Fall Back

I’ve been trying to write this for a week. The reason why may become apparent as I progress.
Last weekend across the country, people engaged in the twice annual ritual that is Changing the Clocks for Daylight Savings. For most people, this is at worst a minor irritation, at best (at least at this time of year) an extra hour in bed. For thousands of people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, however, it acts almost like a switch, a harbinger of what winter has in store.
I suppose there are two schools of thought on this. One, that if winter depression is inevitable, then no amount of ‘being positive’ is going to help. The other is that if I’m expecting it, then it’s bound to bloody happen. This year, I decided that I’d try and ignore it, concentrate on other things – metaphorically stick my fingers in my ears and shout “la la la I’m not listening”. The problem being that when depression hit, it hit hard – like a sledgehammer to the stomach. My first indicator happened a couple of weeks ago. I was just sitting watching the local evening news with Mr D, when a report about a court case came on. The reporter recanted details of the evidence, and before I knew it, I was sitting there in floods of tears. There were many other incidents – I cried at the episode of Doctor Who, with K9 and Sarah Jane. Near the end, the Doctor says “you’re a good dog” when he realises that K9 will have to destroy himself to save them. (for the uninitiated, K9 is a robot dog) I’ve seen that episode so many times, I know that the Doctor rebuilds K9 in the end, but it didn’t stop me from blubbering.
Anticipating the inevitable, I got my SAD light out. I always work up to it slowly, increasing the time I leave it on by five minutes every few days, because if I leave it on too long, it makes me nauseous. Unfortunately my misery is accelerating at a faster rate than the light can keep up with, and I’ve found myself thinking it’s utter bollocks and it doesn’t work anyway. Luckily, I’m persevering rather than throwing it across the room..
On the clock changing front, I have been unable to sleep past 5.30am. My body clock is screwed, I start getting tired around tea-time, and by 7pm am looking longingly at the clock to see if it’s feasably time to go to bed. Last Sunday, I deliberately stayed up, forcing myself to stay awake, thinking it would mean I slept later in the morning. How wrong I was. I went to bed with a stinking headache and still woke up at 5am.
On Tuesday, I saw J’s replacement, D. I’d really wanted to write this thing about the clocks changing so I could tell you about her, (or at least our appointment) but everything’s felt so much harder, and I’ve ended up doing my usual depressed thing of ignoring Everything. Anyhow, D is lovely (she did my initial assessment back in early 2005) and I think once I get over my stupid thinking (ie “ohmygod she’s going to think I’m stupid, or there’s nothing wrong with me, or what if she expects things I can’t do” etc etc) I think I’ll be fine. I told her about the negative thinking thing – how I’m always hard on myself – and we’re going to look at that too. My anxiety was high, as expected seeing someone new, and I was so self conscious. I ended up telling her about the thing in the Guardian, and my blog, which she seemed to approve of, then I gave her one of my moo cards which I’d had printed with my website address on. Afterwards I couldn’t help feeling a bit silly – maybe somehow she would think that it was a bit too much – and as I type it occurs to me that she could read this. Ah well – even if she does, I often put things down here that I can’t express properly during appointments because my brain seems to go to mush and forget most of my known vocabulary. I see D again at the end of the month.
Finally, because I worry about people finding my blog and thinking it’s all Doom and Gloom, I figured something out. At the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, I started working with the most Gorgeous Sock Yarn Ever, and we decided that the colours were reminiscent of sweeties, but we couldn’t figure out which ones. I worked it out – Jelly Tots. Ergo:

Out on the Town

Our town centre is being ‘done up’. The council are putting expensive pavers down, and making the whole area pedestrianised. Unfortunately, they are cordoning off massive chunks of pavement and road while they do it. It will be nicer when they’ve done, but in the meantime it’s a nightmare navigating – both mentally and physically. The gaps they leave between the shops and the barriers are literally only wide enough for two people standing very together, side by side. Someone with a wheelchair, or a parent with a buggy would struggle. It’s no easier for the walking wounded – ie people with walking sticks (like me at the moment – my back went into spasm a fortnight ago) or indeed anyone with mobility problems. Although the council have had to (by law) tarmac the bit where the old pavement ends and the new one begins, it is so uneven that only hill walkers and mountain goats could confidently say they’d never struggled.
Add this to the fact that our town centre gets very busy with shoppers on Saturdays, all of whom have a wandering around agenda that involves aimlessly walking diagonally and changing direction at the drop of a spitwad (they don’t wear hats where I live), and shopping is a nightmare.
Of course, J would say this was an opportunity. Maybe it is, but somehow I want these opportunities to be on my terms. If I’m going to confront* someone in the street who I can’t get past, I at least need to know that I could go the long way round if I wanted. I know there are going to be occasions where I have no choice, but I don’t want the idea of going into town to be my worst nightmare, thank you. At this stage, I am only dipping my toe in the water, I don’t want to be pushed in.
One thing J has said to me is that my avoidance tactics (counting in japanese, reading labels on tins) are not helping. When he said this to me, I almost felt as though I’d been slapped. I don’t blame J for that, as I keep reinforcing, he is only there to challenge my thought processes, but it’s still hard when you think that you’ve found something that helps, and you’re told that “actually, it’s not helping..” I think this could be something to do with my sensitive nature. I am, however, much more aware of how I act when I’m out and about.
I need to be aware of the things around me, but when I’m faced with something that raises the anxiety levels, my instinct is to leave, or hide. J says I need to face the things that could make me panic. On Saturday, we detoured through the shopping centre which was wider, but still busy. Suddenly, my guard was up – a young man was running towards us. My normal reaction to this would be to look down, move totally out of the way if possible, while getting more and more tense. Yesterday, I thought of what J said. Confront it. So, I kept looking at him. I felt a bit spacy**, but not too bad. (In hindsight, I’m wondering what else was keeping my mind off the anxiety). Then I started wondering. What if the trigger was a parent with a fractious child? I’m sure they wouldn’t take too kindly to some stranger staring at them. How exactly do I confront that sort of situation? As always, notes are being made for my next appointment with J…
* ‘confront’ doesn’t necessarily mean an argument – more a situation where I’m forced into a situation where I have to communicate with someone, eg, that thing where you’re trying to get past someone and can’t because they’re DOING A SODDING DANCE and can’t make their minds up which way to go.
** I don’t remember hyperventilating or anything, it just felt strange and disjointed watching this young man running.

Confessions of Someone Who Has No Life

09:15am
ARGH! The internet is broken! (paces up and down)
09:25am
I know! I haven’t played Solitaire for a while! (fires up solitaire)
09:30am
Bah. This is crap. (taps fingers on the desk) What to do? I know!
(tidies up desktop, deletes a few shortcuts) Ooh! I didn’t know I had that!
09:35am
I wonder if it’s on again yet? (checks) Nope.. Crap. Maybe I should get dressed or something. (goes to get dressed)
09:38am
Working yet? GOD what’s the matter with it??? This is ridiculous. Some of us have lives!
10:09am
thank fuck for that!
(publishes)

B’doinga!

Spring is here. Spring is really, really here.
Over the winter, I wondered how much of my “winter blues” was coming off Efexor, or dealing with Ginger’s job stress. Now that there is a real change in the weather, I can honestly say it was Seasonal Affective Disorder.
My mood has been almost euphoric lately. I’m doing so much more than usual, gardening, decorating, and working on a website for a friend. Four months ago, I’d have been lucky to manage any one of those things.
I think I am reaching a point where the Efexor is not something I think about as much. Before, it was “that bastard efexor” every five minutes, and, “I hate this shit”. I remember saying that I had to try and stay focused on the positive, and now it feels like I have many more positives to focus on.
The panic and anxiety are still there, and the panic attacks are still laced with acid, and raw, but on the whole I’m a happier person. I guess I can channel my positivity into my recovery.
I missed my one year anniversary last week. April 8th 2003 was the day of my first weblog entry, and although I was with Bloggar before Moveable Type, I never really put my all into it. Things have changed a lot on the site since then. Not so long ago, I found a screen print out of my site in the early days, before I attempted to alter the stylesheets. It was weird, but also like looking at a baby photo in some ways. I think I even thought, “gosh, hasn’t it grown!”
I think we both have.

e-bay the anxiety sufferer’s way

Collect the item for sale, and all it’s accessories. In my case, it was an old mobile/cell phone, batteries, chargers, USB cable and CD software. It took me a week to find the extra battery, and a frantic search for something entirely unrelated revealed the location of the Elusive Manual.
Write your description using something like Word. This took me forever. Two million drafts later, worrying whether I sounded too friendly or too business-like, I think I got it. I even managed to include a web-page link to the manufacturer’s specs of the phone.
Take photos. Everyone knows that photos help the sale, so I set up my studio on the bed. I laid out everything on a plain sheet, and arranged them carefully to show off their best sides. I doubt my phone can “work it baby” but when you’re photographing these models, everything helps.
Do the e-bay thing. I had the photos. I’d decided on a description. I needed to get all this onto e-bay without killing anyone. It’s ages since I sold anything on e-bay. I’ve bought a few things, which is marginally less painful, and I thought, “what could possibly go wrong?”
Actually, nothing. I filled in all the parts, agonised over where to list my item, agonised over a title that would have people bidding in droves, added some HTML (go me!), uploaded my pictures, winced at the listing fee (I’d decided to put a reserve on) and finally pressed the Button of No Return.
There. That was easy. Except now I’ve given myself extra anxiety over What Might Happen. The following is some of what has been going through my mind since 4pm yesterday afternoon.
“What if it’s illegal to sell your old mobile phone? What if it gets there and doesn’t work? I’d better charge all the batteries up so they don’t think I’ve sold them some piece of crap. Actually this phone is crap, that’s why I’m selling it. Shit, I’m trying to sell a piece of crap to some poor unsuspecting stranger! What if someone buys it and they can’t really afford it and it turns out that they’ve bought a piece of crap, and it’ll be all my fault!” (at 5pm) “No-one’s bid! What’s wrong with my description? Maybe it looks like I’m trying to sell something stolen. Wait – I said I was selling because I’d upgraded my phone. What if they think I’m some crap business because I used HTML but my description is crap? I’m not going to sell this, am I?”
I’m not going to go any further. You get the picture. Writing it is making me anxious.

dominocat becomes a news thingy

The Return of the King cleans up at Oscars!
Yes, you (may have) heard it here first, Peter Jackson and crew converted all eleven of their Oscar nominations into full blown Oscars. Watching BBC Breakfast News this morning, I thought Sir Ian McKellan looked slightly tipsy at the Vanity Fair bash. Unless he’s coming off Efexor too.
Middlesbrough win Carling Cup!
Premiership football club Middlesbrough won their first piece of silverware in 128 years yesterday when they beat Bolton 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium at Cardiff. I think Bolton’s manager was chewing wasps while he was being interviewed after the match.
domino still suffers!
Oh, you didn’t think you were getting away without a few choice withdrawal symptoms, did you? I still feel like shit. And seeing as one place that links to me has mentioned that I talk about poo a lot, I thought it was only fair to mention that I now have IBS. Ayethangyew.
Ginger gets new job!
Indeed. Mister Dominocat, or Ginger (Gingah if you’re American) was interviewed for a new job on Friday, which they promptly offered him without interviewing anyone else. I am so proud of him, and we can finally take a deep breath and relax slightly for the first time in 14 months. He starts on the 8th.

Title Schmitle (or something)

This last week, I have been using most of my brain power on building a new computer. I’m kinda wondering if I have a brain quota, which only allows me to think so much during a given time period. I’ve built the computer, installed everything – and it’s peachy, but literally everything else I’ve tried to do has turned to shit. It’s like my brain has said, “WOAH!!! That’s it, missy, no more cognitive processing for you!”
My husband’s favourite is my putting the sugar in the fridge the other day. He’s really tickled by that. I don’t mind, at least it takes his mind off the job shit he is enduring yet again.
He is still with the same company, but they seem to think it’s okay to offer him temporary work, then at the last moment right where he’s crapping himself about how we’ll pay the mortgage next week, they offer him another few weeks work. It’s really taking it’s toll on both of us, and because of the incredibly long hours he’s working, it’s making it really difficult for him to look elsewhere. So, if anyone out there is looking for a highly skilled mechanical engineering quality inspector, e-mail me. (Like that’s really going to work…)
After the whole incident of not going to therapy last week, I have decided to write a letter to M, explaining why things have gone to shit. It mostly involves explaining about the Efexor experience, and how my panic and anxiety have sky-rocketed. I’ve tried to explain that it’s a different kind of anxiety – really sharp, like a kind of mental razor-wire. I guess having a constant headache and nausea doesn’t help. Funny, though, I’ve only had two panic attacks this month. I feel like I’m on the verge of a panic attack most of the time, especially when I’m out and about, but I always manage to avoid an actual attack.
My other symptoms are still there, and I feel flu-ey and hungover most of the time. I wish I could stop being so impatient. I’m aching to feel ‘normal’ again. Like my husband keeps on telling me: I’ll get there – eventually.