Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Last week I forgot to take my medication and this is what it felt like

Last Sunday I was staying over at my boyfriend’s house. It’s a regular enough occurrence, regular enough that I instinctively pack my bag without much thought before I go. Except on Sunday my instincts let me down. Coming off a 20-hour shift, I forgot to add my anti-depressants to my bag.

I knew the outcome wouldn’t be good. But I put on a brave face and said “I’ll be fine” every time my boyfriend asked. I went to sleep around 10:30pm, well aware that the next day wasn’t going to be pleasant.

My alarm went off at 7am, and I could barely open my eyes. Four snooze buttons and 20 minutes later, I knew I HAD to get up or I’d be late for work. But when I tried to get up, when I tried to tell myself I had to go and shower, I didn’t want to.

I’m not talking about the ‘I don’t want to get up this morning’ feeling that me and everyone else has every morning as we struggle with our wake-up call. This was a total shutdown of my systems. My legs didn’t want to stretch out of bed and stand up, my eyes didn’t want to open, my body didn’t want to stand under a shower and get wet, my head did not want me to get up.

I had no motivation to move.

I slowly got my bearings. I didn't have a choice. Like following instructions from a manual, I went step by step, following the same routine I do every day.

Get up.



But when I came back to the room after my shower, I just sat on the bed in my towel. 3 minutes passed. I knew I better start moving. 7 minutes passed, and I had one item of clothing on.  I can’t tell you what I was thinking of in that time. I couldn’t have told you just 2 minutes afterwards. But I sat there, spaced out for 10 minutes until I finally started to move. Moving was much opposed by my whole body. It required significant effort.


Make up.


Almost ready to leave, I turned to my boyfriend and said “I don’t feel right today.”

It’s difficult to explain what not feeling ‘right’ means. But I knew this feeling, I was familiar with it. It put me right back into the shoes I wore seven years ago. I didn’t feel like me.

The world looked different when I left the house that morning. Not metaphorically different, literally. It was like I couldn’t see clearly. It was hazy, blurry. My sight wasn't focused.

I had an overarching, ingrained feeling that something bad was going to happen. A feeling of impending doom. I was anxious and scared.

And my head. Oh good God, my head. I could feel the pressure pushing between my brain and my skull. Or was it the noise? At some point the pressure turned into noise. I couldn’t think clearly.

The rest of my day continued in the same vein. I watched the clock move ever so slowly to 5pm, just waiting til I could go home, take my tablets and get into bed.

Missing my medication shook me for the whole week. I found myself chasing that sleep I missed every night afterwards. It's been even harder to shake the anxiety and the not feeling like me.

Something similar happened on my family holiday back in July. Rather than packing my two types of medication, I brought only the one kind (and double of it). The whole week I took twice my usual dose of this medication, completely missing the other medication. I didn't even realise what I'd done until the day I arrived back home.
I hadn't been able to explain my low moods, mood swings and general feeling of unease all holiday until then - it finally all made sense.

Despite what these two recent occasions might suggest, I don't make a habit of forgetting to take my medication. It's usually very rare - missing one type of medication on two nights out of 365 say. But it has huge effects. It shows me how much I need my meds to sleep, concentrate and just function in my everyday life.

On these rare occasions, I'm only a mere shadow of myself. Without my medication, I'm not me.

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