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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 08:39 am
Started 31 MAY 2011

As those of you who've read the piece below this know, I got rather majorly triggered today. As a result, I'm currently attempting to recover from it, and regain some of my mental balance. For those who don't know what it feels like to have been there, feel free to read on. For those who have been triggered before, I should provide a warning: I'm going to be discussing the aftermath of being triggered, and it may be triggering in and of itself.

So, to start with, I should be honest: I'm coming off my psych meds, because I want to find out whether the problems I'm having with complying with a medication regime are actually a part of the depression, or whether they're a side-effect of being on the psych meds (150mg sertraline per day). So I'm coming off them, and just seeing whether I can establish a medication compliance pattern with the thyroid meds on their own.

What this means is I'm currently being kicked into catharsis by just about anything. Sad songs, stories which make me feel strongly, anything like that. It's like the internal gain on the emotional register is turned up to eleven, and I'm feeling things about three times stronger than I previously did. However, given one of the desired effects of the sertraline is to flatten out a lot of the emotional peaks and troughs I was feeling, it's only to be expected that I'll be dealing with several months (or years) worth of catharsis as part of the effective detox. The emotions didn't go away, after all; they just got flattened out a bit.

This also means I'm more likely to be triggered by things which disturb me. It's not pleasant on the inside of my head, and there's a lot of dark stuff in here. Coming off the meds means it's all starting to float to the surface, and I'm having to deal with a lot of it.

So, combine an article which wandered close to my triggers with this particular situation where they're all hair-triggers, and I'm now in the middle of a rather messy period mentally, because a lot of the stuff I usually bury deep inside is being exposed, and I'm trying to deal with having the lid lifted off the pain. I'm more prone to crying, I'm more weepy. Emotionally, though, besides the painful stuff, I'm flat. I can't find myself any more. I'm drowning. I'm angry, too - because a lot of the emotions which sour into depression for me start off as anger that I can't do anything about. But underneath it all... nothing. There's nothing.

I'm dealing with the very straightforward physical effects of being very weepy, too: my sinuses are blocked up to blazes, and I'm getting the first signs of a bad sinus headache. I'm blowing my nose a lot (and boy am I glad I got Himself to buy another three boxes of tissues yesterday when he went shopping). I'll probably head out tomorrow and make a run to the nearest IGA to get myself another five or six packets of Fisherman's Friend, so I can get my sinuses to drain properly. I also have all my standard stress symptoms - I'm clenching my jaw (to keep things in), my shoulders and neck are so tight I could probably bounce bullets off them, and my sleep cycle keeps getting out of whack and drifting toward the nocturnal.

I'm doing what I can to cope with the anxiety that underlies so much of the rest of things - the deep, underlying fear that someone will notice that things aren't all right, that I won't be able to keep up the fa├žade forever. (Which is part of why I'm writing this entry - I need to acknowledge to myself that part of what I'm feeling is a fear of having my various neuroses exposed. Another part of it is an effort to protect myself, perversely, by having all the triggers and the soft spots out here and marked clearly. I'm handing the world a map, with all the various X's carefully painted on. If you prod in the right spots, I'll fall to pieces. I'll shatter. I'm risking that; but I'm also guaranteeing something as well: I'm guaranteeing proof of malice on the part of those who would attempt to hurt me and try to pretend it wasn't deliberate. It's very hard to look ignorant and innocent when you're standing next to a sign saying "please do not smash the porcelain" with a sledgehammer in one hand and shards of crockery on the floor all around you.)

One of the things I'm doing to deal with the anxiety is knitting. For some reason, just the small repetitive movements of knitting are enough to help my mind settle, and slow down my thoughts from a gazillion miles a minute to something more sustainable over the long term. I don't quite know why it works so well, but I'm not going to argue with success. Particularly not when it means I'm getting a fair old way into making something constructive for myself that I can take comfort in at the other end of things. Just slowing down that little bit helps.

[Some thoughts inspired by reading various blog posts about domestic negotiation here and there: one of the things which tends to be assumed by kids and young adults is that all "grown-ups" know what they're doing 100% of the time, and that everything works just fine for everyone else, and the weird fucked-up shit is purely *your* problem, and that *you're* weird because you can't cope. If there's one thing which gives me a lot of hope for the internet it's the growing number of personal blogs and records of adult people basically saying "I am not coping; this scares me, this bewilders me, this overwhelms me, this frightens the living shit out of me." The more records we have out there of individuals saying "being an adult is a frightening place at times", the better the chance we have of admitting to ourselves that we don't have all the answers, that we're all just trying to muddle through.

This is part of why I'm putting all of this out on my public journal, under my public identity. Because I figure I can't be the only one out there who feels like this, and I figure it's important to have a public acknowledgement of the terror and horror of being another powerless adult in a world which doesn't give a damn. Maybe it'll help some kid or other live through things. (Disclaimer: I find the biblical book of Ecclesiastics to be very reassuring as well, for very similar reasons - the whole "I'm not alone in feeling like this". I'm more likely, therefore, to be something of a statistical outlier. But even so... with over six billion of us on this planet, my guess is I'm still not on my own, and never will be).]

Contd 01 JUN 2011

And today the psychological numbness is gone, and I'm mostly dealing with the physiological after-effects - namely the beginnings of a sore throat (I love my sinuses, really I do), and a certain degree of tiredness (although at this point the tiredness is most likely due to having only woken up about half an hour ago). I'm able to laugh a bit (mostly at the various idiocies of my DES provider, who have sent me only the first page of a 2-page letter about an appointment tomorrow), and I'm feeling less like I want the world to stop so I can hop off. I'm also feeling less like I was hoping to wake up dead this morning (ah, depression, what would I be without it?). I'm feeling a bit more positive about the world, my place in it, and my willingness to continue with same.

Overall, I'm recovering. It's not an easy process, and it's certainly not a fun one, but it's a process and it's ongoing.