All posts tagged Life is complicated

Coming off meds

Coming off meds was easy until it wasn’t. Exciting until it was hard work. Satisfying until it felt like another solo situation making everyone else’s life difficult.

(Under supervision of my doctor, mais bien sur!)

The truth is the withdrawals are transient. A few hours here and there. I try to hang on to the reason that I’m doing it – the baby. I want to at least try being pregnant without antidepressants. I try to hang on to how excited I am about being pregnant again – that makes the dizziness, nausea and brain vacations worth it.

The truth is the withdrawals suck. I kind of enjoyed how I felt on Zoloft (insulated) and I miss it – keeping my mood up was a lot less hard work. I don’t think I deserve a medal for coming off meds much more than a diabetic deserves a medal for coming off insulin. It’s no big deal – it helps my brain function more normally and I don’t feel a stigma attached to that. If I wasn’t trying to get pregnant I would still be taking meds. No biggie.

The truth is I feel a bit miserable, but tomorrow is another day and maybe I’ll feel a bit better.

All the things that have happened

All the things.

A few months ago I realised I’ve been living my life like I’m a victim of it, rather than grabbing it by the balls. I become quite good at seeing the challenges I face now as opportunities for growth rather than problems or dramas, but somehow hadn’t been able to embrace that attitude towards the things that were in my distant past.

I’ve been challenged to list the things I used to see as horrible, life altering problems and find the silver linings. This isn’t an exhaustive list – they are the moments I thought defined me, turns out they don’t.

Here goes.


The thing On the surface Silver lining
Born prem, very sick. See how well I’ve performed despite this shaky start? Couldn’t wait to bust out and get stuck into the world. Head start, yo.
My father tells 5 year old me that I’m a dunce, stupid, sit in the corner facing the wall and think about what a dunce you are. This moment completely fucked me up. It is your fault I am the way I am. This moment has shown me how to be a loving, compassionate and caring parent. This moment ensures my child will never hear words like this from his parents.
My parents are divorced. This is so unfair, why did this happen? This has destroyed my family. My poor Dad would never had been able to cope with a teenaged Ms Optimism. She was way too much woman for him.
By the time I left highschool (early), I’d changed schools 14 times. This robbed me of the opportunity to meet and have lifelong friends. I have had the opportunity to meet so many people. Everywhere I go I (no really, everywhere), I see people I knew in another life. I make new friends easily.
My family moved right at the moment my social life and band were experiencing success This prevented me from having success with my band. My life is as wonderful as it is because of this choice. I would not have been able to resist the temptation of drugs. I don’t know where I would have ended up. This was the best path for me, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
At the age of 18 I felt so overwhelmed by my financial and self esteem problems I saw entering prostitution as my only way out. See how bad things were? Please feel sorry for me. I’ve lived a full and interesting life with many experiences most people only read about. This has provided me with a great sense of perspective about things that happen now.
Relentlessly bullied through early high school. So unfair, everyone hates me. I’m horrible. I have a great capacity for empathy, and understand that those that bully have a lower self esteem than they would have you believe.
GP warns 19 year old Ms Optimism not to marry CF sufferer Mr Optimism due to life expectancy concerns. How dare you he this? Maybe he is right, he is a doctor. He knows what he is talking about. I can listen to my intuition and make my own decisions. Listening to learned authority is not always right.
My husband has a chronic illness. This is so unfair. Why can’t he be normal? Why can’t our family be normal? I am grateful that we always have a reminder to treat each other with love and respect. This challenge helps us maintain perspective.
Depression Why must I experience this, why can’t I be normal? Through my illness and recovery I have learned so much. Through my illness and recovery I am whole. Through my illness and recovery I contribute to the lives of others.

PS This is an opportunity for you to X all the Y or check out Hyperbole and a Half.

Dear Dad

Image via Flckr user difei

You might not have noticed, but over the past few months I’ve not phoned you to say hi. I’ve decided the time has come (again) for me to just pretend you’re not there, because trying to have a relationship with you, however superficial, is just too painful for me.

I used to think it was just me – that I was too much like Mum, or I’d done something else horrible to make you not love me (like being a girl, or not strong enough). Now I realise you treat pretty much everyone the way you treat me – even your own family.

As I’ve wised up/recovered in the past few years, I’ve come to realise a few things. First and foremost is that it’s not all about me. None of it ever was. For years I thought the reason you didn’t want me at Pop’s funeral was because you were ashamed of me, or you were worried I’d say something wrong. Now I understand you were ashamed of what you had done in leaving us the way you did. And having us there would be an all too visible reminder for your family of that.

I still don’t know why you left us, and maybe I never will. That’s ok. I have Mum’s version – maybe that’s how it happened, maybe not. It really doesn’t matter, it happened so long ago. It doesn’t define me, I’m no longer a child.

I’ve decided not to chase contact with you anymore. Maybe I should have told you why. Maybe I should actually send this to you.

Some are to do with the way you’ve treated me. Some are to do with the way you’ve treated your family. Some are to do with the way that you’ve changed in the past few years – into a man I don’t really recognise anymore. Dad, you’ve made it really hard for me to be your daughter.

I don’t hate you. I love you very much – maybe more than you will know. I’m proud of my ancestry, and proud of who I am. If you’d like to keep in touch you can, though I am a little conflicted about that. There are a few conditions attached to that though.

  • Visit once in a while. Not often. Once or twice a year? Or invite us to you.
  • If my husband, my child or myself are in hospital, visit.
  • Don’t make me earn your love and respect. I have earned it already.
  • Treat me, and your whole family like you would your friends or neighbours.

I hope you can understand my decision and reasons.

Your daughter.



Noun. A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one.

Some days I am standing at the bottom, looking up at the climb I face that day. Some days I am standing at the top waiting to take the leap of faith into some new unknown.

The Zoloft-induced elation (normalcy?) I experienced late last year has been shattered by another dark episode, as it became clear that I was experiencing much more than the exhaustion that one would expect after having your MIL in residence for two weeks. The kind of dark episode that increasing my dose by 1/3 hasn’t touched the sides of. Yay me!

I have been using some uncomfortable words to describe my state of mind lately. Mentally ill. Retarded. So tired. Incapacitated. Incapable. I have been living in a bizarre world where I can’t put together the logic to make dinner, but am quite capable of strategising marketing plans for clients. Coping mechanism perhaps?

So the precipice I stand at today is staring down my first appointment with a psychiatrist. He called me today to introduce himself and tell me when the appointment is, and it struck me when I hung up that the way I noted the details is a perfect visual representation of my state of mind and life right now. Chaotic, disorganised, absurd, childlike.

So what does one expect at a psychiatrist’s appointment? Will I find myself in One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest and not know how I got there? Fuck I hope not. I know I want a rest, but today not that badly.

What I do know is that I hope that when I take this leap of faith there will be healing, and recovery, and wellness. And I’ll get back some of that elation (normalcy? fuck you Universe that I have to fight to feel normal) that I experienced last year, and life won’t be so difficult for my family.

Five things about depression (potentially less helpful than this list).

  1. It can take compliments and positive statements and twist them into ugly thoughts.
  2. It can make an intelligent and independent person struggle to complete basic tasks.
  3. It can make you forget what you were talking about mid sentence.
  4. It is fucked.
  5. My GP tells me I can beat it again.


A cookbook for depressives

Note: Actual kitchen mess, not stolen from internet. Clean dishes and dinner tonight courtesy of the lovely Mr. Optimism. I didn't stage the open dishwasher, that was the way he left it.

I’m only half joking here. I really need a cookbook for when I’m depressed. A book full of healthy, nutritious, vital recipes that have a maximum of 4 ingredients, only use a maximum of 2 pans and require next to no preparation.

I eat badly when I am depressed, which is when I most need to eat well. I lack the energy to cook anything, much less clean up the resulting mess, and then I reward myself with guilt for feeding my son something rubbish again.

My fallback easy meal is salmon on a salad bed. I love, love, love it. It’s fucking expensive to eat fresh salmon all the time and the kitchen is beginning to smell like a fishmongers. I need to add to my repertoire and seriously, there is only so much take away I can bear to eat.

This isn’t comment bait for the sake of it, I’d really love to hear your suggestions! If I have a motivated day maybe I’ll compile them into a free ebook ;)


Things I wish I could say out loud

Today I just wish I could say calmly and without anger, to a few people in my life actually, the way you are treating me and the way you are behaving – it’s just not on. It’s not good enough, and I deserve better than this. I don’t treat you this way, so please show me the same respect and courtesy.

But I can’t say these things because it’s not “constructive”, and will most likely just serve to make things worse.

So I’ll just truck on.


Living in a holding pattern

From time to time we all feel like we are going in circles. In our family at the moment that feeling is amplified. 15 years ago, before we met, Mr Optimism underwent a double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis. In the 12 years we have been married there have been a lot of ups and downs with his health. Times that we plan month to month, and times that we pretend our lives are normal and buy a house with a 30 year mortgage and have a baby.

Image via

It’s hard to live in a house built on shifting sands.

I’m writing about this because they’re things I don’t get to talk about (perhaps a sign it’s time to go back to counselling…), but also because 2011 has been a shit of a year in lots of ways, and due to ongoing chest infections in the past year it’s a very real possibility that in the near to medium term future he will be assessed for another transplant.

Before I met Mr Optimism I wasn’t an organ donor because it was way too confronting to think about. Now, obviously I am.

I’m writing about this because if Mr Optimism hadn’t been lucky enough to have his first transplant I would never have had the opportunity to meet him, much less become his wife and be blessed with our Moopy. We talk a lot about giving people a second chance with a transplant, but don’t give a thought to the positive effect the recipient will have on people they haven’t even met yet. The people they will save from themselves. The special little people they might create. It’s one giant ripple-effect head-fuck, if I think about it too much.

So, if you’re not an organ donor please consider it. Please tell your family and friends your wishes. It is undoubtedly confronting to think about, but the good that can be done is indescribable.


While this post isn’t very happy joy, the fog has lifted – no fucking thanks to the generic Zoloft I switched to 2 weeks ago. I’m on the mend, nearly back to normal – whatever that is ;)

A public service announcement for Astra Owners

Alternative title: Why it is good to keep your cool when your car won’t start, even if it is just because you can’t be bothered to be angry about it.

Well maybe that’s a bit unfair, with the large number of reasonably serious events going on around here lately the car breaking down does register a ‘meh’ rather than a ‘FFS’ as it might have a few months ago.

I set off to pick up Terror from daycare yesterday, arrived, picked up. All good there. Hop back in the car, start it. It turns over, then, cough. Nothing. Great. I tried a few more times and checked the only things I am qualified to check – the fuel gauge and the oil. Both seem to be in working order. So I got a lift home and figured I’d get the garage to check it out (some time next week when I have the energy to do something about it). I made my peace with parting with a few (or many) hundred pesos and not having a car for a while. I figured it would be something disastrous requiring a full engine rebuild, or some-such. Logical.

Fast forward to this morning – a rather heated discussion with Mr Optimism about complex plans to borrow my mother’s car, or even if we need to. I can’t imagine I made much sense, things get lost in translation when there’s fog around.

Mr Optimism took charge of the situation, calling the RACV. Seems logical doesn’t it?

This next bit isn’t logical. The key broke when I turned the car off arriving at daycare yesterday, so I put it back together and didn’t think any more of it. Whatevs. But of course there is a vitally important tiny part inside that key, that fell onto the floor. Thus rendering the key and thus car useless, obviously. Why, oh, why? Mr RACV man spotted the problem immediately, and the car is back firing on most cylinders again.

So, hooray for a car doesn’t need fixing. And boo for getting worked up about things that turn out not to matter.

And take note fellow Astra owners, if one day your car just won’t start – check your key before booking in the mini-melt down and engine rebuild.

The fog descends again

One of the hardest things I’ve found about being undepressed (relatively), is that when I have a bad day I really feel it. Really. Despite having suffered depressive episodes since my early teens, I’ve only recently started on anti-depressants. I wish I had’ve much, much earlier because I have glimpses, 2 or 3 days at a time, where I feel fantastic. What normal must feel like. So BZ (Before Zoloft), there were bad days and worse days and to be honest, I was just so used to feeling shit that it didn’t matter so much how bad I was feeling. Now when I have a slightly off day, it’s debilitating. I so notice the loss of focus, the worthlessness, the lethargy, the racing thoughts and the mind fog just generally.

I was doing really well until I went out and got drunk last week basically. So I’m annoyed that I feel like I’ve really set myself back. I’m trying my old tricks to get myself back on track again, like exercising, but it’s hard. It’s so easy to feel that the good stuff I was feeling is all over now, the Zoloft has stopped working, and it’s back to the old ways for me. I don’t want that. I almost feel entitled to feel good, such a new feeling for me. So different to feeling like I deserve to feel like shit.

Rationally I know, this dip has happened because the stars have aligned…

  • Drinking too much
  • Not sleeping enough
  • Stressful family events
  • Not eating well
  • Not exercising

Perhaps any one of these things on their own would have been OK, but combined it’s just too much for me. Who knows. Everything on that list bar one item is within my control. I’ve stopped drinking (a post for another day), trying to eat and drink more water etc. The stressful family events I can’t do much about for now.

So each night I go to bed hoping that tomorrow I’ll feel better, one day closer back to the undepression I was almost getting used to. There I go being optimistic again.