It has been a month of considerations though. I decided I would try a course of antidepressants so I'm now on 50mg/day of Sertraline, which is an SSRI - which basically means that your brain doesn't absorb seratonin quite as quickly, meaning there's more of that "happy hormone" kicking about. I had a long think about this step, and spoke to people trained in mental health, people who'd had good and not-so-good experiences, I read through my GP's British National Formulary which goes into medical-level detail about treatments for various illnesses, and obviously did my own research. I considered that I have a difficult 6 months ahead, and that I'm having weekly counselling to deal with some of the reasons I ended up where I am, and that I'm taking positive action in other ways to get better, and thought that everything that could help should probably be tried. I started about 10 days ago, and apparently they take 2-3 weeks to kick in, so, besides a pretty persistent low-level nausea which happily has gone now, I haven't noticed any changes as yet.
So the other steps I'm taking are many -
- I bought a lovely notebook in Edinburgh which I'm using as a journal/notebook of my journey back to the top.
- Working on my allotment which I now share with the lovely Kate & Vaida - I'm really excited about this as, like I've said previously, I've always wanted an allotment, and OH MY GOSH I MIGHT FINALLY BE SUCCESSFUL WITH PUMPKINS!
- I'm trying to get out for a reasonable walk (at least 30 mins) with Alfie every day, although he was being very unhelpful in this last week when he very uncharacteristically didn't want to go to the park for 3 days straight last week. He actually behaved on the lead! Very worrying, but luckily he seems to be back to his normal, straining-at-the-lead self. Whew!
- I'm trying to be more open with people, even if I think there might be some negative effects - I asked someone out a couple of weeks ago! They said no.... you would think that would be pretty rubbish but actually, after a day of feeling a bit glum, it was nice to reflect that, actually, it doesn't really make any difference to me at all - which is satisfying to remember.
- I'm reading up about mindfulness, which, so far as I've read, is a philosophy of being more present in your everyday life, and not spending quite so much time on autopilot, effectively sleepwalking through your life. One of the core tenets is taking periods of time (They want you to start off with 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week, for 8 weeks.... I have not put aside this much time yet) and simply witting quietly, listening to your breathing and simply being present, instead of thinking about things that have happened, will happen, won't happen, might happen, are happening elsewhere, and letting ones mind relax and take time off the hectic pace which we pretty much all subject ourselves to.
- I'm trying to stop telling myself what I should be doing, and instead ask: a) what I would like to do and b) what I would like to have done, because I feel like I'm constantly telling myself off for not having done things I think I should have done as a responsible adult. If anyone else did that to me, I would get the <expletive deleted> out of my life.
- Just saying "yes!" more - I've definitely spent more time with friends in real life during February, more time out, more time talking (actual talking!).... long may it continue!
I guess the biggest thing I've learnt was: I didn't miss Facebook. I never once regretted not being able to go on it, and I considered not logging in again. If I found a reasonable FB-messaging app for my phone (the curse of the Windows phone user....) I might have chosen not to go back. I have spotted myself going to check FB to see who's responded to any posts I've put up - but I find I can just ask myself: "Why, though?" and the answer is normally "dunno...".
I did miss the people, though. I value the relationships I've forged with people very very strongly. But, on that note.... I've also decided to make conscious decisions about who I want in my life, and consider the net effect of individual relationships, and those that come out in the red - considering why I think I need those people. Happily, the vast majority of people I know are heavily in the black - which is just one of the many ways in which I'm actually a <expletive deleted> lucky sod. So to every single person who's messaged me, hugged me, called me, texted me, sent me handmade monkeys (Thanks Sarah :-D), or just let me know that they are there if I need them: thank you so much from the very bottom of my heart. You have buoyed me up when I really needed it, and you really do make life worth living. Go and tell yourselves that you are wonderful!!