One thing you don’t count on when you begin taking anti-depressants, or even begin an increased dosage of those little white pills is that you’ll end up with more problems than you had when you started taking them.
Last week I could sense things were going wrong, well, wrong-er. I couldn’t breathe, my hands were vibrating with shakes, I had a twitch in my neck that was shaking my head back and forth, back and forth and everything, everything was scaring the absolute arse off me. Making a sandwich was terrifying. Forming a sentence was inconceivable. Looking after Bean for the Easter break was panic attack inducing.
The thought keeps coming back again and again, something is broken, something isn’t working in my head, there’s something wrong with me.
Anxiety and agitation aren’t things I’ve dealt with before, it took a while for the penny to clatter to the floor and for me to realise that this was all because of my increased dosage, that they were doing something, changing something. I remember as I held the green slip of paper in my sweaty palm, with my GP’s signiture scribbled on it below my new medication, his words as I was standing to leave, “You might experience some headaches”.
It sounds ridiculously stupid that I hadn’t ever checked the side effects of my pills until a few short days ago, but the point is, I’ve never needed to in the four years I’ve been taking them. I took them in the morning, they did their stuff and that was all I needed to know. I didn’t need to know it was classed as a SSRI drug. I didn’t need to know it’s brand names or what it contained. All I cared about was whether it was working or not, and at this point, it wasn’t.
Something’s wrong, something’s broken, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.
The doctors were shut for the weekend, the emergency GP number they provided in their chirpy recorded message no longer existed, the only option was NHS direct or A&E. There’s something incredibly scary about the idea of turning up at accident and emergency vulnerable and saying surreptiously to the person at the desk, Um, I think something’s wrong in my head, please, help me.
Obvs that ain’t what I did. I went with the former, and waited seven hours on Saturday while being too scared to move because my head wouldn’t stop shaking, for an out of hours GP to tell me that I needed to see my doctor on Tuesday.
Tuesday may as well have been five years away. I couldn’t see a way to get there but crumbling and giving up. Tuesday turned into Wednesday because that was the soonest I could see anyone. It all floated past by in a sickly daze, as if I was drifting through it, all I know is that I was sat in the waiting room first thing this morning, scared of looking like a total mentalist with my shaky head.
My name was called, I blurted out what was happening once sat in the plastic chair, I nodded when I was told to take my dosage down from 150mg to 50mg overnight. I sucked in as much air as I could before asking the question I had to ask. I had to ask for help, I had to ask for support and ignore every fibre of my being telling me to nod, smile and leave that room as fast as I could.
Tears were running down my face, I’d just admitted to having suicidal thoughts and it wasn’t even 9am. I asked him and held my breath.
I was told there wasn’t, there was no support available, that if things got bad enough I could call the Samaritans. He shook my hand and said goodbye.
And now? Now I’m fucking angry. Maybe something is working in my head properly because usually that brush off would be enough of an excuse for me to tumble to the depths of bed ridden, all-consuming, uncontrollable depression where no light can even begin to penetrate.
Even though I’ve done it before a thousand times before, I know I deserve more than to be scared of bathing my own child. That he deserves a mum that doesn’t have to psyche herself up to play with him. And yes I may have spent that last decade nodding and smiling and shaking doctor’s hands when they tell me what to do, I now know this isn’t OK and that my family and I deserve more than this and that one day I’ll find the ground again.