Coming Off My Meds

"VariousPills" by MorgueFile
“VariousPills” by MorgueFile

As my wife and I try and get pregnant, there has been talk about me getting pregnant at some stage in the future. She will be having our first child for sure – we’re currently trying with a donor but that’s another post – and perhaps in the future I might have a second.

Might. There are a few issues with it. Not just with how I feel about actually being pregnant an having a baby (I’m not overly keen on the idea) but the fact that I would have to come off my medication.

I can’t remember how long I’ve been on my medication actually. It’s probably written down somewhere, I’ve had a blog of some sort since I was 18. Most things are noted down. I’m currently taking Tegretol (Carbamazepine) and Seroxat (Paroxetine). I started the Seroxat a few years before the Tegretol but I’ve been on both almost a decade I would say, maybe eight years? I didn’t think I would ever really come off them so it never really mattered how long I had been taking them because I would always been taking them.

Right?

Maybe not.

Things are different now. Not even considering the pregnancy, I have thought about coming off my medication. But having been on them so long it’s a bit of a daunting prospect. The Tegretol might be easier at least, I’m not on a particularly high dose, so it wouldn’t be too hard to withdraw it from my system properly.

The Seroxat is going to be the problem.

At the moment if I miss a dose if I get a headache. Two doses and the anxiety gets worse. Three and the depression kicks in. It can get pretty bad pretty quickly, and it can take a week of taking my meds properly again to get back on track again. So it feels like a bit of a mammoth task to come off it when the withdrawals make me feel like my mental health has regressed ten years.

Seroxat By Jussi Mononen

And then, and then, what if when I’ve finally, painfully slowly, milligram by milligram come off Seroxat (by taking liquid Seroxat that probably tastes disgusting and it’s probably something we’d have to order every month specially at the pharmacy I work in) what if I’m not stable without it? Not well without it? What if I actually still need and will always, always need it.

The idea at this point, of always having to take it, isn’t so bad. Because it’s part of my routine. Get up take meds. Take meds go to bed. Every day. Every week. Every months. Always doesn’t seem to bad after a decade and I don’t even think about it. But coming off them, and then realising that I’ll always need them and should never have stopped taking them.

Holy void is that a horrible thought.

So what? Do I never try? Do I risk it? If I never have a baby myself will it even matter.

I’m still undecided. I had considered coming off the Tegretol because I certainly feel more stable. But what if that is just the Tegretol’s grip on my stability and I take it away and then I’m unstable once more, unpredictable.

A problem? A risk?

There are a few other issues with getting pregnant and my mental health. My hormones for one. I’m on the patch because my hormones do not do well without a bit of a kick. Also, I stop taking my meds, one of the many things that helps me cope and I have a baby and all the extra stress that comes with it.

It’s a minefield.

Not an easy decision.

I remember really struggling to comply with my medication once. I mean I really hated taking those damn meds. I hated who I was and part of that manifested itself in hate for my mental health and the future of it. I couldn’t imagine being on those damn meds for ever, hell I didn’t want to even be on them for another month let alone forever. It didn’t help that medication was the only help I was getting – instead of being part of the help I needed.

Now years later, after the therapy I needed, the medication don’t seem that bad because they are just part of the care I had and needed back the. Part of a big picture, a long game.

I am going to assume that makes sense.

I think I managed to talk myself out of this.

Anyway, these are some thoughts. Mostly half formed.  If you’ve come off a medication like Paroxetine let me no how it went.

Oooooooooooout. Want to go ooooout.

Pogo wanted to go out. Despite the fact that it was cold and the middle of the night.
Pogo wanted to go out. Despite the fact that it was cold and the middle of the night.

This was about fandom but spiralled out of my control…

My current obsession...
My current obsession…

I deal with fandom the way I have I have dealt with fandom since LJ was the world for fandom. By not getting involved. I write my fic, and post it and move on. Sometimes I reply to reviews. Mostly I don’t. I don’t get involved with different fans of ships, I don’t get involved with discussions, I just write. I had some followers on LJ who I met through fandom but rarely discussed fandoms with them either.

It’s just easier not to get involved at all than to get involved in drama. I have bigger things to worry about that occur in the real world. The fandom worlds are there to take me away from those problems, not cause me more.

It’s lonely though.

I mean, it used to be worse, cause it was just me. Now I discuss things with my wife.

I’m not involved in any great community though. I have no friends in fandom again, just people who follow some fic, follow my tumblr. I don’t actually have a lot of friends at all. Even in real life. There are very few people I tolerate being around or having in my house. Three that I’m not related too. Five or six that I am related too. It’s hard for my wife who is used to having a lot of people around.

I seem to have introverted myself so much that I have introverted myself online as well. I’m not sure how I even did it really. Just sort of happened. I thought at first I had become one of those people who’s world just reduce to their partner’s but it’s gone way beyond that. It’s something else. I feel like I spend so much time during the day dealing with people – actual real people –  I would never deal with normally that now I insulate myself in my own head with my wife like this is enough.

It’s not enough.

Happiness is a warm box.
Happiness is a warm box.

Sometimes it feels like that’s why I will never be successful as a writer or in any sort of career. Happy yes, but not overly successful. I have no network, people go on about networking.

I have a network of cats and those jerks have no appreciation of poetry or blogs.

This did not start out as a post about how introverted I have become I know. I write it like it’s a bad thing, and a lot of the time it’s not. Because I have those three or four people in my life, and my life doesn’t really have much drama in it (complications yes, problems yes, but drama no). My sister’s life is full of drama. My aunts. People I know at work and people my wife knows but not my life. Not our life.

Unless it’s animal drama, but I’m not sure that counts.

It’s not always a bad thing, but sometimes I feel a little lost in a sea of people around me doing things I would like to be doing, succeeding where I am floundering (not necessarily failing but not succeeding).

I know a guy with the same sort of mental health problems I have (anxiety, depression amongst others) who is doing what he wants to do, writing and making films. Films you can watch on 4oD. And he’s out there doing things and making connections and I can barely keep a simple friendship together. And I am a member of a few groups on facebook of writers who seem to be able to write and publish and have their own network of people in that world and I am barely able to make my blog popular.

Do you remember when this was just about dealing with fandom?

Me too.

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll write an actual post on how people should deal with crappy fandoms – which I suspect will just be “fuck um” but for now this has become something else, something both cathartic and anxiety inducing.

Please bare with me. My words are worth it.

I hope you understand.

Classic Cambrian News: Dolphin Shenanigans

dolphinsex
Thursday 31st of July last summer gave us this little beauty.

Story online here. Do not google dolphin sex acts. I can’t stress this enough people…

Man Falls Off Horse (and other tales)

This week - a two in one.
This week – a two in one.

So the local paper for my area is called The Cambrian News. When I was a kid it was a broadsheet size thin thing with some local interest and horses that I needed to spread out on the floor to read. It came out once a week, on Thursdays. At least that’s all I remember being in it. Horses and shows. We went to a lot of shows as kids, Jay – my step parent – used to show a lot of horses and some dogs. Our front hallway is a very Welsh hallway. Slightly dark and dusty from not being used (cause everyone uses the back door) full of bits of collectables and a lot of rosettes. A lot. And some trophies. And I think some darts ones as well.

Jay played a lot of darts too.

Any way, the Cambrian News was a very standard rural newspaper for a rural area.

And, well, it still is.

It’s smaller now, tabloid size thicker to some extent – though not every week – even Ceredigion has slow news weeks on rare occasions we have fast ones but only now and then. Okay so now that I think about it, I can’t remember a fast news week. Just slow ones. It’s still weekly, printed on a Tuesday, on sale form Tuesday evening/Wednesday. There’s a few different editions, covering the county, but basically from what I can tell it’s a different front page and third page, but the rest is pretty much the same. Maybe the fourth page. I buy the Aberystwyth edition, my colleague buys the South edition so I have read both most weeks, but little is different cause really it’s a big country with a a lot of grass and well, and some crime.

10th April 2014 - Left without comment.
10th April 2014 – Left without comment.

I lived in Leicester for a few years, where the local paper is called The Leicester Mercury and there are two editions a day, six days a week. That’s twelve newspapers. Now, a lot of it is the same from the morning edition to the evening edition – most people I knew read the evening edition because it was effectively the update of the morning newspaper. I’m not sure, I didn’t read it that often for various reasons. I was never that invested in Leicester, not in the same way I am invested in Ceredigion. I had a job, so I didn’t need to check the newspaper for jobs. And the paper was full of news about serious crimes and roadworks. Neither of which I particularly wanted to read about.

Serious stuff happens in Aberystwyth and Ceredigion – it’s not all happy Larry around here. There was a mass brawl outside a put the other week. There are deaths (though few actual murders) and sex offences and drugs and poverty but this stuff is spread out over times. In Leicester this stuff happens more often, is more violent, is more desperate and is all packed in week after week. It’s a big city, though not the worst when it comes to crime but with more people comes more problems and the Leicester Mercury always has more bad news in one edition that The Cambrian does in ten.

But, but what the Cambrian News does have are the headlines of a lifetime.

I’ve been collecting some of the best headlines and stories for a few years now. By collecting I mean taking pictures of them and posting them to facebook to amuse my friends who do not live in the area. Some of the stuff that happens here is completely insane. Sometimes the headlines really make the story. I don’t know if they’re serious, if someone is trying to make us laugh.

There is a whole facebook group dedicated to to these wonderful wonderful headlines. I think I might start posting them here on my blog too. It really is local news at its best.

There's a lot of this sort of thing...
There’s a lot of this sort of thing…

I wonder if other local papers are like this. I imagine it’s boredom, there’s only so much interest you can get out of writing about car accidents and horses (still a lot of horses). I suppose the other Welsh rural papers are like this in the sparser counties. Places like this in Scotland. I don’t know, before I moved to Wales as a child I lived in Coventry and well, much like the Leicester Mercury, the Coventry Evening Telegraph is two editions a day (it was still the Evening Telegraph in the morning – don’t ask) full of horrible stuff and football.

I assume there are places in Scotland like this. Perhaps. Perhaps it’s boredom. Perhsps one guy at the Cambrian fancies himself as a comidian. Perhaps it’s all accidental and I live in a really odd country. Which I know I do – it’s an odd place – once there was a dead shark parked on some double yellow lines in Aberystwyth. We still don’t know how it got there.

Maybe between the sea air and sheep we’ve finally cracked. Maybe it’s a Welsh thing (my grandfather was Welsh, I’ve been here long enough to identify as Welsh and fit in with this madness).

I love it regardless and I think I’ll be sharing more of these great headlines on my blog in the future.

Never change Cambrian News!

N.B – I redact information even though I know it’s accessible (hell you can go buy the paper) because 1) They print addresses and I don’t agree with that. 2) I don’t want to shame anyone, I’m not in it to blame anyone for their decisions or problems, I really just want to laugh at the headlines.

Adventures in Chicks

My wife decided she wanted chicks, because the chickens were super broody and keeping all the eggs they were laying. So, like many things in our life, we don’t have a man – so we bought some fertilized eggs off a man and slipped them in with the rest of the eggs. Of the six, five hatched, Clorida and Renfield took to sitting on them, but as soon as they hatched the first thing Ren did was peck the first chick, Feathas, on the head quite hard so we had to throw her out. Clorida has been a great mum though.

So, the chicks have been named Feathas, Lampshade, Destructor, Cat (or Sunflower whenever my niece makes her mind up) and Krem. Odd names but then, my chickens are called Johnette, Stevette, Renfield and Clorida.

Mother (Clorida) and Feathas.
Mother (Clorida) and Feathas.
Krem
Krem
Destructor
Destructor
Four of the five chickens that hatched (Krem was the last)
Four of the five chickens that hatched (Krem was the last)

Everything Is Hard.

The thing about having a mental health problem is that you’re not normal any more. We fight to de-stigmatise mental health problems, but life with one is not normal. Suddenly you’re not like most people any more. You’re not like you were or you may be in the future. You’re different now – whether for a short amount of time or for life – you’ve changed.

The way you live your life has changed.

Everything is harder. Hard. Getting up. Breathing. The very concept of looking after yourself becomes an impossible idea. Work. Remember working? Working like everyone else, yeah, that’s harder too. Even if you love your job it’s still a nightmare to do. I’m working 32 hours this week, spread out over six days. It’s Friday and I’m a wreck. Hell I was a wreck by Wednesday and I’d only done my usual hours by then (as well as working the Saturday before which I don’t normally do). It didn’t help that I didn’t sleep properly Sunday or Monday night this week but that eels like an excuse.

Every reason you have for not being able to do something like your friend, neighbour or colleague does sounds like an excuse in your own head.

Because you know that people do more and you’re floundering while trying to do less.

Which I think is where the stigma lies. Most people work 37/40/60 hours a week. Work more hours than I do, without even thinking about it, and then I’m standing there exhausted after doing one extra day and crying and barely able to stand or walk or breathe and I’ve not even done half the hours they have and it’s hard to understand I guess until suddenly you’re me and god damn, it’s hard.

It’s always so hard.

I’m tired of it being so hard.

Comparing yourself to other people, other people who may have their own problems but are clean and healthy and working full time is half the problem. Cause suddenly, you have no self esteem because of the depression and then you’re faced with a hundred other people who are not curled up into a ball in their underwear sobbing on a semi-regular basis. You end up wondering what you are doing wrong because you assume it’s your fault, something you are doing, as opposed to the fact that just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean it’s your fault.

It’s hard, all this, but it’s not my fault. I can’t work six day weeks even if four of those days are half days because I can’t, not because I won’t (because, I am) but because it’s so damn hard all I want to do is cry, or cut, or scream.

I am picking crying at the moment.

Some people are lazy. Some people can afford to work twenty hour weeks.

Some of us want to work more hours even though I can’t and keep my sanity. I can’t work a forty hour week. I can’t live on a twenty hour one. No one seems to care either way.

At one point I had to nap every day around four. Even though I had only gotten up around eleven. Now I actually get up and work. I am getting better, but there are some days, when you’re looking at the world and your place in it and it seems like you’re a waste of energy. That the amount of energy it takes for me to actually do anything some days is just wasted on me – someone much more productive could be using that energy, breathing my air, filling my space.

I hide it well. I laugh. I smile. I joke. I joke about being tired and crawling up into a ball and crying. Cause it’s easier than trying to explain my reality of crawling up into a ball in my wife’s arms and crying because I can’t get my head on straight today and the stress of just being alive has finally reduced me this wreck once more. A few people understand. A few people in my real world get it and only need the odd reminders of my inabilities.

This is all horribly negative but it’s hard to be wonderfully positive when I fell like this. Hell, it’s hard to be neutral.

Take care. Don’t judge the part timers, the unemployed, the constant yawners. Some of us are doing better than we thought and still don’t think it’s enough. Most of the time we’re just glad we’re still breathing.

Bra-Less

Holy crap what the hell is this?

It’s been over a month since I gave up on the bra.

I wore it a couple of weeks ago for a job interview (I didn’t get it), but other than that I’ve not bothered with it. Two things have been very clear over the past month. One. I don’t need it. Two. No one notices. Like I said in the post before (here) I only have small breasts so I don’t really need much support if any. Sometimes I drop down onto the sofa a little hard and my breasts bounce, but I don’t run, I don’t even walk that fast, so I really don’t need it.

No one notices.

Okay, so I am very aware of my nipples sometimes, when I start the day actually, or wear a tight t-shirt or top. Mostly I forget once the day gets going cause there are more important things to think about than my nipples. My work uniform is this thick synthetic material so it’s not really a problem.

I have never been more comfortable. I don’t need bras.

I really don’t want to have to wear a bra again. I really don’t need them as I said before. All a bra ever did was cause my back to hurt depending on which end of my weight scale I was on.

I can see her nipple!!! Flaming June by Frederic Leighton

I’m a normal person, I don’t like wearing bras, I don’t look good in bras though I appreciate them on other people. I’ve found it all to be a bit like shoes. Shoes are for other people. People who like shoes. I’m not down to a complete level of casualness around my house – to the point of nudity – depending on the time of day.

Even with my nipples being a little more prominent than before (cause there’s no padded layer of bra between them and the world, they are still just nipples. We all have them. And yes they are important and hell they are fun but they are mine and they really have nothing to do with anyone else. Even if you can see them through my t-shirt when the wind picks up a bit.

Thing is no one has even noticed. Not that I’m aware of. No comments, no staring, no weirdness. Especially at work and hell I had to point it out to some people I know (my sister, a friend). I think it’s noticeable, terribly so, because like I said, I’m very aware of my nips and I’ve been wearing a bra since I was about 14 or so. So over nearly twenty years. It’s like if I had decided to stop wearing pants. Or trousers. Or cut off a finger. Though I think if I stopped wearing trousers people would definitely say something.

Reminds me of Boudica or something.

Wearing it for the interview was horrible. I took it off as soon as I was done, but I did because of the top I was planning to wear would’ve made it a little more obvious and society probably isn’t ready for my awesome screw my bra philosophy.

It’s a work in progress. It’s only been a few weeks. So we’ll see.

On this topic I recommend this BuzzFeed post:- This Is What It’s Like To Get Fitted For A Bra At Six Different Stores. I spotted this today, figured it was very appropriate for what I was writing about today. Someone should definitely do this in Britain. I once went to Marks and Spencer’s to be fitted and was a 38AA, or a 40B. Two bra sizes they didn’t even stock at that store (if at all I wonder) Basically, I stuck to a 38B like I always have.

I’ll revisit this in a few weeks again, to determine my current obsession with my own nipples (I do have a healthy interest in both my breasts and the breast belonging to other women).

Post Self Harm Paranoia

This post could be triggering for self harm and cutting.

Self Harm Awareness Ribbon

I can be pretty paranoid anyway, it’s something I’ve always lived with – like the insomnia – and different things set it off. It’s not nearly as bad as it used to be but now and then something still sets off the nerves along the back of my neck and up into the back of my mind and digs it back off again.

Nothing makes me feel more paranoid than when I accidentally cut myself or injure my arms in some way.

I always favoured my arms when it self harm. Nothing else gave me the same feeling as cutting my arms so I have a lot of scars, scars I do not hide. And while they are slowly fading (I don’t do anything to aid the healing/fading) they are on show and they are noticeable.

At least, I assume they are noticeable. It could be part of the paranoia as well.

As well as the scars being noticeable, people know I used to self harm. It’s not something I’ve hidden or kept secret for a long time now. So people know.

So I always assume that people assume that I’ve cut myself deliberately when I’ve got new cuts or scratches on my arms. I assume this and the story of what actually happened comes tumbling out like some terrible story I’ve made up to cover up the truth – that I’ve self harmed.

So here’s the story:-
So I was putting away the dry dishes on Tuesday, and on my knees putting saucepans away while wrestling with cats who wanted to get into the cupboard and somehow (the exact how is still a mystery) a glass fell off the draining board, hit the counter, smashed and rained glass down on me. And the horribly sharp shards of glass that fell on me cut and nicked my arm. Not badly – a couple of scratches, a couple of deeper cuts, a few nicks.

So, I found some plasters and covered up the worst bits and carried on with my washing up.

The thing is – if I had cut myself you would never have known I had done anything if I didn’t want you too. I’m really good at hiding things. Been doing for a long time. But I panicked at work and the above story came out in a rush, randomly, as if to explain it away so they wouldn’t think I had cut myself. Because I don’t want people thinking I have cut myself when I haven’t. Because I don’t want people to think I’ve had a slip, that I’m struggling, that I’m not well – when I am well and I am coping.

The cuts are healing nicely. Actually, I think my allergic reaction to the plasters I used was worse than the cuts. The fact that they are healing so well says a lot about the fact they are accidental, though that’s not very obvious to the outsider.

Or really to anyone that isn’t me.

Hiding cuts usually means they don’t get the air they need to heal – a lot of my cuts got infected over the years just from being covered up so much or from getting fluff and stuff in them from the sleeves of my tops.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – please don’t assume every cut is done on purpose. I’m actually really bloody clumsy! I’m doing okay, coping pretty well, feeling pretty good.

If you self harm check out some of my links here – I haven’t updated them in a while so let me know if you have anything you want to add. And if you need to talk use my contact form – I’ll talk to anyone struggling with self harm and mental health problems.

Take care.

Disappointment and Donations

I don’t deal with disappointment well.

My tactic has been pretty simple over the years to avoid disappointment, or to minimise it. I don’t look forward to anything. I don’t share it. I don’t let other people know about anything good until it’s done or I’m in the middle of it, or I am 100% sure that in the next few hours I will be enjoying something or that something good will happen.

It’s easier then, if something goes wrong. People don’t need to be told that it went wrong and I don’t need to let them know that nothing good happened, nothing happened at all. I don’t then need to relive that over and over or watch the look on people’s faces as I tell them ‘Oh no, in the end, I never got to go,” etc. That look of disappointment that feel in sympathy or empathy or whatever that is then multiplied through that one facial expression before they’ve even said anything and that’s when I’m going through phase of avoiding eye-contact with people.

I’m always worried people are going to make fun of me too. For not having had something I’ve looked forward too happen. As if I’m expecting people to be cruel.

Someone, sometime, was cruel. I have vague memories of it – emotion memories stuck in the back of my mind that flicker to life now and then.

I’m not saying any of it makes sense. I mean, it does to me in a way, but I’ve been working like this for a long time now.

That’s why the blog is about the past so often and I talk about the present but rarely about the future. I don’t talk much about the future. Hell I didn’t even think about it until recently. There used to be this big black wall that preventing me from even contemplating next year, or next week, or tomorrow. It’s been opening up for me but it’s difficult to plan for and harder to discuss with people who aren’t my wife. She likes to make plans, events, gatherings, things that will happen well into our future (though she used to have the same problem with seeing a future as me). I still work on a day to day basis. Sometimes week to week. Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I buy almost a month’s worth of groceries all in one go and she can make them last, make that work.

The reason I talk about this is because we’ve been let down a couple times recently. By a couple of sperm donors and i’s a bit like being punch in the gut and then having a layer of guilt heaped on top. The guilt is all about me and my issues surrounding this – I find the donors. I don’t chose them, we decide together my wife and I whether to go for them. But I’ve done all the research and found these guys and done all the leg work to get these guys and twice we’ve been due to meet up and then…

Nothing.

And there is no chance it will work first time. Second time. At all. Like any other attempt at making babies but dammit we need to at least try before we can deal with that issue. And it feeds into the inadequacy I feel because I am unable to do this myself. It’s one of the few times where I would like to be a bloke. But then, we wouldn’t be together, my wife and I, and well I’d be a semi-professional footballer 😉

I’m actually pretty comfortable in my gender – much more than I used to be – but sometimes, sometimes…I don’t want to be a bloke. I want the ability to make sperm for a short amount of time.

It’s complicated and messy and I can’t quite get it straight in my own head myself.

But, instead of wallowing in disappointment and guilt and depression which is the standard response for these things, I’ve started the search again, tried to find someone new. And hopefully, we won’t get let down again.

Either way, you won’t know until after the fact.