The Return to a Life Sorta Well Lived…with some minor changes (including SSRI withdrawal).
“Stars, they come and go
They come fast or slow
They go like the last light of the sun, all in a blaze
And all you see is glory
But it gets lonely there
When there’s no one here to share
We can shake it away if you’ll hear a story”
Janis Ian’s ‘Stars’ is a seven-and-a-bit minute personal experience on what happens to those whose stars burn so bright, but so quickly, what happens to them when they’re forgotten, and how they can go through it all again.
Maybe it’s not so much the direct reference to the afterglow her words refer…it’s music, though, so it’s esoteric; through the magic of interpretation, you make empathy, or, or…just relate in a way that only you understand because that’s how you heard the song while sitting at your computer at 3am. It’s now 3.12am.
For two years, I’ve relied on meds to stabilise my mood, my life, my sadness and even the happier times I experience. It’s balanced my reactions to when my beautiful daughter brings me home a portrait from kinder before smearing lipstick on walls. It’s balanced my motivation to a point I. Just. Stopped. Trying. Especially with the woman I fell dearly for almost 10 years before I heard Janis’s song. That sounds possibly ambiguous; I am referring to Missy Elliot.
Okay, it’s not Missy. It’s my wife, but Missy easily the second-place getter.
Hugs, kisses, sex, nurture. Things that make me such an up and down person; things that make us all like that. I forgot how to do them because I forgot what it was like to just be myself. Music, any song, would either make me flick a switch and change it, or be on repeat for days until the ‘shiver thing’ no longer ran along my spine.
Instead, relying on professional help made me even more confused because I didn’t know if I was hitting the progress markers determined for those diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder. I did, however, hit a ceiling, checked myself in to a private clinic and just did nothing.
It was wonderful.
It also meant that, two years ago, I didn’t want to be capable anymore, at a time in which my little daughter and beautiful wife needed me just as much as I needed to know, internally and professionally, I wasn’t going to attempt suicide.
(3.23am…gosh, you can just think about the what-if when you realise how close you came to fulfilling the ultimate escape.)
In June 2015, I began the process (again) of preparing to leave. Nothing made sense to me, and I realised it was just going to be easier to ‘walk away’ from trying to defeat depression.
It was really, really, hard, and I was sick of professionals, sick of everyone being so helpful. Just sick. The opposite note was the beginning of the plan I needed to complete prior to dying. The thought of still being here was so unbearable, that the most logical step was to stop being a burden on everyone.
“Mummy, I want to stay in Daddy’s bed.”
The first time I started to re-think my situation was when Vivienne said that to my wife, reminding me that I was close to being detached from the last two people in my life I genuinely loved, and who genuinely loved me no matter how much I pushed them away.
I used that moment to start moving away from that darkness…honestly it was also fucking cold and I missed being in the same bed as my girls.
“I guess I could learn how if I gave it half a chance
But I always feel so funny when my body tries to soar
And I seem to always worry about missing the next chord
I guess there isn’t anything to put up on display
Except the tunes and whatever else I say”
Just under two weeks ago, I dropped the SSRIs completely. Two years of stability and consistency were great, but for that point of time in my life. In the past, if I tapered off Zoloft or what have you, I would ‘always worry about missing the next chord’. So much so, I would jump back on them, at higher doses and another long term commitment to meds.
For two weeks, I have been manically happy. I’ve listened to music like Janis’s and cried, and shivered, and hugged my wife and daughter, and talked with those I love dearly, except Missy. Hard to touch base but I know she’s out there somewhere.
I’ve also been working, not at full capacity (still a while off), and I’m loving it. I love not waking up and having 200mg of sertraline. If things get rough, I see my doctor and she helps. And it’s a good system.
Sure, the insomnia, sleep paralysis and nightmares are kind of a drag (3.58am now), but I know they’re temporary, just like those bloody brain zaps. I feel ‘back’. I feel like I’m getting there. I know it’s going to take a long time, but if I do this, I win. Everything.
“We always have a story
So if you don’t lose patience with my fumbling around,
I’ll come up singing for you even when I’m down”
Love you all so much.