Musings and Snoozes

“Write what should not be forgotten”

My therapist asked me last week how I was feeling about my latest miscarriage. Well actually, what she was specifically asking was whether I was dealing with it or if I was feeling emotionally detached from it all. The fact that she was even asking the question at all tells you that it was the latter. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t upset – I was, I am – I’d howled at three in the morning, and gotten angry at the gods and the seeming injustice of it all. But they were fleeting moments, gone almost as quickly as they’d snuck up on me, leaving me as emotionally empty as the hole I felt physically. We talked about why this might be – was I protecting myself, was I in denial, had my emotions just shut down? But in the end I realised it was none of those things, it was simply because I hadn’t yet put pen to paper and written down the words. With everything swirling around in my head, not to mention the practical aspects of hospital appointments and what felt like a hundred blood tests every other day, I didn’t have any chance to stop, to reflect, and to make sense of anything. Once I started writing, I knew I could start recovering again. So here I am.

When I had my first miscarriage, I remember discovering the 1 in 4 statistic and finding some comfort in it. If 1 in 4 pregnancies ended in miscarriage then this was quite normal and likely nothing to worry about. I’d be lying if I said that now, after 4 pregnancies and 4 miscarriages, I was still quite as comforted. If anything I’m just incredibly frustrated. Upset and sad too of course, but honestly, more than anything I’m just so frustrated to repeatedly get to the same point each time, only for the same outcome to occur. This time round I was determined to just take each day as it came, to enjoy the feeling of knowing I was pregnant, and to stay hopeful. And I’m glad I did – I don’t want to spend every pregnancy being convinced it’ll all go wrong and being pessimistic. Cautious yes, and carefully hopeful, but not miserable. And actually this one was going fine for a bit – I had all the usual symptoms, and just like before, I knew I was pregnant well before I could take a pregnancy test – the nausea, the weariness, the sore boobs, and the odd copper taste in my mouth. But then came the moment I’d been dreading. What had started off as light spotting suddenly because much more and I knew almost instantly what had happened. I can’t describe exactly what the feeling is, it’s just an inevitability, a resignation of what’s to come. While there are a hundred different reasons for bleeding in early pregnancy, and I will always try my hardest to hope that it might be nothing to worry about, ultimately I know my body well enough to understand what’s happening. And just like before, I knew when there was no longer a hooman growing inside me.

But this time has been different in many ways. For one, it’s been 3 and a half weeks now and I’m still bleeding. I’m also still showing a positive on every test I take, despite having had an ultrasound to show that there is no pregnancy tissue left whatsoever. I’ve had scares of eptopic pregnancy and threats of a ruptured fallopian tube, but ultimately nothing that is showing up on any of my scans and therefore slightly baffling my doctors. But on the plus side, I’ve at least had the opportunity to have scans, I’ve been seen and so well looked after by the Early Pregnancy Unit, and my GP has been incredibly supportive. It’s opened up discussions that previously haven’t been had, and consequently I’ve been referred to a clinic specialising in recurrent miscarriage. I cannot explain what a relief this is! I’d previously been referred to the hospital’s Fertility Clinic, who were great in that they did a whole bunch of tests, and we ruled out anything terrible, but at the same time, being a fertility specialist, they don’t really have anywhere to go after the tests all come back normal. Their inevitable next step is IVF, but getting pregnant isn’t my problem, keeping hold of the little peanut is the issue! So while I’m not pinning all my hopes on finding a magical answer at the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic, I am at least looking forward to hopefully having a specialist who doesn’t say things like “well at least you know you can get pregnant”, and expecting that to be reassuring.

At some point we will have to make the decision around how many times we continue to try, at what point it becomes too much for both my body and our emotions to cope with. This time round has by far been the worst physically – my body identifies the process as trauma, and so has triggered one of the worst Lupus flare ups I’ve had for a long time. I feel like I’ve slept almost constantly for the last three weeks, and only now am I beginning to wake up in the morning at a normal time and not in a whole world of pain. In a strange way I’m quietly grateful for it though – without the physical symptoms, I’d have probably gone straight back to work and ended up in a bit of a mess. Being forced to rest and made to take care of myself has been what my body and mind have both needed, and ultimately I’ll be better for it in the end.

Right now, all I can focus on is just getting to the end of this miscarriage and fully recovering from the Lupus flare. I’m trying not to let thoughts of further pregnancies and subsequent complications take over my mind, hard as that may be. I don’t have much control over what will happen, my body will ultimately do whatever it feels it needs to, but I can at least deal with the here and now. I can grieve for the loss of what could have been and what this peanut might have grown into, and I can do what my body needs me to do and get plenty of rest. Anything further than tomorrow doesn’t need thinking about right now – as Hagrid wisely said “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.

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Find your tribe and let them in

I didn’t want to leave this for days, weeks, months on end after my last post. I’m not sure how many words I can find, but I want to give it a go.

I cried. A lot. That’s the first thing to say, and oh god it was such a relief. It was also messy, and scary, and uncomfortable, and happened at about 1am, because of course it did. And you know what set it off? People being nice! I realised that maybe I’d been doing it wrong – watching all the sad puppy videos was never going to work, I needed to watch the happy puppy videos! You guys were the happy puppies, so to speak. I was so overwhelmed with the love and support I received in response to my post that I just lost it, in a good way. So thank you! You made this scared, sad, lost, girl, feel again, and I am so grateful.

Secondly, I spoke to my therapist and we have a plan of action. Just having that makes me feel a little safer and more hopeful. We started this last week by working to double my meds. I have to hope to god this works, because any higher and we’ll be out of baby safe range. So far so good. I also have emergency meds to take if and when it gets quite so bad again. So I feel like I have a bit of a net there to catch me if needed, and I’m hopeful these steps should help balance me out a bit.

Thirdly, I’ve been meaning to write about what creating and being part of a Tribe means to me for a long time now. I never quite get round to putting it into words, but if there’s one thing this last week or so has taught me, it’s the importance of having those people around. It’s about the people who come into your life and make you want to be a better person, help you grow, help you understand yourself and others around you. I am so lucky to have people in my life that do that. That I can spend time with and not just feel better in terms of being consoled, but feel better by being made to feel strong, by remembering I have people who will fight with me, whatever the universe (or my own mind) throws at me.

And I don’t just want that for me. It was a huge part in finally feeling brave enough to have children (or child actually, to be more specific, but “have child” sounds awkward!). I never believed that I could be strong enough mentally or physically to raise a child, but I came to realise that I wouldn’t be doing this on my own. I wouldn’t even be doing this just with Jon. I have the most amazing support, both practically and emotionally, that if I was willing to ask for what I need and let those people help, then I could do this. I’ve always loved the old stories where the children are raised by the village, or where there are a hundred cousins and a million different aunts and uncles. Those aren’t realistic options for me, or indeed for most people these days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t create my own tribe, and that tribe can look however we choose to make it look. Families no longer look like the traditional Mum, Dad, and 2.4 children these days at the best of times, and I have never been traditional in the way I look at the world, and actually for the first time in my life, I’m excited and proud of that. I have so many incredible people around me, some who are close, some who are far away, some I see once a year, some I see almost every day, some I’ve known for my whole life, some have come crashing into my world in the last few months, but one way or another, I want each and every one of those people to be part of helping shape and influence my life and hopefully my child’s life too. I want them know, like I do, that there are so many different people to support them and guide them through life, because honestly, that freedom and that strength is invaluable 💛

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As Autumn Turns to Winter

Blog Quote

So it’s been a while! I’ve somehow lost my words over the last few months and just haven’t been able to find them again. But I think they might be coming back slowly, and so it seems as good a time as any to try and empty my head onto metaphorical paper.

Autumn has been and gone, and now I’m in full on Christmas mode. I’ve had the first viewing of Love Actually, the Christmas Tree is up (albeit not decorated yet), and I’ve had my first mince pie of the season. I haven’t written any cards or bought many presents yet, but one step at a time, hey. Like always, it seems to have snuck up on me and I’m left wondering where Summer went and how we got here. It also makes me realise that it’s a year since #ProjectBaby began, which in turn makes me think about what a crazy year it’s been.

Things are……ok at the moment. I still feel as though I’m wading through treacle a little, but I think I have to accept that this will be the reality for a while yet. Although it can feel like hard work, I’d still happily take this over the previous numbness any day. When something good happens, I can still feel it and still appreciate it for what it is, even if to feel the good, I have to feel the meh and the bad too. Being horribly sick over the last week or so hasn’t helped – I have a tendency to mope and hide away when this happens, but there have been some awesome bright spots to keep my head above water, including, but not limited to, winning the Hamilton Lottery and getting to see it for a second time. That alone has kept me on a high for days!

#ProjectBaby is still ongoing. I’m being seen at the Fertility Clinic now, so I’m right in the middle of being poked and prodded and tested for things I never knew existed. I’ve had to wait until 12 weeks from the last miscarriage and to be honest, it’s felt like a horrible limbo. Not being able to move forward, but not being able to close the last chapter either – it’s been hard to focus. But so far everything has come back as clear, which is great, even if it doesn’t actually tell me what the problem is yet. I don’t know which I’m more afraid of – finding something wrong, or not finding anything at all. But I’m still remaining positive, I still believe it’ll work out, and I still have faith that we’ll get there. I have to be back at the hospital again tomorrow morning, and then I get 8 weeks of trying not to think about it every second of every day! Thank god for Christmas music, mince pies, decorations, and Christmas jumpers to keep me occupied! January will just have to wait for now.

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Things my body is teaching me

I’m umming and ahhing about whether it’s too soon to write about this, but I think for my own sake, I should try. Plus I found the below comic and it couldn’t be more apt if it tried.

I found out I was pregnant last week, but I’ve since miscarried. Again. All of the same things I wrote in my last post apply – I haven’t lost a baby, it was just a bunch of cells, it was very early on, and thank god it wasn’t 3 or 4 months down the line etc, but the difference this time round is I knew I was pregnant before it happened. I can’t even begin to explain what a difference that makes – even though it was just a few days, for those few days I knew I had something growing inside me, and the inevitable thoughts towards the next 9 months filled my mind. And then it’s gone. Friday I was hopeful. Saturday I was unsure. Sunday I knew.

I’m doing ok. Physically, I’m almost through it, emotionally, I’ve a little way to go. I’m trying hard to focus on the positives and remind myself that this is so early on in the grand scheme of trying for children. I’m trying to let myself feel it though too. I know if I don’t, I’ll bottle it up and it’ll come out at such an inappropriate moment otherwise, and so I’m doing my best to remember that it’s ok to be upset, to be sad, to cry over what could have been. I keep seeing the quote from The Velveteen Rabbit – “Once you become real, you can’t become unreal again” and that’s exactly it, just the knowing is what’s making it harder this time – once I’d felt pregnant, I couldn’t unfeel it.

But that is also giving me a bit of a kick up the backside, and making sure I try and learn something in the process. I’ve been making a semi conscious effort to address diet and exercise recently, but with house moving and holiday (and not having a fridge or freezer in the new house), shockingly it’s not gone all that well! But for those few days that I was growing a hooman, all I wanted to do was look after myself, and I can’t lose that feeling. I know my weight puts me at risk of miscarriage (although I’m pretty sure not enough for two in a row), but given that I have enough health issues that are out of my control, the very least I can do is do something about the ones I can control. And god knows, if there was ever an incentive to do it, this is it.

So that’s where I am at the moment. I can’t say it’s an ideal place to be, and I’m pretty sure I can expect to burst into tears at least once a day for the next week or so, but I could not have more amazing people around me and checking in on me, so I have no doubt I, will get through this one way or another 🙂

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Remember the Reason You’re Doing This

Well Project Baby (as it seems to have been named) has been quite the up and down over the last few weeks, so much so that writing has gone to the bottom of the list!

When I decided to start including Project Baby in my blog (as opposed to keeping it between close family and friends), I did it because I wanted to put in writing everything that it entailed – that it wasn’t just going to be a case of “ok, I want a baby now” (even if that’s how it seemed to poor Husband when I sprung it on him) and as if by magic, baby occurs. I knew from the start it was going to be complicated by my autoimmune problems, my fibromyalgia, my medication, my anxiety, and my depression. Plus all the other bits and pieces that crop up along any “normal” person’s journey too. So I have a lot to catch up on and process from the last few weeks. I’m pleased to say the general trend is still positive, I’m still going in the right direction, and all the weird and wonderful ups and downs are still very much worth it. So here’s where we are.

Medication

This was going so well and then we hit a road block. A few weeks ago I had the worst period of depression I’ve had for a while (probably since I was in my early 20s, if not before) and it was quite the shock to the system. With having been on Duloxetine for the past 6 years, it made me realise how well it had been working at keeping the depression at bay, and so it was a bit of a wake up call to remember what a depressive episode feels like. On the plus side, with the help of people around me and as much as I hate to admit it, a huge help from the “how does that make you feel?” therapist, I got through it and got back to a level playing field after a couple of weeks. As a consequence, I agreed with the nice, pragmatic, drugs therapist, that increasing my dosage of Imipranine would be best. We’re still in baby safe range, and there was little point me fighting each day, when it could be eased by upping the dosage. So that’s what we did.

At the same time as all this, I’ve been having real problems with managing my body temperature. I’ve always been bad at this, from the rashes I used to get as a teenager when I got too cold, to passing out by the swimming pool when I was 16, to getting it confirmed that it was a common part of having an autoimmune illness a couple of years ago. More recently I’ve been overheating very suddenly, going dizzy, and sometimes fainting. Which is less fun. Having seen my GP about this and having had an ECG, it’s been confirmed that my heart rate is running too high, which is contributing to increasing my temperature and passing out, and that it’s a likely side effect of the Imipramine. So guess what? We can’t increase the dosage after all, and I’ve had to go back down to the previous dosage. It’s incredibly hard not to feel like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, but I’m doing okay for now on the lower dosage, even if some days feel a bit like wading through treacle. I’m back to see the nice Psychiatrist later this week, so we’ll see where we go from here.

Anxiety

My anxiety has been relatively quiet, which has been a pleasant relief. With the Imipramine, my head actually shuts up at night and so I’m sleeping amazingly. The downside of course is that I’d like to continue sleeping at 7/8/9/10am in the morning, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. I’m now finding that the anxiety is attackng for short, sudden, brief spells instead, and is more irrational than ever. This last week’s cause for sudden attacks has been animals dying. Not even my own animal, just animals in general. I see a bird, a cat, a dog, and immediately think about what if someone hurt them and they were suffering and they couldn’t tell anyone and……..and then I have to physically tell myself to shut up. Which is fine when I’m on my own, less so when there are other people around and I need to shout “pack it in!” to myself. None of this was helped by Bella being sick in the middle of all this, though suffice to say she is not dying, and has instead decided after 4 days of being on hunger strike, that actually she’s quite hungry and will get over it now. Anyway, I’m doing ok, with the help of Diazepam for when it all gets too much (and the promise to my Psychiatrist that I won’t go selling them on the street for copious amounts of money).

Moving House

For anyone who’s spent even 5 minutes with me recently, you will know that I am thoroughly sick of packing, of boxes, of trips to the tip, of living in chaos. But, we are so nearly there! We start moving on Friday evening and oh good lord, it can’t come soon enough. Except it can, because obviously there is still a hell of a lot to pack, throw away, sort etc in the current house, which is exactly why I’m sitting here in Starbucks, writing a mammoth blog post. Obviously. But I am incredibly excited – to be moving back to a small village, to a cottage, to having a flat garden, not to mention the village itself being flat – I cannot wait! Almost everything important is in walking distance from the house, including the park, the pub(s), the doctors surgery, AND the COFFEE AND BOOKSHOP!!!! Seriously, it’s like this place was made for me. Anyway, 6 more days of packing, throwing, sorting, followed by 3-4 days of moving, followed by weeks of unpacking, scowling, chaos, and remembering all the people we need to notify that we’ve moved, and it’ll all be done!

And so to Baby

Don’t get too excited, there is no baby yet. But there almost was, which I am taking to be the most positive news so far. On Tuesday morning, while sat in Starbucks (obviously) I started bleeding. I assumed it was my period, albeit a week early, but by the following day I realised this probably wasn’t just a normal period. After 20 years, you learn what your period should and shouldn’t look like each month, and this was nothing like I was used to – the cramps, the pain in my back, the sheer amount and colour of the blood (I make no apologies for TMI here, either read or don’t!) – I’m the kind of girl who has almighty PMS (just ask my poor Mum about the steel boned corset incident), but apart from the first day, I actually don’t notice too much when my period is here, so to have to go to the bathroom every hour to check I hadn’t bled all over my clothes was definitely not normal. Anyway, bottom line is, it wasn’t normal and I’ve had a very early miscarriage.

Miscarriage is a very emotive word. I’ve learned that with the few people I’ve told over the last couple of days. And quite honestly, I feel a bit guilty about even using the word, even though medically it’s accurate. So first off, let me say, I’m fine. I feel icky, I physically feel a bit like someone has kicked me in the stomach, but emotionally, I’m ok. Everyone is different, so I absolutely won’t take away from anyone else’s reactions to this happening to them, but for me this is purely a biological thing. When people hear miscarriage, they think of losing a baby. That’s not what this is for me – I didn’t even know I was pregnant, there was no emotional attachment to my broken egg that didn’t work right and so had to come out, and so while of course it’s not a pleasant experience, it is just “one of those things”. And actually I don’t say that lightly – I have been shocked to find just how normal this is, and how many women don’t even realise it’s happened to them. For me it was a relatively easy spot, but for someone who is used to really heavy and cramp-ridden periods, I doubt you’d necessarily notice it was happening. And what’s more, statistically it has absoltely zero bearing on getting pregnant in the future – you are no more prone to miscarriage than anyone else if this happens, it is purely an egg that didn’t quite do what it was supposed to do, and that’s that. So I am absoluely taking the positive in that. More importantly for me, this is a massive sign that at least my body can produce an egg and that theoretically I *can* get pregnant. Up until now I haven’t known how my body works or even if it works, so I am calling this progress.

So there we go, that’s pretty much where we’re at now. It’s been quite the disruptive rollercoaster of a time the last few weeks or so, but I haven’t once questioned or regretted what I’m doing, and that to me was the point of writing all this. I want to know when it all becomes too much, when I’m putting myself at too much risk doing this, and when I have to make the decision to try other options. If I don’t take time to reflect then I will carry on regardless, so it feels good to check in and to know that, despite all the chaos described above, we’re still on the right track, still heading in the right direction, and still getting one step closer to Project Baby.

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“And how does that make you feel?”

Amongst my collection of general medical people, I have two different types of Psych doctors; a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist. My Psychiatrist is my favourite – he’s funny, clearly slightly fascinated by my life choices, and I enjoy our discussions on why Bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder seem to be intrinsically linked. I also like him because we discuss concrete, controllable things like my medication, their side-effects, and what we can do about them.

And then on the other side we have my Psychologist. Despite her never actually having uttered the phrase in four months, I insist on calling her my “And how does that make you feel?” doctor, complete with soft, patronising voice. She’s neither of these things, but her whole purpose is to get me to talk about my feelings, which in stark comparison to dosage and medicinal components, is incredibly bloody difficult. Thus she is not my favourite doctor.

She is however, incredibly good at her job. She lets my sentences linger, rather than jumping in or guessing what I might be about to say. She has absolutely no problem with an awkward silence, knowing full well that I’ll fill it by continuing to talk and that when I do, that will be the most important part of the conversation, not whatever I was rambling on about previously. Today she asked me a question that resulted initially in an “I don’t know” response. It was genuine, I really didn’t have an answer for her, despite desperately trying to find one. Five minutes later I’ve said something else, probably to justify the aforementioned “I don’t know” and hey presto, we’ve just found not only the problem, but the solution, or at least the coping method. Witch, I tell you….

So while she can’t cure me, and she can’t make the problems disappear or fix my slightly wonky brain, she does have an incredible knack for giving me renewed confidence and a sense that I can have control over what feels like the uncontrollable. It’s not always an easy control, there’s still a considerable amount of “but I don’t want to, this is easier”, but it inevitably reminds me that there very much is a light, if not at the end of, then *in* the tunnel, if I’d only bloody take it.

So here’s this week’s light. Number one is telling people what I need. Not how I feel, or what I want, or an apology for not feeling great, but what I actually need, with a view to helping all of us! I categorically cannot make a decision right now, not even the simplest of ones (level A decisions as we called them) and that’s partly what’s fuelling the anxiety and the resulting depression. Every day I wake up and know I have things to do (we’re literally talking shower, get dressed, brush teeth here) and the overwhelmingness of even deciding what to wear or if I should wash my hair that day or not is stopping me from doing anything else, including getting out of bed some days. So given that I’m struggling to make those basic decisions, it’s no wonder I can’t get my mind to focus on what I should pack first or what I need to go through, and consequently I’m giving up, not doing it, and going back to hide under my blanket! So where I can, I need to communicate that I need someone to narrow the decision down for me, to make it an Option A or Option B type decision, rather than a pick a letter out of the sky type of decision.

Secondly I need to set limits/make baby steps. I’ve done a lot of either cancelling plans completely or being uncomfortable longer than I’d like recently and I need to find a middle ground. Making plans is positively terrifying at the moment, and this one’s tricky because the problem isn’t that I don’t want to see people or spend time with them, I absolutely do, the problem is my mind being too scared to be away from my so called Safe Space for too long. So if I know I’m going out somewhere for several hours, be it dinner, over to a friend’s place, out for a drink etc, that’s too long for my mind to cope with, so it just panics and I give up and cancel completely. What I need to do is find a compromise – go out and see people for a set amount of time instead, maybe just a couple of hours at a time, and then tell my mind it can come back to its Safe Space after that. If I’m doing ok and I want to stay longer, then that’s ok too, but it gives my mind a time frame to focus on, which along with the Hour by Hour way of coping, really helps. I used this (without really realising it) a couple of months back when I worked reduced hours for a bit – just starting my day knowing there was an “escape” time made each day a little more manageable. Some days I stayed past my alloted time because I was doing ok, but it was about having that fixed time in my head at the beginning of the day.

It’s crazy, quite literally mental, but the mind is a funny thing and there sure as hell isn’t any rationale to how it works, so I’ve just got to work with it! The first person I ever spoke to about my anxiety told me I should name it, to picture it as a person or a creature, and this feels similar, only in this case my mind is a crying toddler who doesn’t want to be without its blankie. All I can hope is that if I can learn to tame and pacify my mind, then the long term goal of what would be a toddler in a few years time should be a piece of cake, right……right?!

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One hell of a paradox

Things are a little tricksy at the moment, to put it mildly. The meds are even-ing themselves out, and thankfully the utter numbness has passed now, but I’m still left with the euphoric highs and crippling lows. Sadly, the last week or so has been more of the latter than the former.

I am exhausted. A different kind of exhaustion to the fatigue I’m used to from the physical illnesses. This is pure and utter mental exhaustion that stops me from doing even the smallest things. I’ve spent days just hiding at home, lying on the sofa, getting worried about all the things I should be doing – work, packing for the house move, organising all the bits and pieces that go with house moving, seeing friends and family. And then by not doing them, of course I feel guilty. I know all the theory. Take things one step at a time, give myself one task to do a day etc etc, but honestly, even doing that one thing is proving more than a challenge right now!

It’s frustrating. Things in my life are pretty damn good right now and I’d hoped the long weekend for Easter would be a great chance to have fun and also to really make a start on the house moving stuff, so to be fighting this right now is making me so mad. Plans are utterly terrifying me at the moment – just having to be somewhere at a certain time is enough to make me want to run right back to bed and sleep until it’s all gone away (which is exactly what I’ve done a couple of times!). Totally irrational, I am well aware of that, but none of my usual tricks or coping methods are even coming close to working.

So I’m going to try the hour by hour method again, because as was pointed out to me, that worked through the numbness. Just taking each hour as it comes, not thinking about the next, in the hope that that at least stops me feeling quite so overwhelmed all of the time. So this hour is nothing more than blogging, pictures of cute tigers, and nice conversations. Tomorrow can be packing and productivity, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

Wish me luck!

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I don’t know what grey is, I never did

So I should probably check back in here with an update. I’m now fully off the Duloxetine and fully on the Imipramine. It’s quite the headfuck if I’m honest, but I’m neither suicidal nor shaking like a leaf 24/7, both of which I had been expecting, so I’ll take that as a win for now.

What I am however, is hot and cold. Literally and figuratively. I am almost sick or blacking out at least once a day from not being able to control my body temperature, and I go from in love with the world and all its crazy beauty, to deep despair and sadness in the space of a moment. Don’t get me wrong, I will take this any day over the blank nothingness I had before, but christ it’s tiring.

The next step now is to figure out how much is drug induced and which bits the Duloxetine has been fixing that the Imipramine now isn’t. Ups and downs, highs and lows, and generally being a walking contradiction is nothing new to me, and as mum as I have said before, is definitely something we can blame Dad for! It’s uncomfortable though – sessions with my psychologist are going well, but by well I mean she’s making me talk about things I don’t want to talk about. Right at the beginning, she described my mind as being like the Princess and the Pea. There’s one rational, fixable issue there – the pea – but it’s been buried so far under the irrational, that it’s all spiralled a bit out of control. To get the pea we have to slowly peel away all those other layers, but I don’t like it!

So right now we’re at the first few layers, and quite frankly I’m good to stay there for a bit. It’s progress enough while I get used to all the chemical changes going on in my head. All I have to hope in the meantime is that my sad, mopey days can be got through, and that my crazy highs don’t involve believing I can fly or impulsively spending all the money I possess on buying a goat farm or some such. Because obviously a goat farm is always an option. Watch this space….

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The Nazis Had Pancakes (and other such tales of drug induced sleep)

Day four of the new dosage and the “meh” has hit. At least I knew to expect it this time round, and I have the bonus of knowing that it should start to ease in a week or so. It does feel a bit like a step backwards, but I survived the first change, so I can survive this one too.

There are some positives to be had though. For a start, I’m writing even more than usual because it helps me stay connected to things, and stops me from just withdrawing into my own head and staring blankly into space. So my colourful handwritten journal that I have is looking particularly full and bright at the moment. Secondly, and more amusingly, my already strange and wonderful dreams have reached new levels of bizarre. The other night I dreamt that I’d been captured by Nazis during, what I think was supposed to be, the second world war. But it wasn’t as terrifying and doom and gloom as it could be, because fear not, the Nazis had pancakes, so that was ok. Honestly, I don’t know what that says about my headspace right now, but I’ll be sure to share with the psychiatrist!

So I’m taking the creative wins where I can. There are short stories a-plenty to be taken from my dreams alone at the moment (although maybe not the Nazi one), and trying to keep track of my moods and mind keeps me in coloured pens and paper diaries. And the anxiety is still at bay, mostly because of the not feeling anything at all, but still, I suppose it’s a break from the noise in my head, albeit not a particularly welcome one.

My strategy so far has been to take things pretty much day by day – hour by hour sometimes – because honestly, the thought of making plans is quite terrifying. I couldn’t tell you why, it’s certainly not because of the suicidal thoughts that I feared might come up because of the duloxetine, there’s just something that makes my chest tighten and makes me want to run away at the thought of making plans. But interestingly today, I’ve realised that medium term plans are ok. Long term plans aren’t tangible enough and so while they don’t scare me, they’re nothing to hang on to either, and the short term plans, as I say, are too much for my head to contend with at the moment, but medium term seems to work.

So with that in mind, I’m finally thinking about finding somewhere new to live (with husband I should add, that sounded a bit like I was leaving him behind!) and also booking the holiday we’ve been talking about for months and doing nothing about. Having those to cling onto, to know they’re not too far away, yet far enough that I should be back on an even keel by then, is really helping.

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Levelling Up

Well this has been one hell of a challenging week. Better than last week in that I’m slowly getting periods of feeling – not always good, admittedly, but *something* is most definitely more manageable than *nothing*. However last week I was able to hide away and deal with it, even if I was at work I could plug my headphones in and just focus on getting through. This week, in comparison, has been spent standing up in front of people and having to be functioning and coherent. I think for the most part I’ve managed to pass as a human being, but good god it’s been hard work.

Tomorrow is my next dosage change, and I’m hopeful it’ll be less drastic than the first one. My concern now is the withdrawal from the Duloxetine – now my feelings are coming back, I’m a little scared that the bad thoughts that come with withdrawal will surface, but acknowledging that is half the battle and I’m confident I can fight it, I’d just rather not have to fight in the first place.

But I’m still here, I’m still surviving each day and trying to congratulate myself on the positives, rather than mope on the negatives. I cannot put into words how incredible the amazing people in my life are being. It is not easy putting up with this, I am more than aware of that, yet they constantly check in on me and remind me I’m doing ok. And I believe them and that’s what’s keeping me going.

So tonight is self care night, before Mama’s exciting birthday celebrations tomorrow! New hair colour, bubble bath, chocolates, and my favourite music. No matter how hard this gets, I won’t lose the little things that brighten up my life 🙂

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