16 April 2019

Finding the Words

Ever since I was little, words have been like a friend. Whether it be reciting poems/ the first Harry Potter parapragh by heart, or retreating to the pages of my beloved books, words were the silver lining to any storm. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, - yes, you guessed this, Harry Potter featured! However, in reality Hogwarts was a drop in the ocean (albeit a very big one). From Jill Murphy to Jenny Dale and extra helpings of Roald Dahl, I was like Matilda in Mrs Phelps' Library. Where are the books please?

I grew up on stories and, to this day, they are a comfort blanket like no other. Whatever storms come my way, the silver-lined spine of a book is always there - as JK Rowling said - "to welcome [me] home." More than this, I loved creating them. My old piano teacher still talks about the stories I wrote while my sister had her lessons. During the school holidays, my dad would create story prompts and spend all day writing. At the grand old age of 24, this love of storytelling shows no sign of stopping. As I spoke about here, storytelling lies at the heart of my Instagram and Etsy; each of my crochet creatures has their own SPEWcial story to tell. I am a whimsical Ravenclaw through and through and it's such a huge part of beeing SOPHIE. 

Yet in recent weeks, I haven't been able to find the words. My lack of blog posting is a visible sign of this, alongside my reduced frequency of Instagram Posting. Nonetheless, these are physical symptoms that can be dealt with. Are they frustrating? Hugely, but they are nothing compared to the mental muteness. Behind the screen, a 24-7 mind-fog has seen my thoughts washed away like a current. At the dinner table, I find myself floundering. I feel my thoughts turn to brain fog and can't engage with the conversation like I used to. 

Beyond words, I have forgotten to put my card back in my purse (RIP Peter Rabbit 50p, I needed bus money!) I have put milk in the mug cupboard and mugs in the fridge... I've been brought back to the mental fog of anorexia, only this time the cause isn't restriction. I was hesitant to write this, but if there's one things I've learnt through my mental health journey, it's that you never find safety in silence. When in doubt: talk. What's more, perhaps someone will read who has experienced similar? If it can shine a light for them - or even myself - isn't it worth sharing? 
So that brings me onto the subject of this post - the cause of the mental fog and why I've been more distant from social media.  In fact, briefly mentioned it on IG Stories last night, as I was conscious that been posting a lot less and wanted to offer an "explanation" (in hindsight, no explanation was needed, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!) In the past few weeks - or months, come to think of it - I've been in the process of changing medication I won't specify names, as what works for one person may not work for another and vice versa, but will say it involves anti-depressants that I take for anxiety. If you do want to read more about medication and mental health, The Blurt Foundation covered it brilliantly in this post

For the best part of two years, my current medication worked well and definitely helped my engagement with CBT. Nonetheless, around a year ago I started to get more side effects, as if I was withdrawing from it - from what I've read, I think this is called 'loss of efficacy' and can happen after a period of time (note: I'm not an expert, so please talk to a doctor if you have any questions). This isn't the first time I have switched medication, but it is definitely the most challenging experience so far and I knew this would be the case - one of the known drawbacks to this particular medication is the withdrawal process, so it has to be reduced very slowly. 

In June last year, I attempted to do a 'fast-track' withdrawal while in hospital and, long story short, realised very quickly that this would never work. I can only describe it as a five day hangover-to-end-all-hangovers and knew, inpatient or not, there was no fast-track. I needed a window of a few months to gradually reduce my medication, step by step, until I reached a point when I could taper it with another. Thankfully, the one I'm switching to can be introduced earlier than most. 

After months deliberating the best time to start, December came and I decided 'now or never' After suspending my PGCE place for 2018-19 last September, I'm not currently studying and my  paid work/volunteering is spread throughout the week. What's more, I hope to start my PGCE this September, so this is really the best window I'm going to get - unless you can point me in the direction of a magical Narnia Window, which has the power to turn 6 months into 6 minutes and possibly introduce some talking Beavers/Fawns along the way... (no apologies for this whimsical turn - it means the Ravenclaw dreamer is still there!)  
I am currently in the final stretch and can almost see the finish line. Hopefully, before the season ends, so too will this chapter of "The Medication Journals" (she's going to have her friends call her Valerie MJ). Yet like many races, the home strait is the hardest part. For me, this has materialised in brain fog and lost words. At the start of 2019, one of my unwritten resolutions was to get back into reading, but right now I simply don't have the concentration. As I've already mentioned, I'm struggling to blog and even instagram captions can feel like a dissertation... I probably don't help myself by making them the length of a dissertation! A bit like this and every other one of my posts...

Which brings me onto the last paragraph of this post - and I solemnly swear on the soul spine of my harry potter books this will be the last! It's okay if I can't find the words. As I've been reminded by some magical people on Instagram, it's okay to take a break.  It's okay to press pause on posting and, when I come back, say as much or as little as I need. When I began writing this post on Sunday (who listens to Uncle Vernon?), I just wanted to put pen to paper serif to screen again. I didn't have a title, let alone a plot. I was simply finding the words as I went - wherever they went - in the hopes they may find others and possibly resonate with them too. So if that person is you, thank-you.

 The things we lose have a way of coming back to us 
 In the end, fnot always in the way we expect
- Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter

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