Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Medication. (This post is out of synch and was written after 'Empty Nest'

I came home from work a couple of days ago to find my son waiting for me in my bedroom. He looked very sombre.
“Sit down mum”, he said gravely. Oh God. I steeled myself for whatever bombshell he was about to drop. Gingerly, I sat down next to him on my bed.
“What is it darling?” I asked.
“What are these for?” and he handed me a packet of pills. Oh boy.
“Well, they, I mean I…”, I struggled to find the right words.
“They’re anti-depressants mum”, he said, his voice heavy with emotion, “They were hiding at the back of the paracetamol draw with your name on them. What’s wrong mum? Why are you depressed?”
“How do you know what they are?”, I asked him quietly.
“I Googled the name”. We sat silent for a moment or two.
“Are you going to kill yourself?” he finally stole himself to ask. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“Oh my darling”, I replied and I wrapped my arms around him, “Of course I’m not going to kill myself. I was never going to before, I am not going to now and I will never in the future.”
I then went on to explain as best I could that it wasn’t a case of unrelenting sadness or a deep black hole that I was plunged into that was the reason for my prescription.
“Well why then? Do we make you unhappy? Do I? Does dad?”
I did laugh then. “No, none of the above. You drive me crazy. All of you. Your mess, your reluctance to tidy up after yourselves, your need for constant feeding, but you never ever make me unhappy. I couldn’t live without you all”.
“Well then, I don’t understand. Why do you need anti-depressants?”
This was going to take time. I needed to get comfortable. I peeled off my tights and then lay on my bed and snuggled him close to me.
“God ma”, he said, “Couldn’t you warn me when you are about he remove your hosiery. Can I open my eyes now please?”
“Yes, I’m perfectly decent”, I replied. He unscrewed his eyes.
“So, you were saying?”. I took a deep breath.
“I am not a psychiatrist my darling, so couldn’t tell you the inner machinations of my soul, but what I do know is that when I take my, for want of a better word, happy pills, I seem to feel less anxious than when I don’t. My anxiety sometimes gets the better of me and stops me from enjoying my life as I should. I fret and worry to such an extent that all rational thought goes out of the window”.
He was quiet and I could hear my heart beating.
“But dad worries. He worries about money and his job and redundancies. Is he on them too?”
“Not that I’m aware of but dad and I are very different characters and were he to feel that his health would benefit if he were on them, then that would be the sensible thing to do”.
“Do you feel ashamed?”, he asked in a small voice.
“There is a certain stigma attached to mental health and some people find it very difficult to disclose that they need medicinal help to cope with life’s challenges. I don’t exactly shout it from the rooftops, but nevertheless, I don’t see the point in pretending. I am more matter of fact about it. If I had asthma but refused to use an inhaler what would you think?”
“I’d think you were an idiot”.
“Exactly. Similarly if I had tonsillitis or a chest infection, I would be foolish not to take antibiotics. Therefore it stands to reason to me, that if my mind is playing up that I should take the appropriate medication to make it better. Am I making sense?”
“Kinda. I don’t understand why you feel anxious without the tablets though. What can you worry about so much that it makes you unable to function?”.
“Well, that’s the big question and one I’ve asked myself a thousand times. I’m older and wiser now though and I refuse to beat myself up about it. No doubt it has something to do with one of my closest relatives being killed when I was a child and, it has affected me since then by worrying myself sick about something tragic and shocking happening again. Of course, what I’ve come to realise is that you can’t control things outside of your control and, whereas perhaps a person without my experience would just not even imagine the unimaginable , I was wasting happy times in my life by just preparing myself, just in case. It is very wearing and a complete waste of time. It was stopping me being in the here and now”.
“You’ve felt like that all your life?”, my son asked me, aghast.
“No, not always, although I spent from that terrible day as a girl until the day grandma died, desperately trying to keep her safe, but it was always out of my control and in the end, she died anyway, when I wasn’t looking, when we were thousands of miles away living in America”.
He squeezed me. I carried on.
“The thing is, I want to enjoy your growing up, and that of your sisters. I don’t want the choices you make or the journeys you go on, blighted by my anxieties. That’s not to say, even if I were on intravenous valium that I won’t worry myself sick until I know that you are home and safe and sound.”
Just then Hubby walked into our room.
“What are you two in cahoots about?”, he asked. We told him.
“Oh, don’t worry about your mother”, advised Hubby waving at me dismissively, “She always was and always will be, as mad as a sh*t house snake”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

brave you. been there myself and totally agree with what you say. take care and keep smiling.