Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caving In The Brainpan

Over the last little while, my mental health has been in a poor state indeed. Every new day, when sleep turns to groggy wakefulness, my heart turns to despair and not much else.

I've spent the last week and a half away from work.  The work itself is great - every day you go in and your job is to help people; how awesome is that?  But you know, an avalanche is an avalanche.  Hey, I freakin' love those dark chocolate Lindt balls, but it doesn't mean I'd like to drown in the stuff.
So after giving it my best I declare - Atlas has toppled, badly. 
Symptoms are the usual chestnuts that go with depression and anxiety; waking up wishing you'd never been born and that there is no proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel', anxiety attacks where trembling, sobbing and nausea/diarrhoea hit you like the messy train.

Steps have been taken to mitigate the circumstances.  My GP has been consulted.  I got myself a shrink (man, shrink shopping is always a pain in the butt).  I have been placed on diazepam and fluvoxamine, with strict warnings about diazepam's addictiveness and have been ordered not to have the whole box easily available to me.
I've utilised the EAP program at work.  I must say though, I think EAP's are good for immediate trauma - such as the time when a trusted, very popular long-term employee was found to have defrauded the company and people were bursting into tears at their desk.  Hey, that's what happens when your good rockin' buddy gets escorted off the premises by the police.
For long-term stuff though, I think it's better to get your own mental health professional you can build a relationship with.  Even if it just saves you the exhaustion of explaining and re-explaining things to different people.
Personally I've been struggling with mental illness since I was in my early twenties, when I was in constant pain due to endometriosis.  That's eased off now, but you know that saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"?
That's officially bullshit in my books.




  1. Cycling through depression and anxiety over and over again isn't much fun, is it? I managed to reach my late 20s before fully falling down that particular rabbit-hole. I haven't gotten out of it fully as yet, and doubt I ever truly will. But that is just my cross to bear I guess, and I'll manage it as best I can.

    I'm currently at the point where I don't really think shrinks or medication help terribly much, at least in my case. I am not sure that there is any particular magic cure, but exercise, trying to keep busy, and finding some kind of purpose in life helps somewhat.

    Btw, thanks for the heads-up about the moth podcast. It was also mentioned on radio national's breakfast show when Julian Morrow from the chaser was hosting it. I've listened to a couple of the podcasts that were pretty good, but I haven't yet heard the one about the undertakers daughter.

  2. Yeah, shrinks or medication can help... to an extent. However, at the end of each day, when you look in the mirror, the 'you' that you woke up as that morning is still the 'you' that remains as your head hits the pillow at night. On a more optimistic note - change is inevitable. The pacing of that change is rarely ours to decide however!

  3. Increasingly I have come to believe that nothing is actually ours to decide. Things happen to us, and we respond to them. The things that happen have a million causes behind each of them, and our reactions are in turn determined by our past, our biology, our socialization, if we are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc. I find it hard to see where our choices and decisions are in all this.

    I suspect that there are not real choices being made. That there is no free will, and we are going to do what we are going to do, just like all the other people are too, regardless of whether their act is one of kindness or of outright bastardry.

    This may sound depressing, but I think what it means is that we can dispense with much of the "should" feelings that do so much to mess us about. I'm definitely feeling less emotional pain since I started thinking in this vein.