Week 1

I’m a little bit later than I’d have like to have been to update this blog. Truth be told I think I’ve certainly been experiencing the post-Christmas/New Years Blues. The last week has been very anti-climatic. With all my best intentions in mind to start the New Year with a new me in mind, so far I feel I’ve let myself down. In part I think it’s more to do with the medication I’ve been taking. I’m currently on 70mg of Mirtazapine, which is the highest dose for this medication. This has been steadily increased since I began on these in June/July. They’re not the first anti-depressants I’ve taken, I’ve trialed at least two others since my initial diagnosis 7 years ago. They are the first to affect my sleep pattern, however. Side effects are very common with anti-depressants, this is well known. I’ve experienced extremely vivid dreams, loss of appetite/increased appetite, even a feeling of emotional numbness over the years.

With Mirtazapine that’s not really what has happened. I’ve certainly experienced an increase/decrease in appetite, which varies from day to day. What I commonly encounter, however, is an increase in sleep. Over sleeping is not new to me, especially when I’ve been feeling incredibly low, but what I’ve experienced has been sleep cycles in excess of 12 hours. I always believed that the limit to my sleeping ability was the 12 hour mark. Regardless of how I would be feeling I’d wake after 12 hours. On Mirtazapine it’s been almost disastrous. What I feel on Mirtazapine is an almost paralyzing effect. I can’t wake up. No alarm clock is loud enough to keep me awake, even shaking me to wake me is like trying to wake the dead. It doesn’t matter what’s on my agenda for the morning or if I’ve had 8-10 hours, I wake up like I’ve been given a sedative. What I can relate it to most is like wake up after having anesthetic for surgery. You fumble around, but can’t quite find the energy or the control in your body, to get yourself upright. It’s an unsettling feeling to have every morning. Some days are better than others mind you; I can sometimes fight through the fog in my brain to get up. Early starts though have been nearly impossible. I’ve struggled to meet morning appointments; I’ve even struggled to meet people for lunch.

What I’m trying to emphasize here is that it has become almost impossible to plan a day. Phone calls that I need to make in the morning are never made. I’ve stopped making any appointments before 1pm because there’s a high risk I won’t make it.

I want to stress, however, that I feel Mirtazapine has had a positive effect on my mood. It’s taken awhile to settle in, but now I feel when I need to do something I don’t feel so negative. This is also in part due to the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy I’ve done. The two combined have done a lot for me in terms of starting to get back to some type of normality. I’ll address CBT in another posting somewhere down the line, but for now I want to focus on this.

Having trouble getting up at 7am or 8am has affected how I’m dealing with some aspects of my depression. As I’ve pointed out it makes it difficult meeting early appointments. One aspect of my depression is how I’ve been dealing with my debt problems. Having been unemployed for the better part of 12 months has really taken its toll on my debts as well as me psychologically. I’ve avoided the confrontations because I haven’t been able to pay, I’ve struggled to come to solutions because I felt so weighed down by it all and so I dug my head in the sand. I don’t think it was in a belief that it’ll all go away, it was essentially a complete breakdown of my self confidence, and ultimately my decision making skills. I could no longer think logically about it. With no income and constant harassment I withdrew into myself, and into my bed.

Now I’m on the road to recovery I’m trying to deal with this all again. I’d previously visited the Citizens Advice Bureau in September last year. While initially I was quite hopeful that they’d help, and after filing several documents for them for several weeks, they wrote to me to say they were closing my file. I tried to contact them via email and phone to no success. Again, I gave up. “If they won’t help me, who will?”, I thought. This was the first time in months that I had tried to address my real world problems, and I fell at the first hurdle. With the New Year I knew I would need deal with this again, and it needed to be my priority. Through all of last week I built myself up to going to the C.A.B. I’d have to get up early to get to their offices by 9am.

For those unfamiliar to the way the Citizens Advice Bureau operates (in this city at least), they open at 9.30am, with the ability to only see 25 people daily. Considering that the C.A.B is a charitable organization it is entirely understandable that there is a limit to those they can see. With my crippling sleep pattern this has been a problem. Last week I failed entirely to make it in time. My most successful failure was waking up, wide awake at 9am. It was a valiant effort, but too late. Last night I resolved to attempt it today.

In a move I do not endorse for others on medication, I skipped my meds last night in the hope I wouldn’t feel too sedated in the morning and finally be able to get up on time. To be quite frank, it worked. I was up at 8.20am, ready, dressed, eaten breakfast by 8.35am, and on the bus by 8.45am to arrive at the C.A.B. by 9.05am. Unfortunately, many others had grown wise to the game, and had arrived earlier than me. To cut the story short I was the 27th person in line. I was gutted. I felt like the whole world was against me again. It didn’t help matters that as I took the long walk back to the bus stop that I just missed a bus either.

So now I’m still stuck in this limbo. Part of me feels like today was a wasted opportunity. If only I’d been there earlier, but then I’d always planned to be there for 9am. So now I’m wondering what it is going to take. Getting there earlier is the only option, but I hope from reading this entry how much of a challenge this is going to be. I don’t know if I’d be able to get myself motivated again to go for a third time. This said, I think I do need to persevere. If I don’t accomplish this goal I’m only going to wind up with more problems. Overall I feel quite resentful that I’m in this situation. Mostly I’m resentful towards myself, but there’s a distinct part of me that feels it’s the world’s fault which I know isn’t responsible of me. I am the one who got myself into this, and I’m the one who needs to get myself out of it.

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