Friday, May 15, 2015

Kicking the Black Dog in the Guts (Not an Endorsement of Cruelty to Metaphorical Animals)

Looking back to my last post on this subject, what a difference two weeks make. Rewind back to nine and a half weeks back and I was utterly desperate to get on type of anti-anxiety drug  to stop feeling so crap and to get some sleep. As I may have mentioned before the cancellation of the trip was the final straw in a completely shitty 12 or so months. I was teary a lot of the time, loud noises set off the anxiety. I was in real bad shape. I took the drugs (a variation on Paxil), prescribed by someone who wasn’t my normal doctor, and the side effects were almost as bad as the symptoms.

Talking with my psychologist (whom I hadn’t seem for 7 years), she advised me straight away to get off the Paxil. I went down from a full tablet to half for a week, then a quarter for the following week. To be honest, the Paxil never fully settled me down while I was on it. It did help a lot, but the anxiety was still there, making an appearance late at night. Weaning myself off the drug wasn’t too bad. I felt a lot better for it. The “downstairs” problem fixed itself, and even though the anxiety was still there to small degree, It started to subside. It was only on Wednesday this week that I realised that I hadn’t had that anxious feeling in my throat at any point that day.

I think the thing which really helped me was getting back into some sort of normal routine. Apart from work, there was a concerted effort to get me back into my normal hobbies and outings. I had pretty much abandoned a lot of those due to the fact I was saving for my trip. Admittedly on the day I was meant to fly out I did order a ton of Blu-rays, books and other stuff. I suppose I had felt I had suffered enough and deprived myself for too long. And as you can see I have begun to write again and resurrected the blog (not the other one I was working on though), and I’m updating one of my old websites with a ton of info. This was a website I hadn’t done anything with for about two years. I’m also planning a couple of local trips and some visits to the local cinema.

Even as early as the beginning of this week I felt I was still having to push myself a bit. However in the last couple of days I have felt a lot more proactive and wanting to get a lot of stuff done. With the budget out of the way and seemingly my job being safe for at least another 12 months, I have decided to start planning my holiday for late November/early December. Once I work out which cities and areas I’ll be going to, the hotels (and a bit of Airbnb) I’ll be staying at and the transportation logistics, I think should be able to start booking stuff in the next two weeks, if not sooner. It’s a far cry from my mood in mid March (a couple days after I was meant to fly out) when in a depressive funk I threw everything related to the trip, maps, guides, my laptop etc into my suitcase and stored it high in my cupboard to try and forget what happened.

The sunny weather, though a tad winterish already, plus the fact I’ve been exercising everyday (just a half hour or more walk) has contributed greatly to my mood and well being. Even though I do still feel a twinge of anxiety from time to time and I have my ups and downs occasionally, but even so I am utterly surprised at how positive and well I feel (maybe eating a tad too much). Hopefully I can keep this up for a while. I mean, I haven’t needed to resort to anti-depressants or counseling for around 7 years, so I hope now I won’t have to for a very long while. It’s good to know that even when you’re predisposed to depression and anxiety there is a way out. It doesn’t have to drag on and on for years. You can feel like a normal human being.

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