Before reading this, know that this stuff was quite diffilcult to write about - but also difficult to decide to write about it and share it. In this age of the overshare, I have become a little more reluctant to slap up my life deets at every opportunity. Its not at all that I don't think people should, or that I don't want others to know - it's more about not (as I see it myself) making so much bloody noise about meself, if you get me.
I've had a bit of a turbulent month or so. Hey, December is always hard for me - I flip flop between wanting to see people and wanting my routine back. My normal (these days) low stress, isolated existence is going to be disrupted whether I like it or not. Some of that I look forward to, but at the same time I worry that I will be too tired, get ill, panic, and just generally let people down by not being the person they were used to anymore.
As with most anxious types, one of the ways I try to cope better is by being prepared, more organised. This can help massively or it can lead to unnecessary worry and being overly controlling. Trying to be prepared for all eventualities is exhausting, and damned near impossible but it doesn't stop my daft head from bloody trying to do exactly that.
And the festive season has lots to prepare for - going visiting, gift buying and this year a little break for my daughters birthday just before chrimbo. None of which is a major deal, but the fact they all happen close together, and that it has a date and time to be done - thats where the stressor buttons get pressed. Its all well and good getting by day to day with the freedom of doing however much I can when I can, and having the luxury to shut down a bit when I need to. Set days like Christmas day bother me - it niggles that I might HAVE to be social because its christmas, I guess.
For people who have known me forever - well, ages anyway - the idea of me NOT being social seems bonkers. The old me was Tigger. The new me is distinctly more Eeyore. So I worry that I'll be weird to people. I resort to a sort of impersentation of the old me, a bit cartoonised, but seems to be more accepted by others. It avoids questions or comments - You don't seem yourself, why so moody, you're quiet etc... It kinda makes me even FEEL a bit like old me for a short burst. It always has a kickback one way or another, either emotional wobbles, fatigue or illness. So then I let people down. I was a mess christmas day night, tummy issues, crying jaggs, and a massive plummet into the gloom and fatigue cave. I didn't make it to the Boxing Day family bowling. Not for the first time.
Letting people down - its the thing I know is going to happen, and try hard to avoid by being prepared, and invariably its what I get terribly upset about. I get that most of this emotional upset is driven by me - my attempts to be acceptably Me-like, and then feeling out of my depth, followed by imagining what everyone thinks of me and getting upset about my imaginings. On the right side of my head, I know its all me really and so I should just dial it back or something. On the wrong side of my head is the unlimited propensity to beat on myself and wallow in my own stress juices.
Now earlier this year I scaled back, then stopped my anti depressants completely - I felt like they weren't doing much anyway and if I could do without it would be better for all the other stupidity I have going on healthwise. I was pleased and felt fine about not taking the meds. It felt like a good achievement. I think because despite knowing its an illness, I still feel the stigma of being on medication to feel normal. I totally recognise that stigma, the skewed view we all have of mental illness and medication to control it. I recognise it, but I still want to be able to do without like everyone else.
So I was very reluctant to admit to myself that I probably did need the meds. But I did. I do need them still, and after a few quite black episodes recently, I'm feeling much better having restarted on a low dose.
I wasn't sure about writing all this down - because a voice is telling me its a fail. Big Fat Hairy Fail.
Oddly though its not getting too much attention, I think because I know it isn't really failing. Failing would be to continue to decline, knowing that meds might help. Failing would be to let myself buy into the whole idea that you can decide you don't need the meds and that alone will mean you really don't because its all in your head anyway. Failing would be to lie to myself for the sake of saving face.
So no, I'm not failing just yet. I'm simply staying in control of my life, my health and my medication. I thought about not sharing all this, because, well, it doesn't really impact anyone else I guess. I thought about what would happen if I didn't share, and just got on with my life - you know, making less bloody noise and all that. Nothing. Nothing would happen. Then I thought of all the times I've read stuff from others that has really reassured me that I'm not on my own in all this, that others struggle with the same issues. So really all this noise is just in case someone out there is in the same boat, or might take comfort in the fact that we all get things wrong sometimes, and its better to get back on a good track than continue on a not so good one to save face.
One of my aims for the coming year is to say "sorry" a lot less, and "Thanks for understanding" a bit more. With that in mind, I want to say a big thank you to my family for understanding my limitations and not making me feel bad about missing stuff at chrimbo.
Finally, to all my family and friends, close or distant, I love you ALL the same. (but I love each one of you a little bit more if you are reading this, and if you continue to put up with my noise! )