As Kate turned 3 at the start of May I made a decision that I wanted to start trying to come of my antidepressants. It has been three years of taking them, although I would say that I have only got the right dose and combination of medicines over the past 18 months to a year that have made me feel level. However these days there are many many more good days than bad and I have been feeling more and more that it is time to take the stabilisers off. A scary thought. There were many reasons why this isn’t perhaps the best time – we still have difficulties with sleeping and lack of sleep is a massive factor in my depression. Mr C is back traveling for work after the majority of 2013 at home and that puts a lot of pressure on me. I am just finding my feet and working out where I fit in this life of ours.
However, just like there is no perfect time for having a baby there is no perfect time for making a change like this. I have been to all the classes, attended the CBT courses. I have talked it through with friends and family. It was time to try. If it doesn’t work then that that is okay. Nothing lasts forever, I can try again in the future.
These things are not a sudden change however. I started gradually reducing my dose and I am now taking half of what I had been. And so far so good. At times great even. I have found myself stopping and thinking how happy I am more and more recently.(Sing along: Because I’m Happy….) I am making sure that I take time to appreciate what is going on around me. I am trying to teach myself what my priorities should be. That if my children want me to slow down, cuddle, play with them then that is what I should do. That sometimes it is fine to just take the easy option. That Kate is just as happy with a party at the local garden centre (or centre garden as she calls it) as she would be with one at home and there is a lot less clearing up to do after. I am trying to be involved in things by doing what I can manage, not what I think others think I should be doing. Something is better than nothing.
I am being brave. I have heard two people speak recently that have been reinforcing this message in my mind. Jo Cho at Blogtacular talked about embracing change and being brave. And so I am trying to be braver. Talk to people. Make the first move to develop new friendships. Make myself get out there and do things that are going to make my life better no matter how much it scares me. Catlin Moran blew me away last weekend. Almost every word she spoke had me nodding or laughing or clapping. But best of all she spoke of faking it until you make it. If you don’t feel able to do something, picture someone you know who could do it and then just pretend to be them.
And that is how I ended up volunteering to be the coordinator for the Nearly New Sales in our village. I can be that person. Organised, capable, sociable. I can be involved and make new friends and give something back. It scares me half to death, and I am sure there will be plenty of bumps along the way but I can imagine how it will feel when I have actually done it.
I am also keeping track of the clues that I have come to recognise as indicators that I am not doing so well. Bouts of irrational anger, stubbornness, withdrawal from people and places, craving to be alone. I have had my bumpy days but so far they have just been that, not signs of slipping back down that spiral.
There is plenty that I can do to help myself. Be aware of how I am feeling, being kind to myself. Writing. I have a new journal (a fancy red moleskin lined notebook). I don’t write often but I write when I need to. I find that writing down my thoughts and worries lifts me and makes me feel that I can relax again. I should write here more about me, but I always have so much I want to say about everything else and rarely get the opportunity to sit down and just dump it all out of my brain. I have decided on a new family moto – If in doubt go out – and this is helping me. I am remembering that as much as I love relaxing and loafing when the time is right I am happiest when we are off having an adventure. Or just outside in the garden drinking a cup of tea. Remembering my word of the year ‘Live’.
Summer starts for us tomorrow – with Piran’s last day of school and there is much that I am looking forward to. I have that summer holiday feeling and instead of dreading being home with two children for six weeks I am working on being excited about all the great things that we can do and everything I have planned. And at the end of the month I am going to drop my dose of antidepressants again. It is scary taking the stabilisers off but until you do you can never feel the freedom and pride in doing something all by yourself.
Disclosure: The red Moleskin journal was sent to me by Viking Direct – along with some other stationery items that I will be featuring in other posts.