Fluoxetine, Day One

As I am not by any stretch a morning person, I thought I would chose 6pm as tablet time. That’s the same time I used to try to take my 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 sweet

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 dipped depression in the first couple of days, a lower sex drive, and apparently jumpiness, which really can’t get any worse in me anyway. I’m constantly like a rabbit in headlights

It’s now 2.00am, eight hours since I took my first dose. I had a nap from 8.00pm until 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. 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, 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, I looked reminiscent of a panda. But honestly, I’m 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 have dealt with it, but I’ve forced myself to get up for the 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. 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 an Uber and come to my rescue. 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 for fuel. When I next came into work, I told a colleague and he hit the roof, a reaction I was definitely not anticipating. I told another 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

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 some 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 or three 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 realisation that she must’ve ascertained I wasn’t a priority, and that I should 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