When I first got ill, a long time ago, I never really knew that there was anyone who could help. Typically I would shy away from the world, hide in bed and hope and pray that the world would end. These were the days before I’d even started to consider suicide an option and as such the end of existence seemed the only real possible way for there to be an end in sight to my darkest of days.
Today is a real case in point that when you are down you do not have to suffer alone. The last few days have been tough and I nearly missed my appointment with the CPN at lunchtime because I was back to thinking there was nothing at all to be done for me.
In the end I forced myself to go and it was well worth it. In some ways we both concluded my latest glum glum could simply be a case of post-holiday blues and spending too much time alone with my thoughts.
To deal with it rather than hiding away I am going to try taking positive forward steps. For a start I am going to come off that which I cannot pronounce. It’s a mood stabiliser but it is making me too dopey at night and sometimes in the morning too and beside it’s not much fun taking a drug one cannot pronounce.
The second thing I will be doing is trying to be nicer to myself. Rather than berating myself for being consistently crap I am going to instead try to do the things that I enjoy. I am going to try taking up hockey, get my nails done and try to start exercising again.
I feel that the try word is important here as I find that sometimes putting any pressure on oneself can lead to the dreaded fail. Failure is like fuel to fire for someone in the middle of a depression.
Although today has been another down day I feel that I have dodged a bullet thanks to the help and advice of the CPN. It just goes to show that if you an summon the strength to ask for help there is always someone there ready and waiting to give it to you. All you must do is ask.
I am finding things tough at the moment. I am tearful and cry at everything from Come Dine With Me, don’t ask, to One Born Every Minute. I am seeing my CPN tomorrow and in many ways the visit feels long overdue. I do not know why I am feeling so down. Things are good, they really are but here I am sad and blue not really knowing what to do.
A visit to the CPN always helps because I get a chance to offload and work out a plan for how I’m going to deal with life generally. At the moment things are tricky because the boy is not here and my parents are in Ireland so I have far too much time alone with my thoughts.
The one thing that really sticks out is the moment is my lack of a regular photographer. When I did the 365 Dresses project my mum and the boy were regular snappers and it became part of the fun of the blog and made sure that even when I was down I still had to make the effort to smile. The boy is always full of advice about how smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, is great as it releases endorphins.
When he tells me this when all I want to do is run away and cry .I want to yell at him but I’m usually just to low to summon the strength to do so.
Today saw good progress in terms of footwear. Four days in I have mastered the art of these heels and no longer waddle but stride on my way to the office. Although I am getting the hang of the courts I could have hugged the estate agent when he offered me a lift to the second viewing. As soon as I got home I slipped my purple tights into my silky red slip on shoes and heard my toes breathe a sigh of relief.
The photos will be taken tomorrow as I am too low and too tired to put on a show, even in front of a mirror.
Armed with a lot of tears and frustration I had pretty much decided by the time I walked into the psychiatrists office today that I did not want to be on the same tablets any more. As far as I can tell they are not working and as I only see him every six weeks it is hard to tell him this.
One of the most frustrating things about this latest diagnosis is that so far it has been treated only medically, previously I’ve had counselling but what with being out of work for so long I haven’t been able to afford it myself so far and I haven’t got the heart to ask my parents to fork out like they have in the past, it’s not up to them and it wouldn’t be fair. They tell me there is a CPN who will see me to discuss coping techniques but though I have called her and left messages I have never heard back and so I keep getting discharged from the team. One would expect a formal discharge would only happen once the person is better or at least able to cope better than before but you would be wrong. People have said in the past this quick fire discharge helps their figures but maybe its more simple, maybe they just don’t care or simply don’t have the time so let a few slide along the way.
The last time I went in to see The Shrink I felt a little overwhelmed by how quickly it was over and as I am always in a bit of a state when I go there I asked my mother if she could come in to the room with me. It sounds pathetic but sometimes its just good to have someone there on your behalf who can say the words that have been in your head for weeks but just don’t come out when they need to the most. The last time I came here I admitted I was sleepy and tearful a lot of the time and was taken off duloxetine to try something new. Today when my mother admits that I am still half asleep when I leave the house he says he will take me off the tablets he put me on before.
Its all going very fast and I feel as though I have no part in this and I’m crying but I just wish I could take control. Thankfully my mother is a former English teacher and her negotiating skills are such that I sometimes wonder whether she missed out on a calling as a peace keeper. Her voice rings out clear bringing the ball firmly back into our court. If I had been alone in here I would probably have walked out of the room with a different anti depressant another referral to the elusive CPN and a feeling of utter frustration that I failed to fight my corner. It is not The Shrink’s fault but I am a wisp of myself at the moment and one of the things I wanted to get across is how hard I am finding it to connect with people. Unfortunately I am failing to connect with him as I am crying too much and am too busy hunting out tissues to properly convey how dreadful I’ve been feeling. By the time my mother has intervened carefully explaining what I have said there is an agreement that I need something other than just medication and a firm decision to take me off the quetiapine. I am relieved but terrified as this means the start of yet another drug and all I want to do is flush the whole lot down the toilet.
The whole experience is exhausting and when I walk out of there I am so frustrated I can’t stop crying. In spite of the tears I am grateful because if it wasn’t for my mother we would have got nowhere and I feel for those who come here alone.
Though it seemed like a bad thing when I was booked, visits to The Shrink generally involve travelling a good twenty miles in traffic to get to the hospital. It works out in my favour as it gives me an extra thirty minutes to stop the tears and reapply the make up. By the time I get to work I have sectioned off all thoughts of the appointment and if I can just get through the day without crying I can pretend I am just like everyone else.
- The dress is from Boden and is beautiful. My godmother gave it to me and it is so bright and cheerful it helps me in my great pretence. I feel dreadful though and I can’t stand the way I look at the moment, in anything. If I could I’d hide myself in baggy jeans and a jumper and these photos would never see the light of day.
Though I appear to the untrained eye to be a brunette people have often asked me whether I was a blonde in a previous life. I did actually have blonde hair up until I was six but then it all darkened and the last time I was even a little bit light was when I was 17 with honey and burnt red highlights.
For whatever reason today has been a bit of a blonde day for me, or a ditz day if you are blonde and at risk of being offended. I was researching a story this week about a group to get a cinema for Harborough. The dear young girl who had set it up was refusing to speak with me about it as she had been advised by Alistair Campbell not to do any publicity. At first I thought she was taking the mick and then, because I am a bit of a blonde I started to genuinely believe it was The Alistair Campbell.
When I mentioned the joke in the news room trying to case out whether it was true that Alistair had in some way involved himself in the campaign for a cinema the boys confirmed the fact. Today I got an email through from the girl requesting we did not publish because Alistair did not wish it to be so. I had a little rant about it and during a discussion one of the lads mentioned how strange it was that he had the same name as the Alistair Campbell, previously friend of downing street. Too disappointed to hide my mistake I said sadly: “So is it not actually the same Alistair?” It was not.
As though that wasn’t bad enough later on in the day I got my first follow-up phone call from an article I had written. The worst thing was I was left a message and for the life of me I could not remember where it was from. I checked through my contacts, my quote write ups and scanned through my stories but there was no sign of the woman who had asked that I call her back. I started to get a little nervous. In another example of negative thought; rather than thinking it was someone calling to tell me how much they loved my article I was convinced it was a cross patch reader who had taken issue with something I’d written.
In the end I forced myself to deal with the issue head on; I called up the woman and was greeted by a lady from the church. I had run an article about a job swap between a vicar and a landlord due to take place in a couple of weeks. The reverend had given me a great quote about just wanting to be like Jesus who after all had turned water into wine at Cana. Unfortunately I had somehow managed to write it out as wine into water which didn’t really portray poor Jesus in the best of lights. There are worse mistakes I could have made and yes it is quite funny but it was my first page three lead in the paper and I was a bit upset I had gone and got it wrong.
I went somewhere today. A place I have been putting off going to for weeks because I was too scared. There is a group in Harborough, it is affiliated loosely with Mind but is mainly a place to go, a support group for people with mental health problems of any kind. It took a lot of courage to go but I am glad I did. The people there were kind, welcoming and accepting and the group leader, the one who first contacted me months ago to tell me about the group was great. Support groups like these are so important because unfortunately there is not a lot of funding for mental health. Psychiatrists and counsellors are in short supply and so having somewhere to go where one can get advice from others about handling one’s health is essential. There are volunteers who help to run such groups and though the world at times can seem a dark place, even to those of us who are not visited by the black dog, it is people like these who give without want of reward that make our earth just that little bit lighter.
- Today’s dress is from Lara. It was a pleasure to wear but I unfortunately did not understand how to use the panels to transform it until the evening. It has an orange layer sowed into the body of the dress and can be buttoned up as high or low as one wants. I wore my wedges today because having been working from home for two days I felt the need to make an effort. They are death traps and one must totter rather than stride but I still get a kick out of wearing them. I had my first major wardrobe malfunction in town today whilst walking to the group. As I past the farmers market where half the town had assembled to purchase meats and sweet treats my entire skirt was blown up by the wind in my blonde moment of the day.
I am a sleepy social media madam today. I had an ingenious idea last night that if I went into work a little earlier than expected I would get more done. It was a good idea and maybe I did get more done but now at ten or maybe even eleven at night my brain is buzzing but my body is begging me for sleep. One of the most exciting and addictive things about journalism is the thrill of being ever slave to a deadline. It can be stressful, of that there is no doubt but the pressure of knowing the clock is ticking often forces us hacks to hammer out some of the most inspirational, witty and really just rather wonderful pieces which would never have been as good if they had been given too much time to brew and mellow.
Today has been hectic. For some ridiculous reason our phones went down. This would have been okay by itself but for some reason this also meant our email, internet access and really just about everything went down at the same time. You would be amazed at how adaptable one must be in times of technological meltdown.
Today I have used the yellow pages, not the yell version, but the kind which short men would use in the past to kiss girls which were just that little bit too tall for them to reach up to. I also became acquainted with an interesting tool known as an A-Z. As a girl who is unable to find her way to her fella’s home without guidance from Shawn, my friendly Irish friend of Tom-Tom fame, I was amazed to find I can still read a map. Admittedly I lost at least half an hour on my way home after forgetting to turn the map the right way up but nevertheless I must admit I am feeling fabulously independent.
I was hoping today would be the last time I had to stumble about the town in heels as I was due to have another chat with the giant this evening about the car situation. Unfortunately my mother, the peace maker intervened early on. She apparently sensed that one was too stressed and the other was too tired and so because of her uncanny powers of perception the talk will have to wait till tomorrow.
Though I am feeling rather romantic today about old-fashioned methods of communication and information acquirement there are a number of benefits and charms of the internet and IT which must be mentioned. Copy and paste is one of the most brilliant inventions of our time; one realises this after claw hand sets in after copying endless quotes from paper, actual paper! I was also informed the other day by a friend that Microsoft Office actually gives one the opportunity to recall an email. Just think of all the relationship breakdowns and diplomatic fall outs which could have been avoided had this trick been more widely publicised. Rather than trying to get people to ping, poke or bing, or whatever the new sappy sounding buzz word of the moment is, Mr Gates should be sending out emails across the globe telling people about this, the holy grail of idiots who email.
I had better get my blogging bottom off to bed for tomorrow is my actual first deadline day as a trainee reporter. I am paranoid about getting my patch page just right and have spent the past couple of hours craning over my copy to make sure everything is just so; however my eyes are starting to stream and my head is beginning to lull and if I do not go to bed soon I risk boring the tweeting world with my angst. I think I need to get back in touch with my counsellor.
- Today’s dress is from the lovely Lara who has donated a whole heap of dresses to the project. This dress is originally from Tu which I think roughly translates as Sainsburys. I must admit I am rather impressed with the supermarket frocks at the moment, yesterdays dress was also from a supermarket and I had quite a few compliments on it. I am totally in love with the floral print on this dress and even though I found it a bit too low on the bust the cut is quite clever and it tucks you in at the waist with a tie which runs round the back. I think it was originally designed to be a knee-length frock but Lara is a creative lady who is a little shorter than me and I think she has taken the hem up herself. Mummy took the photos, don’t ask.
This post has been difficult to put together, not because I have too few friends but because I am blessed to have so many. The only way I could think of to prevent this post turning into another never-ending essay was to try to decide which of my wonderful friends I would choose as bridesmaids if I was ever to get married. Although I am sure this list will put the fear of God into my parents financial five-year plan I couldn’t help but include so many and would have included more if I had not been trying to stop this post becoming a bore. Here in no particular order, other than the first who will always be my best friend, are the women in my life who have moved me to tears with their kindness, their generosity, their jokes and anecdotes and by always being there to clasp my hand tightly when everything around us has been falling apart.
Katharine Ryland – Whilst I was at university myself and Katherine lost touch for some time. It was inevitable in a way, although we had been the best of friends since we were 13 we both had such busy lives and it was hard to find the time to stay in touch. If I’m honest I always felt it was my fault that we’d drifted apart, she had started going out with a guy who I struggled to get on with and though I tried to hide it I’m sure she sensed it and ultimately I’m sure it effected our friendship. In spite of this we still saw each other from time to time and on my twenty-first-birthday she called me up to tell me she was pregnant. I was delighted for her but I still had another year of study up North and it wasn’t until I moved back home that we got properly back in touch.
We went out with her beautiful baby boy to Cafe Bruxelles and ended up having such a great day that I remember feeling really rather sad about all I had missed sharing with her and I made a decision to make more of an effort to get on with her partner; she was too good a friend to lose and after all she loved him and he made her happy so how could I not.
Not long after this lunch she got engaged and I was so pleased I got to share in her happiness when she told me her news. A few months later whilst out on a girls night in Leicester she turned to me and asked if I wanted to be her maid of honour. I can honestly say that even if I ever get engaged this will remain the happiest moment in my life; we had made a promise to one another when we were 16 in a bar in Lanzarote over a jug of sangria to be each other’s bridesmaids. I had assumed when she got engaged that she might ask someone else to take the job as we had been out of touch for so long so when she asked me I was ridiculously happy.
Although my dress ended up being made by her mother, when we first went shopping to find a dress I could wear she assured me I could pick anyone I wanted and whilst we were in the shop she tried on the dress she had chosen and I started to cry like a child at how beautiful she looked. The night before the wedding I stayed the night at her parents house and we shared her bed together as we had done years ago when we were kids. In the morning I helped her with her make up and getting dressed and did my best to soothe her little boy when he had a tantrum minutes before we were due to leave because he wanted to try on Mummy’s veil. There is a picture of the two of us arm in arm leaving the church and it looks as though we have just emerged from a civil ceremony and still cracks me up when I see it. She made a beautiful bride and I was inspired to give a speech after her husband and father had said their piece about what a wonderful woman she was and how truly lucky her husband was to have her by his side.
We have always shared everything with one another, although to begin with as an only child she did struggle with the concept of sharing clothing. We once had a massive fall out because she refused to let me wear her top as she was convinced I was going to stretch it. There was no secrecy or privacy between us when we were younger; after we got badly burnt on an overcast day in Devon after falling asleep together on the beach we got home and had to rub after-sun into each others ridiculous tan lines. As we soothed each others skin with aloe vera and very gentle application we were simultaneously cracking up with laughter at how silly we both looked.
We found the results of all our exams together and when we were on holiday in Lanzarote we crammed into a telephone booth on the sea-walk of Lanzarote giggling in disbelief at the amount of As Katherine had got. We also helped each other through the dark days; through heartbreak and troubles at home. It was Katherine who held my hand on the way back to my home after my parents had rung hers to ask if they could bring me home straight away because my sister had gone downhill fast and the doctors were concerned that she wasn’t going to make it through the night. She is hilarious, intelligent and caring and even with a baby boy to care for she did so well in her degree that when she graduated she had two jobs waiting for her. I will always be pleased we got back in touch, my life would be nowhere near as fun without her. I will save sharing some of my favourite memories of our friendship as she has asked if she can write a post about her three favourite memories of us but I imagine they might include the time I went skinny dipping with my sister on my sweet sixteenth in Eastbourne at midnight. Other than my sister it will be Katherine who I will tell if I ever find myself knocked up and it will be her who I will want by my side on the day of my wedding.
AC: When me and the boy first got together i always felt a little lonely when I was round at his house. he lived with six other guys, nearly all of who had long-standing girlfriends and I felt a bit of a spare wheel. The one girl who I immediately clicked with however was Anna. She had dreams of being a musical theatre star and although she enjoyed singing as much as me, people actually enjoyed it when she sang. This shared love of singing and a tendency to live our lives in a rather dramatic way means we have spent many a taxi ride home singing away even when the boys beg us to stop. When I met her I remember speaking about her with one of my friends and concluding that she was a natural beauty and that we were actually really rather jealous of her perfectly shaped eyebrows, white teeth and dancers figure. In the early days of our friendship I was rather worried that I might be a bit much for her, when I bumped into her in the library one day and started talking at her at a mile a minute about dissertations and exams and nights out I had been planning she appeared to be somewhat terrified. We became firm friends however after the boys moved to a smaller house and I think it may have helped that I opened my entire wardrobe to her and did my very best to put aside my reservations about vegetarians and would happily make her hippy friendly food whenever we had a dinner party.
The time I realised I had a friend for life was when she agreed to join me in getting dressed up as a witch to go and queue outside Waterstones for the release of the last Harry Potter book in the series. There are few friends who will partake in this kind of humiliation just to keep someone company but Anna came with me in spite of never having read any of the books. We spent the next fortnight driving the boys mad by shutting ourselves away in one of their rooms and banning them entry until we had read at least another four chapters. I think it was whilst we were lying on a bed repeating lines to one another which made us giggle that I realised I had got myself a friend for life who felt as much like a sister as my own blood.
Anna is one of those rare friends who will be by your side even when you have done everything in your power to try to hide away from the world. Three nights after I’d had a nervous breakdown and ended up in hospital I went to the launch of the boy’s first single. I was only able to do so because I had Anna with me the whole time, holding my hand reminding me that I wasn’t crazy and that everything was going to be OK even if it didn’t feel that way at the time. She is able to make me laugh at life events which are otherwise tragic and when me and the boy were having a heap of troubles last year it was Anna who held me whilst I cried my heart out over loss and love still to raw to share. We have both followed our dreams in life and I am sure I would not have had the guts to carry on going for mine if I hadn’t had her for inspiration. She never once gave up on her dream of playing a role in a musical and now she is touring the country playing the part of Neil Sedaka’s wife in the hit play, Laughter In The Rain. She is my Scrabble companion and the only one who is sweet enough not to tell me how dreadful a singer I really am.
In spite of my efforts not to make this an essay I have noticed that all to quickly the word count has crept us and so I will save the other five for another day, I promise you they are worth the space.
- Today’s dress has been donated by my Auntie Bridgeen. It was originally from Primark and thankfully has a slip to preserve my modesty. Katharine and my friend Monica took the photos and the reason I am cracking up in them is because Monica has just told me that I am in trouble with someone because of something I have said on the blog. The gingerbread man was made by Katherine’s son. Katherine gifted me another dress to wear whilst I was at her house, proof indeed that her issues with sharing have been resolved.