“When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide”
A text extract of conversation between my husband and I, 16 March 2014
ME: “Seriously though, what if I don’t get out of this low? I can’t imagine being happy? I’m so tired and this stuff I’m dealing with now is all new to me, it’s different, everything is different. What if this is it?”
HIM: “It’s not!
You will come out of this. It’s been a very hard couple of years with all the moves. It’s a perfect storm of emotions right now. The rest is the same and you will come out of it.
You have been happy. When we got into this house, when you went to Taupo, etc.”
ME: “But what about the stuff I said to you and Anne? Maybe I should have left it unsaid”
HIM: “No, it was always with you, so there is a different dimension to it now, but it’s still something that you’ve been carrying around.”
ME: “That’s what Anne said!
It’s just so hard to imagine being normal.
To remember what it’s like.”
HIM: “I know. I always remember when you had come out of a long hard low and we were sitting outside the Martinborough hotel having lunch and a beer. You commented that it felt like forever since you had felt that normal and that you liked it. You were content. You will get that feeling back.”
ME: “God, it must be so awful for you. I wish i wasn’t like this”
Today I saw the psychiatrist for a follow up after week one of introducing and slowly increasing the quietiepine. Fortunately, she wasn’t expecting any difference. And I wasn’t showing signs of any improvement. She’s told me I need to be at least 300mg before it starts working for me, because my low is just so bad, and my symptoms of PTSD are really complicating the low. She’s recommended ceasing therapy until my mood has improved, fearing that the increase in PTSD is a direct result of the work I’m doing in trauma therapy. And the psychiatrist can see I have no reserves left.
In fact, she has even suggested finding childcare so that I can go into one of their respite facilities. She feels that I’m functioning at a level just enough to manage my children and it is, just for my children. But I have nothing for myself. And she’s anxious to work harder on my medication, but must take into consideration that increasing dosages too quickly could impair my ability to function, and I must be able to drive in the morning and look after my family. It’s finding a balance of getting medication right, so that I can improve but not at the detriment of anyone’s safety.
I’m naturally keen to avoid that route. I want to be there for my children. I have had no problem with changing my routine so that I can take naps in the day time, I am keeping stress low, I’m not drinking alcohol, and ok, I don’t remember to eat during the day, but I’m trying my best to at least have cereal or a snack.
Therapy has been so important to me. It’s the first time in my life I have allowed myself the opportunity to face my real demons and work through my trauma. I’ve been throwing myself into it full blast. Hoping that the pain will give me long term gain. Clearly my brain has been giving off signals of its distress and I have just ploughed along full steam. Impatient and wanting answers. Wanting to rid myself of what I feel are evil tumours attached to my soul, draining me, making me ugly, insidious that tarnish things around me.
In therapy sessions I have disassociated to quite a degree. It’s a horrible feeling. Anne calls it an important ‘off switch’ that the brain uses to protect itself. I get impatient. Yet I am equally scared. It’s like peeking behind your hands while watching a horror movie.
So the rusty old brain and I will go another week doused in medication, fighting for some normality. Whatever that it is!