Smoking while on antidepressants

Effects

I have been quite restless recently. I can’t seem to sit still without having my anxiety and agitation sky rocketing beyond. I sit, I stand, I move around and my next solution is always to have a smoke. Not my best moments for sure but I feel cornered to a wall without a much way out. I have thought that maybe the agitation is as a result of smoking while on the antidepressants I am on but there has been no solid evidence on goggle that that might be the case. I restarted smoking right after I went on medication because previously I couldn’t handle how much the nerves at night were heavy on my shoulders. Now truly, I wish I could get back those nerves over the agitated feeling that befalls me every evening as I so not look forward to night.

Smoking

I recently made a decision to quit smoking three nights ago and I can sadly and ashamedly say that I have failed on each night. I even downloaded an app to help track how many days I could keep clean off smoking but it hasn’t been put to good use yet. I realise how reliant I am on smoking because I can’t seem to quit as easily as I thought it would take me to. Now here I am looking for nickles in all sorts of crevices just so I can have a cigarette before and after dinner. I truly need to find something to distract from smoking because I genuinely blame my idleness on how much I smoke in a day.

Boredom

Boredom

My mother always told me that boredom is a choice. It quite vexed me as a little child to hear that after I just yelled out how bored I was feeling. To say the least, I am still vexed. Today, I am still rocking in the same boat, more now than I have felt in a very long time. I wake up at noon, have a cigarette, have brunch and then sit to wonder what else is next. To give a bit of a background to my slow routine, I am freshly out of college, freshly being used lightly in this case. I finished school a year ago so now when I say it out loud, the term freshly is quite expired.

Interview

Earlier this week I had my first internship interview for the course I studied in school and to say the least, I just went through the motions. I was not prepared for the effort it took to get out of bed, shower and leave the house all before eleven in the morning. While I was taking a shower, it took absolute willpower to not back out from going to that interview. It was a lot of willpower that is for sure.

The interview went well. I am still waiting on their response but I am hopefull. Hence the waiting game.

Antidepressants

What are antidepressants?
I wanna believe that majority of you are familiar with the term antidepressants or have come across it once in a while somewhere. For the few that may not be aware of what exactly they are, they are medicine taken for different mental health illnesses. Most especially depression. That’s the lame man’s definition.

Why am I on antidepressants?

I’ve mentioned before that I have been on and off antidepressants before. I started taking antidepressants for my depression and anxiety sometime last year after a terrible episode that required me to see a psychiatrist and through that session, I was prescribed my first set of antidepressants. I was on Mirtazapine for my first dose and I’ll go into detail on the side effects in a few. For a first timer, I can say I took it like a champ. It’s a different experience to be on this medication but it might seem scary at first but I can assure or anyone who may be on the path to having it prescribed to them by their doctor, it will help. It is part of the means of getting better.

Side effects of the antidepressants

Disclaimer

The side effects stated below are mine and not a general over view of all the side effects one is prone to get while on any set of antidepressants prescribed to you by your psychiatrist.

My initial reaction to starting antidepressants was that it would minimise the depression I was feeling in a matter of days but I got to learn quite quickly that that wouldn’t be the case. On mitarzapine, the effects quite frankly hit me like a hurricane. The depression quite literally became worse before it became better. On most occasions, there is always a fluctuation in weight and sadly for me, I gained a lot of weight. My appetite sorta increased ten fold and I was eating on a constant. The hunger was on another level. When I mentioned earlier that I took it like a champ was because despite how gravely the side effects were, I never discontinued it and was on it for a month before I had my prescription changed by my then psychiatrist.

My second prescription was what I gotta admit taking was an extreme sport. I didn’t go long on them due to the grave side effects they had on my body. I won’t mention the names of the exact medicine I was on just in case it gives off the wrong depiction of the said meds. I remember on the second night of taking them, I began to have serious tremors. I couldn’t stop shaking and my teeth rattled, you’d think I was on the North Pole. In addition to that, my heart started pounding so heavily, I was sure I was gonna have a heart attack. With the side effects being that heavy, I had to discontinue the medication and it took me a whole nearly six months before I went on any other antidepressants.

Mid year of 2021, I got into another depression episode that required me to visit a new psychiatrist since I was home over that period. This time around, I got a better prescription than the last which is what I am still on currently. I am on 10mg Cipralex and 10mg haloperidole. The first one is majorly for my severe depression whereas the latter is for my anxieties and agitation. On the first take of this medication, it didn’t have much of a side effect that I could positively point out but now when I’m currently on it, there are a few new side effects that are damning to the soul.

This will positively be very inappropriate to whoever reads this but I’ll say it anyway, my vagina has been going through it with this current set of meds I’m on. Going through it, I mean it’s dead dead. Like I can’t seem to get aroused what’s so ever and trust me, I have tried. You name it, besides sex though… don’t gotta a guy for that, or a boyfriend too.

Not too long, I was ranting to a close friend how I can’t seem to feel the slightest bit of sensation down there and she had a good laugh out of it. Besides the dead vagina, I also can’t seem to feel much joy over anything which is a lot like a mild numbness. What I can’t truly stand though, out of all this, is the agitation at night, right before bed. It is darn right annoying. It’s such an extreme sport to get myself settled in bed when it feels like every thought is racing and none of them have got sleep in them.

So yeah, just thought I’d share my brief experience with taking antidepressants and hope it distigmatizes them for the better.

Save My Soul.

Trigger Warning.

‘’How do I begin to set out to the world this painful reality that even I aren’t sure I have fully acknowledged? Most nights, I am uncertain of whether I have the reality of a tomorrow. I can’t seem to decide if seeing the night through is my main goal or whether I am just being dramatic over my emotions. There is this unbearable need inside my head that tells me that nothing is right, that nothing I feel or do can or will make anything right.

For the past two weeks or so I have been fighting the reality of the fact that I have been feeling suicidal. It has no longer just been fleeting thoughts anymore but solid assurances that I no longer can decide on whether life is bearable enough to be lived. I have thought through it so many times, I have questioned myself on whether it is real in both my heart and my head. It physically aches inside me whenever I think that I could finally be ready to let everything go. It is a very unbearable burden to carry because I have found no means or way to tell this to anyone. I am convinced that either no one will believe me or they probably won’t know what to do.

How do I begin to explain this to anyone when I myself haven’t entirely come to terms with this frightening realization? How do I put this into words to anyone else when all I truly feel is shame over even feeling like this? I say this with absolute resolute, the only thing that I am certain about in the midst of all the turmoil going on inside my head is that I have absolutely no idea what to do or where to start dealing with these feelings or these thoughts of suicide. It scares me not knowing how or where to start. So yeah, that is right where I am.’’

The above text was written by a very desperate, sad, despaired and most especially depressed girl. I can’t say with certainty that any of those damning feelings are gone yet, or better yet, I do know where they are. They are retreating to the back parts of my mind now that it feels a lot like I have a bit of amour against them. When I read those words above, I remotely can’t entirely recognize the girl who wrote them. She looks and feels a lot like a hollow shell and it is terrifying to think that at any one point I was this girl, I am this girl. The emotions feel like a vague memory, it has the vagueness of a sketchy dream that only holds bits and pieces of what is to be recalled of it. I wish all the memories of that pain could be erased but some of it is marred on my arms as-a-result of trying to drain it out. The pain is stuck deep inside, deeper inside than the mere blood in my veins. The scars in my hand are just a reminder of a very short-lived relief that didn’t ever quite feel like relief at all.

There is a very stark difference between being alone and being lonely. My depression is always certain to make sure I feel the best of both worlds, at least in regard to those two aspects of isolation. The most singular of the two feelings is when your entire being is encased in a fog of loneliness. No sense of reassurance would convince you otherwise of the fact that you are absolutely alone and beyond lonely. This time around, it dawned on me that I wasn’t intentionally choosing to be lonely apart from the intentional choice I made to be alone. It took all the energy I had in me to have any conversation I might have kept up with during this time. I can say with certainty that I have not spoken to the few people in my life to whom on occasion have seemed to retain some parts of me as their friend.  The looming darkness is all that encases you, it is all I could think about. I was entirely convinced that nobody in my world would find a solution enough to save me from the dark pit I was in. I felt nothing beyond the scariest darkness known to my mind.

I feel like it’s important I make this fact clearer, depression is not just a bit of sadness. It is a lot more than even I can express. It is for sure something I still don’t think I have the full grasp over in regard to how vast of a feeling, an emotion, a concept, a thought, a sensation, an enlightening and a whole lot more. Depression is also quite invisible. It never is something graspable to the naked eye. For me, it is very suffocating. My mind never feels like it has any space to breathe, it feels like the only space I can afford to think is in remote gasps of air. It feels like it would resemble a lot of what I think it feels like to drown. The panic, anguish, despair and the complete lack of hope for rescue sounds a lot like how my mind is right now. Sally Brampton, the author of the memoir Shoot the damn Dog wrote in a very precise manner what it is like to experience the depravities of the mental fuck that is depression. She describes its most corrosive aspect as despair and catastrophic. She continues to elaborate on how impenetrable and unendurable it is.

I have experienced suicidal ideation before but never to its full potential as it was this time around. I knew I was deep in the gutter, submerged under when I couldn’t quit thinking of just how peaceful and pain numbing dying would feel like. When the thought became a permanent fixture in my mind, I knew there was no way around this. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. That awareness became the dawn of a new twisted kind of sorrow. I recall on some nights crying so deeply and feeling the pain and anguish so physically from knowing that I was lost in myself. I was lost in my hopelessness and my mind had resided itself to no longer living but to completely quit existing. To a degree, I thought if I hurt myself enough, it would ease that ache even just a little bit, enough to satiate it. Dull it down. It didn’t quite do it. It led me to commit my first suicide attempt. I remember the night vaguely but I recall the intent behind the pain I felt that night. I recall the finality to my thoughts when I placed the razor to my vein. I remember the soaked tears in my sheets from my wet face. It was a pain I can only describe as purely indescribable. 23rd of October,2021 I decided I didn’t want to live anymore, at least not in the state of mind that I was in.

I can’t say with absolute resolute that I don’t want to not live anymore. Am alive now, still in despair but alive. I’m on antidepressants currently so it is all I can hope that along the way, I find it easier to want to stay alive. A lot is still yet to be done and I can’t say for certain when any of it will be done. I still have struggles that play a major role in making it harder for me to fully get the help I need so it is all I can do but trying live a minute at a time. It has taken me nearly a month to write this and I’m okay with that. Writing and reading for me take quite the hit in periods of my depression so to an extent, I am proud I got to be candid about what it has and is still like for me to live with this unbearable monster that lives inside of my head. 

I smoke among the dead at night…

I smoke among the dead at night. Most people would be shaken at the thought of that mere occurrence but I’m not. When I think of it now, I wonder why that little aspect of things has never really phased me considering I have been out there at the wee hours of the morning. My mind has fears of its own, dead people just isn’t one of them.

Maybe it is the silence that calms me. It sure isn’t the cigarettes I’m taking twice a night and four times a day. Or maybe it could be the darkness of the dead of night that gives me a sense of resemblance. It shows me that the darkness inside couldn’t possibly be that scary, at least not scary enough to stop me from staring at it alone, with the company of the seven gravesites in the backyard of my balcony. How about, it could also be that those dead folks who are buried there can feel my silent screams from the inside every night as I exhale the smoke out of my lungs. I try not to cough, we have a no sound policy out there when it’s just our souls that seem to come alive.

I hope they know of the nights that I wish I was in there with them, buried under the soil to where it is said to be peaceful. The adage, ‘’rest in peace’’ had to have had a mild relevance to the fact that besides your soul, your body and mind too can rest on the ground six feet under where not a beep of the darkness of depression can touch you. I smoke in the midst of the dead. I feel nothing and everything the darkness has to offer. I welcome it with open arms just as I do with every inhale and exhale of the cigarettes that lay print of their smoke in the middle of my fingers.

Some version of me + My Anxiety

Disclaimer; This is a very anxiety-ridden post so I hope you can bear with me.

What my anxiety told me today…

  1. My blog update (this very same one that I am writing now) will not make any absolute sense to anyone who will come across it, which begs the question of why am I even trying to write it to begin with. It will probably be a jumbled mess of my thoughts. No one should be subjected to reading my not so coherent thoughts.
  • Everything I will probably write here on this precise post will make zero sense to anyone. It probably is and will be an exaggeration of my said anxiety and it does not need to be highlighted at all.
  • I am incapable of writing anything substantially true and intelligent about what it feels like to live life with anxiety. I am never too conscious of it anyway, it probably is just another fabrication of my mind. Get over yourself Mercy, you can’t get any less pathetic than this.
  • I am an imposter at my own experience in anxiety which technically means that I probably don’t have anxiety at all. Nothing about my life can legitimize that I do actually have anxiety so why don’t I merely stop trying to convince the world that I do have it just so I can cover up being a weak human being.
  • Nobody likes my blog. Everyone probably thinks of it as quite mediocre and cliché. So what, that you experience a degree of sadness more often than not and that you are an attention seeking bitch which is probably why you cut yourself and have zero concept of selflove. That doesn’t make you anymore depressed than the rest of the world. The world truly doesn’t care much about what you write. They definitely won’t care about the pity party you are having with yourself right now by writing this.
  • I have no place in this world for me and my anxiety. (p.s I genuinely do believe this.)

My anxiety reared its ugly head out today. Maybe it was due to the fact that it was a lot more at the forefront of my thoughts today than it is on other days. Late last night before bed, my sister and I were having an honest conversation about why it is life feels very hopeless currently, especially for me to be precise. It is through that conversation that I was able to reveal to both myself and her just how immensely anxious I am over what is supposed to be the next phase of my life. The revelation of just how much anxiety I have for this next phase of life was both liberating to know as well as scary as hell. Later after having that conversation, I went to bed with quite a lot on my mind. Now that I knew why it was taking me so long to make any resemblance of progress in life, it left me questioning how exactly am I supposed to get past the crippling anxiety that I have.

Coming into today, I knew that I wanted to write concerning every little thought that was skimming through my mind about what it is like to have anxiety always as a voice second to that of your conscious thoughts. I didn’t know how I was going to be elaborate enough to give a sense of clear understanding and depiction of what it is like to go through the motions with anxiety wrapped around you like a second skin. Just thinking about how I wanted to project my anxiety in words, gave me major anxiety. The anxiety I got earlier just thinking about what I was going to write about was what prompted me to start this blog the way I did. I would begin by depicting exactly what it is like to have anxiety have you second guess every little bit of everything that you do. I was and still very much are conscious of my anxiety now even as I write this. My anxiety has me immensely worried that I’ll come out looking like a fraud or an imposter who’s just full of excuses over why she hasn’t made any kind of progress in her life since finishing school. I tried writing down prompts as a result of my anxiety so I wouldn’t keep repeating myself but now as I am trying to write this using them, I am afraid that they don’t seem to be making much sense to me now. That statement alone is a very big depiction of just how prominent anxiety is for me.

I have alluded in previous blogs just how weird of a child I was. As I have grown over the years, a lot of those weird quacks that I didn’t quite understand why I had them now make a lot of sense because they were merely just anxieties I had. Today, most of them would fall under what most would perceive as just personality traits and I too think that to an extent, they have morphed deeper into my personality than I care to admit. I not too long ago wrote about how bad of a perfectionist I am and maybe I didn’t dig deeper on why is the case but I understand now that it actually has a lot to do with my anxiety. For me, having everything happen in a precise and specific way allows me to gain control of the outcome. At the back of my mind, anxiety is the voice that requires me to feed on that sense of control. I have tried to never find out what the consequences will be if things don’t happen in perfect order but I am probably guessing that the world doesn’t collapse and neither does my life. Anxiety makes you too scared to find out that nothing probably does happen.

In the case of my not so foreseeable future, anxiety has taken away every sense of hope I have that adulting is not some big bad wolf that intends to gobble me up and spit me out like cud. It was a long time coming but for the past couple of months, I have been evading the subject of what’s next for me now that school is done. I have told myself and those around me of just how unprepared I am for working or looking for a job at that. Most people’s responses to my uncertainty of choice are that I would eventually have to start somewhere, regardless of whatever. As long as the rest of the world has gone down the same road into adulting, I don’t have much of a choice in it either. Revisiting this conversation with my sister was able to give me insight and perspective of just how much my anxiety has the reign over this. I probably did not take time to really go into the depths of why I was so resistant to the idea of working and of not feeling qualified enough to work in my field of expertise. Feeling anxious can do that to someone; Blind you from the fact that it is no ordinary fear but in hindsight, it is genuinely crippling anxiety that you’re feeling.

Now that I am aware of just how much anxiety has a hold on me right now, I do not know how to work my way around it. I still very much are terrified of looking for work and starting that work. I feel quite amateurish in the career I chose and I don’t think there is much I can do about that feeling, not when it will probably take me years of more studying in school for me to trust in my expertise. On previous occasions, I have had a little control over my anxiety through smoking and truthfully speaking, I can’t seem to even stand the scent of an unlit cigarette, let alone smoke it. I thought before that if I replaced self-harm with smoking, it would give me a better hold on my anxiety levels but I am aware that it merely turns into a rabbit hole that is never quite easy to get out of. I have been clean for a couple of months now, I think it’s safe to say I am trying to keep it that way.

It is of great importance that I try and get a hold of this crippling anxiety that I have over starting work and getting a job. Right now, all it has achieved is make me absolutely horrified about life and what to expect of it. My ambitions in life have become less because I am convinced that I don’t want to live long enough to keep trifling with anxiety at every step of my life. Anxiety demystifies death for me every other day. I can’t even express this to anyone because it comes off as such a cowardly notion to not want to live over the tiniest bit of change. Anyone would think that dying is too big of a reason or in their minds, too melodramatic of an excuse to do just because I am not ready to take up life by its horns… and I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that. Anxiety is a ball of melodramatic fear over consequences that are very much unlikely to happen. I can’t tell you what exactly petrifies me so much about the whole idea of getting a job as a counsellor and having a supervisor but I can assure you, I am convinced in my mind that I am not ready for it and if on the chance that I do start off unprepared, I will be the world’s unhappiest human being which eventually might give me reason enough to jump ship from this thing we call life.

Free thoughts on Mental Health.

If I am being genuinely honest, I don’t know where my train of thought will lead me while writing this. Today being the tenth of October signifies something quite salient to me. In obvious nature, I should have too many words on it, instead, I don’t feel like I have quite enough words; or even the right words to begin with. Today is World Mental Health Day. Mental health is the subject I am not quite sure I have enough words to scribble about.

Every day, I happen to come across one thing or another that is in direct relation to matters on mental health. That’s how important it is. I can’t deny that it is being spoken of more often than it was in the past, but I believe there is still quite a lot on it that isn’t said enough. I am well aware, that the progress of it can’t all happen at one go. I am well aware that my words and two cents about it here won’t create some sort of epiphany on mental health that’s not already been put out there. It is for those exact reasons that I had considered not mentioning anything at all in regard to today’s importance. But I also know that not regarding it or ignoring it doesn’t make much progress either. Better the little progress, than no progress at all. Time and time again, I have come across different stories on people’s different experiences with their mental health and for sure, I have read some of them and just as much, brushed others off. It is basically what will genuinely happen to all the stories I myself have put out, in the same spirit. Despite all of us being aware that our stories won’t move mountains or souls, we still go ahead and tell them. Maybe it could be because most of us are a sad lot of human beings or, most of us truthfully hope to connect with others whose stories are similar but haven’t quite gotten out yet. Our reasons may vary entirely, but the sole importance of it all at least for me would be the fact that issues on mental health are viewed to be less alien-like to one less person.

As I was skimming through ideas on what I would write about, a question popped up in my head on whether I ever would have been remotely interested in matters of mental health had I never experienced any form of mental turmoil in my life. I can’t truly say I came up with a substantial answer to my question if I am being truthfully honest. It posed the challenge of me having to try envisioning myself in a life that I can’t say I have ever lived. Consciously or not, my mental health has always been at the forefront of my thoughts, my actions, my mannerisms and my outward being. I was too aware of it as a child and I am more aware of it today, as some version of an adult. I recall being too much in my own mind. I can’t speak much for other kids, but I do recall having too many conversations in my own head than I did out of it. My opinions were safer projected out in my mind than they ever could have been being said out loud. I think a lot of that still is very much how I live today, stuck in my thoughts. I knew it wasn’t entirely how most kids were because most kids were quite uninhibited to their opinions. I must have felt like such a weirdo being all silent and enclosed in my head whereas every other child couldn’t wait for their turn to speak up. I guess as I grew up, it wasn’t too hard to pick out who was different between me and those kids around me. Reserved is what I eventually got to regard myself as. Different but reserved.

I am sure that enough of you who may read this, have had the term triggers be thrown around a lot on subjects of mental health. Besides the term’s general meaning, I didn’t see what the big fuss over the word trigger was. My naivety was at its peak. Triggers in mental health are very important. They serve as a guide in regard to identifying what exactly ‘’ticks one off’’. I understood the real impact of a trigger not too long ago. Thought I was strong enough to brush it off, but my mind knew otherwise. It’s easy to think that one is invincible to a degree, but that’s the thing about dealing with issues on mental health, as long as it is a part of your being, anyone is liable for having a mental health trigger. Don’t rule yourself out.

To end this weird post here, I just want to leave it at this. Your mental health matters, regardless of whether every day for you feels like rainbows and unicorns. It mattered from the start, even when you might never have been conscious of it. I hope that through these few jumbled words, it starts to matter. As cliche as this has been made to sound on countless occasions, nurture your mind as you would nurture your body, soul and spirit. Try not to wait on those triggers because as much as they are put out there, they are not always as easily detectable. If you could find a means on avoiding the darker sides of mental health, do so. It will save a lot of you, might even save your life. If you have already been down the road of difficulty in mental health, I just need you to know that you are absolutely amazing, whether you are still struggling or are out of the struggle. Don’t falter at trying to be happy, it is all that’s worth your life. Hope you have a good World Mental Health Day.

Two sides of the same field…Entry 2 of a Girl and her books.

Over the month of August, among the other many books I got to read, I came across a book that I consider myself quite lucky to have found. I believe the book is a memoir, I am certain that it is a memoir, written by an author named Lori Gottlieb. The title of the book is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. When I first came across it, I wasn’t entirely sure it was a book I would fully be invested in. I knew it entailed matters concerning therapy and I was a bit iffy on whether it would be artistically motivating to read. I can say with certainty now that this book is a lot more than I anticipated. I read it gradually, but loved every bit of it, including how expressive the author wrote. I am genuinely glad I got to read it to completion.

Without giving out too much of it, the plot of the book is something that quite captivated me. I learned a lot and it gave me quite the insight. I say this from the perspective of someone who has mildly studied psychology, ( I say mildly because all I have had the chance to study it, is through a diploma and if I am being honest, I still consider myself quite the amateur in regards to it). Before I can delve into my own relation to psychology, I just want to elaborate on how insightful it was reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Insightful in that, it was able to bring light into the subject of therapy from both a therapist’s opinion and that of a client’s opinion. It sort of normalized seeking professional therapeutic assistance, to those who already had sort it out and equally to those who hadn’t. I found that quite wonderful about the book. Besides just normalizing therapy itself, it too humanized therapists as more than just their professions. The author who is a psychotherapist takes us down the journey of being a therapist as well as seeking one out for herself. I found that quite great because, speaking from a personal opinion, one can be quick to perceive therapists as invincible. It is easily misjudged that therapists, being what their profession entails, are too strong of human beings to go through similar motions as those of their clients. On the off chance that they do experience similar hardships, the perception is that they are equipped to somewhat counsel themselves out of those said hardships. I should clarify that it does not work like that at all. As a psychology student, it is insisted enough that therapists need their own therapists for themselves. It’s entirely a chained link of therapists seeking out therapy from each other. That aspect of the book was quite important for me. I applauded the book mainly for that, besides all the other wonderful aspects of it that were brought out.

If someone came to me and asked me if I would advise them on seeking out help from a therapist or counsellor, or even a psychiatrist, my outright first answer would be yes. It is entirely important to give time and care to one’s mind as is given to one’s body. It would be instinctual for me to say yes as my first answer, but I owe you the honesty that it will not be technically a walk in the park. This is from a very biased opinion, this is my opinion as a client who’s been to therapy, it is not the opinion of a psychology student. This is also not meant to be a discouragement towards anyone out to seek therapeutic help, not at all. Therapy is great, wonderful even, but it will require a lot of you. Some parts of you will be required, parts that you may not be quite yet aware of.

My first experience of professional therapy was with my school counsellor in college. If I am being truthfully honest, it was long overdue. I want to be very clear that when I refer to professional therapy or counselling, I mean it as therapy from a professionally trained counsellor or psychologist. One who has studied in that field and is not a self-appointed counsellor. Anyone can give advice, not everyone can offer therapy. Just needed to be clear on that. I am strictly talking about a professional psychologist.

It was quite a big step for me to reach out to the school counsellor. I wasn’t the most approachable person, and neither was I the most approaching. At school, I knew well to never be too personal with anyone. Actually, if my memory serves me right, I was incited by my sister to seek out the counsellor because my sister thought of me then as a ticking time bomb. I was convinced that I wanted a baby, ( major eye roll) and I was only twenty years old. Then, it felt like such an urgency for me, like it was the only thing that I was missing, and it would somehow complete my life. I was quite naïve then because even now, I am not remotely ready for a child. Therapy was able to show that to me. I later learned that I was overcompensating for something entirely different. Anyway, my first take on therapy was good. I found solace and empathy that I had never quite experienced before. It was as it should have been, it was therapeutic for me and I was able to go through therapy for the next three years I had in college. It took a bit of a turn for me because the relationship between me and the school counsellor progressed to a very close friendship which in therapy is regarded as a dual relationship. To be able to maintain the levels of professionalism, it is frowned up to have any other sort of relationship outside the client/counsellor relationship. It is perceived that if the boundaries are severed, the therapist will not be able to give enough credibility in her profession hence why it is important that one seeks out a different therapist when boundaries are crossed.

For me, I wouldn’t say she entirely quit being my counsellor, and I didn’t seek therapy elsewhere. She transformed into a guide to whom I sort out counsel and advice. Now she is practically like my best friend who is also my Yoda. 

Therapy was able to open me up in ways I probably would never have had the chance to before. It even motivated me into being a better student in psychology. Sometime last year, I was able to go back to the professional context of therapy with an entirely new therapist who was just that, my therapist. I only got to see her for about a month before I stopped. The experience of it was quite different than my first which leads me to my next piece of advice, you don’t have to be stuck in a therapy that you don’t feel is working for you. It is absolutely okay to decide on changing your current therapist and seeking out one who best fits you. I understand for those who have been to therapy that it may sometimes feel like a betrayal to your therapist if one considers leaving, but it is best to remember that it is your wellbeing that comes first. There will be no hard feelings from your therapist.

From the standpoint of being a soon to be counsellor, I have only had so little experience as one. I did my first internship as a counsellor at a hospital and I genuinely disliked every moment of it. I was extremely underqualified and my supervisor thought it best to leave me alone on most occasions to tend to actual clients who needed therapy. I often hope that the clients I got to see were able to seek out a second opinion from a more qualified professional. Over time, I have not had the chance to be a counsellor since I finished my diploma. Let’s just say I have been putting it off for nearly a year now. I have convinced myself that I am not ready and I am not certain when I ever will be. On multiple occasions, I have had some serious self-doubt over whether psychology is even the right course for me. Most of the self-doubt best comes from the fact that I am on most occasions, a better client than I am a psychologist. I am two sides of the same coin. Reading this book sort of gave me a perspective of what it is like to be on both sides of the spectrum. The author delves into her own therapy and how difficult it was at first to not feel like her own therapist wasn’t doing enough for her as she thought she would towards her own clients. I am well aware of how that feels because it was in that exact position that I quit seeing my last therapist. Every day, I go through it in my head whether psychology was the best choice for a career. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist when I was in high school. I knew that I needed to be able to give some form of help to those who were like me then, to kids who had never quite felt like they were ‘’normal’’. I believe that I still want to do that, even despite the self-doubt. I still very much want to help people who struggle with their mental health. All I can do is hope that soon, I will get to offer that help.

To finish this off, I would definitely recommend reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. It is a wonderful, insightful, inspiring, beautiful and enlightening read. Lori Gottlieb is a wonderful author from whom I would love to learn more from, especially as a psychotherapist. Be sure to check it out. One can access it on the e-reader called Z library.

Some quotes I picked up from the book that I absolutely loved…

we have to let go of the fantasy of creating a better past.”

” When the present falls apart, so does the future we had associated with it. ”

A girl and her books – Entry 1

About three or so months ago, I started reading books on an e-reader on my phone, not that I wasn’t already a reader before but the app on which I previously used to read on crushed and hasn’t been back up since. So upon discovery of this new site, I was able to start reading a lot more and quite vastly than I did before. I was ecstatic, to say the least. Reading is such an essential part of me, just as it is with writing. After I got the hang of reading again, I decided that to be able to maintain a steady wave of my reading, I’d put out a list of books that I would have to complete at the end of every month, regardless of whether I got distracted or not. Being the way I am, this was perfect for me since I tend to easily sometimes take my sweet time while reading which slows down my pace on how many books I get to read. Anyway, I had been scheduling my reads for the past two months which has even allowed me to put in more reads over the month than I had intended.

Since I started on my monthly schedule of reading, I have read some really wonderful and inspiring books that made me wish I was in a book club of sorts that would allow me to delve into other people’s reviews of the books. Some books made me cry, others struck a chord and some others made me see a few things in a new light. I relish getting to the end of a good book because it just boosts my yearning for reading more of similar good/great books. Since for now, I still don’t have a book club, I thought that maybe instead of just moving on from one book to the other, I’d express through writing what certain books make me feel or how I related to a degree with the said book. It wouldn’t be a full review but just my take on what the books I read leave me with. Like an interaction between the book and me. Just to put it out there, my favourite genre of books always have a touch of mental health in them. For those who may not be aware, a lot of my life has revolved and still revolves around mental health so I quite regard it as very personal and integral to me. Reading more on it through either fiction or memoirs from authors has always given me a sense of connection and solace that my struggles with mental issues isn’t foreign. It has been a support system that is quite unmatched for me for which I am grateful. Therefore, going forward, I hope to be able to share here more of what I read and how it inspired my thoughts, my emotions and my ideas too.

Title of the book; All this time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott

I read this book over the month of September and it was a great read. I definitely would recommend this book, most especially to the readers who were great fans of the author’s similar books, Five Feet Apart and The Lucky List. Also for readers who enjoyed the books, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault In Our Stars. I am hoping that whatever information I give on this book does not act as a spoiler for those who may seek an interest in reading this book. I actually don’t recall exactly how I came across it because I am constantly on the search for books, most especially on Pinterest since I am able to level down to specifics of the types of books I am usually in search of. For this book, it was at first a slightly slow read but not slow enough that you wouldn’t want to complete it. I was hoping for it not to be a tragic read because books that have an endless array of tragedy, I never quite finish. My anxiety always tends to have me lean on books that aren’t too tragic or those that seem to never have happy ends. But for this book, it proved to be quite worth the finish. It has a twist about it that at the beginning, a reader won’t quite detect. Overall, as the book nears its end, it will captivate you and intrigue you. It will hold your mind and bits of your heart captive. It won’t be a read you’ll be able to put down for another day, you will want to see it till the end and you’ll later be thankful that you did.

Without giving too much out about the book, it got me thinking of the fantasies that I as Dawn had as a child. I cannot entirely rule out whether some of those fantasies aren’t still there. I feel as though sometimes, as human beings, our instincts or hopes held out, allow for certain fantasies we might have had as children growing up to continue being part of us. For example, despite my not so great dating history, I still hold out hope that my fantasy of my ultimate perfect guy will still come to flourish. The odds aren’t on my side in regards to the outcome of this happening but it doesn’t change that I still secretly fantasize that it will. It especially is quite bleak right now because I don’t have the best outlook on dating or even marriage. If you asked me, I am 99% positive that I will never get married, it seems to turn out to be more of a trap for either gender involved. No offence to those who are married and are flourishing, good for you. As for myself, I am not sold on it. I for one don’t entirely believe that there is someone out there who will deem worthy to spend the rest of my life with. I know how that probably sounds, extremely self-centred and a bit, okay maybe a lot obnoxious but I mean it. It is hard for me to believe that someone out there will be the yin to my yang. That we will somehow be in sync with each other despite our differences and odds. But what do I know, most of you would say… I am 23 years old anyway, what experience do I have? I admit, my opinion stands the chance to change over time but it also might not. I believe that one does not start to learn when it is believed they are of “prime age”. What is this standard prime age where one’s opinion stands a chance of being valid and expressable? There is no such standard prime age, or at least I don’t believe there is…

Another such fantasy I have is that maybe, even despite the odds of it ever possibly happening, I will amass as much wealth as is equivalent to that of Kylie Jenner. I know, even when I say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous and such a cliché. Quite embarrassing even… Allow me to explain why this is even a fantasy to start with. For one, I actually take to the high regard that Kylie and I are exactly one year apart in age. She and I share a birthday and she is exactly a year older than I am. For most people, that shouldn’t even matter. For instance, I have a friend from college who shares his birthday with Queen Beyonce but I haven’t heard him trying to amass a similar form of stardom or wealth therefore who am I to want to match King Kylie. It is an absurd fantasy but again, it is my fantasy. The odds are greatly stacked against me, I am aware. I guess some fantasies are meant to come true while some are better yet left as just fantasies.

p.s I hope that anyone who gets to read this has the chance to check out the book All This Time by Mikkie Daughtry.

If I can, I will put a link at the bottom that will hopefully allow a reader to access the book from the site e-reader called Z library which is where I get my books from. https://book4you.org/book/9039712/2a2789

The tales of a childhood forgotten but treasured.

Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, after a night spent drinking a cold cider [pretty much the only alcoholic drink I can stand to take], I happened to take a vague trip down memory lane. Truthfully speaking, I have a shitty memory of my life and childhood most especially. Maybe it’s cause it wasn’t all that or better yet, I choose to not think too much into it because most of those memories entail a childhood that felt a lot like someone else’s. I have had this conversation before with my sister on countless occasions of just how much my life before I was 14 years old feels a lot like a hazy dream I had that wasn’t quite my own. Admittedly, a lot of my childhood is packed at the back of my mind together with the memories of my mother. She was in hind site all I remember from my childhood. My mother was front and centre of my life and like for me as it was for many others, I adored her and relished every bit of time I got to spend with her, despite that time being quite short. But before we cue the sadness, this isn’t meant to be about her absence but more of what her presence was like with me. For me to write this is like taking an excursion into my past and most specifically my childhood memories of me and my mum. I predict that it may not be so long but I surely will try to dig deep into my subconscious mind for what I would regard as treasured but forgotten memories.

The amusement park adventure.

If my memory serves me right, I was ten when my mum took me to my first amusement park a town over from where we lived. It was always there but it was an annual occasion that which if I think of now was more of a theme park than an amusement park since its main theme was agriculture. Farmers from around the county would put on display their crops and different entities regarding agriculture. Aside from that, it offered an amusement park for kids who got a chance to tag along with their parents. For those who may be wondering, especially if you are Kenyan, I am talking about the Nyeri show or the most known one, the Nairobi show. I was ten when my mum surprised me with a trip to Nyeri show. On a Saturday afternoon, after we’d both been in tuition, her as a teacher and me as a student, she told me she wanted to take me to someplace nice. She and I were major suckers for surprises. We loved to see each other’s faces light up from doing something we both regarded as special for each other. I remember being ecstatic on arrival at the show. It was an entirely new experience for me because of its rarity. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that my mum would take me to such a place because I knew of the impossibility of the chance of ever going to one. I don’t say this because she wouldn’t have loved to take me there or any other fun place, on the contrary, I know that my mum would have given me the world if she had it. The reason as to why it was beyond my wildest imaginations for us to have gone there was because I was aware of how things were financially for my family. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family. Maybe partly the reason why I often don’t revere back to my childhood is that I didn’t have the best childhood. Things were often too tough and quite heartbreaking for my family, especially because despite it all, we held out a lot of hope that things would get better but they never quite did. So hence the surprise when my mum got to take me to this show when I knew that on other days it never would have stood a chance since I too was well aware that we couldn’t afford it.

It is still quite vague in my head, but I do remember we walked around the park and we could see kids having fun engaging in different activities and running around. I must have felt quite like I’d just walked into a movie that had a carnivore airing and I was quite in awe to be in it. I remember going on my first merry go round there as well as my first horseback ride and camel ride. For a kid who was terrified of a lot, I applaud myself for even agreeing to try those things out. Though, it was on that first ride on the merry go round that absolutely scared the wits out of me. I remember absolutely dreading that ride the minute I got off it. I remember feeling like my heart kept leaping out of its rib cage every time the merry go round would start on another round. It was absolutely dreadful, and I probably swore to myself that I would never get on another ride like that again because I have actually never been on another merry go round since. Apart from that, I remember us walking around the park that was quite vast. It resembled a big ranch of sorts. We walked around, I vaguely recall us stopping and looking at various exhibitions on different agriculturally based things. Those bits of that day may not have been my most favourite but I wouldn’t have changed those moments for anything because, despite everything, I was together with my absolute best friend. I was with my mother.

A graduation party of sorts…

Earlier I recall writing that my mum and I liked throwing surprises for each other. This time around, I threw her one. It wasn’t anything grand or big, it was the bare minimum, but it was entirely from the heart. It was on the 31st of August, 2007. I am aware of the date because I am lucky to have a picture from that day where my mum was receiving a certificate award for a discipleship class she had been taking in the church we used to attend, which technically is still the church that we go to even today. I will hopefully be able to attach the picture beneath this post so you can see just how beautiful she looked on that day. My mother’s beauty was unmatched, both from a biased and non-biased approach. She stood out wherever she went because she was an absolute ray of sunshine. So on this day, she left that afternoon to go pick up her certificate of completion for that course she had been taking in church. I recall being the only one at home that day so I tried racking my mind on how I would celebrate that win for her. I was nine years old and very much broke. I remember wanting to do something special for her before she came home but I didn’t have the slightest clue on what it is I could do for her. I then came up with a small idea of buying her some cakes which were sold at a shop across our house and maybe including a soda along with it. Did I say buying, I meant taking it on credit since I had zero money on me then, funny how it’s still the same case now. So anyway, I went ahead and got the little delicacies I needed and arranged them on a plate on the table alongside the soda and two glasses. I must have that quite highly of myself then because I intended to go all in. I then closed the curtains to the living room and lighting up two candles and setting them side to side from the plate. I knew she wouldn’t be long before she got home so now all I had to do was wait. On her arrival at the gate, I quickly rushed out to meet her so that I’d request her to close her eyes as I guided her to the house. It definitely wouldn’t have been a surprise had she otherwise walked in just like that. Nothing gave me more joy than seeing her elated face from seeing my surprise for her. I wanted her to know I was proud of her for having gone through those classes and having graduated from them regardless of how meagre it might have seemed to everyone else. We got to share that little celebration together and most importantly, she knew that I would always be her number one cheerleader. [cue the tears]

To be truthfully honest, I am quite surprised by myself for even recalling that much about those two treasured memories of my mum and I. I most times try not to recall memories of my mum because of how much of them are a reminder of her absence today. What I didn’t realize was that alongside those memories were beautiful times that we got to share together. I was so focused on avoiding the hurt that I forgot the love and beauty in remembering the happier times where she was more present than ever. I miss her, beyond what my words can conjure and maybe that’s what hurts the most. Missing her and having no way around to having her with me. But writing about those two memories have brought me so much closer to her than I have allowed me to feel in a very long time. Maybe somewhere along the line, I will allow myself to remember more of her with a lighter heart than a heavier one. She does deserve to be remembered for how amazing and just enigmatic she was. My mother was an angel and it’s just deserving that I share my memories of her and her angelic ethereal self with the world.