I haven’t been writing on here. Even typing the words now invokes a wave of resistance. Even this has become harder.
My clinical psychologist currently classifies my Major Depressive Disorder as moderate, with a Panic Disorder. As Teddy Bear says, how are you meant to NOT be depressed after a year of near-constant panic? Not just worries, or stress, or any of the other everyday experiences that anyone living in a world that is eating itself would have. As my friend and I agreed recently, it’s the people who are calm in 2019 that terrify us – did anyone else read the outgoing interview of the fired/resigned/whoreallyknowswithTrump national security advisor who said the reason there haven’t been any more nuclear missile tests by North Korea is they’re pretty confident they’ve got that shit sorted? Ja, the calm people are terrifying.
But, as I said (sometime ago now), this is different. This is chemical, adrenalin-pumping, hands-trembling, upper-lip sweating, panic. For 365 days. In a row. No wonder I’m bloody tired. It’s fairly miraculous I can make a cup of tea at this point. They’ve medicated the symptoms down or away, one pill at a time. But the actual panic? Not so much. Still, there’s a new pill this week – two in fact, so here’s hoping. Two of the same one, because the pyschiatrist I finally got to see after nine months of just trying not to get hit by a car seems to know what she is doing and doesn’t wack you on diazepam three times a day for five months and then express confusion when you can’t, you know, walk or talk.
I was 16 when I was first diagnosed. I remember it vividly. I remember walking to meet my mom at a cafe afterwards with relief & even something akin to hope. I wasn’t just deficient. Something was wrong, and it wasn’t me.
That was a decade ago now. When I met with the Reasonable Psychiatrist, I couldn’t remember the names of all the medications I’ve tried. I had to write off to a doctor’s surgery in a town whose name has been changed to find out what the chap there put me on for a year five years ago.
I can’t answer all those medical questions nowadays, and it gets in the way sometimes.
How to explain?
I remember all the things it’s taken. I remember falling onto my brother after kissing him goodnight because I’d been given Valium. I remember not being able to feel anything the first times I had sex because Paroxetine causes sexual dysfunction. I remember crawling up the steps of my department at Oxford because Diazepam had taken my legs. I remember knowing I was going to sink in the pool mid-stroke because Venaflaxine is different to Des-venaflaxine. I remember the humiliation of falling, shaking, on my knees in my first Masters class. I remember having a hot flush on a train and thinking I was going to suffocate. I remember not being able to cook dinner; or order food, because my college building had stairs and I couldn’t make it down them. I remember wandering Oxford in a Panic Disorder+Diazepam-induced haze, and almost being hit by a truck. I remember lying face down, naked, where I had fallen on the dry blue carpet of my residence room.
I remember my mother saying depression is a rational response to an irrational world.
I remember my father saying I have depression because I don’t exercise enough.
I remember it being an achievement that I walked in the park alone.
That was today.