Tag Archives: anti-depressants

My troublin’ mind

A bit short on the words, or the right words, or words I can share, or shout out loud. Anti-depressant reduction plan isn’t happening…this level of dealing with my demons enough for now. But, dealing with them I am, and, in time, one way or another, will lay them to rest!

Can’t help but wonder where I’m bound…


To everything there is a season

..whilst my inclination is to noisily start singing Turn! Turn! Turn!…I will instead post this..and try to follow because this is what I think I now need to do to live the life I have left, the way I want to..

I will, however, insert the caveat that I am interpreting “by yourself” time as “by yourself with cats, anti-depressants, wine and therapist” and add the lyrics to Turn! Turn! Turn! (because I never want to be known for being compliant!)

Brain Pickings

“Turn! Turn! Turn!”
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Half and half

I seemed to be bearing my load reasonably well in recent weeks…but yesterday I came tumbling down..and down…

I spent the night fitfully, as I couldn’t seem to shift acute pain, which ebbed and flowed through the small hours with no painkiller killing the pain…and when I finally got up it was as if the physical pain had awoken a whole headspace of mental pain. How on earth had I been kidding myself for 18 months that my one breasted physique was Amazonian rather than “deformed”? In a split second I was hurling my rose tinted spectacles I had been clinging onto for dear life, across the room. I suddenly saw the make believe world I had constructed to protect myself, crumble. A world where all my clothes (and me) had looked great. Suddenly I was staring at myself in the mirror and seeing every item of clothing I put on as worse than the last, all emphasising loss of every possible kind. I stood there, for what seemed like forever, tearfully acknowledging that actually I feel half the woman I was as well as half-hearted…half-baked…and that maybe that I haven’t yet faced the half of it…

Suspect this is shake-down time…now I have been through chemo, hair loss, mastectomy, betrayal three times over, retirement, divorce as well as selling and buying property and setting up my new home..it is now the moment to face it all..and it’s not pretty…

…but today have been to the gym and there is the smell of roasting lamb and garlic through the house as I am cooking for friends…and I would certainly be feeling even less than half a being without them…

Out of sight

…so whilst pottering and titivating (my new pastime)…I received a phone call from the Eye Hospital. Back in January I had an appointment where retinal photos were taken and I was told that an appointment to discuss with the doctor would be arranged. At the time I remember thinking that it was a not so subtle way of reducing their waiting list, as leaving human contact in the hospital without an appointment is very dangerous, trying to contact the Eye Hospital by phone is not for the faint hearted.

Anyway a very nervous doctor (possibly only started on 1 August) started his call by saying that he had been trying to contact me all week….really? He needed me to come in to clinic “tomorrow” and so we arranged it…then he rang to change the time…then rang again to change it again…so the “right” doctor can see me…So, my phone is obviously working.

…and what can I expect from this hastily arranged appointment…

  • that someone has only just looked at January’s photos and there is something wrong
  • that someone has realised I hadn’t been sent a follow-up appointment so was trying to fit me into a cancellation
  • or perhaps this is how appointments are now managed

All in all rather odd (good job I am still taking the tablets) but I will go and sit and wait (part of the Eye Hospital experience) and “see” what happens  whilst I also wait for confirmation of herceptin treatment on Monday. Reality is that I am more worried about the fact that I am being so compliant rather than what they might tell me, non-compliance seems to be my new modus operandi!

“Black clouds lumbered off westward like ghosts of buffalo”

How perfect an analogy is that? Despite the fact that I have a funeral to attend; a house to pack up; a decree absolute to wait for; another hospital appointment to attend alongside a fridge of diminishing content AND extremely grumpy cats…it does feel like the fog is lifting. I find that I do, finally, have the impetus to start looking at the future with delight rather than staring at the abyss of the past with disbelief, anger and despair.

I can do this…I am doing this…I continue to give attention to my own mental and physical health, I have bought a house on my own, sold a house on my own, prepared a “moving book” (full of lists which prompt me to do the stuff that I keep forgetting) as well as getting on with the rest of life. For the first time (in my now short term memory) I am teetering on the edge of believing that there may be a “rest of life”. I am now ready to grab it , wallow in it … and do some celebrating, laughing and living. (OK…still on full-whack of anti-depressants..but moving in a better direction!)

The Full Monty

The week has grown more and more stressful – my varying problems combining to make me forget (until I was called to be reminded) about my Herceptin treatment on Monday. Maybe forgetting is good…normalising the abnormal…?

I am (despite daily glitches, delays, arguments, cage rattling and professional incompetence) on the cusp of divorce and house move whilst continuing to deal with life threatening illness, bereavement all exacerbated by insomnia…and the answer is…? Well..my version of events involves trying to forget how I feature on the list of top life stressors of which I only seem to be missing “death of spouse”  and “imprisonment”  hmmmm.. are they related? Will safely “park” the former in the non- applicable spot and ignore the other (for the time being!) Instead I indulge in the age old female remedies of retail therapy (window shopping anyway!), supping chilled wine in the sunshine whilst putting the world to rights with friends and of course, my own particular default setting – burrowing myself away into a good book. All done, of course, whilst taking the maximum anti-depressant dose.

Something I read the other week rang a bell whilst working my way through this mire…I can’t remember the exact words..but something along the lines of

“I’m not actually dead, I’m dormant”

Gin Mare!

It’s Friday night…how hard can that be? A toss up between a very camp looking pink (coloured bottle) of gin – “Pinkster” which “looked” fabulous with a suitable summer flavouring of raspberry or the apparent Scarborough Fair option (rosemary and thyme) – Gin Mare. I chose the latter – very good choice but now hankering for the unchosen selection. There were (of course) more, but I had quickly narrowed it down to my line of vision. It will have to be another time…meantime I still have my brand of choice at home “Deaths Door” – which works for me….

With my anti-depressants cranked up to maximum, I am starting to feel “better”. Whether I am better enough to speak at funeral next week remains to be seen, but it may be a team effort and that’s OK. People I can trust to lean on and who can lean on me, we will get through…

Meantime I worry…I worry about…(amongst a diaspora of concerns)

  • My herceptin treatment. How will I organise this next day treatment whilst I am at a funeral? Should this worry even be on my radar?
  • I seem to have several lymph glands erupting (?) –  am I imagining it?
  • Upcoming scans
  • Do I take sleeping tablets and feel/act like a zombie or do I just not sleep and get through lots of reading (or howling) instead?

…and of course these sit beside the rolling cloud “boneless bird” worries of how full the fridge is..(too full…rhubarb and gooseberries have completely taken over); which continent my son is on, now he has his BA “wings”; how content the cats are and the hugest issue of all…how on earth am I ever going to even start downsizing…I can’t get off the starting blocks…? I have stopped even opening cupboards…it makes me cry…

…life goes on…

Hard to believe but it seems that life goes on…a “different” life yet again but this time with an endless horizon of silence that eats me whole.

Whilst festering away at home I have been fascinated by The Listening Project. I listen, listen again and then some…People chatting to each other about something of significance, or not…it has been like a conversation in another room, which I tune and out of – family, friendship, health, love. loss and the rest of life besides…Many tales of the elasticity (?) of us humans, so not a bad soundtrack for my life at present.

My health gets re-jigged into the “also ran” position…I am being maintained by increased anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I am largely just ignoring the physical symptoms at the moment…they will keep…and, miraculously I have a couple of weeks without medical appointments!

…and the funeral..

  • what to say?
  • what to wear?
  • how on earth to get through it?

“Bad things come from the north”

I am, reliably told, that the Bible (??) tells us that bad things always come from the north…Who knew? Does this include northerners, such as myself? Certainly food for thought…but I remain unsure of what to make of it…or if it even has any meaning at all. That said, it keeps making me laugh and maybe that’s  enough!

I’ve spent the past week or so on a journey (quest perhaps) of my own, looking for answers (without really knowing the questions)…and looking, learning and discussing things I have not even touched before. I have also been evaluating and questioning long held beliefs and challenging a very cynical core that I seem to have nurtured unwittingly …Somehow this seems like a preferable start to a year than a “dry” January!…I don’t seem to ever do things by halves, and the travails continue…

Simultaneously I have been girding my loins (if that is an appropriate analogy) for what is about to be a huge personal loss…Bigger by far than those of the past year…

Let’s just hope that further bad things stay in the north! But I guess most places are north of somewhere!

Meantime I’ll just keep taking the tablets…

Out of the shadows

As ever it is two steps forward, one step back but, after last week’s good scan results, I am starting to feel that I can…maybe…gain some momentum. My bruised coccyx is somewhat limiting the speed of this…However this is only a problem when getting up from seated or lying down, or trying to do sit-ups so maybe I just need to do less of all of that! My head “bump” also seems to be sorting itself out and scabbing over – fortunately now covered by a profusion of dark but curly hair…I am a very different person both on the outside and the inside.

And…no medical appointments this week. This is the first time I can remember this happening so that must be a good thing.

So a chance to sit back and think where my life (however long) goes from here. I am still pulling out the embedded thorns in my side (and in my heart) and still lose sleep as I turn over and over on them, but I am finally getting some sleep now.   Glory be to the right dose of the right anti-depressants!

It is a common enough premise that cancer changes you and for everyone it must be different. Last week I caught the end of an item on Woman’s Hour about a new book by Marian Keyes called “The Woman Who Stole My Life” – apparently it’s humorous…but, despite its title, which rings so many bells, it is not a parallel to my past year’s experience of what happened when I got cancer! I have not progressed so far as to see any humour in my situation at all but I have begun to find some smouldering resilience.