Mental health, Mental Health & Wellbeing

Over My Shoulder

“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” ~ Salvador Dali

One day; a year ago this week, I decided it would be a simply fantastic idea to take a lethal sized handful of diazepam, zopiclone, and tramadol tablets. And then some iron tablets, because I’d heard from someone that those are the worst.

The result of this was that I ended up in hospital and then under the care of a psychiatrist. Who prescribed me a different bunch of pills, after which this site is named.

Now, I’m not bringing this up because I want to talk about suicide, or suicidal feelings. I think I’ve pretty much covered that before. No, I’m mentioning it because this seems like a fitting point to look back over the last year, take stock of the things that have happened, and consider how far I may or may not have come.

And I’m recording these reflections in print, or binary code, or whatever, because that seems to be what I do now.

It’s been a very frustrating year.

And I think I have another frustrating year to come.

Progress has been slow, and I’m still very poorly. Much more poorly than I would ever dreamed I could be after being under treatment for nearly a year and a half. And even much more poorly than I’d realised that I was.

Last week my letting agent turned up two hours earlier than she was supposed to and I spent the next three hours having the mother of all panic attacks. This was immediately followed by four hours of flashbacks. I took a pill to try to sleep it off; and proceeded to have a nap filled with nightmares that alternated between physical attacks that had happened to me, and imaginary ones by the friend who’d text me before I fell asleep, and a guy on the other side of the world who I’ve never met but has his picture on his blog.

This has left me worrying about whether I’m up to working again.

Except that I have to be up to working again. Y’know, gotta work to eat, gotta eat to live, and all that kind of thing.

It’s also hit me hard in the last few weeks to realise how far I’ve drifted from people who I’d previously assumed I’d always be close to. Mainly because I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to sort my mind and life out that I just haven’t given all that much thought to anyone who hasn’t made a point of keeping themselves on my radar.

Friendship is an active relationship. In most cases it just doesn’t work like that. People have moved on.

And to think that shortly before this all started I’d been feeling satisfied about having reached a point in my life where I’d have to work pretty hard at messing it up.

I explained last week that I don’t think looking forward to a brighter future would be all that helpful at this point. So I decided it was time to try what they tell you not to do, and look back instead. Because in my frustration at the extent of my problems now, it’s easy to forget how much progress I’ve actually made, and horrendously bad things were a year ago.

A year ago I was having panic attacks every time the flat squeaked, or there was an unexpected noise outside. That was taking up more than three hours a day, never mind in a week.

I couldn’t go outside to pick up my prescriptions or buy groceries because of my anxiety, and the risk that someone might – shock, horror – try to say something to me.

In fact most of the time I couldn’t bring myself to leave my bed.

Last Thursday I made it all the way to London, specifically to talk to somebody. About a job. This time last year I didn’t even think about going to work for over four months.

A year ago I experienced thoughts of harming myself, of not wanting to be alive, and an overwhelming dread that it’s hard to do justice to in words at the thought of having to live out the natural life span of a human being. This became so bad that before the medical mental health people stepped in, I had friends, and even strangers on Twitter, staying awake all night and keeping an eye on me to make sure that I was still there and hadn’t actually killed myself yet.

People don’t need to do that any more. And that’s the most important thing really.

I guess the friends thing is just something I’m going to have to get over.

It takes time, usually a long time, for anybody to recover from any kind of life threatening illness. And that’s what’s going on here. So, once again, I need to work on cutting myself some slack and not being so impatient, I guess.



15 thoughts on “Over My Shoulder”

  1. You should be so, so proud of the progress you’ve made in just a short year. I so hope you continue to be patient with yourself and understand that getting better may always be a work-in-progress (and aren’t we all works-in-progress?). You’ve got a lot of people here rooting for you. You are one strong lady. xo


  2. First, an internet hug, if you wouldn’t mind one. It’s ready for if/when you want it.

    Second, in reading this post; I was struck by just how strong you have been over the past year. You have come a long way and as you said, patience and time will keep you progressing. I also wanted to add my two pennies: be gentle with yourself, and find what works best for you. If looking back to see just how far you’ve come is what helps, then do that.

    Third, you’re incredible.

    Chin up. x


  3. Dear M and M,

    You have made great progress this year, and I hope you feel proud of the differences between then and now. As far as the psychiatrist goes, remember, he works for you, so if the medicine he has prescribed. Hundreds of different antidepressant medications are available for you to try. Consider that!

    Your look backwards seems to have helped you feel somewhat successful. Now, try standing in front of your mirror each morning and telling yourself, out loud, how much better you are feeling. Look at yourself, and find something you like about yourself. Tell yourself THAT out loud, as well, and try to enjoy the feeling. Things will continue to get better. So happy for you, and I’m looking forward to your continuing growth. Thanks so much for letting be a small part of your success! 😎


  4. Every time I read a post that you write, I can’t help but be rooting for you. I’ve seen members of my family go through similar situations, not always with the best results. Be patient, as you said…that’ll definitely help.


      1. I’m a horribly impatient person as well, so I completely understand where you’re coming from. This is particularly a problem when it comes to personal growth.


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