A little lesson in remembering
I have taken a long slow slide recently, unbeknown to me until I plopped to the bottom.With fewer and fewer wobbles without my medication, I had started to forget that I was in recovery. With that came a certain ambivalence to the routines I had set up to help myself. I was forgetting to take my vitamins and I had begun to pile back on the pressure at work and at home.
Just before Christmas I had started to have a few bad days at work. I don’t believe that the stresses of this job are anywhere near the stresses of previous careers, it does however have its own stresses and you can, without vigilance, allow it to become stressful. In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, at the loss of my boss and two surveyors within the team, who hadn’t been replaced, plus the requirement to take on more training and another exam, my diary had suddenly become very full. I found myself on the road most days, driving from visit to visit, and squeezing the paperwork needed into the spare time in between. That, coupled with Esra working a lot later into the night and sometimes into the early hours of the morning to help with the busiest time of the year at the bar, I was feeling alone and stressed.
It was only the day before we broke up for Christmas, when a client accused me of trying to do things ‘on the cheap’ for the insurance company, which nearly had me in tears, that made me realise maybe I was tipping over the edge. I am not normally so easily wounded but I knew in my heart I had made every attempt to write a construction schedule of work which recognised her bespoke kitchen and home pressures, and her contempt of it and me, hurt.
I thought maybe I just needed some time off from work and to catch up on some sleep. Sleep which didn’t include dreams of writing procurement reports or meeting SLA’s.
It all came tumbling down a day later when Es and I had a huge fight. He came in at 2am and I went on the offensive, already stressed and tired I didn’t understand why, when the pub closed at 11pm he hadn’t come home, as usual, before midnight. He was also tired and stressed from a very busy night and in return roared and spat cruel words which just crushed what was left of trying to hold myself together. Queue meltdown.
I didn’t want to be around him, he clearly hated me, I didn’t want to talk to any of my friends or family, in fact, when I get like this I isolate myself in totality. So the next day, after a fitful sleep, I took my camera and went to wander the moors.
The foggy grey day, where the watery sun could only be glimpsed briefly through the heavy clouds felt fitting for my mood. As I walked and took photos I wondered where all the things I had learned were in my hour of need. Where was my ability to drag myself out of this black hole. Where were my spiritual teachings, my belief that things happen for a reason? Whilst desperately searching for that meaning within the empty space that sat inside me I asked out loud “what am I supposed to be learning?”…. convinced that if I could assign something to this desperation it wouldn’t feel like I was going through such pain for no reason.
You are probably reading this thinking me mad. I write this realising how irrational it is, but at the time it is my reality and nothing can sway me from the misery. The wholehearted knowledge that I can barely live with myself so why would anyone want to live with me.
It is at this point that I unfriend everyone on Facebook. Knowing in my heart that life would be much simpler without friends and I could live in my own misery without interference. I am convinced that I would quite happily live in a shack in the middle of nowhere, speak to no-one and curse all humanity to hell. This is the madness that is anxiety, withdrawal…..or whatever this is.
Sitting in my back garden, in the stormy weather the next day, tears running down my face having convinced Es that he was better off without me, I felt suitably alone. This was not self-pity. This, in my mind, was releasing others to be happier without such a high maintenance and demanding woman in their lives. I failed to understand why given his exasperation delivered to me over the past two days, he would even be upset at the thought of leaving. He could be happier without me and I would not need the added pressure of someone else berating me, I can do that well enough on my own, thank you very much.
Whilst sitting I realised I had not taken my vitamins consistently in over a week. Most importantly, I had been taking heavy doses of cod liver oil (10 x 1000mg tablets a day). High doses have been shown to have significant impact on anti-depressant withdrawal sufferers and although I had been taking them I hadn’t really notice any benefit. Was it possible that the benefit was in fact there but not considered? surely a simple feeling of normality could not be attributed to these tablets?
Desperate, I took my cod liver oil hoping maybe it would offer some relief for my whirling mind, and went back outside to try and think about what I was going to do about the predicaments I found myself in. After 15-20 minutes I started to feel very rational. Almost positive. I decided that even if Es is better off without this nutty woman in his life, I was not about to let him go. He’s mine to make miserable.
I jumped, well not quite jumped, but I did get my sorry arse off the wet patio furniture and into the shower. I washed my hair and actually put make up on (always a good sign). I got dressed and went to the pub for Christmas drinks. I saw him talking with friends of ours. His face lit up when he saw me and I gave him a huge hug and whispered ‘sorry’. I knew very well that no-one in the pub would know why I really wasn’t there. Esra is very protective of our relationship and in particular, me. It’s no-ones business as far as he is concerned. Despite what he thinks of me, our fights, what has been said, you will never hear him utter a single bad word about me to anyone else. For this, I love him.
I felt normal for the rest of the day. I woke the following day with a little residual anxiety but within 20 minutes of taking my cod liver oil, I felt human again. So this, it would seem, is my little saviour for the time being, and a very painful lesson for me. Es has told me a hundred times to write down where I am at with my moods and my vitamins so I can be a little more in control, and I always respond with a ‘yeah yeah I will’ and never do. Maybe I need to.
I write this post now with a certain levelheadedness, which is why I can be a little humorous about the situation. However I wouldn’t want to trivialise the genuine feelings which accompany these episodes. They are very real and very devastating at the time. What I hope however, is that by sharing, maybe one person will stumble across this and realise that they are not alone, and not the only fruit loop in the box.
There are many experiences which I have that others simply cannot relate to. Sometimes I feel trapped in my body, like the ‘me’ that is ‘me’ does not belong in this human construct. I tried once asking Es if he ever felt like that, and he stared at me blankly and uttered the simple response ‘no’. But I now know that others do feel like that and it isn’t just me. If it weren’t for those brave souls, baring themselves, allowing themselves to be vulnerable in a very critical and cruel world, then I would feel a lot more alone than I do in my struggle. So I hope that my posts will maybe give another human a little comfort.