Sunday, 2 December 2012

41. I think of Chris with a tinge of regret

**ANNOUNCEMENT - I'm going to be taking a break from Contact over December. This is because over the next four Sundays I will be, in order: in Eastern Europe; recovering from being in Eastern Europe/dealing with the annual Christmas party pile-up; at more Christmas parties/having a Christmas; recovering from December as a whole. So the next Contact update will be posted on Jan 6 2013 and normal service will be resumed from that point. I hope you all have a lovely holiday season****

Following last week's unnecessarily melodramatic blood-fest, my doctor and I have mutually decided that I need to go back on medication.

Amanda and I did not tell anyone at the hospital that I had been self-harming, because I was worried they wouldn't let me go home. This was probably not true, but I didn't want to take the risk, so I convinced Amanda to let me tell them all I fell over on a broken wine bottle and they dressed the wound and sent me off.

However, the incident meant I scared myself enough to go back and see my doctor. He is a gruff 60ish man, who likes to deal with things like ingrowing toenails and sprained ankles; women with histories of sex abuse who sit in his office and won't stop crying are out of his comfort zone and make him extremely uncomfortable. His tendency, whenever I bring my mental health problems to him, is to throw drugs at me till I go away. This suits me fine. I like drugs.

I’ve been on antidepressants, off and on, since I was 17. My doctor likes to give me selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Before these were in common circulation I was on tricyclics, which I didn't like as much. They made me fat and they made me feel like my head was stuffed with cotton wool. SSRIs don't have such bad side effects and also have the double-whammy effect of treating anxiety as well as depression, which works well for me since I suffer from both.

This time he threw in a prescription for sleeping pills too. 

The only things that really bother me about drugs are - firstly, when you start taking them and your body is still adjusting they knock you out. The last time I was on them, I remember a day in the first week when it took me nearly 20 minutes to put my socks on (sit on edge of bed staring at socks. Pick up first sock. Stare at it. Stare into space. Lift foot. Stare at it. Drop sock. Stare at sock on floor. Pick sock up and work it over toes, rinse and repeat) I occasionally wonder whether the reason anti-depressants work is that they force you to concentrate so hard on everyday tasks that you haven't got time for any depression any more.

Secondly, they make not only my sex drive but also any attraction to and sexual interest in other people disappear completely. Effectively, while I'm on them, I'm not a sexual being. This is a common side effect and considering my sexual issues it is one that I quite often welcome. On this occasion, though, I think of Chris with a tinge of regret. Something might have –


Much as I loathe Matthew, on this occasion he actually does have a point. At the moment it’s quite possible that, rather than capturing Chris’s heart, I would have a meltdown and freak the shit out of him.

I know a lot of people with mental health problems, probably because I have them myself and we can all relate to each other much better than we can to allegedly mentally healthy people. We all deal with each other’s various meltdowns, crises, phobias, depressions, and fits of the screaming heebie-jeebies with aplomb, so much so that I sometimes think as a group we forget that behaviour of this kind makes people who aren’t used to it freak the hell out.

I strongly suspect that Chris has not dealt with stuff like this. I like him. I’d rather not put him through it. I will probably, now, never get to go out with him, but that’s ok. I’m too scared to be with anyone anyway. He needs a nice normal girlfriend he can have a good time with, not me.

Outside the doctor's surgery, it is a beautiful sunny day. Amanda is waiting in her beaten- up, bright yellow car. A tiny penis carved out of dark wood hangs from the rear-view mirror, with a voodoo doll in a bright red dress. Buffy is sitting on the back seat on a blanket and barks at me when I open the door.

How did it go?” Amanda says.

Go back on your meds. Go directly back on your meds. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred pounds,” I say.

Congratulations,” Amanda says. “Better living through chemistry.”