Why Take Those Stupid Pills – They Won’t Work You Know (NOT)…

I’ve had many people say that they think that antidepressants are just chemical wastes of time and do nothing to help you. Au contraire! It took me three attempts to get the right medication for me. OK, I had better tell you which ones I had. I will do so in a minute.

I’ve just heard so much stuff recently about blah blah, antidepressants bad, blah blah antidepressants evil, etc etc. I hear people saying things like “Ooooooh, you don’t need those pills! Just get up and go for a brisk walk in the fresh air!” Ummmmm, no. Just no. That is not a cure for severe depressive disorder. If you haven’t been there, if you haven’t suffered and had the big black dog barking at your heels then you have no idea at all what the hell of having a major depressive illness is like. You just don’t.

When I first acknowledged my depression in 2005, I had already been suffering with it for 15 years. My abusive marriage is what caused me to spiral down into it. Events from my childhood also played a major part in this whole thing.

So, this all came to light when I was seeing a clinical geneticist at my local hospital. She noticed that I could not stop crying and she just said to me, “Has anyone ever validated your emotional pain for you?” That was it. The damn burst and I was bawling like a newborn. She called my doctors surgery then and there and made me an appointment. I was taking the first step towards finding out just how crazy I really was.

My doctor first of all started me on Prozac. The famous, so called “happy pill”. It did absolutely sweet fuck all to make me happy. All I had were increasing thoughts of self harm and suicide. The self harm had been here before but not the suicide. This was a whole new, and very frightening mindset for me.

After around four weeks of hell on Prozac, my prescription was changed over to Citalopram. Absolutely no difference whatsoever. I was beginning to feel afraid that I would never be able to feel happy again.

After another four weeks, I was started on a drug called Venlafaxine. After around three weeks, I slowly started to feel only slightly better. If I’m honest with you guys? That was a win for me. Given the fact that I’d spent the last couple of months wanting to kill myself, a little bit less depressed was a bonus.

After a little while, my psychiatrist massively increased the dose and it did start to make a significant difference to my mood. There was one other thing. My GP has told me take the medication at bedtime, which I had been doing. My Psychiatrist looked at the box in scorn as he wouldn’t believe me. He insisted nobody would do something like that. Then he saw the pharmacists label on the box and believed me. He said straight away I had to start taking the medication in the morning. Taking the medication at night when I would be asleep wasn’t really the best way to do it. It needed to be in my system at the appropriate time for it to do any good.

Then came a new challenge for me. I began to develop mood swings. I would go from being so low that I didn’t even care about washing. Eating was another thing I didn’t give a flying fuck about. I started to develop the swings in mood from very low and unable to focus to so high and manic that I was like a toddler jacked up on E numbers. *sigh*. It became more. So much more, I became hypersexual and totally loud and overspent in piles of things I never needed. High heeled shoes. Me. I can’t freakin’ walk, why do I need high heeled shoes of all things?

My Psychiatrist diagnosed me as having Bipolar 1 with rapid cycling. I was started on Lithium. I was on it for a long time and then had Depakote added in to my treatment plan. Not too much longer after that, I had got to the point where my worst side effect, a tremor, meant that I could not even hold a cup of tea to drink it or a pen to write a letter. I went in to see my Psychiatrist ready for a battle about Lithium but when I asked about stopping it, he did! Just like that, and upped my dose of Depakote instead.

One thing that also began to develop was my anxiety. It became more and more severe. It got to the point where I would be physically puking if I had to leave the house. I was in the grip of full blown agoraphobia (I have many others but we’ll save those for another time). My anxiety rules my life. It has done for years now. I take Buspirone and I also get 7 Diazepam a month to help me when I have to leave the house. I can’t get out without them.

Of course with anxiety on one shoulder, paranoia wanted to come along and sit on the other one. She whispers in my ear every single day about how shit I am, how ugly, how stupid, how useless… her sister, anxiety, she likes to make my heart pound and my muscles quiver as I feel sick with fear.

I experience hallucinations. Mainly of spiders crawling all over my arms. I have severe arachnophobia and the ones I see are always the size of my fist and hairy. They are terrifying.

I have also been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder and have frequent existential crises. One of the real hard things to deal with is C-PTSD. The many traumas that have contributed to the mess inside my head are responsible for this. Raised male voices are usually the worst trigger. Night terrors also serve to trigger flashbacks too. I take a sleeping pill every other night to try and get some rest. I was also started on Quetiapine to try and help me sleep and help with some of what was going on inside my head.

I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that my mental health medications have saved my live. I know other people who feel the same way. Many other people. Please don’t be guilt tripped out of taking mental health drugs by people telling fresh and exercise are all you need (of course they are great as a tandem treatment). Don’t be afraid to tell people how you feel. Reach out. Take that help. Don’t do what I did and end up nearly dead before I sought help. Go get help. Now. Please?

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How to feel fresh when your pain is so bad you could scream…

If you are a Spoonie, otherwise known as a sufferer of an invisible, chronic illness then what I’m about to say will make an awful lot of sense to you. If you are a relative/carer of somebody with an invisible or chronic illness then this may well make an awful lot of sense to you too.

There are days (like today for me) where clothes become an intolerable pressure on your skin and the friction is just too much to bear. I just can’t stand the feeling. I have hyperaesthesia which basically means extreme sensitivity of the skin. On days when it is really bad, I can’t stand to wear clothes at all. Most days I’m able to tolerate light cotton but nothing heavy, fleecy or woolly. Yet days like today? Nekkid is all I can tolerate.

The inability to wear clothes some days is amplified when my pain is bad. On those days, even my bedding is too much and I can’t stand it. So on cold days I have to go without blankets or sheets. Luckily for me, I love the cold weather so being cold really does not bother me at all.

There is one big problem when you feel this ill. There are some days where you simply do not even have the strength to stand at the sink for longer than 2-3 minutes. This makes maintaining your own hygiene very difficult indeed. I need help anyway. I am unable to lift my arms to brush my hair and I’m unable to reach from side to side of my body to wash properly, hence why I need a carer. Yet there are some days when (like today) I can’t even tolerate the feel of a flannel on my skin. It’s just too much.

If you have similar problems to mine, then I have a few suggestions that might help to make your day a little bit nicer. After all, hygiene is a vital part of feeling good about yourself so the more that can be done to help you the better. If your pain and general symptoms really are making you feel that shitty, then hopefully these suggestions will help you.

The first thing that I used to do in the morning, when I was able to maintain my own hygiene, and was working, was to wash my face. This product still allows me to do that. They are called Wake Up Wipes. They are brilliant value at just £1 a pack and really do make your face feel refreshed and bright to face the day. They contain cucumber extract and feel great on your skin. They can be found here:

https://www.misfitcosmetics.com/products/wake-up-wipes-wake-up-your-face-and-skin

Next up comes your mouth. There is nothing worse than morning dog breath and when you cannot make it to the sink to stand and brush your own teeth, it really does not make you feel very nice about yourself at all. I’ve discovered these little disposable toothbrushes on days when standing at the bathroom sink is not an option. They are called Colgate Wisp Max Fresh single use toothbrushes. They are really handy. Of cosier, brush your teeth when you can, but these little buggers are awesome on days that you just can’t. You can also use listerine strips which are great breath fresheners…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Listerine-Pocketpaks-Oral-Care-Strips

Then there is the issue of maintaining your personal hygiene which can be a huge issue. If you are unable to wash, you feel smelly and generally very low. Being able to give yourself a quick wash, even if it is with wipes, it really does lift your mood. There are several brands of bed bath wipes. Shop around as you can find them quite cheaply if you try.

There is also the issue of feminine hygiene. I use Femfresh wipes for that. They can be found anywhere and are probably cheaper online if you look.

Lush’s Silky Underwear dusting powder helps absorb sweat and smooth your skin while the essential oils and herbs work to knock out the effects of bacteria. The Silky Underwear powder has a light jasmine fragrance and contains grated cocoa butter to help it melt onto your skin, creating a silky sensation. I love it!

If you can’t wash at at, a little surgical spirit on a cotton wool pad will remove body odour before you put on deodorant.

Witch hazel is a great way to cleanse your skin and it helps to cool the skin when overheated.

I also buy all my skin care from Lush, but since I discovered and fell in love with the marvellous Antonella The uncensored reviewer :

https://youtu.be/W7m4_6BD8cQ (Just one of her many awesome videos. BE WARNED: NSFW and definitely NOT FIT FOR CHILDREN!)

I will most definitely be trialling some of the skin care that she recommends.

There are other things like dry shampoo – I use the Batiste tropical one, but because my hair goes all the way down to my ass, one can doesn’t last me long!

Well I hope that this blog piece helps you, even if it is just to give advice to a relative. That’s all for now.

Be kind to each other.x

Misophonia – The Hatred of Sound…

So, what is this weird assed sounding condition that you’ve never heard of before? Misophonia literally translates as “hatred of sound”. It really is a horrible thing to suffer from and the impact of suffering from it can only be truly understood by another sufferer of the condition. It truly can be a nightmare to live with.

However, a person with misophonia does not simply hate all sound. People with misophonia have specific symptoms and triggers and are sensitive to only certain sounds and occasionally to visual triggers. Any sound can become a problem to a person with misophonia but many are some kind of background noise. People call the collection of sounds that they’re sensitive to their trigger set. It is possible to add to one’s trigger set over time. Exposure to a trigger sound elicits an immediate negative emotional response from a person with sound sensitivities. The response can range from moderate discomfort or annoyance to full-fledged rage and panic. Fight or flight reactions can occur. During a trigger event, a person may become agitated, defensive or offensive, distance themselves from the trigger, or act out in some manner.

I first began to realise that something was “wrong” with my hearing my hearing when I remember being so infuriated by the sound of my ‘father’s’ chewing that I could have quite cheerfully have gouged out his eyes with a rusty spoon. I very quickly came to realise that eating/chewing sounds from anyone would begin to infuriate me so much to the point where I literally have to leave before high fiving them. In the face. With a chair. It gets to me that point where calmness is not an issue and I have to back away from the sound.

I have been lain awake being tortured by the sound of my own heart beating. Obviously it is a good thing to know that your heart is beating. But I’ve been thrashing around for several hours, trying in vain to escape the sound. Imagine being filled with an irrational hatred of that sound, or of pretty much any sound? Hearing people breathing/snoring literally makes me want to slap them with a wet kipper.

The one sound above all others that fills me with utter rage is whistling. The sound seems to find it’s way right down into the middle of my brain and stay there. Hearing someone whistle really does fill me with murderous rage. I’ve had to say “either you shut up or one of us leaves the room”. My hatred of the sound of it is so bad. Other sounds also affect me. Cracking fingers & knuckles, making noises with lips, tongue and cheeks and people pronouncing words the wrong way on purpose like “horsey worsey”. Aaaaaaaargh! Baby talk also drives me crazy!

The sound of fingernails scraping down a chalkboard is unpleasant to many people.

But this is a very mild example of what people with misophonia experience when exposed to a trigger sound. It lacks the intensity a misophonia sufferer experiences and doesn’t have a strong negative emotional component. Not liking something, even if very strongly, is unlikely to cause a person to feel like lashing out at the source of the offending sound. Also, it is unlikely to produce an actual fight or flight reflex. The people closest to the person with misophonia often elicit the most problematic triggers. This can make personal relationships difficult and stressful. An environment known to include trigger sounds can limit social activities because the person with misophonia anticipates problems. Consequently, a person with misophonia can pull back from family and friends in an attempt to reduce the symptoms that they experience when triggered.

People with misophonia are aware that the sounds that trigger them don’t bother other people.

A person with misophonia does not always have any control over their work environment. A coworker munching on food may be too distracting or even produce a full-fledged panic attack. An environment that will not or cannot accommodate the needs of a sound sensitive person can result in anxiety for the person with misophonia. It may also challenge supervisory staff. At times, the sound environment can be enough of a problem to make keeping the job intolerable. A school environment can be similar; having a long-term negative impact if it interferes with the ability to learn or socialize. When exposed to a trigger sound, some people feel the need to mimic what they hear. Mimicry is an automatic, non-conscious social phenomenon. It can have a calming effect and make the situation feel better to the person experiencing stress. There is a biological basis for how mimicry lessens adverse reactions to triggers because it evokes compassion and empathy.

 

Those with misophonia can be reluctant to share their symptoms and triggers.

To them, sharing can have uncertain outcomes. Sometimes, people purposefully mock those with sound sensitivities. Also, they may make exaggerated trigger sounds in order to intentionally cause distress. Unfortunately, some family, friends, co-workers, and others minimize the problem. A person with misophonia is sometimes told: “try to ignore that sound,” or “you’re just being difficult,” or “don’t let it get to you.” Suggestions like these are not helpful. It is not simply a matter of making a conscious decision. People with misophonia cannot ignore their triggers any more than a person with epilepsy can will themselves not to have seizures. On the other hand, there are those who are supportive and offer encouragement. Anyone with a problem or difficulty appreciates a helping hand now and then. If you know someone with misophonia and want to help them cope with the disorder, all you need to do is ask what you can do to help.

List of Common Triggers:

Please note, some say that reading about triggers has the potential to make one take on new triggers. This is only true for some people and is not universally experienced by all people. Also, some people avoid hearing or imagining sample trigger sounds for the same reason. If you think that learning about new trigger sounds could in any way be a problem for you, then there’s no need to read the lists below.

Mouth and Eating: “ahhs” after drinking, burping, chewing, crunching (ice or other hard food), gulping, gum chewing and popping, kissing sounds, nail biting, silverware scraping teeth or a plate, slurping, sipping, licking, smacking, spitting, sucking (ice, etc.), swallowing, talking with food in mouth, tooth brushing, flossing, tooth sucking, lip smacking, wet mouth sounds, grinding teeth, throat clearing and jaw clicking.

Breathing/Nasal: grunting, groaning, screaming, loud or soft breathing, sniffling, snorting, snoring, sneezing, loud or soft talking, raspy voices, congested breathing, hiccups, yawning, nose whistling and wheezing.

Vocal: humming, muffled talking, nasally voices, overused words such as um or ah (repeated words), sibilant sounds (S, P, T, CH, K, B sounds), singing, gravelly voices, bad singing, soft whisper-like voices and whistling.

Environmental: clicking from texting, keyboard/mouse, TV remote, pen clicking, writing sounds, papers rustling/ripping, ticking clocks, texting and cell phone ringtone.

Utensils/metals: dishes clattering, fork scraping teeth, silverware hitting plates or other silverware and rattling change in pockets.

Plastic: water bottle squeezing/crinkling, breaking hard plastic and bouncing balls.

Wrappers: plastic bags crinkling/rustling, plastic bags opening or being rubbed and crinkling food packages.

Cars: sitting idling for long periods of time, beep when car is locked, car doors slamming, keys banging against steering column and turn signal clicking.

Heavy equipment: lawnmowers, leaf blower, air conditioners and chain saws.

Impact sounds: other people’s voices, muffled bass music or TV through walls, doors/windows being slammed and basketball thumps.

Animal noises: dogs barking, bird sounds, crickets, frogs, dogs or cats licking, drinking, slurping, eating, whining, dogs scratching themselves and trying to bite their fleas and claws tapping.

Baby: Baby crying, babbling, adults using baby talk and kids yelling.

TV: loud TV or radio. Body Movement related: Foot shuffling (dry feet on floor/carpet) or tapping, finger snapping, foot dragging, heels, flip flops, knuckle/joint cracking, eye blinking, nail biting and clipping, eating, chewing, fidgeting, hair twirling, movements out of the corner of eyes, repetitive foot or body movements, jaw chewing/movement.

I can honestly say at some stage or another in my life I have come very close to causing serious damage all because of one of any of these noises. This is why I wear noise cancelling headphones and simply listen to Classic FM.

So if you have never been officially diagnosed with misophonia but what I have talked about sounds like a clip from your own life, then feel free to leave a comment and we can chat. Misophonia sufferers are not alone.

Why the sound of chewing drives you crazy… no, really!

Fibro… It f**cking hurts… think about it!

Fibromyalgia is becoming more prevalent and we see more and more people diagnosed with the condition every single day. Before I continue on with this piece, I need to point out – so f**king what if a person happens to be famous? It doesn’t change the fact life is going to be utterly shit for a long time for them now. Perhaps for the rest of their life. There’s not a single day where we can’t think, “Oh poor Lady Gaga has got fibro.” because the press tell us that’s how we have to think. Well I couldn’t give a shit. I’m too busy thinking about myself and the other thousands of spoonies (to be explained later) around the world. People bang on about how brave Lady Gaga is for moving with all that pain. Well fucking bully for her. What about me and the thousands like me who can barely move. Because we are not favoured by a screen career or we are not singers our heroic efforts really do become nothing. We become nothing and our struggles are nothing.

Then comes the fact that we achieve things and they are not even acknowledged by our significant others. That, for me really does sting. Then he wonders why he gets a short, sharp fuck off when he develops spaghetti arms later that same day.

Our loved ones can try to be as caring and understanding as possible and they can either crack being understanding and wonderful or they can do nothing but blunder heard first into an enormous pile of caca with all the style, grace and tact of a fucking woolly mammoth. It’s true, it really is!

Should you, like me, enjoy trying to flog a dead horse, you can of course try to bring some semblance of knowledge to said almost dead horse in a vain attempt to make these people gain a little more understanding and to not speak to you with all the tact and decorum of a 20 pound lump hammer!

Seriously the way that I’ve been spoken to by both friends and complete strangers in the past? They have been experiences that I can liken to being slapped across the face with a three week old mouldy kipper.

Now many people that decide that their infinite wisdom presents them with a plethora of little nuggets of wisdom all of which they can and will bestow upon us with monotonous regularity.

Some of those nuggets can be found in the article below.

What not to say to someone with Fibro…

Y’know guys, the next person to say that they are going to pray for me is heading for a swift kick between the legs – male or female, it gets the point across nicely.

There are so many comments that are so downright hurtful but people don’t even realise that they are hurting you. They honestly think that they are being kind and supportive. Well guess what buddy? You’re not.

People don’t understand just how draining having a chronic illness like Fibro is. The energy that even just brushing your teeth can drain from you. A lovely lady called Christine Miserandino devised something called the spoon theory, which helped to explain to significant others/family/friends just how debilitating it can be. You can read about it here:

The Spoon Theory

It’s such a simple way to describe what we go through every single day, but my gosh does it ever get the point across. This explains my use of the word “Spoonies” before. This is what many chronic illness warriors will call each other. It’s who we are.

But people need to understand that there are days, many of them in fact, where I cannot remain stood for more than 30 seconds to a minute without dropping to my knees in pain. Days like this mean standing in the bathroom and caring for my basic hygiene impossible. Even on a good day, I cannot brush my own hair as my shoulders won’t go up that high. Nor can I wash myself or put on my own clothes without help. It’s soul destroying to not be able to do that it really is.

May 12th is international Fibro day, and I will be writing more posts about it before then. I’m so sorry if the tone of this post has come across as hostile or aggressive at all. All I’m aiming to do is promote an awareness of the disease and help explain the things that make make a Spoonie a little bit cranky.

Thank you for reading.

Be kind to each other.x

Emotional blackmail is just wrong, wrong, wrong…

Any form of emotional blackmail is morally bankrupt and the lowest of the low in terms of behaviour. It’s plain wrong!

Just how can it be ok to reduce another human being to tears with your words and threats? How can you think it is ok to tell another person that they are fat and ugly and will never cope without you? Or that you will kill yourself if a person does not come back to you after a break up?

Emotional blackmail is basically a system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors. Not ok!!!

In a nutshell, emotional blackmail is a psychological-emotional ransom note that says, “if you don’t do what I want then I will make you hurt”.
In order for emotional blackmail to occur there must be four things present – a demand, a threat, a blackmailer and a victim.
The Demand – Emotional blackmailers demand something the victim does not want to give, in an attempt to gain the upper hand where there are conflicting interests or wants.
In general the blackmailer is usually asking for something which the victim regards as unreasonable and which the blackmailer believes they can get – if they apply enough pressure. For this reason emotional blackmail patterns are often cyclical – with both the blackmailer and the victim learning over time what level of demand will be tolerated without retribution and what degree of blackmail it takes for the victim to comply.
The Threat – The blackmailer may threaten to hurt the victim directly, or more commonly threaten to hurt something or someone the victim cares about. This could take the form of damaging or destroying their reputation, an object, an agreement, a relationship or a trust. Blackmailers may also threaten to hurt themselves to pressure a victim into compliance.
The Blackmailer – Although an emotional blackmailer is fighting for control over their victim, they often have little control over themselves. They may feel desperate inside and justify their actions as a means to an end of soothing their own desperate internal pain. In some cases, an emotional blackmailer may not always realize the extent of the hurt they are inflicting on their victim (and ultimately on themselves). They may not be able or willing to “snap out of it” and change their behavior.
The Victim – In order for emotional blackmail to work there has to be a willing victim – a person who is willing to sacrifice their principles, values, goals and boundaries to “keep the peace”, “turn the other cheek” and give in to the demands. Victims are often bridge builders – people who have compassion or pity on the blackmailer and are willing to go the extra mile for them. Victims may have low self-esteem of their own and be generally afraid to stand up for their own ideas and principles. They are caught in a vicious cycle as each time they yield something important to the abuser they suffer a loss of their own self-esteem and begin to feel more powerless, hopeless and trapped in their situation.
What it looks like
“If I ever see another man look at you I will kill him.”

“If you ever stop loving me I will kill myself.”

“I’ve already discussed this with our pastor/therapist/friends/family and they agree that you are being unreasonable.”

“I’m taking this vacation – with or without you.”

“Your family hates me. How can you say you love me and still be friends with them?”

“You’ve ruined my life and now you are trying to stop me from spending money to take care of myself.”

“I took the money because you always put yourself first and don’t seem to care about my needs.”

What NOT to do:

reward emotional blackmail demands or attempts.

Don’t stay in a situation where there is a threat or an action of violence towards yourself or others.

Don’t allow yourself to be blamed for somebody else’s bad behaviors or poor personal choices.

What TO do:

characteristic of emotional blackmail and understand that to give in to the demands of a blackmailer will only make the situation worse.

Recognize that no-one who truly loves you will threaten you with harm or expect you to act against your own best interests.

Recognize that the emotional blackmailer is not like you and is unlikely to respond well to reason, arguments or attempts at counter-manipulation.

Work on your own personal boundaries and be willing to defend them.

Remove one of the four components of emotional blackmail – the blackmailer, the victim (you) the threat or the demand. Since you can’t control the other person that usually means you have to detach yourself enough to protect yourself, your children and the resources and relationships that are precious to you. Then allow the blackmailer back in only to the extent that they cannot threaten or destroy what matters to you most.

Call the authorities if there are any threats or actions of violence.

I’ve been through this for years and so have some very dear friends of mine. The scars we bear are very deep. PTSD is my shadow. But it is possible to escape. To come out of the darkness and stand in the sunlight. To be you.x