which is proven… I see all the wonderful greys in between, and it’s not just the colours either, it’s the texture of those greys too… There’s always more than one way to look at a situation.

So as i’ve mentioned before, feeling emotions more intensely is no bad thing, it makes us who we are, and enables us to do things many others can’t. Finding what your creative niche is is the difficult task, perhaps music is my forte, or composition, or writing, or making up stories, or who knows? Maybe I haven’t even found my forte yet… This is why I say you have to try different experiences in life, don’t just sit back and let life pass you by. How do you know what makes you happy until you find it? And even then it may be more than one activity you love. There’s a good chance it will be.

Drug free and thinking clearly for the first time since I started my medication, i’m feeling rather calm and focussed today. My projects have taken a little bit of a back seat whilst i’ve been weaning off the tablets, but now the withdrawal effects have gone, it’s time to take control back of my direction in life…

I actually like the word Austerity, it brings to mind a certain English ‘stiff upper lip-ness’, it’s nicely formed, I just tended to like it before. I say before, because now I find that it is being bandied about by all sorts of managers, newspapers, politicians and well, i’ve heard it more recently than i’ve ever heard it before. And the connotation this time around is BAD. Very bad.

I like using appropriate words. Why use ten when you can use one? Also, different words have different inflections, why use ‘nice’, when ‘wonderful’, ‘amazing’, ‘fabulous’ can be used with so much more effectiveness. What does get me rather riled though is when more obscure words get used to confuse and to belittle. As you probably know by now, I’m all for education, knowledge and openness – so the use of this word recently has really started to frustrate me.

‘Austerity measures’ ‘Austere behaviours’. Austerity. At work, we have all been called to an ‘Austerity’ meeting. A number of colleagues hopped over to me and asked me what it meant. I explained. Their faces dropped. Panic set in and I was greeted with ‘does this mean redundancy then? Pay cuts? Working hour cuts?’ Sad fact is it probably means all of the above. So if it means all of the above, why don’t people just come out and say it straight? When it’s something this important and life changing, you have to make it 100% clear to everyone. It’s ok me using obscure words in my blog because it’s my outlet, my words may mean something to some, but nothing to others. When you’re talking about job losses and pay cuts – that means something to every single last employee of the company. Young and old, experienced and just starting out in the world. Plain simplistic English PLEASE.

Using language, jargon, whatever to confuse and mitigate anger is not right. It only serves to make people feel small, in fact it’s made many physically ‘hate’ the management because they feel ‘talked down to’. Politics, semantics, name it what you will. The end result is the same – it’ll be an interesting Christmas.

It’s been a good few days – busy but good. Lots of Christmas shopping done – pretty much ALL done in fact, mood is good, nausea and dizziness so infrequent that i’ve not noticed it considerably in the past few days. In fact i’m feeling great. Wonderful! I’m OFF the drugs and time to manage myself on my own again! Thing is this time, I feel better equipped to cope, to manage, to carry on. I also know that if I NEED to go back on the tablets at any point I can and will. That in itself is a reassurance, knowledge I have a way out of the low that works. If things ever get that bad again, there is hope. Good hope.

So today I’m relaxing completely. I’m not doing ANYTHING. This I feel really good about. See thing is I find it difficult not to do anything, I always feel like I SHOULD be doing something. And then feel guilty about not doing anything. But, I suppose if you don’t have days where you relax completely, how can you ever recharge your batteries? I do try to have ‘me’ time and embrace the small things, but rarely does it happen for an entire day.

As a result i’ll keep this post short. I have some rubbish tv to catch up on, which I’m actually looking forward to switching off and letting it just flow over me.

It’s been another rollercoaster ride the last two days – emotions up and down, mainly down, dizziness so bad that i’ve almost thrown up more than once, and headaches. Oh headaches. Waking up in the morning to feel like the worst hangover ever type of headache. And there’s been no alcoholic involvement, and curiously, bad dehydration. Maybe that’s why it feels like a hangover – because of the dehydration. I don’t seem to be able to drink quick enough to remain hydrated! I’ve resorted to high sugar drinks like Coke now in the hope that my sugar and salt intake remains high enough – I certianly feel better since doing this. Perhaps these drugs were affecting me a LOT worse than I thought, I knew I was a lot thirstier on them than before, but now? I have dry eyes, my skin is incredibly dry – very unusual for me, and a mouth like the Sahara desert. Forget ‘dry mouth’ this feels like someone has emptied a bucket of sand into it. Also related or not, I have what feels like a cold. I’m just chalking that up to withdrawals as well

Needless to say I could also sleep for England, and my concentration is shot, BUT today I don’t feel emotionally bad at all. So that’s a big plus, and well, there’s late night Christmas shopping tonight. That’s never a bad thing.

I have a few more topics swirling around my head since the worst of the low moods have started to disappear, so I may pen a few more thoughtful posts over the next few days… Depends whether I can get a level standpoint on how i’m thinking. As well as the low moods, I’ve also been quite irrationally irate, unusual for me, only usually something that comes out when frustrated…

All in all things could be so much worse… I still thank my lucky stars for who I am, whatever trials and tribulations are thrown my way.

Definitely the worst day to date. Headache, nausea, dizziness so severe that I can’t even walk straight, no appetite, shakes, concentration impossible, low mood, unreasonable – the list is endless. Suffice to say I’d like to just curl up and sleep. Oh yes – extreme lethargy added to that list above. I know it’ll all end at some point though – I keep reminding myself of that.

But for tonight, I shall be sleeping. And trying to eat. It’s all a relatively small price to pay for the months of well-being i’ve received mentally, even if not physically… Which of course the delightful withdrawals are kicking me nice and hard physically, even now. Perhaps this physical affect is what has caused the extreme lethargy and exhaustion i’ve had of late? It would be interesting to be able to know for definite. Still have acidic stomach, but that is easing as are all of the other side effects noted whilst I was fully on the drug.

Not as happy a picture as I was hoping to present for the withdrawal symptoms, but, there’s no turning back now. Everything should settle in time…

Today I am dizzy, in every sense of the word. Physically the med withdrawals are just making my head spin round and round and round, and well, lots of thoughts are doing the same thing clanking around in my skull. Good intentions. Why is it my good intentions are always taken out of context? Why should it be my problem that other people think I have a motive for doing something good for them? Why should I suffer because others can’t believe I’d do something because I actually want to?

Maybe when I start my volunteering it’ll provide a good vent for this ‘wanting to be nice to people’ and then I can just become cynical like others I encounter in my everyday life and save my ‘giving’ side to those who truly want it. I just feel really sad that people can’t accept others being nice without suspicion and distrust. What a sad world that we live in if that’s the case? I usually fight through this feeling and plough on regardless, but it seems my ‘happy gestures’ just seem to upset those close to me, and well, how can I fight the opinions of those I respect?

I can’t. So. How can I be optimistic and cynical? Is it even possible? Will it wear off after a few days? Perhaps it will. Is it just my meds withdrawal speaking? Who knows. All I do know is the medication has never stopped me wanting to do nice things for friends, so being drugged up to the eyeballs or completely drug free, this is who I am. Does being who I am hurt people? Seems that way. How do I live with that? Not sure, but it seems I’m going to have to find a way.

Having had a long weekend away from home, I feel rather refreshed this morning – and very tired! Still not taking any medication, and I’m very surprised by the lack of withdrawal symptoms i’m experiencing. The biggest symptoms I can make out are extreme tiredness, which I had before when I was medicated anyway, and the head swims/balance issue. The tiredness is irritating because it affects my concentration, and well, on long car journeys where i’m the passenger (I try to avoid long car journeys where I drive for this very reason…) I instantly fall to sleep. I must be great company.

The head swims and balance is most annoying though. As it’s pretty much the same as when I came of Citalopram I knew what to expect and it doesn’t worry me when it happens, but it is just that little bit worse than my Citalopram experience. I can literally stand up and then stumble immediately as my head struggles to find where my blaance is. Even sitting down and not moving, if I flick my eyes quickly in one direction or another the spinning starts. I’ve been told it’s a bit like Vertigo. I’m just very pleased it isn’t.

Oh – and I forgot to mention the acid stomach too! I knew the tablets were affecting the acidity of my stomach somewhat, but coming off them has contributed to the acidity and I seem to be craving milk and dairy products which seem to be the only thing to calm the bubbling and acidity. As I mentioned before, the physical aspects of the medication were what has caused me to come off them perhaps a little earlier than I’d have liked, and these withdrawal symptoms are no worse than I was expecting – better in fact. Curiously the emotional side effects have calmed down again. I’m still cautious though, I bet they have just as good a chance of returning as staying away!

Anyway – I have the first rehearsal for a new choir I’m deputising for tonight, and I am looking forward to it so much. I love the music I’ll be singing and the choir is renowned for having quality singers, and the conductor is amazing too. So although the commute to the rehearsal is a little hefty, the experience is well worth it, and I just can’t wait. Only problem is, in a couple of weeks I have to re-arrange the volunteering induction as it falls on a Monday night! Thankfully the volunteering organisation said this was ok to do, I just feel a bit guilty for having to move the induction again. I’ll get volunteering eventually though!

Time to do some ‘day job’, innumerbale e-mails await.

For the last two days i’ve been continuing the dose reduction and well, there’s some strange things starting to happen. Firstly let’s talk physical symptoms. Thankfully no headaches like many have stated before, but, I seem to be swinging from extreme hunger to extreme nausea throughout the day. Sometimes in conjunction with having eaten, other times not. Sometimes when I eat, I just can’t seem to eat enough, just craving savoury things too – which is very unlike me, if I crave anything it’s usually chocolate or sugar based in some way…

No electric shock sensations, not that I expected them as I didn’t get them with Citalopram, however the head swims have intensified considerably to the point that my balance is rather strange. I can seem perfectly fine one minute and the next everything is off and spinning. Also, I seem to be having moments of feeling ‘spaced out’ where I almost seem like i’m viewing things from afar. Very strange. Almost like a complete detachment.

Emotionally, and yes – I knew this was coming… emotionally they have been all over the place. Lows, frustration, irritation, anger, tears – just the lovely gamut of the horrible that the tablets helped to eliminate in the first place. In fact i’ve just read back some of my previous posts, and well, it seems maybe the low started a little earlier than I recognised. But coming off the tablets I knew this would happen, so – it’s not as bad as it could be. Just goes to show, keeping a record of my moods, whether recognised or not is a good way of maintaining my sanity. I’m just holding onto the theory that how i’m feeling now will pass when my body stabilises without the meds again. I’m actually feeling quite chipper today though, so that thought does seem to be viable at this present time.

Contemplating a couple of days away at my parents this weekend so that will be nice to run away from the daily grind – so – I’ve decided that as my dose must be down to around 10mg now that it’s time to stop them entirely. Take the plunge and just go for it. I don’t seem to be having the hugely extreme withdrawal effects that some have noted (must say I find this curious considering the effects I had to get on them and whilst I was on them…) so it’s time to purge back to my normal self again. Whilst I shall mainly be chauffered around this weekend the balance issues won’t be a problem as I won’t be driving (much… if at all) and of course just relaxing will take the pressure off my brain to focus.

No doubt the highly strange weird dreams will continue – I won’t even go into the time loop/alternate reality dream I was having last night, that’ll teach me to watch Fringe before bedtime… But then, having a rather heightened creativity might not be a bad thing – even if it is when i’m not in a waking state. Perhaps I should write down the dream fragments I remember? You never know, I might come up with another story for another book!

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