Tag Archives: medicine

No Way Fam

It’s often tempting to peer back into the mists and wonder what our ancestors would make of us now.

I wonder what Agincourt’s Henry V would have made of the British Army’s bold new ‘Belonging’ campaign, where it’s made clear the forces are happy to take on even the spongiest cupcake because literally anyone can be a human shield in the age of equality. “What if I get emotional?” asks one potential recruit in the ad campaign. “The king received an axe blow to the head, which knocked off a piece of the crown that formed part of his helmet”, says Wikipedia. Score draw.

Back then it was turnip for dinner. Now it’s ‘elevated toast’, and you have to take a picture of it or it’s not really there. Back then, frostbite was a blessing as it took the edge off the gangrene. Now, the NHS is bankrupted by people taking colds to A&E. Back then, grooming involved the local hag hacking your locks off with the same rusty knife she used to bone poor Uncle Jacob when the typhoid finally won out over the dysentery.

Now, people inject animal fat into their lips.

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The shameful slip

It has become fashionable to be classified as a depressed person. I’m talking to you, Mr Fry. In a way it has made it easier to admit, but it really doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

I am one of those who frequently suffer the chemical imbalance, so much so that I am medicated daily in order to keep relatively sane. This could be called depression, or hereditary manic depression, or the latest craze – bipolar. All wildly maverick terms that sound deadly and impressive.

Let me be honest – I have no interest in actually manically killing a person. That is a psycho- or sociopath. Thank you, bipolar, for causing that confusion. I have just always struggled with what someone quite correctly coined as brain flu. Since 14 years of age my brain has not produced the right chemicals to operate properly. The absence or overproduction cause my brain to misfire.

That is the rational explanation. In reality when these chemicals fuck about you have no idea what is rational as you cannot get thoughts to link together. Instead you feel like you are falling into the seven circles of Hell, with memories flitting and saving into areas they really shouldn’t be.

Then there are the hormones, those crazy little shits that cause emotions to take over. Emotions, they are the worst.

It starts with a comment, moment or feeling that would be normal on any other day. You aren’t aware at the time it is happening, but slowly it builds. You examine that moment in every possible way, but your brain’s memory path only offers bad comparisons. Soon you are convinced you are being attacked or destroyed. Meanwhile the physical reaction is like trying to scratch your skin off. Your nerves quiver, joints and muscles cramp as panic endorphins race through your system.

Depending on the intensity, it’s either a day of shame or a slow descent into blackness. The shameful slip is like skidding on a dog turd – unavoidable, smelly and leaves you wiping shit on a friend’s carpets. The sudden flail of depression suddenly lifts, and all you can do is apologise and beg forgiveness from faithful friends. I’m sorry my limbic system threw up on you.

The slow descent is difficult, crushing and indescribable. If you have never felt the need to slowly draw a rusty razor blade down your arm, then I both congratulate and envy you. You do not need to know what it is like. It is lonely, confusing, tormented. You pick and push at people, then shudder into tears of remorse. You get furious, hurt yourself, destroy things, but it doesn’t ebb away. You start to contemplate value and worth; everything is mundane. You can’t eat, sleep, go anywhere you might enjoy yourself. Then you hit the bottom and realise, just like Pam Ewing, it was all a dream.

After many years of trying to fight it on my own I decided to try medication. For most depressed people this is like giving in, admitting defeat. It really is tough to think you cannot win. I am here to say you are wrong. Of course I wish I could manage it, but spending energy fighting chemicals with will power just won’t win all the time.

It’s hard to get used to, as the drugs fuck you up for the first month. Then it all settles down. Rational thought returns. You feel yourself, just not the massive extremes. I miss the brain that wouldn’t stop thinking sometimes, I ask people if I appear different – less manic, more centred, more rational. Rational to a person with depression is a compliment.

It isn’t a cure though. I still get the lows, the suicidal thoughts, just not as often. The little voice of doubt that used to plague me every minute is a lot quieter.

Why write this? I slipped on a turd today. If I did, maybe one of you did too. You are not alone. To the person I barfed limbic on, this is part of my apology.