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Posts Tagged ‘antidepressants’

Perfection, noun

“the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects”Oxford Dictionary Pointless pursuit of perfection

Why do we strive constantly for perfection, what is perfection? What is enough? When do we find acceptance and understand that we can only do so much before the cracks start to show, before we start to splinter a little bit at a time, before the cracks become to large and it becomes difficult to find our way back.

I am a perfectionist, a work-horse, a task master, an unyielding “encourager”! Which at times I am told, is hell to live with – this I cannot deny.

I am  one of those people who clears the dishes right after the last person puts the last morsel of food into there mouth (this can sometimes feel like an eternity with an 8 year old). I am the person who packs the dishwasher as I am cooking – just so that I can work in an ordered environment. I am the person who brushes their teeth and wipes down the bathroom bench top at the same time. I am the person who cannot climb under the bed covers during the day if I decide to have a rest – bedcovers are only going to sleep at night you see. I cannot go to bed and sleep peacefully with a  kitchen piled with dishes. I like my knee rugs and table tops to be neatly arranged when I lie my head down on my plumped pillow at night. I agonise over which pen to write with as I like a really fine nib that doesn’t “splotch” or mark my papers. I have started hand-written journals a dozen times only to throw them out – what’s authentic about writing in pencil only to rub it out because it is not neat enough or the grammar is questionable. If truth be told, the list goes on and on and it is simply a part of who I am.

I can laugh at these character traits in my personality, it’s my quirks and foibles that make up the person that is me, but, where it becomes a problem is when it impacts on those around me and creates tension, stress and discontentment in them. Over the years I have pushed my husband to strive for bigger and better opportunities, to push himself hard towards that elusive place called success. In reality he was already on that path by his own means, I simply rushed it along at a dizzying speed. This was not all bad, it meant travel, adventure and promotion, but, along with that came stress, discontentment and uncertainty, not the ingredients for the “perfect family life”.  Am I responsible for his success or failure, no, but I am guilty of putting my own measure against it. Unfortunately my pursuit of perfection does not always remain contained in a box just for me.

I have two bright, kind, generous, beautiful children, an intelligent, kind and generous husband. They are not perfect, they are human and fallible just like all of us, but, at times I forget that. I forget that they don’t function on my command, they make their own choices, they do their best, they make their own mistakes, have their own successes. They measure all of this by their own yard stick, not mine.

What I have learnt: Through my journey of introspection, forgiveness and acceptance, I have learnt I have the capacity to accept life as it is. I have learnt that I can only adjust my own behaviour and perception and that everyone else’s is there own, and how they choose to use the life they have been given is not in my control. I have learnt that I can provide a safe, loving, healthy home for my children, so that they may grow into the human beings they choose to be, but I cannot force them to be anything other than themselves. I have learnt that it is possible to truly love someone even if at times, I do not like them. I have learnt that we are all enough.

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Be at peace
Be still
Be one with the world
Be one with your fellow man
Love overwhelmingly
Love everything
Forgive instantly
Let go, Let God
Don’t question nature
Embrace it
Celebrate life
Set your soul on fire
Find fulfilment
Find joy, find happiness
Find the wonder that is you
Protect the weak
Guide the lost
Love the lonely
Be at peace
Be still

By Barbara Thompson

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If making love is the small death
then I now believe the betrayal
by ones emotions is the big one
To find out someone you have adored
for years has feet of clay
To perceive them in what must be the reality like the shattering of glass
To watch someone who always
seemed larger than life
shrink before your eyes, to regress
to crass emotions and endeavours
This is the the ultimate betrayal
This is that loss of love

There is nothing new under the sun
Life is a dress rehearsal
Dream your dream, it can be done
It’s all there for your perusal
One night, the stars dress up for you
Next day a tempest rages
and there’s nothing you can say or do
To turn, torn and dirty pages
This, to shall pass, wise men say
There’s no pain that you can’t bear
It looks, like life is just a cliche
The cloth you cut, is what you’ll wear
Why was I for, what am I living
Cries the heart thats badly broken
What happened to the world forgiving
Has my life been just a forgotten token

I remember so clearly the day I was
Abused
I remember the man, dark hair, moustache
Brown shirt, yellow tie and shiny knife
Seven other children watched in shock
No-one tried to move, scream or help
I remember the police and they scared
Me as much as the man
I remember being seven and I remember
The feeling of being absolutely and totally alone
There were no conversations about it
No-one explained, there was no help
I had nightmares for years
Only in the last years have I
Managed to confront it – The reaction
Was the same, so what, who cares
And I remember, the fear and the
Old guilt that somehow it was my
Own fault
Do we ever get rid of the old shadows
in our lives?
Are we allowed to dine in peace?
The books and and Know-it-alls say yes
But is it really true?

By Barbara Thompson

Footnote: This is the most I have ever heard about the abuse my mother endured, she never spoke of it. I knew something had happened when she was a young girl, but I never knew her age, I never truly knew her pain.  

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When God made me

When God made me he must have laughed
Him, and the angels too
He made me short and rather plain
not lamb, but mutton stew
But he gave me brains and intellect
and a strange bouquet of talent
Blonde hair, blue eyes an upturned nose
and a temper, sometimes violent
He put me on a rocky road, swirling in a storm
but he gave me love and hope and joy
that today still keeps me warm
I realise now, that this small life
has really been a test
to find my faults, my fears, the ways
that I can do my best
So don’t despair, take heed of me
and put your soul to rest
I’m living proof, that when he laughed, he laughed at me, and got it off His chest

By Barbara Thompson

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Alcohol, noun

“a colorless volatile flammable liquid that is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks, and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel.” – Oxford Dictionary

I had to laugh when I saw the Oxford Dictionary’s definition – doesn’t it make it sound endlessly appealing to sit down with that lovely cabernet or cold beer….

I am not a “big” drinker but neither am I a teetotaller, I would probably have a couple of glasses of wine a month on average so I cannot be defined as a party animal. My experience with alcoholism in my family has clearly defined how I interact with alcohol and the uneasy relationship that I have with it.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I was a little less controlled, I, like most of my peers, would go out, have too much to drink and feel disastrous the next day. I have great memories of fantastic friends and frivolous parties and I have memories which went on to put in the “well, I won’t be doing that again” basket but memories none the less. Alcohol is a significant part of social interaction in our society, I see this as neither good nor bad, it simply is.

I have found over the years is that how I react and interact with alcohol is dependent on how I am feeling emotionally/mentally. There are times when I can have a couple of glasses of wine and all is well, no nasty reactions, no palpitations, no regret – just a social evening with some friends like “normal” people do. Then there are other times where I have the same number of said beverage and all hell breaks loose – in my head at least, to everyone around me there would be no change, no shift in demeanour, no sense of the impending chaos that my anxiety was about to unleash on me. On one occasion, we had been out with a couple of friends, had a couple of glasses of wine, as I said, a “normal” social family evening. On the way home my daughter casually mentioned that she could smell alcohol (this would later be my trigger).

When we got home the regular routine followed and we all hopped into bed and went to sleep – I then woke up or to be more precise, my anxiety decided that a bright, beautiful quivering panic attack was the way to rip me out of my slumber and so I got up and went to the computer (my therapist had suggested I write) and started to frantically type away with the result being a litany of manic, emotional guilt, shame and regret.

This particular event had been a birthday celebration for me, I look back at it now and feel it was a wasted opportunity to experience and savour a joyful evening simply because my anxiety was so domineering that I didn’t let it give me the space to let me be. This was not the first or the last time that depression/anxiety/panic have limited my ability to experience joy and “seize the day” (more on that to follow). At the time I was still on medication and I had just entered therapy, my head was not in a good space but this was the first time I had ever written down the chaotic thoughts that raced through my head. Even now, over a year later, when I look at what I wrote I find it confronting to know that I was in such a bad space back then, but I also find it comforting to see how far I have come and how much I have to go, no longer feels like an eternity.

I will never be a “big” drinker, I choose not to simply because I don’t like the way it makes my body feel. I try and stay healthy and fit as I believe this is the best path for me to stay mentally healthy. I also know that preconditioning will always influence my perception and interpretation and as such I don’t believe that any two people experience alcohol in the same way.

 What I have learnt: I hope to guide my children to develop healthy views on all aspects of their lives and in my journey in doing this, I hope not to demonise anything but rather educate as much as possible about everything so as to provide them with the tools to make choices and decisions that best serve them.

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Decision, noun

“a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration” Oxford Dictionary

One of the hardest decision I made was to start taking antidepressants.

The logic behind this was not necessarily sound, but then again, neither was my mind. It took me many years to get to the diagnosis of depression, I suppose the idea of not being able to deal with something as “simple” as feeling a blue on my own left me with a sense of failure. I was one of those people who thought, even if I didn’t necessarily say it, “come on, there are people out there with problems so much bigger than yours and mine, get over it, pick yourself up and deal with it”…. little did I know back then.

The reality is that sometimes when you are in those dark places, the places where every step seems insurmountable, every action feels like a challenge and the simple task of remaining functional is all you can do, those were the times when I realised that depression was not simply a choice you make but much more complex and much more physical than I had ever thought.

I got to the stage where I knew I had to do something, I had a choice you see, I could continue on the way I was or I could decide that there was another solution, be it short or long term. So I decided, I went to visit my GP. I had to fill in a form about my state of mind answering questions etc and when I was “officially” told “you have depression” and “you are very high on the scale” and that the best thing would be to get myself balanced again and in order to do that, I should take antidepressants – I discussed my aversion to them at length but the advice I received was “if you had a heart problem or any other disease would you question taking meds for it?” my answer to this was no. If truth be told, It didn’t make the decision to take them any easier, I felt weak and defeated but I was too exhausted to not do anything so, I did it. I hated the fact that I was taking them– BUT, I am so pleased I did it, at the time, it was the best decision for me, it helped me through the roughest panic attacks, anxiety and depression and slowly I started to accept being on them, but always knew I would come off them at some point.

They made me feel tired, dull and non-responsive. My spark all but disappeared and I had very little in the way of emotional engagement but I was sane and stable and simply more settled. It felt good from where I had been. I had been on them for a couple of years when I realised that I was not necessarily getting better but not getting any worse, I was existing and that wasn’t good enough anymore. Again, I knew I had choice. Last year April I found the most incredilble therapist who neither negated or promoted antidepressants but simply helped me get to the stage that I could feel “safe” enough to stop taking them……for now.

After many months of therapy and lots of thought, I made the decision, I was going to stop taking the antidepressants. I had never really come to a easy acceptance of them and so I decided that I would give it a go. If I had not been in therapy with the support that I had at the time, I don’t think I would have done it. By the time I decided to stop taking them I was on a fairly low dose, so after talking to my GP I halved the dose on the advice that the impact would not be significant, it wasn’t. I then went off completely without any weening (not having sought advice) – I entered an awful physical, mental, emotional rollercoaster that lasted for what felt like absolute ages! I felt sick, light headed, anxious, shakey, scared, unbalanced – I suppose I went through withdrawel and it was awful but I knew that it was what I wanted and I knew I was ready, so the time was right for me and I had a good support network to do it safely.

I have been off antidepressants for about 8 months now. I do take a natural supplement which was recommend by my naturopath and so I can’t say I am completely drug free (even if it’s natural it still has implications) but atleast with this when I don’t take them I don’t have any withdrawel. I make sure I exercise regularly, the healing I have found front the simple action of exercise has been incredible. I am not naturally an exercise enthusiast, I would rather read a good book, drink cups of tea and curl up on the couch but I cannot deny the incredible difference exercise makes and that it is immediate!

I cannot say I will never go back on antidepressants, I honestly hope that the journey I am on will lead me to a place that I don’t need them but I will always be grateful that science is able to help and that if I go to that dark place again, there is a someone who has found a way to help us through until we strong enough to do it on our own again if we choose. There is a place for everything.

I do not advocate or negate the use of antidepressants, this is simply my experience.

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