Tag Archives: Prozac

Free Pass


Free PassI went to see my psychiatrist yesterday, and it turns out that the 20mg of Prozac I had been taking for the last month or so was nowhere near enough. Back then she had given me a second prescription for 40mg, and I was supposed to start taking that after a week of being on the 20mg dosage, but I forgot about that, and just continued taking the 20mg capsules. Oops.

I went home, and immediately took a second 20mg capsule, and I have to say I am feeling so much better today. It could be entirely unrelated, and perhaps it’s just the placebo effect of having the hope that an increased dosage will make me feel better. But who the fuck cares what it is. All I know is that when I woke up this morning, I didn’t have a horrible sinking feeling. I actually wanted to  get out of bed and do things. I actually feel hopeful! All the household chores that I have to do today don’t feel insurmountable. Unpleasant, yes, but not insurmountable.

When I first started meditating again, and going to the Zen center, I had been on Zoloft for a couple of months, and I didn’t think it was working because I was still struggling with a lot of perfectionism-related issues (which may or may not be a symptom of OCD or OCPD). However, I did notice that I was much better disposed towards my fellow human beings. I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of “us” and “them”, or judging other people in a black and white way. I felt more connected to other people, and less inclined to distance myself. At the time, I put this down to my newfound interest in Buddhism and meditation, but, in retrospect, I think the tiny buds of my “spiritual awakening” were only able to grow because I was on the Zoloft.

Now, I’m absolutely not saying that Zoloft (or any other antidepressant) can actually cause somebody to embark on a spiritual path completely out of the blue. What I am saying is that antidepressants can allow depressed people who are already spiritually inclined to find the motivation and energy to explore their spiritual side. Before taking Zoloft I was still interested in spiritual matters, but I would often lose interest after being unable to find a satisfying intellectual answer to certain issues that I would ruminate over obsessively e.g. “How can I put my trust in a God/Higher Power/whatever the fuck you want to call and believe that He/She/It has my best interest at heart when such terrible things happen to other people?!” These questions still interest me, but, right now, I don’t have an obsessive need to analyze them to death in the vain attempt to find an answer. I’m more comfortable with grey areas.

What the fuck has this got to do with the title of this blog post – “Free Pass” – you might ask? Well, yesterday I wrote about how people should stop hating on poor Amy Bouzaglo because she clearly has some serious mental health issues. Xul, who actually managed to drag herself away from watching Game of Thrones, posted this response in the comments section:

As someone who also has parent issues, it’s sometimes hard for me to sympathize with the negative behaviors. I find myself vacillating between the notion that they can’t help the behaviors because they are disordered and the fact that they are willful and deliberate in their actions and can damn well choose to behave the way they do.

I think that there comes a time when you have to make a conscious decision about your life. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. Yes, I had my own disordered behavior. Yes, I reached the point in my life where I no longer wanted to be that person and I’ve done the introspection and self-work that it took to be better. It’s still a work in progress. It’s hard for me to give a pass to someone else when I’m proof positive that change is possible.

I’ve struggled with such thoughts myself because, like Xul, I grew up with a mother who was a controlling, critical bitch. My mother had an awful childhood, and so, intellectually, I understand why she is the way she is. She’s a victim of child abuse. She’s also a working-class woman who grew up in a time and place where mental health issues were never discussed, and where it would have been taboo for her to acknowledge she had an issue and to seek help, and take medication. Unlike me, she did not have access to the internet and the ability to google non-stop to try to find answers. Unlike me, she is also a mother, and it must be so hard for a mother to admit that her mental health issues made her, at times, that most unsocially-acceptable of all things – A Bad Mother. Because then it’s not just about admitting you have a mental health issue, it’s about having to re-construct your own identity and sense of self. Can you really blame her – or any mother like her – for just burying her head in the sand?

It’s easy for me to have compassion for my mother, though. When you haven’t seen or spoken to somebody for eight years, the jagged edges get worn down, and it’s easier for compassion to grow. I don’t think I would be so understanding if I had to deal with her criticisms and put-downs again . I’m pretty sure I would just react like a hurt child, who doesn’t understand how a person who’s supposed to offer unconditional love can be so fucking cruel.

As I said above, I’m not a mother, so I’ve never been a Bad Mother. But, oh, I have been a Bad Wife, and this is something I also struggle to understand in terms of the “free pass” I’ve been discussing. I don’t think that I’m a “bad” person, but I did a lot of bad things to my ex-husband: hit him; kicked him; spat on him; smashed his things and told him he was a worthless piece of shit. How much of this was “me”, and how much of this was mental illness – and does it even matter at the end of the day when then cause of the harm doesn’t lesson its effects?

Am I trying to let myself off the hook when I mention that I do feel more capable of being calm, rational and loving when taking an antidepressant? Is this just me saying: “It weren’t me, guv. Honest! It was my brain chemistry!”

I do feel terribly sorry for the things I did to MM but, sometimes, honestly it’s really hard to feel remorse when he sends me mean texts telling me that I am “barely human”, “a demon”, ” a fucking monster” and “I’m sad, because you’ll drown in that”. He told me all the time during the relationship that I was a “bad person”, and, even though I don’t blame him for having that reaction, how on earth did this make it possible for me to change? And, you know what, I didn’t want to change then because I was sick of being the crazy one, the “identified patient” who was to blame for everything. Why didn’t he have to change his drinking? Why was it apparently my fault that he’d started drinking more? When he started being violent towards me, and I pointed out that it was only a matter of time before he broke one of my bones, why didn’t he care and why was it me who had “provoked” him? When I told him that he scared me when he got drunk, why did he say that I was such a bully that being drunk was the only time he had the courage to say what he really thought? People have told me that MM was abusive to me, too, and I have a hard time wrapping my head around this because I am deathly afraid of giving myself one of those “free passes”.

When the relationship was over, I felt horrific pain, but there was also this little tiny voice deep inside me that said excitedly “You can change now!”. If I was still married, I would still be stuck in the role of the “bad person” and I don’t think I would now be meditating and interested in finding out more about Buddhism. It’s like there was a terrible hurricane, which stripped all the trees of their leaves, but there’s one tiny bud sprouting hopefully on a branch.

I’m sad, though. Whatever happened to “Until Death Do Us Part”? Maybe the pain I caused was just too much, I get that, but I don’t feel that MM ever wanted to help me change or support me through it. It was me who bought him the book Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Love Has Borderline Personality Disorder. He read it, and his attitude appeared to be “OK, cool. Now off you go and – change!”. He never did any internet research about how to cope with having a partner who was mentally ill. In fact, the only research he ever did appeared to be after the break-up when he “diagnosed” me with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Oh, how things could have been different. We loved each other, and it didn’t need to turn to shit. I could spend a lifetime regretting this, and obsessing over what went wrong. But I’m not going to. I just need to accept that neither one of us was ready or right for the other. He wasn’t “the one” and I wasn’t “the one” for him. It’s that simple.

All I can do is remember that, and work hard to be a better, kinder person in the future. And I don’t think that’s giving myself a free pass.

Is it?

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Past Perfect


It has been a very hard week. After some more obsessive, hypochondriac googling, I have undiagnosed myself with ADD, and I have decided that I probably have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) instead. The last time I saw her, my psychiatrist hinted that this might be the case. Procrastination can be caused by ADD, but I think mine is more likely a result of OCPD. I probably also have a bit of comorbid depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder (BPD) thrown into the mix.

Can I just apologize in advance for my obsessive navel-gazing about my mental health? If I was a first-time reader of this blog, I would fucking hate it. There is nothing I dislike more than self-absorbed people waffling on about their mental health issues on a blog or forum. “Get a grip!”, I feel like yelling. “Stop being so fucking self-obsessed!”. But, hey, I guess what we hate most in others is just a projection of what we hate in ourselves.

In my defence, I think I’ve been spending so much time trying to diagnose myself online because I desperately just want to know what the fuck is wrong with me. My psychiatrist has only really committed herself to saying a “mood disorder” which could be anything really. She has also made vague noises about OCPD and BPD, which is great because who wants to think that they have a personality disorder?! That just makes me feel like there is something innately and irredeemably fucked-up about me because, ultimately, how the fuck do you change your personality?!

Maybe you’re wondering why it should matter what the diagnosis is. After all, I’m on an antidepressant (Prozac), and that can help target any number of mental health issues regardless of the official diagnosis. Sure, Prozac might not “cure” me of a personality disorder, but it should help with the comorbid anxiety and depression. I think the reason a diagnosis matters to me is because I’m tired of struggling on alone. I want to find a support group for my specific issue, and a therapist who has training in helping people like me (whatever “me” is). It hasn’t been enough to just go to therapy and talk about my issues. I feel like I need a game plan. I’m drowning, and I just don’t know what the hell to do to save myself.

When it comes to the crunch, all of my suffering comes down to perfectionism. It is ruining my life. There is no doubt about it. I know it is, and yet I am powerless to stop it. That probably sounds overly-dramatic, but I am honestly not kidding. Over the last couple of days, I’ve found myself starting absent-mindedly at the wooden beams supporting the roof on the patio. It occurred to me that I could hang a rope from there and kill myself. Oh, don’t worry, I won’t actually do it but, yes, I do think about suicide because I have reached breaking point. I am so, so, so tired of being me and trying to be perfect.

My perfectionism touches every single aspect of my life, no matter how important or banal. As an example of the banal, let me tell you what happened when I walked into my SLAA women’s meeting today. Nearly everybody was wearing cute summer clothes and sandals. I had been too depressed and disorganized to do any washing, so I turn up wearing the only things that were clean – jeans, a turtleneck and trainers (“sneakers” to you Americans). So what? No big deal, right? Yeah, of course not. But except that this happens:

OhmygodwhyamItoomuchofalosertodothewashing?

Whatkindoflosercantgetittogetherenoughtodothewashing?

WhydontIhavenanycleanclothes?Whatthefuckiswrongwithme?

ImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloserImaloser

Iwantbeautifulsummerclothesandsandals

IwantIwantIwantIwantIwant

ImustbebeautifulImustbetheprettiestImusthavethenicestclothesthenicestsandals

ImustImustImustImustbethemostbeautiful

Imustbeperfect

Whatkindofaloserwastestimethinkingaboutclothesandshoes?!

IamsofuckingshallowImpatheticImstupid

My head is filled with such nonsense all day long. I cannot take it anymore.

As I read more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder this week, I learned that people with this disorder often have trouble with relationships. Nah….you don’t say!!! I made life unbearable for MM because I expected perfection from him, too. There were times when I would come home from work, and he wouldn’t have done the dishes, so I would just smash them all on the kitchen floor in a temper because I couldn’t stand the chaos of it all. Oh, I am my mother’s daughter. This is how I grew up. There were no smashed dishes but there were impossible standards of cleanliness to meet, and all hell would break loose if I failed. I was also supposed to be beautiful and smart, and I was. I was. I was. I was. I still am. But it was/is never enough.

I can’t believe that I would put another person through the same hell that my mother put me through. MM wasn’t innocent by any stretch of the imagination (he has his own demons) but there can be no doubt that I was incredibly emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive, and that I broke his spirit. I needed him, and yet I hated him for being too weak to leave me, and I made him pay – for my father’s sins, I guess, of being too weak to protect both himself and me from my mother’s tirades.

Now that he is gone I sometimes miss him dreadfully, which is ironic given that I spent the last half of our relationship plotting my escape. He is understandably angry about some of the things I did in the marriage, but I, in turn, feel angry and betrayed because I-did-not-do-any-of-them-on-purpose! I don’t want a “Get Out of Jail Free” card because I know what I did wrong. I’m not making excuses. But, still, nearly ten months after the break-up, he calls me “a monster”, “evil” and blames me for his drinking, and his abusive treatment of me, which apparently only ever happened because he was “provoked” by me.

I don’t think it’s fair that he blames me for everything but, despite feeling this, I can’t help but obsessively analyze my personality to find evidence that maybe (God forbid!) I am a really bad person, after all. That was what he told me for a large part of the relationship. And I believed and accepted it because, well, I was very, very mean to him, and who else but a bad person would be mean?!

Despite this, I wish he was here to give me a cuddle and tell me that everything will be alright. I wish I had somebody in my life, I wish I had a family. I feel so desperately alone, and, although reaching out to my SLAA sponsor and friends/acquaintances helps, it’s not the same thing. I want somebody there who really cares about me; who would stay with me through thick and thin.

I am so sad that I don’t have that.

You’re So Vain (Part 2)


It’s one of those days, folks – a day when I haven’t got a single intelligent thing to say. But I’ve promised myself I’ll write every day in this blog even if this means that I just write crap. This was a personal goal of mine, but, hell, even Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits says it’s a good idea. I’m sitting at the airport now, waiting for my flight back home, and I really didn’t feel like writing anything but then “You’re So Vain” started playing, and that seemed like too much of a coincidence to ignore.

I’m depressed to be heading back. It seems like nothing in my life is going well. Professionally, personally, emotionally and spiritually I feel adrift. I work up feeling depressed, and then felt better later, but the depression hit me again later as I was having lunch with my friend in a café. I’m not sure if the Prozac is working, but, well, I’ve only been on it for a week, so I guess I should give it more of a chance.

I bought a pair of expensive jeans today, and I was depressed looking at myself in the mirror in the store. Yeah, I know, first world problems, right? But, well, I never claimed that I wasn’t superficial with a head filled only with vapid thoughts. I’m attractive, but I think I could be a lot more toned. I seem to have put on weight over the last few weeks. Then again, it’s really hard for me to know whether I look good or not, as I probably have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Any time I think I look good, people say I look unhealthily thin. After seeing myself in the mirror, I decided that I would start training for another marathon again to get more toned, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I’m so fucking busy – I’ll be starting work on the SLAA steps next week, and meeting with my sponsor weekly; attending the Zen center at least once a week; going to at least one SLAA meeting once a week; meditating daily; looking after my ten pets; singing in my band; blogging daily and, oh yeah, working forty hours per week. Do I really have time to train for a marathon as well?

I can’t believe I’m about to quote a Radiohead lyric from 1992 (clearly, I never outgrew my emo phase), but “I want a perfect body; I want a perfect soul”. Marathon running and honing my body probably shouldn’t be a priority in my life right now. I should probably be focusing on my recovery. But I just can’t stand the idea of growing older, and not being attractive anymore.

I want to be a Buddha, but, well, a really fucking hot Buddha.

 

Missing Cat


I’m feeling very down today. I’m not sure why. It could be a case of the “gets-worse–before-it-gets-better” Prozac blues. I am also feeling not at all connected to people, or humanity in general. I was supposed to go out with colleagues from work last night, but I decided not to go because (a) I was exhausted (Prozac again?) (b) while I like my colleagues, they’re not people I would usually associate with if I hadn’t met them at work and (c) I’m tired of going out and getting drunk, and making superficial connections with people.

I had texted a colleague earlier that afternoon to let him know I wouldn’t be there, and he only texted me back at 11:30 p.m. saying “Hey, thanks for the heads up. I just noticed you weren’t there”. Really? It took him 3.5 hours (the night-out started at 8:00 p.m.) to realize I wasn’t there?! Other colleagues had texted me wondering where I was, but, of course, I concentrated on the one who didn’t. I was immediately filled with anger towards this guy, and found myself thinking “Fuck you, you self-absorbed dick”. It’s not great that I had this reaction, but I now at least try to ponder what could be the real emotion behind the anger. With me, it’s usually sadness I guess – feeling that I’m not important, that I don’t matter, that nobody notices me or anything I do.

Since I’m feeling so lonely, I indulged in a little bit of romantic intrigue via email with the incredibly witty and smart client I mentioned in a recent post. We really hit if off during the massage session a couple of weeks ago, and once he got home that night, he emailed asking if he could take me out for a drink. I was tempted to take him up on the offer, but no good can come of a sex worker dating a client, so I declined. But that didn’t stop me engaging in some flirty witty banter with him yesterday. Thankfully, I’ve nipped it in the bud, as email/text/iMessage flirtation is often the way I start to get obsessed with a guy.

I know this is incredibly hypocritical given that I’m perfectly happy to take their money, but I don’t really respect or trust any of my clients. I’m not saying that they’re bad guys (because they’re not) but they’re probably not the healthiest of people. They’re either seeing me behind their partner’s back, or they’re single but using my services to avoid facing some difficult area of their life. I just don’t want to get involved with a client because that’s not the kind of man I want for myself. I would like somebody more self-aware. Before you leave a comment telling me what I hypocrite I am, please know that I do realize that I am not the healthiest person either.

I am also sad this weekend because of an encounter with a cat yesterday that ended badly. About a month ago, a big, friendly, fat tom cat turned up outside my door miaowing loudly one night. He was there two nights in a row, which struck me as odd, as he didn’t seem like the kind of cat whose owners would let roam about at night. I fed him, and he didn’t seem particularly hungry, so I just assumed he belonged to somebody but maybe liked wandering about occasionally. I told myself that if he was there three nights in a row, I would assume he was a stray and do something to help. He never came back. But yesterday he did, and he was completely fucked up. Skinny, nose covered in scabs, eyes all gungy, and with a wound on one of his hind legs with maggots crawling on it. I took him to the local vet who said he thought he had been hit by a car. The poor wee guy didn’t make it. He died shortly after arriving at the vet’s.

I feel very bad because it was tough to see this once healthy cat in such terrible condition. I hate to think about how much pain he must have been in. Some “Missing Cat” posters appeared in my street earlier this week, and the cat on them looked very much like the cat who died. I called the owner and he visited the vet to view the body, and he confirmed that it was indeed his cat. Apparently the owner was in-between apartments, and had given the cat to some friends temporarily, and he had escaped weeks ago. The guy doesn’t own a car, and lives on the other side of town, so that’s why it had taken him so long to put up the “Missing Cat” posters. I feel that I should have taken better care of this cat when he arrived on my doorstep the first time. Looking back, I can now see that he was really affectionate and attention-seeking the two nights he was outside my house. I have eight cats of my own for God’s sake, so why did I not recognize that he was lonely, confused and wanted somebody to help him?

Poor kitty cat. If any good came out of this, it’s that he died somewhere comfortable with people with him, and not lying in the gutter all alone.