Not one of those days that I really want to remember – I’m glad it’s over. It’s been pretty horrendous really. The constant feeling of being hungover, the continuing effects of withdrawal from anti-depressants have got to the point of being unbearable. None of it’s helped by the fact I had to go home yesterday, back to Holloway to look after the flat for the week while the council rip out the old kitchen and put in a new one. I’m here now, in my old bedroom, putting up with the dust and the dirt and the noise because I have no choice. I promised my mother I would flat-sit for her ages ago. I thought it could form part of those living amends I’ve been trying to do for the past few years. She has to work and there needs to be someone here while the work is going on. Well, we could have just given the workmen a key and let them come and go as they please, but my mum would never feel secure with such an arrangement. I used it as an excuse to take the week off work. After a day back here in the flat I wish I hadn’t. It’s horrible – I really hate this place – spending the night here has taken me back six months in time, back to darkness and despair and utter hopelessness. The past six months in Waterloo just seem like a distant dream. After the workmen had left this evening I broke down and couldn’t stop crying for about an hour until she got home from work, when I had to force the tears back in. That little piece of security I’d managed to build in the last few months, believing that my new life might actually be here to stay. Now it seems it’s all behind me. After just one day of being here in the childhood home, the place where the pain all started.

The new life isn’t really behind me, but this is what depression’s like. It can make you believe things that aren’t true. I read an inflammatory article the other day written by a Daily Mail columnist, claiming that depression isn’t real, it’s just a trendy new thing to have for spoilt westerners who like feeling sorry for themselves. The article made me so furious, I nearly punched my computer screen. My experiences in the past week have unequivocally proven to me that depression is real – I have no reason to feel this way – nothing the hell is wrong with my life today. Yet there’s this constant feeling of my head being in a clamp, and the pressure’s getting too great. There’s a fog all around me, nothing seems quite real. Earlier today for a moment or two after I’d woken from a brief doze I wasn’t sure of what reality was any more. Anti-depressants did something to my sleep – I practically stopped dreaming for a good six months. Now I’m dreaming again, different parts of my mind are waking from a long sleep and it’s fucking with my sanity. I knew that today was the day to take action, so this evening I went down to Waterloo to pick up the repeat prescription for anti-depressants that I requested last week.

All week I was in two minds about it. Torn between the knowledge that the pills work and the dreadful idea of becoming dependent on them, I risked my mental health for a week by not taking action. Now I have two months’ worth of citalopram in my bag and I’ve just taken the first dose. It’s what my body desperately needed. By the end of the week I will feel completely normal again – oh, how wonderful that will be – and this will all be like a bad dream. But then what will happen in two months’ time, when I have to face the same decision all over again? Can I really afford to keep playing with my mental health like this? Is this good sobriety or bad sobriety? I know I shouldn’t be worried about impressing others in recovery, but I know people read this blog and I hate the idea that there’s probably someone judging me right now for being so weak…you know, if I wasn’t so depressed I probably wouldn’t even care.

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  1. Hang in there 🙂 I took citalopram for years after I got sober, and I might not be sober, now, if I hadn’t gotten that help. Getting off of it was painful – roughly 6 months of depression and irritability – but by then I was in a safe enough state to do it. And if I had been suffering from depression after those 6 months I would have continued to use anti-depressants because there’s no shame in it. Depression is real but many of us are able to live and contribute to society in spite of it and frankly I think the world is a better place when we do!

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