Moving Out

It’s been two weeks since I moved to Leicester. It’s also been roughly a month since I started taking fluoxetine, so I think it’s safe to say that April has been a pretty hectic month

I think the fluoxetine has startled to settle down. For the first week I did notice sudden drops in mood which, though quite normal for me, kept happening out of absolutely nowhere and were quite consuming. The main changes I noticed however were lack of sex drive and intense jumpiness. Without being too graphic, I found it quite hard to climax in the first month, however I’ve noticed that that’s started coming back now thank goodness. Perhaps that wasn’t really to do with the medication and rather just my own state of mind. The jumpiness though is still quite intense, a source of amusement for several of my work colleagues who think it’s completely hilarious to jump out at me from behind doors. I think that that’s probably just me though, I’ve always been quite melodramatic

That flat myself and my friend decided to go and view? Well, we decided to take a running jump and dive into adulthood head first having talked about moving out and moving away for such a long time. We viewed it and just went for it. A fortnight later, and I’m sat here in my bedroom filled with my all of my possessions. I still feel a little bit uptight, and I don’t feel completely settled yet but it’s still early. I only live under an hour away from my home-town too which is nice

I’m also now having to commute to work which is quite cool actually, or so I tell myself because actually it’s a bit of a ball-ache, but it also makes me feel like one of those swanky London types. I sometimes go via bus, sometimes via train, and sometimes when I’m working early shifts I just crash in my old bedroom at my parents. I’ve applied for a few jobs in Leicester though, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll hear back from some of them, or at least one of them

The flat’s top-notch. It’s a pretty spacious flat with two double bedrooms, a kitchen-cum-lounge space, a swish bathroom, and so on. The only thing that’s a bit bothersome is the location. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a super ideal location because it’s slap-bang in the heart of the city, literally everything is on our doorstep. But we just happen to be living right next door to a music venue. It’s not that bad to be honest, during the week it’s totally unnoticeable but on nights like tonight, a Friday night in the city, the humming of bass guitars and crashing of drums reverberating through my bedroom wall is kind of irritating

Having said that though, it’s so different from where I used to live it’s bound to take some time to get used to. I’m just a bit funny about loud noises. I hate it when it’s too quiet but I hate it when it’s too loud, which is a bit fussy really

Thanks for reading, Hils

Day One on Fluoxetine

As I am not by any stretch a morning person, I thought I would chose 6pm as prozac time. That’s the same time I used to try to take my combi birth control when I was a teenager

If I had been prescribed capsule pills this time last year, I would be panicking right now. It took a dentist forcing me to take amoxicillin last summer to get me over my fear of capsules. But these capsules aren’t as big as amoxicillin which is nice

I was a bit nervous before I swallowed it. I worry about side effects, particularly ever since being on birth control which although gave me better skin, gave me ridiculous headaches instead. The main side effects of fluoxetine however are apparently jumpiness, which really can’t get any worse in me anyway I’m constantly like a rabbit in headlights, and a lower sex drive

It’s now 2.00am, eight hours since I took my first dose. I had a nap from 8.00pm to 11.00pm which was silly of me, but I feel okay. I don’t feel particularly jumpy yet so that’s positive. Have to get a train tomorrow afternoon, am going to view a flat with a friend which is exciting. It’ll be the first property I’ve ever viewed. Will check back in soon

Thanks for reading, Hils

I Did It

Last night, I was panicking a lot. I kept looking at my list of bullet points for the doctor and thinking it all sounded so whiny. I was convinced he was going to think I was wasting his time. But the good people on Elefriends were very encouraging, and at 3.00pm today I sat in the waiting room of my doctors surgery

I was far from relaxed of course, in fact I haven’t panicked that much for a long time. My eyes kept filling with tears and I was convinced people were staring at me. But then my name got called and I made my way to the doctors room. I knocked on the door and went in, asked him how he was, and when he did the same I just burst into tears. He was very understanding though and kept making me laugh, which was positive. He compared my bullet points to the notes that the sister had written when I tried to get help the first time, and said “you’re almost the same as you were three years ago.” Hearing that it had been three years since then made me cry again. He ascertained that I was severely depressed and prescribed me fluoxetine, otherwise known as prozac, and also gave me a self-referral leaflet for counselling

He said he was proud of me for coming in, which set me off again. There was mascara all over my face, how embarrassing. But honestly, I’m also quite proud of myself. It’s been a long time coming and this is a massive step. Although I’m under no illusions it’s going to be plain sailing, hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here

Thanks for reading, Hils

Impending Appointment

I’ve spent a lot of time in bed the past few weeks. I feel completely embarrassed about admitting to that. It’s not like I haven’t got up at all, I wouldn’t if I could, but I’ve forced myself to get up for the late afternoon/evenings at least. On those days, I didn’t go out. I’d shower, put on a bit of make-up and then just sort of mope about, flitting from one side of my bedroom to the other like a restless ghost. Part of it was mild heart-break I won’t lie, but the majority is my depression which has been rather constant since Christmas

Usually there’s a bit of a breather. I say breather, I mean usually there’s a week or two where I’m strangely up. I want to go out to neon-lit nightclubs and dance with strangers, get on trains to wherever, and run around like a child drunk on cherryade. I’ve had that a bit so far this year, but nothing like previous years. Still, I suppose it’s early. I’ve just been really down this year, steady, but down nonetheless

I had a meltdown on a night out this time last month, but I had had a lot to drink so my mental health can’t be totally to blame there. Apparently, I ran out of a club, sat on a window-sill and cried down the phone to my friend until her and her boyfriend had to get in a taxi and come and rescue me. I didn’t even know where I was, I gave them a vague indication and they had to work it out for themselves. I was looked after and pepped up by three strangers, but I barely remember that either. I just about remember scrambling through my front door at 7.30am, my face taut with dried tears, thinking the world had ended and I’d be lucky if anyone spoke to me ever again

That’s a symptom of my up-phase, putting myself into dangerous situations and not even remotely realising they’re dangerous. Back in late January, I thought it was completely fine to let a customer give me a lift home. I didn’t even know his name, I just knew he was a regular. When I next came into work, I told a colleague and he hit the roof, a reaction I was definitley not anticipating. So I told a friend, thinking she’d agree with me that he’d over-reacted, but she reacted in the same way. Then it dawned on me, of course it’s ridiculous to get into a strangers car. I hadn’t even told anybody it was happening, he could’ve taken me far away and nobody would have ever known

Having said that though, once again I don’t know whether that’s because of my mental health issues, or because I just like to trust people. I can’t help thinking people are good, even though sometimes they’re not. I have this naïve notion in my head that everyone has a good heart and everyone has good intentions all the time, but that’s evidently not true, is it?

I have my GP appointment in just under a week. I remain petrified but I have not urged myself to cancel it yet, I know that I need it. This morning, I met up with a friend for breakfast. Said friend had some issues back in the day, and she was telling me what happened when she went through the system. It sort of helped, but at the same time I’m not sure what I’m even going to say yet, let alone what’s going to happen afterwards. For the rest of the week I need to try not to think about it, I need to forget about it until I get a pop-up on my phone the day before, and then I give myself permission to start panicking

Thanks for reading, Hils

Seeking Help

I’ve never felt particularly comfortable talking about negative feelings or expressing negative emotions, and have a tendency to over-exaggerate happiness to cover up when I’m feeling down. Saying “I’m fine” when I’m definitely not fine is just much simpler than explaining why I’m not fine, and adding to that feeling the guilt of talking about myself as well as the anxious thought “well, now this person probably thinks I’m depressing and weird”

For a good number of years, I’ve preferred to bottle things up, at the cost of making myself even more mentally unwell to the point of very dark episodes. There’s been a few times where I’ve found myself in the grips of one too many Malibu and lemonades, and have in my intoxicated state unburdened myself on friends, but even then I find it quite tough. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me, or many others. But at twenty-three years old I’m aware that I need to stop kidding myself. It’s been a long time and I’m now entering a stage in my life where I need to own up to the fact that I have mental health issues and I’m not able to control them by simply willing them away

About two years ago, I finally went to the doctors. I’d booked so many appointments through Patient Access and had ultimately cancelled them. I eventually booked one and forced myself to go, though I was absolutely terrified and didn’t even tell anyone I’d gone until afterwards. When I got into the room and saw the doctor sitting there I immediately burst into tears and felt so ashamed. But she let me cry, told me it was perfectly okay to cry. She asked me a few questions and told me she was going to recommend me for counselling, but nothing happened and I didn’t go back. I came to the conclusion that she must’ve ascertained I wasn’t a priority, and that I should just deal with it myself

Now I think it’s time for me to try again. I won’t split hairs, I’m the lowest I’ve been in a long time, I’m anxious all the time and I panic so frequently that it’s become noticeable to people around me. It’s not really an ideal way to be. Not only do I want to move out with a friend and get a new job in the next few months, I graduate this summer after five long years of studying. A lot is going to change this year and at this moment in time, I don’t know if I’m going to handle it very well at all

I’m nervous but I know that this is a step I need to take, and I’m planning to use this space to document what happens. In the meantime the primary support I have, other than friends, is Elefriends. Elefriends is an online community from mental health charity Mind that gives you the freedom to openly post statuses and reach out for support, anonymously if you wish to be so. I have found it very comforting and if you’ve read this and feel like you relate to any of it, I highly recommend joining up

Thanks for reading, Hils

Birthday

Tomorrow evening, I turn twenty-three. This time last year, and in fact every year since I was about eighteen, I have been petrified of my birthday. The thought of being another year older with not much to show for it has always made me feel so pessimistic, the outcome of which was me making my friends pretend I was turning eighteen for the past few years. This year however, something unusual has happened. I’m turning twenty-three and I don’t mind. I’m still not in a great place mental health-wise, but I’m okay, and I’m not remotely scared of my birthday tomorrow

It’s safe to say that the first half of this year has been relatively negative, but I’d rather not dwell. It’s the past week alone that has well and truly been the pinnacle. A pretty atrocious week all-round really. A week in which, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I have been lied to, pressured into feeling guilty, back-stabbed, and heartbroken. However, it’s all resulted in some valuable life lessons

Lesson one – I’m an understanding person, and I’ll always try my utmost best to attempt to understand how someone is feeling and thinking. If someone needs compassion or help, I’ll try my hardest. But I won’t let it slide if my understanding and tolerance is thrown back in my face. What seems to have happened is ultimately I’ve realised that I’m not a carpet, and I refuse to be walked over as such. I don’t like confrontation but I seem to have learnt that sometimes it’s necessary. I’m not saying that in the space of a week I’ve developed a backbone, but I feel like I’m on my way

Lesson two – I’ve got to open up more. I’ve known for years that I shouldn’t be keeping certain things to myself, but I didn’t realise quite how dangerous and damaging it could be. This week I have witnessed first-hand what keeping something to yourself can result in, and it’s not pretty. I also watched a documentary, All in the Mind by Tim Rhys-Evans, who suffered a mental breakdown a couple of years ago. I deeply connected with some of the things he was saying about how he felt at that time, and it really hit home how real it all is. It’s vital for us to unburden ourselves sometimes, and we don’t need to feel guilty about that

Lesson three – I no longer want to be eighteen. Things have changed in five years, being eighteen now is not the same as it was when I was eighteen

These past few days, I have been surrounded by the most important people in my life, my mum, my sister, my family, and my friends. I’ve made mental and social breakthroughs, and though I may not be anywhere near where I want to be in terms of happiness and health, I’m on the right track and for once I’m proud of myself

Thanks for reading, Hils

Update

I saw a video the other day, I think it was on Facebook, a Buzzfeed video about the effects of stress. I think it’s common knowledge that stress can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes, but having it voiced in video-form sort of drummed it into me and made me think about how stressed I am. I’m not stressed about general situations really, like work or studying. They can be stressful but I’m not consciously stressed about them, not at the moment. But just about everything else I suppose. My top three stress-inducers are my physical appearance, my behaviour/personality, and the aforementioned crush situation

I keep catching myself off-guard, feeling quite taken aback by my own behaviour. If I’m too loud then I mentally berate myself, if I’m too quiet I do the same. I’m embarrassed by the things I say, and keep finding myself questioning absolutely everything. I went out for dinner with friends the other night, and myself and one friend ended up in the supermarket I work in afterwards. Any time a fellow colleague spoke to me, I found myself turning to my friend and saying “was I weird then? Did I come across as weird?” This isn’t anything new, but for some reason it’s very heightened at the moment

It feels like my chest cavity is playing host to a really heavy bomb, and every-time I say or do something awkward, it gets that little bit closer to going off inside me and exploding me into a million tiny little pieces. I know I need to get the ball rolling, sort out a doctors appointment, but I’m scared of change. I’m frightened that I’ll change, which is odd because I don’t like myself at all, and I want to change everything

The thing is I feel like I see the world differently, I feel like my brain works differently to anyone I know, and if I get help then that’ll all change. But surely that’s what I want?

Thanks for reading, Hils