The Story So Far – Chapter 23 – Inside The Fear

CHAPTER 23 – INSIDE THE FEAR

I started on the medication the day after I met with the Doctor, he suggested a minimum of a six month course, but stated I should come back within a couple of weeks to assess my condition, I booked an appointment and the only one I could get was on my 40th birthday.

The earlier side effects to the tablets were almost instantaneous, just as the Doctor suggested, which mainly manifested themselves as bouts of diarrhoea and some extreme dizziness.  The diarrhoea thankfully only lasted a day or two, but the dizziness lasted a week or so.  The only way I can describe these feelings was a little bit like on the Lord Of The Rings films, when Frodo puts on the one ring and his world turned to shadows and nothing seemed to be in focus, that was how I was seeing the world in those moments, thankfully they only lasted seconds, but it did leave me feeling very disorientated for a while afterwards.  I spoke with a work mate who I knew had taken antidepressants in the past and described the feelings to him, he identified with the same feelings and said when he knew he had to take them again, he would book off a week so he could get through these side effects, unfortunately because of the days I already had booked, I didn’t have this luxury, I had to tough it out at work.

I had kept Sarah and Paul informed of my visit to the Doctors and how I was feeling, on the Wednesday I went to their house a little bit early, neither of them were present the week before when I sat at Ally’s house in complete tears, but when the rest of the group arrived Sarah let me briefly explain where I was at and the medication I was now on.  It was hard to try and explain what the previous week was all about, as quite honestly, I don’t know what it was about or why it all happened the way it did, but in explaining the visit to the Doctors and the medication, I’m sure they understood things a little better this week.  As always they were all extremely supportive and once again, they prayed for my situation.

Once the early symptoms of the medication had all but worn off, I was left with just the odd mild jittery feeling, it would come and go, the dizziness slowly disappeared, but I would find that I felt really jittery from time to time.  By the time the weekend came around I was feeling relatively normal, compared to the last few weeks anyway, I still was struggling to sleep, I wasn’t getting many hours sleep at all, so it was making me tired, but I was getting through each day and the feelings of desperation were subsiding.

But as the day approached where Victoria was to go away, then a wave of fear began to come over me.  Although I felt that I was doing a lot better, those dark feelings of the previous weeks were still fresh in my mind.  The fear manifested itself as strong feelings that I was going to completely mess up in the ten days or so whilst she was away.  I’ve never had the kids for more than a full day on my own, yes I’ve looked after them alone, increasingly over the last couple of years, but now I had this fear that one of these dark moments would manifest itself and I would end up doing something stupid.  I couldn’t shake the feeling and after all the progress after starting to take the medication, I was beginning to be unravelled.

But I had so many offers of support, so many families at Church all offered their support and said to call them if I was struggling, a few offered to cook a couple of meals for us, which they very kindly did and dropped off for me, it eased the pressure.  Victoria’s mum had them for a couple of night’s so I could attend my Connect Group and took them over the weekend so I could have a bit of a break.

All the while though my struggle for sleep was getting worse.  I would just lay their at night unable to drift off.  The good thing about that was, that on a couple of channels on Sky TV by now were running Christmas films literally 24 hours, so on the nights I couldn’t sleep I would just lay their watching Christmas film after Christmas film, some were good, some were poorly made, but the feel good factor of the films took away any stress I had because of not sleeping.  In the daytime while the kids were at school I would catch up on the odd hour of sleep here and there, but essentially I was still only getting three or four hours sleep each day, but it was enough, I was getting by and gradually feeling better and better.

On the middle Sunday I was invited for dinner at a friend’s, I didn’t have the kids as they were at their Gran’s, so I spent pleasant afternoon in the company of my friend’s family and also a few of our senior Pastor’s who were invited too, it was a really nice way to spend the afternoon and their support and encouragement helped me even more.  Earlier that day at Church I actually felt I was able to participate in worship like I used to.  Over the previous month or so I found I just couldn’t engage with worship, I would sit at the back, on the floor, clutching my knees to my chest and just praying for help, rather than worship, if I tried to get up and worship I just found myself stood there, unable to open my mouth and unable to move, I would just sit down again and go back to that familiar position of holding my knees to my chest and crying into my hands.  But this was the first Sunday where I actually began to feel I was becoming “normal” again, it wasn’t the normal way I would worship, but it was an active worship, not crouching at the back in the shadows anymore, if there were tears, they were more of joy than despair.

We had a couple of film nights at home, I would get in sweets and popcorn and get a new DVD, myself and kids would watch the film and tuck in as though we were at the cinema, only in the cinema you’re not really allowed to lay down wrapped in your duvet like we were, but we enjoyed it, after we had done it for the first time, the kids wanted to do it again, they would have done it every night, if I had let them, but we did it a few times and we all loved it.

By the end of the second week of Victoria being away, all those fears of mine of failing and messing up big time were gone.  I surprised myself at how well I coped and began to realise that being a stay at home parent is not as easy as it looks, there’s so much to do each day, it’s not just about sitting down and drinking coffee!

On the last day of Victoria being away it was my 40th birthday, I spent the morning having breakfast with a friend and then went to see the Doctor again.  We chatted for a while and I explained how I was feeling and how I was doing so much better than when we last met, the Doctor was very pleased at the progress, but warned me to stay the course of at least six months, coming off the tablets too early will bring about a relapse, so I agreed to the six months and to come back after that for a review.

That evening at the suggestion of my Connect Group, I took the kids to see Frozen as a treat, I guess even though it was my birthday, the treat was mainly for the kids and how well they had behaved over the last ten days.  I must admit myself and Ben, my Son, both enjoyed the film, even though it was a Disney Princess film, but my daughter who was seven, totally enjoyed it, she sat engrossed in it from the beginning and talked about it all the way home.  She liked it so much so, that she insisted the next morning that she go and watch it again, so I booked her a couple of tickets so she could go with her Mum, who had arrived home in the earlier hours of the morning, I’m not sure she was too pleased to be going, but by all accounts, she enjoyed it too, they must have done, because over the next few weeks they would both go and see it a few more times!

With Victoria back and the Doctor’s pleased with my progress, the pressure was off and I able to relax a little bit.  I was feeling so much better and was actually really pleased with how I had coped, considering all the fears I had beforehand.  Although I still wasn’t sleeping, the Doctor had said it could be a month or so before I got back to regular sleeping patterns, things were going so much better and I felt I was moving forward again, slowly, but I was definitely moving forward.

FALL APART by JOSH WILSON
Why in the world did I think I could
Only get to know you when my life was good?
When everything just falls in place
The easiest thing is to give you praise
Now it all seems upside down

‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel you now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
But somehow still have all I need?
God I want to know you more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find you when I fall apart

Blessed are the ones who understand
They’ve got nothing to bring but empty hands
Nothing to hide and nothing to prove
Our heartbreak brings us back to you
And it all seems upside down

‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel you now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
But somehow still have all I need?
God I want to know you more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find you when I fall apart

I don’t know how long this will last
I’m praying for the pain to pass
But maybe this is the best thing that has ever happened to me

‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel you now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
But somehow still have all I need?
God I want to know you more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find you when
You will find me when
I fall apart

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