The Pull of the Sea

The breeze was cool as it gently brushed her hair away from her face, her cheeks turning slightly rosey in colour. Her pace had slowed as she moved closer to the sea, the sand allowing her feet to sink a little deeper with each step forward. She could feel the tiny grains spilling over the tops of her trainers and making their way down to mingle amongst her toes.

Watching the water gently lap across the shore her mind began to wander once again. memories flooded her mind as the sea flooded the sands. It was such a peaceful place, somewhere to think and reflect. Her mother’s ashes were here. She knew when the time came this is where she wanted to finish her story too, the only real question left to answer was ‘when?’

Granted life had recently left her feeling as though she was already drowning, but her family and friends had held her up and kept her from sinking down too far. She had found a peace she didn’t expect to feel, in a place she never expected to find it. But the pull of the sea still called to her. How easy it would be to simply keep walking. To take a few more steps and allow the sea to carry her further, to lift the weight from her feet and allow her to finally rest. To feel the water wash away her fears, and worries. Her doubts and concerns. To finally be free.

As her mind began to float forward towards the sea in front of her, a gentle tugging pulled her back to the shore. Looking down, her four legged friend looked back up at her. His curled tail gently wiggling side to side, his quirky features patiently waiting for her to lean down and give him another fuss. How can a little furry friend save her from herself so often without even a word? She didn’t know, all she knew was he did, over and over again, and probably always would.

She knew deep down she didn’t want to let go just yet. There were things she wanted to do, memories left to make, and people left to love. The sea just always seemed to have the ability to pull her in if she looked out towards it for too long.

‘Not today’ she thought, as she pulled her feet out of the sand and her gaze away from the water.

Making her way back up to the sea wall she looked down and smiled. Her little companions feet were gently trotting along, his nails tapping the floor below. ‘Let’s get you home, hey?’ She whispered.

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I haven’t cried today.

The last 11 days have been some of the hardest of my life.

In short, I’ve lost my partner and best friend, my home, and ownership of two of my dogs.

I have no money. No job. No stability. No home and no furniture.

I have cried every single day for the last ten days. Depression grabbed hold of me even tighter than before. Anxiety has been suffocating me. Loneliness has been swallowing me up whole.

But today. Today I haven’t cried.

I’m still so hurt. I still feel so broken. I still want to curl up in a ball, squash my eyes closed and pretend none of this is happening. But I’m somehow still going. Somehow still breathing. It’s hard to accept the one you love doesn’t want you anymore, in fact it’s near impossible. But that is my reality. And it feels like someone has taken a hammer and smashed up everything I thought was real and unbreakable.

But somehow, I am still here. Somehow, I am still breathing, my heart still beating. And somehow, and I have no idea how, I haven’t cried today.

E.

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

It’s been said so many times before, and will no doubt be said so many times again. Honesty is the best policy. But is this something we actually believe? And is this something we should genuinely live by?

I find myself right now currently dealing with this dilemma. Do I come clean, and let someone know my true feelings, or do I keep quiet with the hopes of not saying something that might ruin the friendship. Because really, is it worth the risk of losing a friendship just to say how you feel and get something off your chest? It’s one of those what if situations, and I worry if I choose the wrong one it could have some really shitty consequences that I would then have to live with. what if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t say something and then really wish I had?

What if

What if

What if.

I guess everyone has there secrets and opinions, I just don’t like being one of those people. I want to be honest. I like being open and upfront with people. But I don’t want to fuck things up. I only have a few close friends in my life and I don’t want to lose them or to hurt them with what I say, and on the flip side of that I don’t want to hide how I really feel or in the long run feel guilty for not being honest. I know I’d prefer to hear the truth, but I can’t say that for everyone.

Wouldn’t they ask me how I honestly felt if it was something they really wanted to know?

Maybe they would appreciate my honesty?

Maybe they already know on some level how I feel?

Maybe I’m too worried and scared to even find out?

Who knows. Why can’t things ever just be simple ey?

E.

Spring Cleaning

As spring looms once again and we get our one nice week of weather, with it comes my need to spring clean and de-clutter. It’s a phase I think most people go through, needing to reinvent the environment they find themselves existing in every day. I’ve never been a particularly tidy person, I’ve always tried but it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I visit other people’s houses that look like pages taken straight out of home style magazines and it makes me tingle with envy and disappoint in myself. And so I try once again to organise my home and organise my life I doing so.

And so, yesterday I decided to tackle that task once again and began sorting things through, this time beginning with my wardrobe. I put away the jumpers, (hopeful I know), reorganised the dresses and compiled a large pile of clothing that I no longer need or wear. Whilst I was doing this, sat amongst a mountain of material, someone Ive started to feel quite close too asked me a simple and yet complex question.

If you were going to write about something right now, what would it be?

And I guess a few things ran through my mind at hearing that. The first was that I couldn’t believe someone actually cared what I had to say, and take the time to read the things I write. And that meant a lot to me. The second was, quite obviously, what would I write about, right in this moment? I suppose the obvious answer was quite literally surrounding me. Why is it I feel the need to go through and throw out my things? Again, the simple answer for most is ‘spring cleaning’, but I know deep down that’s not the case for me. As with most things, my mind heads to a dark place when I think about why it is I feel the need to throw away my belongings and try to stream line my stuff.

When I die, I don’t want my family and friends to have to sort through piles of my belongings and mountains of memories.

See, I told you my mind was dark. But that is the honest truth. I don’t want the people I care about most to have to spend hours rifling through my things trying to figure out what had meaning and what is meaningless. When I’m gone I want them to have a clean break and not leave behind more things for them to sort through or worry about. I don’t want to clutter up their lives anymore than I did when I was alive. So that is the real reason I try to throw things away or donate them where I can. Because in the end we can’t take any of it with us, can we?

As I admired another friends perfect show home I expressed how much I wish I could live like her and not become so heavily invested in items and their sentimental value to me, and she said something that really stuck with me.

You hold onto things because you have lost a lot of important people in your life.

And this is true is well. I hold onto the items with memories because sometimes I know I won’t have a chance to make any new ones. And that’s a tough and yet strong dose of reality. So with that in mind I guess it is ok for me to keep hold of things that remind me of happier times and memories of years gone by, even if they do take up done room or make my home a little messier than others. I just need to separate those meaningful keepsakes from those other little trinkets I can’t help but hold onto as a painful reminder of who I was and a vain attempt to get myself back to the person I used to be. I think that ship has sailed, and she is long gone by now. I may not like who I am now, but holding onto a shirt from 10 years ago isn’t going to magically turn back time and take me back to a place I get more comfortable in my own skin, that’s for sure.

So I guess for now I will keep sorting things out, carrying on with my own version of a spring clean. But instead of letting my inner darkness take over and throw away everything just in case something was to happen to me, I’ll try to get rid of things that no longer ‘bring joy’ and instead make some room for new memories while being sure to treat the old ones with the love and respect they deserve. After all, I’m not gone yet, and while I’m still here these dinosaur coins and two toned sunglasses are still pretty priceless to me.

E.

Chuffed with Crufts.

Another year, another crufts weekend has past. One of my favourite times of the year, crufts is an excuse for me to be my inexcusable myself. A long weekend filled with things I love. I get to see Sarah, something I wish could happen more often than it does. We spend our time playing board games, watching films, going on wanders around the city, eating nice food, and most importantly we get to be unapologetically us, obsessed with all things dog. We get to meet them, take pictures of them, talk about them and touch them. It’s incredible. To be surrounded by so many furry friends and other people who love them (almost) as much as we do.

I know Crufts can sometimes get a bad rap for bad breeding or horrible treatment of dogs, (and as with all animals some unfortunately have owners who don’t appreciate their little fur children), but if you could see how happy the majority of the dogs actually are in the arenas you would understand maybe a little better what crufts is like to attend. Most of the dogs are wagging their tails, trotting around excitedly pleasing their owners. While they are not standing with their proud owners in the ring you can see them being groomed, walked around the stalls and given copious amounts of love and attentions from their human companions and friendly strangers alike. And the amount of stalls in the arena selling all things dog is astronomical. Crufts weekend is like dog Christmas, with owners buying bags full of food, treats and toys. It really is a lovely experience.

Sadly last year sarah and I were unable to attend for a few different reasons including my shitty health as a major issue, however this year we managed to make it over to meet the dogs and peruse the stalls. Granted we didn’t stay the entire day as we have before and we weren’t able to watch the shows live as we have enjoyed doing in the past, however we got to spend several hours in our happy place which was definitely an enjoyable time. We even took our annual photo booth photo, something we have done every year we have been, a tradition I hope we can continue until we are little old ladies struggling along with our walkers, still determined to meet all the puppies we can get our hands on.

The only downside of crufts is missing my own furry children, and as I sit in the station now waiting for by train back to lowestoft, I can’t wait to get back home, squish their faces with a million kisses and make Neil listen to all my stories of the doggos I’ve met on my travels. And even if my pups aren’t crufts worthy, they are and always will be the real champions in my eyes.

Quitting Quetiapine

Today marks 1 month since I quit Quetiapine. For those who are lucky enough to have never come into contact with it, Quetiapine (also know as Seroquel) is an antipsychotic medication prescribed by a psychiatrist to ‘help treat’ bi-polar disorder. I use the term ‘help treat’ extremely loosely. While the medication does help soften the extreme mood swings associated with bi-polar disorder, it only does so for a limited amount of time (in my experience) and with some extreme side effects. These damages include but are not limited too;

  • Extreme weight gain and increased appetite
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sickness
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Traumatic dreams
  • Weakness

I only list the above side effects (there can be many more) as these are the ones I suffered with. There is a reason this drug is referred to as ‘baby heroin‘ when bought illegally on the streets.

But we’re these side effects worth the relief this drug is intended to provide for bipolar disorder? No. No they were not.

But wait, there’s more! Not only are there reactions when taking the drug, there are also long lasting symptoms that continue well after the medication has been stopped, and Quetiapine is known to cause permanent damage to the patient. This includes, but is not limited too;

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Insomnia
  • Lowered metabolism
  • Visual disturbances
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Lowered white blood cell count and being prone to sickness
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Worsening of pre existing conditions (such as depression, anxiety and mood swings)

Again, the above is only a selection of the permanent issues faced after taking Quetiapine, and all of which I have been left facing for the foreseeable future.

‘Why did you even go onto this medication if the side effects were so dire?!’ I hear you ask. Well it’s simple really. I didn’t know. I didn’t know I would face such repercussions. When the I was prescribed this medication I was in a suicidal frame of mind (one which still haunts me) and I trusted the psychiatrist who said I needed to take these tablets to feel better. I had lost hope and was willing to try anything. I didn’t know anyone who was going through a similar situation or could warm me of the consequences of committing to this medication. I wish I had known, I wish I had been warned about the extreme weight gain, the inability to remember simple names or information. I wish I had been warned about the headaches and the sickness. The fatigue and the sickness. But I wasn’t. When I questioned the side effects I was facing I was told these would pass as my dose increased and we found the right antidepressants to take along side Quetiapine. Because, that’s right, you still have to take antidepressants with Quetiapine to experience its ‘full benefits’!!

I was on this medication for a little under 3 years. Throughout this time my dose increased several times, and my symptoms were dismissed as a necessary inconvenience. I took the tablets as I was told, unaware the poison was causing long term side effects that I may now never recover from.

Once I began counselling (thank you Tara, thank you Dad) I was finally able to see how these drugs were effecting me. They were not helping me. Sure they did alleviate my sever mood swings and depressive outbursts for the first 12 or so months, but after that their ‘effectiveness’ wore off and the side effects worsened. My councillor advised a change as soon as possible and helped motivate my doctor to take the next steps in getting me off this drug. I was referred back to a psychiatrist which took several months to come in fruition (as my doctor was not ‘allowed’ to alter this medication himself) and I have finally been transferred onto a different medication which is now slowly working it’s way into my system and gradually being increased in dose week by week.

And so it has been 31 days since I last took Quetiapine. My doctor did not however help me to slowly switch, instead he insisted I do so immediately without lowering my previous medication first, leaving me with some of the worst withdrawal symptoms you can imagine. I was unable to eat or drink, constantly being sick (up to 10+ times a day), I faced violent shakes, headaches, dizziness, insomnia and the dreaded ‘brain zaps’. I honestly thought I was going to die. I honestly wanted to die. It was a horrific feeling and even resulted in a hospital visit and getting treatment for dehydration and extreme sickness. Thankfully, I am now no longer feeling as hideous as I was before. I have been prescribed yet more tablets to help with the sickness, and the brain zaps have finally stopped. The new medication has so far been treating me well, and yes I did lots of research before agreeing to start the new treatment. I pleaded with my doctor to let me come off medication all together and see how I handled being ‘clean’ so to speak, not because I felt I was mentally well enough to do so, but because I’m terrified of what a new set of tablets could do to me. But, I have begun a new course of treatment and I am praying this one might work, alongside those wonderful people who continue to support and encourage me. So please Lamotrigine, please can you just help me a little more, and maybe hurt me a little less.

I’m writing this to hopefully reach someone who may be faced with starting to take Quetiapine (Seroquel) themselves. Please, don’t. It is not worth it. I promise you.

Day Dreams and Death Scenes – My Battle with My Inner Demons

⚠️ Warning – this post may trigger those currently dealing with their own depressive demons. This is an extremely personal post so please don’t read on if you are possibly going to have negative side effects. ⚠️

Recently, in the past couple of weeks my personal demons have become an extremely heavy burden on me again. They are clinging onto me so tightly their claws are digging through my skin and piercing into my bones. They are leaving me covered in open scars left to bleed out and drain me dry. Extreme? Yes. Graphic? Yes. But physically painful and emotionally destructive? Yes.

My biggest issues I’m currently facing with my bipolar manic depressive disorder is the dark thoughts my mind keeps taking me too. Dragging me into a deep disturbed place and setting up camp. And I’m going to be completely honest in this post. These are thoughts of death. Thoughts of how much better life would be for those around me, if I was no longer here. No longer a burden. No longer another worry to weigh them down. Because this is what I feel like. I’m an emotional, financial, physical life size burden to those people who I love more than life itself. And I’m not writing this for pity or attention, I don’t even think many people read my posts. I’m writing this to just try and get this out of my head. Because it’s all currently stuck inside and it’s holding me captive, slowly but truly taking over.

And so back to these day dreams of death scenes that are currently reoccurring on loop in my minds eye. I am in a dark place. I want to get out. I need to get out. And my mind keeps giving me all these infectious, inspired ideas. I can’t cross the road without imagining walking out in front of the traffic. I drive my car and imagine crashing. I take my tablets and think of taking too many. Why if I swam out to sea? What if I cut myself and let go, if I hang and take my final painful breath? And I know how horrific this is, and that I shouldn’t be saying these things let alone think them but I can’t help it, my mind is warped and tearing me apart. I am lost. Death feels like escape. An end to pain and hopelessness.

And I love my incredible friends and family, my partner and our pugs. I love them so so much and I don’t want to pass this pain onto them, they don’t deserve that, but I feel like such a burden that if I was no longer here, after the initial shock and pain, their lives would be a better place than they could ever be with me in it. My friends could live their lives without having to constantly listen to my problems and tears and screwed up thoughts, my beautiful Sarah could focus on her own life and career and family, and not have to deal with my constant depressive episodes. She has been there for almost 18 years and deserves a break from my constant drama and inability to be a good best friend. I love her like a sister, but I know she deserves so much better than me. My family wouldn’t have to feel secretly ashamed at my lack of a career, constant problems, my battle with my weight and my mental health. Granted some family have already cut me out of their lives for which I don’t blame them, but those who have stood by me deserve the relief of not having to constantly worry about me and my problems all the time. And my Neil. My incredible wonderful Neil who I love more than life itself, he would no longer have to deal with my breakdowns and mood swings, my emotional and financial dependence, my over protective nature and constant need for reassurance. He could finally be with someone who not only sees how incredible he is, as I do, but who can give him the happiness, fun, freedom and future that he deserves. Because he deserves the world. Someone who will fill him with passion and excitement and incredible moments and memories, someone who doesn’t have all these issues and invisible illnesses I find myself battling with daily. I love him so so much, and want him to be the happiest he can be, and my mind tells me that’s not with me. I love you all so much, I don’t want to be the dark cloud in your beautiful blue sky’s anymore. I even feel guilty for my beautiful pups, they deserve a better owner than me!

And so, all these thoughts just swirl around and keep filling my head. And it’s no ones fault but mine and my mental health. And these are the parts of mental health that people don’t see. They don’t realise. They don’t understand or want to believe how dark and severe things can get. But this is real. And this is scary. It’s overwhelming and painful and destructive, but it is my reality. I don’t want to feel this way. To have these thoughts and imagine these different ways to die. But I do, and I’m frightened. I just want them to stop. I want the pain to end. I want the burden to be gone and the happiness to be real.

I’m so sorry to those I love. You are not to blame and not at fault, at all. You are the most incredible wonderful people and the reason why I am somehow still here today. I love you all so so much and always will.

My problem is with Me. Me and my mental health. And I’m so so sorry for it all.

E. x