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.
Let me begin by reassuring you that despite appearances to the contrary this dress is not a shirt. Though I chose it thinking it would work quite well for a night on the town as well as a day dozing in the garden it turned out to be rather unsuitable for both.
I decided to take today off so I could squeeze in some extra time in Manchester and finally get the chance to catch up with my friend who has been on a show stopping musical theatre tour all over the UK. After having a lovely lie in I sat outside in the garden to have my coffee and it was so nice that I didn’t really move much during the rest of the day. My friend came to join me outside and I got so lost in catching up that I foolishly forgot about the wonder that is sun cream. By the time the boy had returned I was a ridiculous shade of pink which did not at all suit today’s dress and is extremely painful.
As we are going out to a gig tonight I tried to calm it down and undo the damage by applying layers of after-sun. After the tenth layer I started to wonder why it was having no cooling affect in spite of the cucumber coloured bottle. At this point I had a look at the label and realised that what I had in-fact been applying was body glitter which had no healing affects but did make me look like an orange disco ball.
There was no time to take it off so I slipped on some other sparkly stuff in the hope of creating an overall impression of a woman hell bent on matching every accessory, arm make up included. The gig was set to take place at a mansion in South Manchester so I treated my feet to fancy shoes and wincing from the pain of my arms clambered in the taxi with the rest of the band.
I must admit that when I hear the word mansion my first thought is Mr Darcy’s estate at Pemberley. For this reason when we arrived at a rather beautiful but derelict mansion which had soil where I was hoping for grounds I was a little disappointed. It was still however a location for a gig and once I got over the soil which was staining the bottoms of my feet it actually turned out to be okay. There were bands playing sets in their pyjamas, toddlers singing magic penny to a hundred people and if one dared to explore the mansion there was an artists rabbit run inside. There were books on every subject you would ever want to study from the 60s and beyond, a grand piano, an artists easel and rooms where musicians could record, for free.
- The dress is originally from H&M, the belt from Topshop, the shoes from Kurt Geiger and the jewellery from Pilgrim. This was one of those dresses donated by the lovely Lara. Though it made for difficult descents from the taxi it is a cute little number and on someone shorter may be rather less revealing.
So far I have had two front pages. One with a shared by-line whilst working for the Manchester Evening News and one whilst working at the Mail. My first front page at the Mail was a bit of a dud as I didn’t feel as though I deserved the by-line. Though I had done the research, got the quotes and done the running around, when it came to writing the story I stalled. I had no confidence and felt as though I had forgotten every lesson my tutor ever taught us, all in all I bottled it.
For this reason, when the bosses decided the splash for the week was going to be the piece I was working on I wondered immediately whether I would be able to hide under the desk without either of them noticing me. Unfortunately today’s dress has minimal scope for manoeuvrability so instead I had to settle for going to get a glass of water.
I am trying to adjust my behaviour to stop myself from self destructing every time I am presented with a challenge so I took the sensible option and discussed the best way to write the story with my seasoned colleague. What was really amazing was that in the end, other than the original urge to hide I did not freak out any further. I wrote the story, submitted it and actually felt fairly pleased with what I had written.
Tomorrow morning when I walk into work there will be shops selling our paper which will have my name and my story on the front. I remember watching an episode of The Wire when a reporter got up before sunrise and drove down to the printing press to see her first ever front page. Whatever hours you have to do, or how tense things get on deadline day it all becomes worth it when you pick up the paper on Thursday morning and see your work published for all to see; so long as they live within the Harborough district. Doing what you love is an absolute privilege and even if it does make me want to hide under a desk from time to time i wouldn’t do anything else.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my Fairy God Mother. Along with my mystery donor she is perhaps the woman who has contributed the most to the continuation of the blog. As well as loaning me some incredible dresses from when she was a girl she has bought me dresses from charity shops and even lent me jackets to make my racier outfits better suited for work. As well as this she has encouraged friends and family to read the blog and whenever possible comment and rate each post. This dress was one she wore to a wedding. It is from Minuet which is stocked by Debenhams and House of Fraser.
When I was studying to be a journalist two of the women I was most impressed with were Rebekah Wade and Anna Wintour. I read bits about Rebekah in Piers Morgan’s autobiography and I was impressed with how fearless and ferocious she was. There was one incident described by Morgan when she hides out in the boys toilet with a hat covering her auburn curls just so she can snatch the paper from the printing room for.
What attracted me about these women was there ability to survive in what is so often a male dominated industry and not just survive but excel. Today, faced with a flurry of stories I succumbed to tears in the girls bathroom and thinking of these two women I felt ashamed. I want to be ferocious, cut throat and ambitious but sometimes I find myself filled with self doubt. Taking on a new job will always be daunting and I am assured by many that tears in the toilets is an occupational hazard of any job but still I wish I could be a bit stronger.
I hope that this is all a part of a learning curb which will soon become a little more level, but whatever might occur I must still my moans. I am living the dream and must lap up all that lady luck has granted upon me. Whilst talking to the boy tonight he said something which made me cry even more than I have already done today. ”You might wish it was all over, but what if this is all we’ve got?” Sometimes it is these kind of stark statements which bring you back if only just to realise how much there is to lose by giving it all up.
This is the job and this is the dream and I guess I just have to dry the tears, hide the fears and fight through it wondering all the while what Rebekah would have done on the same day.
- Today’s dress is Marks & Spencer, the jumper is Prada-mark and the belt is Topshop. I felt a little stocky in it but I was cold and didn’t ant to freeze and after all the colourful choices of the past few days the chance to just be in black was too good to miss. Big thanks to my secret donor who I believe sent this in a shoe box of love.
One symptom of depression which is as constant as the turn of the tides is an inability to effectively function in social situations. Though it is not always obvious when someone is struggling there are signs which will help you recognise when a friend or loved one is falling apart in front of your face: Do they spend a lot of time looking down at the menu or up at the ceiling expressing a sudden interest in the architecture of the building? Do they appear to be glued to their phone, the paper or examining the contents of their wallet? Do they struggle to meet your eye? Are they sitting in front of you with tears streaming down their face asking you why God why they can’t cope? All of these are pretty sure signs that the person you care for is slipping into an atypical social sign of depression. Saying that though the phone thing might just be rudeness or the seemingly unstoppable side effect of having a smart phone.
On Saturday night, whilst nursing a glass of criminally expensive wine I suddenly became acutely aware of my every act. I was sat with three girls, two of whom I have known for well over over a decade and yet I felt totally alone. They were chatting away about ordinary things but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t pick up the conversation and whenever I joined in whatever I said seemed to jar.
It’s not a nice thing to know you are behaving like a dullard and in the end I had to leave early because I was afraid of boring everyone or bringing them down. Before I got ill I was the kind of girl who could happily sit at a table of ten people knowing none and within a short time have introduced myself to everyone and hijacked the position of head of the table and commander of the conversation. Apart from when I have had a few too many foreign fruit beers I do not do this any more and I wonder whether it is a good thing or not.
- I believe today’s dress is a donation from my Fairy God Mother’s son’s girlfriend. It is silk and a bit worn but the print is still as clear as a waterfall. I am really attached to it but I wore it to the Oat Hill where everyone is a bit trendy and worry that I looked a little bit frigid. I bumped into my good politician friend from election night, one who thought I was a student. I think it may be his aim in life to insult me. Trying to be a nice person I said hello to him when I saw him at the bar. His reply: “Ah I hadn’t recognised you out of context looking feminine.” Though he denied that this comment suggests I spent election night looking like a man I was not at all pleased and refused his offer of a cocktail to make amends. there is only so many times one can be insulted by the same person in a week.
- My dress has already been criticised today by the head of Harborough police. I saw him on the streets and he said he was not overly keen on my combination of colours; the pink tights I believe were a little too garish for him. I was a little offended and thought about suggesting he focus his attentions on arresting the legging lovelies flashing their front rumps nearby but I was running a little late for work and had to go on my merry way. The dress got me into a rather uncomfortable situation later on the same day when the Liberal Democrat councillors came to call. As a sleep deprived reporter I had not even considered the political connotations of my choice and had to come clean and admit the dress was down to an overall shortage of office wear rather than an attempt to fly the colours of any clan. Today’s dress is a present from my Godmother who bought it from a shop in Harborough called Labels for Less. As I said I was a little but sleep deprived and in a rush to get ready I paired it with Kurt Geiger wedges and police officer displeasing pink tights.
I thought the tablets might make a difference to the way I feel but its been three weeks since I started taking them and as far as I can tell nothing has changed. The promise of an emotional awakening has I fear been grossly exaggerated by the Doctor, if anything I have felt more sedated than ever before.
I am trying to make myself a more positive person, even though I find the expression a little nauseating. The tablets after all are only one way of making things better and as I understand it if I were to give jogging in a bright yellow jumpsuit a chance whilst staging a smile I could be a sunny person after all. Unfortunately at the moment I am not a smiley positive person and though I know I should say yes, no is generally easier, requires a lot less work and leaves me free to invest further in my current favourite hobby, falling to sleep. It’s pathetic but the ultimate escape and when you are on sedatives sleeping seems like the most natural thing to do.
I wonder whether I should just empty all the pills down the drain for all the good they seem to be doing at the moment. I feel very alone and I am not sure how to pull myself out of it. I wonder whether I should go to the doctor but there is no counselling available at the moment and even if there is there are too many things which I do not want to talk about yet or maybe ever. I keep trying to remember how I got better before, but I can’t and it sucks. I feel like a broken record but I’m sad and I’m flat, broken and scratched and though it hurts like hell I don’t know where to go to for help or who I can tell.
I go for dinner with my mother in an attempt to be the kind of person who just says yes. We are in an Italian where the food is great and the owners seem to care. On my way out one of them calls me Bella and I know it is silly but I cannot help it, my eyes well up with tears as I think of the girl I used to be, the type of girl who would have turned around with a cheeky grin, winked, flicked her hair and said grazie. I want to be me again, I’m totally lost.
- Today’s dress is another donation from my mystery dress donor. I am not usually a fan of the gypsy look but choices are limited and I just want something which covers me up and makes me look conspicuous. I wear boots and black tights and wonder where all the good weather went. I may have to face defeat and pull the cellophane off my carefully cellophane wrapped professionally cleaned coats. The new cardigan comes in use at work where at times I feel as though I have brought a dressing gown down with me. My face is fearfully shiny.
Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.