It’s marvellous isn’t it. Getting older. That’s right, today, right at this minute I’m on the right side of my mid life crisis. I can see the benefits, not one moan, not one gripe shall litter this entry. Negativity is but a distant dream today.
So what’s put such a spring in my step? 15mg of Mirtazapine.
Now if you had told me I’d be on chemical enhancements a couple of years ago I would have looked down my nose and fluttered my eyelids, the way Madonna does when she’s pissed off in an interview.
But shit got real a few weeks ago. Full on mini meltdown.
I was sitting in a meeting with some clients, they were discussing a new project. I start getting tired and angry for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Eventually all I can hear is “Blah-Blah-Blah”. Then suddenly I hear a voice, remarkably like my own, shout out “WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK!!”.
These are good people. I’ve worked with them for so long I can categorise them as friends. Thank goodness. They all burst out laughing but I was horrified. Swearing is one of my favourite hobbies, but never have I ever swore in front of a client.
Afterwards I was having a coffee with the M.D. She was studying me, head cocked, her lips pursed as I struggled to make my lips reach my mug. I was shaking, couldn’t stop. She reached down into her Prada handbag (the one I helped pay for) and produced a bottle of pills. She unscrewed the lid and gently tipped a small white pill into the palm of her hand.
“What’s that?”, I asked.
“Valium”, she said.
She didn’t need to tell me twice. It didn’t even touch the sides.
“You sir”, she said, ‘Are Depressed”.
Was I? I didn’t feel sad.
Except when I thought about life. Or my work or my family, my marriage, the news, the state of the world, cooking dinner or how absolutely fucking tired I was due to the fact I couldn’t sleep for more than three hours at a time.
But apart from that I was absolutely fine.
O.K, so she had read me like the cheap blog I am. She ordered me to go see my Doctor.
I did, but not before consulting my husband. He’s old school, brought up in a tough Jamaican household. They never suffered with depression because they were always high. His words – not mine.
“How many years have I been telling you to chill out and calm the fuck down”.
Because that’s exactly what you need when your’e super stressed, to be told to calm down. I ran to the doctors before I ended up in handcuffs and a spit hood.
My Doctor is awful. That’s not a negative entry, it’s just fact. She doesn’t like the Gays.
My husband came with me to my last appointment and she kept referring to him as my “Friend”. So I try to explain how Ive been feeling and she’s doing her best attempt at concern, patent Dr frown – check, glazed look of sympathy – check, the odd nod and chin stroke – check. She’s got that shit down to an art form. Then she gave me a form.
“Please fill this in and bring it back”.
Are you feeling suicidal? Do you feel worthless? Do you feel disconnected? etc, etc. Please answer on a scale of one to ten, ten being very likely, one being not at all. I put ten for every answer. I mean you have to do that sometimes, right? Ramp it up just to get heard.
Next thing I know Iv’e got these pills. One to be taken every night.
I’m sorry but there is no other way to say this – Fucking Marvellous.
First night, nothing. Second night, still nothing. This went on for a week. Then on the seventh night I slept like I have never slept before, 14 blissful hours.
I awoke, not unlike Snow White to the sound of chirping birds. I smiled in the morning, I actually fucking smiled. I said good morning to my husband, he looked like he’d just been shot.
I bounded in the shower and I bounded out again, not once did I glance in the mirror. Not once did I analyse my middle aged body for more signs of decay.
The veil of shadow that had suffocated my brain was ripped away and underneath was a shiny, new, happy me.
But was I? Wasn’t I just masking issues? I wasn’t sure, I didn’t have any issues anymore. Something felt phoney, artificial and of course, chemical.
I suggested stopping the medication. My husband threatened to leave me if I did. He was joking, at least I think he was…anyway, I cut the dose down by half.
Slowly my darker thoughts began creeping back to the party. They snuck in the back door and mingled in the kitchen by the stale humous and half empty Rose bottles.
That’s when I discovered mindfulness.
Two Audio books, Eckhart Tolle – The power of now and Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled. God bless the both of them.
Eckhart freaked me out a bit, he’s a wonderful human being but does sound a bit like a Bond Villain/ Peter Lorre. Ruby on the other hand was an absolute delight, firing off quips like bullets from a well oiled gun. Making me laugh and teaching at the same time.
I got it. Instantly. I understood the concept of neuro-plasticity, of training my brain to be better, happier and decluttered. I cannot recommend these books highly enough, I think it should be taught in schools. It probably is in more progressive cultures, Sweden, they’re always one step ahead socially, I bet it’s standard practice there. (Although their suicide rates are a worry).
It’s an ongoing process, something I have to practice everyday but the results have been amazing.
Today I reached a milestone, a full week on just a quarter tablet. I’m hoping to be completely chemical free by the end of the month.
Absolutely life changing.
So in truth I do give a crap except now it’s just about the stuff that matters. Love, Life , Art and Staying sane.