Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Back on the Pills

It has taken me a few weeks to pluck up courage to write this blog. There is something very personal about trying to write about your own mental illness which doesn’t happen when writing about physical illness; it’s as if you can separate the body from who you are but not the brain.

Anyway here is the update. I’m back off work and back on the pills again – there I said it.
This sounds a bit like failure so I better expand that a bit because, very oddly, it still feels like I’m making slow progress.

To go back to work I took a risk and came off the Citalopram so I could be awake all day and found that my mind was clearer without it. Things seemed to be going OK but what I didn’t realise was that I was walking a tightrope and it was only going to take a small push for me to lose my balance. That push came in the form of a move to ‘hot desking’ where, in theory no-one has a set desk and you keep all your papers etc in a locker and find a free desk when you come in. As it turns out they allocated 17 desks for 18 of us and those desks were allocated to 17 designated members of staff – guess who didn’t get one. This made me feel totally excluded and was more than my fragile mind could manage so, after 2 attempts to work, I went back to the doctor and haven’t been back to work since.

The doctor said I needed longer on some form of antidepressant and, after some discussion, I ended up on fluoxetine which is a newer drug than Citaopram and, so far, doesn’t seem to have as many side effects. I don’t know what is going to happen about work but I have agreed to have another meeting with the occupational health doctor. What happens after that is outside my control and so I’m waiting to find out what happens. Through all of this I have remained aware of God being with me and so I’m trusting Him to show me the way ahead.

One thing that has helped me examine my condition is to write poetry; I don’t claim it is any good but it does reflect how I see things at that moment. Here, in case it helps someone else in the same position, is my latest effort.

Alone, Solitude, Lonely

I’ve always liked to be alone.
Alone with myself,
My thoughts,
My ideas.
I like solitude.

But somewhere it went wrong.
I wasn’t alone
I was on my own.

When did it change?
How did it happen?
Why did I lose touch?
Where’s the way back?

But no answers.
I’m alone in my box.
But I like being alone
Provided no-one disturbs me.

Slowly, Oh so slowly
I realised someone was with me.
Even in my box.

You where there.
Saying nothing.
Not telling me I was wrong.
Not nagging.
Just being.

Sharing my loneliness
Not because you must
But because you wanted to be there with me.

You know lonliness.
The loneliness of being different.
The loneliness of the desert.
The loneliness of the cross.

And so you stayed with me.
Your very presence spoke more than words.
You understand.
You have been there.
No words convey that.

P.S For those who don’t know fluoxetine is better known as Prozac!


Alastair said...

Great poem, Hugh.

Anonymous said...

Well done Dad. I like the poem too. xXx

Technogran said...

Hope your soon feeling up to returning to work. It doesn't take much to tip us over when we are the vulnerable type. Although like you, I can enjoy being alone, it's the sharing of our thoughts and feelings that helps to keep us 'on track' I'm afraid. That's my feelings anyway.

sheila bridge said...

Thanks Hugh for this wonderfully honest, even though painful, post, I especially like the poem. Depression is so common but so little understood, I think the voice of someone who is in it is invaluable. Really hope the progress becomes tangible soon. Meanwhile, be kind to yourself