Once again I slide awkwardly across the seat of an oversized and uncomfortable plastic upholstered chair while it creaks in embarrassing accompaniment to my every twitch.
Whitney Houston blares from the radio, piped in through speakers set into the ceiling somewhere, the disembodied voice an attempt to muffle the coughing and spluttering and miserable receptionists and sound of germs multiplying.
My left foot taps along with the bass line, fuelled more by agitated anxiety than love of the song. Although it is catchy.
How do I know if he really loves me?
Because he says with me during major depressive episodes and brings my child up while I contemplate suicide alone upstairs, that’s how. *
* This may not be the correct lyric, don’t quote me.
Seven weeks ago I quit the meds and in that time I have spoken to three different GPs and my therapist and my mum christened the newly operational 111 service on its very first day because once again she had to mercy dash to mine (it wasn’t snowing this time but it was 1:30am, sorry mum) when the mental took over and once again the drop from my bedroom windowsill looked particularly inviting.
I went back on the meds five days ago by the way – I’m not that much of a glutton for punishment. I know when enough is enough and I’ve battled long and hard enough to want to draw a fast, firm line through such fucked up thoughts.
The thing is, antidepressants take time to kick in.
On the day that I
relented made the ‘positive decision’ to start them again every breath was like sucking setting concrete up through a narrow straw. (I don’t like straws as a general rule; someone always swipes my drink for ‘a sip’ and the next thing I know I’ve got the mangled, gnawed end of a bit of plastic someone else has chewed in my mouth).
Breathing shouldn’t hurt, having a brain inside my skull shouldn’t hurt, moving my eyeballs shouldn’t hurt…Everything hurt so much and it was terrifying and I was exhausted and, well, terrified so I pushed the little while pill up through the silver foil and held it between my thumb and my index finger and literally begged it to work
please. Please work, please help me. Please take all of this away. Please work
before washing it down past the lump in my throat with half a glass of Ribena.
The super fun (lie) bit about antidepressants, aside from the total all consuming numbness, is the waiting game while they make everything worse. Sure, taking that tablet did ease things a little but given the following should be the editorial on the leaflet in the box things are still far from awesome.
Suicidal intention? Depression? Anxiety? Hate yourself and your life and feel shitter than shit? In so much physical and mental pain that you literally can’t take another single second of the torture?
Take this magical pill!
We don’t know too much about it or how or why or when but we can tell you that they will numb you enough to plod through your days!
While they rebuild your broken brain up a little, they will in fact increase your suicidal intension, depression, anxiety, self loathing and pain infinity fold!
Hang on in there, don’t do anything silly, they’ll work in the end! Kinda.
The appointment was not fun (true). For someone so verbal about things when I can articulate through a keyboard from behind a screen I clam up hard and have to stop myself choking on every word that I force out of my mouth in person.
I also get total mind blanks and answer half of the questions I’m asked with a series of single syllable noises and ‘eeeeeeerm’s. The answers always come to me as soon as I close the door behind me afterwards, obviously (thanks again, brain).
It is beyond awkward sitting before a stranger as their gaze burns holes in my hot, sweat slicked flesh while trying to answer questions about Not Very Nice Things.
I’d rather have a smear test. While every boy that I have ever kissed, that blonde girl who bullied me in school and my ex boss (the one I had a bit of a crush on) lined up to watch.
Not because I’m embarrassed about saying how I feel (and not because I’m a big old vagina show off) or because I’m ashamed or because I think that the poor bloke stumbling over the questions that he has to ask, feeling just as awkward as me, probably, has never heard similar before but just because it’s hard.
So hard and so exhausting and it leaves me feeling like I’ve run a hundred thousand miles. Saying things out loud makes them real, it often begs explanation or expansion or explanation or reason and I have none of that.
And, y’know, that I’m obviously quite British and when asked how I am I’d rather reply a bright and breezy ‘fiiiiiiiiiine, and you?’ than a monotone and spluttered ‘I have all I have ever wanted but I want to jump out of the window and leave it all behind…and I don’t like when people chew the end of my straw’.
On the plus side, I am (finally) being referred to a psychiatrist.