It was my birthday back in November and I’d booked the day off work. What actually happened was I ended up having two weeks off courtesy of my doctor after I phoned her in a terrible state.
Winter has kicked my butt big time. The dark and the cold has done nothing to help my mood. October brought with it a lot of memories of a tricky time in my childhood, and it left me feeling like a little girl again. I was a little girl with a child of her own to look after though and I didn’t really know where to turn. For the first time in a long time I wanted my Mum, and as someone who does a very good job at glossing over just how hard her death was for me, wanting her in itself was a struggle.
After I got off the phone to my doctor I felt like I needed to tell Bakji what had been discussed. The time off work, the medication, my overall low mood and extreme lack of motivation. I was so worried though, I didn’t want to feel bad again for needing that time and the pharmaceutical involvement to feel functional. I didn’t want it to be about him either, I dreaded having to apologise for my brain failings and I didn’t want to have navigate his disappointment in me.
For the first time ever though someone responded in a way that helped me. Even writing that sentence makes me feel guilty. My mum was amazing in so many ways, and my ex-husband is a wonderful man, so pointing out that they didn’t get it right when it comes to this topic is really hard.
What Bakji did different though was trust me. He trusted me to know that taking the medication was right for me, and he offered affection and support when I needed it most. Which means that I am still successfully taking the medication I am prescribed, making this my longest stint ever on antidepressants and the positive outcomes have been huge for me.
I have for as long as I can remember suffered from bad dreams. These range from just being unpleasant, to being real mind-fucks and at the extreme end can be night terrors, lucid nightmares and sleep paralysis. I won’t go into to details but in the worst of these cases I know I’m stuck in a nightmare, I can’t wake myself up to escape and I can’t move because of the sleep paralysis, but I’m aware enough to know I want to both wake up and move. I’m 33 and spent a large portion of last year sleeping with the light on due to these being so frequent that bedtime became quite scary.
When I started taking the Sertraline prescribed to me I noticed a couple of things that I took note of as possible positive side effects. Firstly I felt calmer when it came to bedtime and turning the light of not only became possible but welcomed. Then when I was asleep the more extreme nightmares had eased off incredibly. I still get a decent amount of mind-fuck dreams, which quite honestly are unpleasant, but a walk in the park compared to the other ones.
For the longest time no one has been able to offer any real clarity on why I have those kind of nightmares. I am now wondering if I’d just stuck with taking the medication all those years back then perhaps I could have saved myself from a lifetime of horrendous nightmares.
Some of the thoughts I had when I was prescribed antidepressants this time round were; ‘I don’t want to be dependent on medication to be happy’, ‘what will people say if they find out’ and ‘who am I going to disappoint this time’. Now I have lifted out of my fog a little my responses to those thoughts are very different. For a start I’m too old to give a fuck about what other people think about me looking after myself. If someone is disappointed in me for having out of whack brain chemicals, well they can deal with that issue themselves. As for being dependent on medication, I am honestly really glad it’s there for me to lean on right now. There is nothing else I or anyone else can do to change what is happening in my brain, but medication can help and that is such a relief.
I’m not saying the Sertraline has been a cure all. I do have to do other things to support my mental well-being. Exercise, healthy eating and supplements are a big part of that. I know I still have areas to address. I have things I probably should talk to a professional about, but I don’t even know where to being with unravelling those topics. If I’m totally honest I don’t know if I’m ready or able to open up about them either. They have been in my minds periphery while I’ve been writing these posts, and it has hurt just to acknowledge their small intrusion into my thoughts.
Medication for depression, anxiety and/or a whole host of other mental health disorders may not be the right path for everyone and I am by no means endorsing the brand of medication I am taking. Too many people suffer in silence though, due to not only the stigma of having mental health issues to begin with, but by being strong enough to seek help and take medication or attend counselling where needed. This post is another step towards me doing my bit to break the silence.
If you would like to read more posts from sex bloggers who write about mental health then Sassy Cat has compiled a wonderful list in her post ‘Sex Bloggers for Mental Health’. You can also follow #sb4mh on Twitter.