Ding dong

EDIT: Worst written post ever!

I do indeed have shingles, so a shiny pustule to everybody who said so!

I went to the walk-in clinic on Saturday in Soho. People kept wandering in and out, asking to use the toilet, returning with the suspiciously glazed eyes of someone who was smacking up. The two hour wait was almost like sport. There were two nurses there, one who seemed stressed and grumpy, the other who seemed to carry the sun in her pocket. Luckily, I saw the sun nurse.

She examined me, confirmed it was shingles then explained to me what that was. She took me temperature too, which hasn’t been done to me for years. Little bit of a fever, unsurprising because I’ve generally felt a bit fluey and shite. She asked for any conditions I have- only two, manic depression (I think, who knows) and asthma- and then asked what medication I was taking. I told her none, and she put down her pen. She then told me that she had noticed I was shaking very badly. I do this sometimes, as I’ve explained before. I have confetti days where excess energy just kind of shivers me down. In the waiting room I couldn’t hold the pen properly to fill in the forms so Robert offered to do it. I did it, just in very arch, careful handwriting. The shaking and occasional problems with my speech are two little tics that sometimes give me away.

Anyway, I was quite embarrassed by this and she reassured me nobody else was going to notice and jump to any conclusions, she just did because she was a nurse. She went back to saying that because the rash had been there for more than three days, there was no point in taking any antiviral medication, but I did need to take better care of myself because I’m too young to be getting shingles. I am always run down. I haven’t been in good physical condition for quite a while now.

Before I left, she made me promise I would speak to someone about taking medication.

I left feeling a bit exposed. That morning, I’d been woken up by a paramedic shining a torch in my face. Thank fuck I wasn’t having one of my North Korea dreams or else I would have died of heart failure. Or summary execution. This was because I had sent a depressive text to Robert (it wasn’t anything particularly scary, and it was partly due to feeling manky because I’m all shingley), then promptly fallen asleep due to the antihistimines I’d taken for scratching. Oh, and my phone is broken. So I didn’t hear his calls, he assumed I’d topped myself or hurt myself, and panicked.

Nothing did happen, but there is something Not Right when someone close to you worries about you like that. Someone’s first reaction to not answering the phone at 2am should be, “Oh, she’s asleep”. Not that. I am not terrible at the moment, but there are some things in the past two months (that I don’t feel like talking about) that remind me of me back in 2006. And not in a good way. I’m aware I’m Not Quite Right at the moment. Not in any profound way, but it’s there. And also that I’m better at hiding it these days. I’m sleeping well enough, so it’s not just that.

Anyway, I’m going to start taking medication again. Maybe I just needed more time to adjust to life without it and develop better ways of living without it, but if I’m being honest, the whole experiment has been a failure, and I need some extra help for my moods. Because I want to get somewhere in my life. I want to write, consistently, I want to earn enough money to live somewhere with Robert and the cats, to study and to travel, I want to have a baby one day and have a spare room for a crib, I want to learn stuff and talk to people, and just live my bloody life. Not spend it on a constant balancing act. I don’t get anything done. I don’t get anywhere. I want a fucking life. A proper, full one where I can forget that I have a mental illness.

It doesn’t have to be forever, just until I get more stable. I am more stable than I was four years ago, but slipping, a bit. I don’t want to slip a lot. So, it might not even help, but it’s worth a go. I don’t just owe it to myself to try harder. It’s not just me that this affects. I sometimes forget that.

Anyway, it’ll just be Seroquel, so.

22 Responses

  1. I am glad you made it to the walk in centre…The place also has some kind of drug unit upstairs hence the smackheads 😉

  2. I totally understand where you’re coming from with your thoughts about medications. I don’t think any of us particularly like being on them but sometimes you have to weigh up the pros and cons I guess. There was a period after my Bipolar diagnosis where I refused to even try any ‘mood stabilisers’ because I am a bit medication phobic and had read about some crappy side effects.

    After a couple of months I realised things were really THAT bad that I did need to try something other than just the anti-depressants and sleep meds that I took. I tried Depakote for 4 months and hated every minute of it, felt drugged up, slow, sluggish, fat and just horrible. I did some reading and decided I wanted to try Gabapentin (not a first line med at all but he listened to my reasons why and agreed to try it out) – I was on it for about 5 months and again had a whole range of side effects, the worst of all being the constant anxiety I seemed to feel.

    Finally in December 09 I began taking Lamotrigine and very slowly titrated the dose, from day 1 I didn’t have a single side effect at all and 7 months later I cannot say enough good things about it. For me personally I haven’t had any side effects, I don’t feel as though I’m taking anything at all, but what I do notice is that instead of my moods rapidly going from -10 to +10 they now sit about -4 to +4 – they don’t get quite so extreme anymore which is a very good thing!

    Sorry for waffling on for so long in your comment box but I guess what I’m trying to say is that medication is all about trial and error and every med will affect everyone differently. Lithium is always a first line treatment and yet it is one I have never tried. Sometimes you just have to play about a bit until you find one that doesn’t make you feel like your body feels like an elephant glued down to the chair, and your mind doesn’t feel like you have smoked so many drugs you don’t even know what day of the week it is.

    I reckon it’s a good thing that you tried out life without meds to see how you got on, that you know the reasons why you didn’t like them and that you can realise you aren’t quite as ‘ok’ as you’d like to be without them. Oh god I waffle on so much!

    Hope you find something that works good for you Seaneen and hope that your shingles clear up soon as well, they sound horrible!

    Take care 🙂

  3. Hope the Shingles clear up soon, Mum had them last year and she was quite sore with them (she never gets ill)

    Sounds like you’re doing the right thing re meds, the trail and error thing is horrible as you well know, hopefully something will work and soon!

    Take care
    Helen x

  4. Oi Oi Shingles Molloy! I think you’re making a wise decision. Coming off medication was supposed to improve things. It doesn’t seem to have helped particularly, so there is no harm in going on it for a bit. If you change your mind, then you can always come off it again.

    All those things in the penultimate paragraph are options for you for sure, but I think you already got far further in life than you give yourself credit for.

    I hope very much that you feel better soon.

    Lola x

  5. I agree that Lamotrigine rocks. No side effects at all and has made a huge difference without dulling or sedating me at all.

    L x

  6. Avon calling!

    (Funny how Google Chrome flags both ‘gmail’ and ‘Google’ as misspellings. However, it suggests ‘goodly’ as a possible substitute for ‘Google’. A very subtle form of advertising?)

    I know what you mean about wanting a job and suchlike. And money. The people who say that money doesn’t matter are always those who have enough of it. It DOES matter – it can buy a train ticket to see friends, a holiday with someone you love or an unforgettable night out. Or just a nice rug for the floor that you can look at every day and go, “Oh, that’s nice,” and make your life a tinier bit happier.

    So, one must do whatever makes one stable enough to earn money, or to enjoy the money one already has.

  7. I don’t think you’ve ‘failed’ at all because you tried it and that’s the main thing, this just doesn’t appear to be the right time for you to come off them.

    I agree with Lola, you’ve come a long way even though it might not feel like it at times, so please be kind and gentle with yourself. ((HUG)).

    • I agree with Gaina – you HAVE come a long way, and you haven’t failed. It was just an experiment.

  8. i’m not an expert, but i think going back on your meds too. i think with any sort of depression it’s always a good sign when you can have aspirations for the future. when you believe you have a future. i really hope you find everything your lucking for.

    And good luck with the meds.


  9. I feel you about the wanting a life not just a balancing act. Very often I despair that a balancing act is all I’m really going to get, but at least with taking meds I feel like I’m doing *something* pro-active about it.

    I hope they work better for you this time!

  10. I like how you compared life to “a constant balancing act”. It feels that way when you only seem to be surviving while other people get things done.

  11. I hate to be one of those people who is all pushy with unwanted advice but is your blood pressure ok? I get nasty tremors when my blood pressure shoots up, which I know is linked to bipolar disorder.

    Hope the shingles clears up soon. As for going back on medication, it is just another way to deal with a chronic health condition. I was off it for about four and a half years before I finally crashed hard last year. Now I am Seroquel’s bitch.

  12. You’ve done a lot, Seenean. I know it can be hard to remember sometimes, or maybe to give the proper due to the experiences we’ve had while we’re sick and down and not able to see the larger whole, but you’ve done a lot in a short time. Acknowledging there’s a need to get back on the medications is not a failure, no one’s recovery is a straight line.

    You’ve moved an incredible distance from where you were four years ago, your recovery has strengthened you, and given you tools you can use to get healthier. That’s a lot of hard, nasty work.

    Your writing has gotten better through your work here, you’ve been able to meet other writers because of the writing you’ve done here, you’ve put together an excellent body of work in just a few years.

    You’ve worked hard, and there’s a lot more to do to get the life you want but, for whatever it’s worth, I think you’ve done great.

  13. I have to agree with others on Lamotrigine. I tried Seroquel and it just put me in a stagnant, senseless zombie state which was like walking around in some sort of slow death.

    I swapped to lamotrigine and haven’t looked back! It takes about 2 months to get up to dose but yup, it works for me.

    In fact… it probably works too well as I’ve been pinging off the walls from time to time. But in the words of my pdoc, ‘when you get like that, reach for the seroquel and one pill to knock you out for one night should be enough.’ So far, he’s quite correct.

    Hope it works out for you, whatever you take. Thinking of ya.

  14. difficult decision to go back on the meds, but a brave one. I find it hard to take the step of trying life without ADs (my thing is depression) and so far I haven’t wanted to risk it.
    I admire you for experimenting without your meds and equally for acknowledging that at this time you need to go back on them. Good luck with everything,
    Louise x

  15. Seroquel knocked me out too. I gained about 2 stone and was too wrecked on it to care about anything. I would never touch it again although of course everyone’s different.

    Lamotrigine is the best medication I’ve ever taken (and I’ve tried EVERYTHING).


  16. Hope the shingles clears up quickly, I know bugger all about it so can only offer my good wishes.

    I agree with other commenters on the awesomeness of lamotrigine, but I seem to recall you saying previously that it didn’t work very well for you. Maybe it needs combining with something else – I have generally found monotherapy to be one of those well-meaning ideologies that doesn’t tend to work out in real life.

    On the subject of Communism, North Korea dreams? Are you a NK research nut like me or is that just some random recurring dream?

  17. Ouch on the Shingles Seaneen, hope your feeling a little better on that score soon!

  18. I agree about Lamotragine. I have been on it for a few years and am now very stable without mood shifts. I was going to go off it, though, as well as my celexa–just to see if i could get better holistically. After reading this, i have changed my mind!!
    thanks girl

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