Finally Back on Medication

A long, long time ago I took Citalopram for probably over 3 years — not fun. Much later, I took Fluoxetine (Prozac) for about 2-3 years; eventually moved on to just beta blockers for my anxiety problems; Propranolol. I’ve been med-less for about a year and a half now. Since I’ve been struggling so much, I figured now is the time to do something about it.

I had to find where the health center even is before I could do much of anything about the medication. After finding one about a 15 minutes walk away from home, I scouted it out, in order to keep my anxiety prepared. Some time later, I went there with my dad and sorted out getting me a new GP in this new town.

The new GP seems like a cool bloke; communicates well, and didn’t make me feel like I’m nothing but a number. He also seemed to have a bit of a sense of humor, which is great, because I tend to crack jokes when I’m stressed out!

So now I have two packs of 50MG of an SSRI called Sertraline to deploy onto the battlefield; apparently it’ll hit my OCD, depression, and anxiety. I’m worried though, because my GP said they can make anxiety quite a bit worse for 2-3 days at first — my anxiety is bad enough as it is! Guess I’ll just have to power through.

Another concern of mine is that I’ll go further coo-coo from the medication, so much so that my girlfriend won’t be able to deal with it. Then again, if she’s stuck around for as long as she has, I could probably point a bazooka to her head and she’d be all, “It’s okay. I love you.” That’s weird, right? I know that’s weird.

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Mind the Supported Housing #8

I am so sick of supported housing. I’m no longer being all that “supported” and I feel as though I’m being treated like a non-person.

My support worker is becoming almost entirely useless and it’s really pissing me off. Two weeks ago she missed an appointment for our support session that we had previously made.

Via text, we rescheduled for Tuesday, last week, and she was a no-show for that too! I text my support worker a couple of times and got absolutely nothing back from her until just now.

My current and previous support worker came through into the house, opening the front door with a key, without bothering to wait for me to get dressed and open the door—I was sleeping, as it was 10am and I went to sleep at 4am—with a potential new flatmate, who just so happens to be a female; I didn’t even think that was allowed.

I looked at my phone once they left and noticed that my support worker did text me this morning, a little before they had come around. She knows full well that my sleep isn’t fantastic and that I would be asleep at that time, so the very text telling me she was coming over at 10:30am today was utterly pointless.

You don’t spring this crap on a normal person, let alone someone with mental health issues; it’s just out of order. They should all know better. I’m so fed up of being treated like how I feel is redundant. I wouldn’t treat someone normal like this, let alone in a professional setting!

The text I got from my support worker this morning started with an apology followed by an excuse. The woman said the reason for her absence was because she has been off and has “only just come back in.” She couldn’t tell me this beforehand? Or at the very least have someone else keep me informed.

She continued the text by berating herself, saying, “Useless person!” Yeah, because that’s professional, and totally makes up for everything. Am I supposed to feel sorry for her?

On the bright side, she also mentioned seeing the council to discuss my nomination in order to get the merry hell out of here; I guess that’s something.

I particularly like the “thanks” at the end of the text, which really just rubs it in. What, you’re welcome for treating me like a moron? Cheers! Spot on. What-ho. Tralala.

Since I didn’t want to make a bad impression with the potential new flatmate, I couldn’t really have a go at my support worker there and then. I sent her a text when they left, once I got hers. I told her the score, ending with, “I might be disabled, but I’m a person with thoughts and feelings just like you.”

I’m not happy, but with any luck, I will be out of here soon and able to wash my hands of these people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the assist in a difficult time in my life, but that doesn’t mean I should accept being treated this way.

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Women don’t want a man with mental health problems, right?

It’s 1:23am, I’m tired, and I’m on my own. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great sides to being single, at least there would be were I not plagued by stupid mental health bullcrap that has no business being in my head.

I’m a guy. I like women. I wanna be out there exploring, or, better yet, exploring with one woman who is my own—totally not in a creepy possessive way—rather than feeling imprisoned inside my own head, and most of the time stuck indoors, typically with sod all to do except the same damn two things I’ve been doing for years, ever since I were a lad: guitar and computer.

OK, OK… so it’s not all bad. I can teach myself German, connect with people across the globe, get advice about obscure or embarrassing things, and totally not occasionally peruse certain dopamine-releasing websites.

I’ve started this suggesting it’s about the physical stuff. Sure, I miss the physical stuff. But it’s not just that sort of stuff that I miss, it’s the closeness, the passion, the love; all that gooey stuff women go mental over in bloody, terrifying horror romantic movies, like Ghost and Dirty Dancing, both of which I’ve willingly actually seen, as in, without a gun to my head.

No, what I’m talking about is primarily the companionship; the kind of nearness you can’t get from another bloke, unless of course you’re wired that way, which I’m firmly not. I’ve been single for a few years now, but I do remember quite clearly how great it feels to have someone there. I miss the feeling of hope, strength, and purpose.

But I’m “disabled.” I don’t work as a result, and have no idea when or perhaps even if that’s going to be a proper thing that I can realistically, consistently actually do. I’ve never had an official job, only cash-in-hand type jobs that I somehow was able to do some millenia ago, oh and volunteer work a couple of years ago, which sadly did not last too long.

My point? I think it’s common for a man to measure his worth based on how much money he makes, so what happens when a man makes no money but instead relies on the income luckily provided to him by his government? How much am I worth, now? A woman wants security. Money offers security. Sure, I can clobber some robber’s head with an assortment of workout equipment, or just go it alone with lefty and righty, but I can’t go around beating up the council when they demand rent, or my ISP, when they decide they want their money; apparently it’s illegal.

I’m told it doesn’t matter how much money a man makes, but the older I get, the more I feel it truly does matter. A woman doesn’t want to provide for the man, and fair play to them—I get it—but what happens to someone like me? I suppose I should be grateful that I do have money, and I wouldn’t say I’m poor either, but none-the-less, I do not have a job, and my income is only through benefits, therefore, my desirability seems to sink to the deepest depths of something really deep.

I know there are situations in which two people might find each other and see past all this bullshit, but I find this a rare occurrence, particularly for the man. For some reason, it seems OK for the woman to be disabled by mental health problems, but the man gets overlooked. I’m sure I’m entirely wrong but this is an assumption based on an observation of the many single males with mental health issues, and the many taken women with mental health issues. I apologise for my pessimistic side looming over me, tonight.

Is this all in my head?

Truthfully, there are so, so many reasons why mental health problems are, well, a problem for relationships. There is, however, that one woman out there who gets it. That one woman is patient, understanding, and perhaps even has a little experience of such problems herself. That one woman still would love me for me, despite my downfalls that I never fucking asked for.

I did not ask to be disabled by this crap. This was not my choice. I have worked bloody hard to make the best of what I have, as little as that might seem to a normal person.

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What Is It like to Be Disabled by Anxiety?

A pain in the arse! Fine, I’ll be more specific: anxiety is a pain in my arse.

If you wrangle and tussle with anxiety, you’ll have likely had to explain it to somebody at least once, be it to a friend, a family member, a stranger, or even a medical professional. I hate explaining anxiety! I do not like going through the details, because just doing that gets me anxious.

In which ways does anxiety affect me?

Anxiety comes in many different forms, but for me, it’s through social anxiety and health anxiety, the latter of which is also known as hypochondria. Various things trigger my anxiety, such as being around people or my obsessive compulsive disorder—an entirely different yet commonly-linked subject.

I experience a number of physical symptoms, such as:

  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid or slurred speech
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Agitation, frustration, and discomfort
  • Unable to remain still
  • Muscle tightness and spasms

Then there are the mental symptoms, those of which often exasperate the anxiety, such as negative and critical thinking. You also have to take into account that anxiety itself triggers other issues.

Being all in a tizzy allows for more susceptibility to compulsions and obsessions, which is likely why so many people with OCD also have issues with anxiety. Tension often interferes with one’s ability to have a decent night’s sleep—I’ve always struggled with sleeping, and I suspect it’s largely a result of my issues with anxiety. Being stressed out also naturally makes it very difficult to physically, as well as mentally calm down, and therefore sleep.

Can I give you an example?

It’s amazing what we take for granted. I feel that so many people don’t realise how lucky they are to be able to do simple things like go into a Chinese takeaway establishment, despite there already being three people sat there in the waiting section for their meal(s) to arrive, which this just so happens to be what transpired mere moments ago.

I went out with the explicit intention to go and buy some delicious hot chips for a nice evening meal. First, I headed to one of the entrances into the small Co-Op, in order to grab a tenner from the ATM. Cash now in my wallet, and the anxiety rising from simply being outside; the ever-rising risk of a possible human interaction.

I got close to the old, paned door of the nearby Chinese takeout shop, excited but also preparing myself for brief interaction, and the painful sit-down on the sofa as I await the food to be ready, fiddling with my phone is I always do. Then, through the window, I noticed three dimly lit people sat down on the nice red and black sofas.

‘Screw that!’ I thought to myself, as I somewhat-subtly walked off towards the nearby Co-Op, grabbing a basket as I entered the shop. I proceeded to nervously wander around, now rather anxious from the awkwardness of before. Chances are, nobody gave a flying faeces, but in my head, it felt almost like they were looking at me, judging and ridiculing me—I became overly conscious of my every action, as I often am, when dealing with people.

That’s on a good day, but stands as just one of the great many sort of things that happen to someone like me, and they honestly can really clog up your day, dragging you down, sucking away at your energy, and ultimately leave you feeling rather useless. Perhaps one day I’ll blog about the harsher experiences I’ve had in the past as a result of anxiety going through the roof.

But I can still lead an ordinary life, right?

You done goofed! Unless your idea of ‘ordinary’ is biding in supported housing, being unable to work properly, often having physically and mentally draining symptoms, living off and relying on government financial support, having a constrained social life, and finding friendships and relationships particularly challenging to cultivate and sustain.

In all fairness, it is possible to reach some sort of level at which you do insignificantly manage, but, in my experience, this is with years of hard work and turbulence. It took me several years just to have the doctors really take notice. It’s just so much easier to ignore the severity of a situation if you can’t see it, eh? I once went through a very dark time that spanned a number of years, during which I was fairly self-destructive; despite this being bloody apparent to my GP, little effort was made to see that I would get the support I sorely needed.

News flash, those of you in the psych field: a smiley, jokey person does not always mean they are a happy person! You’d think they would grasp this rather simple concept, one that even I can figure out with absolutely zero qualifications in psychology. Looky here and let me edumucate y’all doctors who overlooked so many of us: it’s called a defense mechanism; a damn guise with which we learned to suppress and shroud the trials and tribulations we go through within, from ourselves and from you!

So, how do I cope?

Barely.

I tend to preach two things: distraction and relaxation—I’ll do things such as light incense sticks, listen to happy or relaxing music, take a soothing shower, get physically active, do something educational, or work on something like this here weblog for a few hours!

I underwent cognitive behavioral therapy some time ago, and that gave me some of the tools with which I could battle anxiety, but it was by far no cure. I had arrived at the conclusion long, long before I ever sought help, that I wouldn’t be cured, so I was prepared and did not go into therapy with any grand expectations.

Alright, what’s the bottom line?

Anxiety is tough and sometimes lonely, but it’s not the end of the world, despite the great many times I’ve felt as though it were! I was once told by a GP and was then further reminded by my therapist that I “will never be cured,” but that I can still “live a better quality of life.” So I suppose this is my better quality of life?

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