Going back in time for this one…
Back when I was 19 years old I had glandular fever…. I was at art college in central London on a art design course training to be a window dresser… which by the way, I’m really good at… and on New Years eve I went out with some friends – male and female on a pub crawl in the town that we live in. Having not that long come out of a long term relationship that hadn’t ended well, I, like my friends was determined to have a good night out. New Years eve at that point in time was a significant point in the year, kind of set the tone for the coming year… it doesn’t work like that for me anymore…but anyway we decided to go on a pub crawl heading from one end of the town to the other …can’t remember which end we started but we ended up in the trusted Ivy House… our old beloved stomping ground. Not sure whose idea it was,…. just know it wasn’t mine…but we decided to snog unknown men on this pub crawl… seemed most amusing at the time…but I think I caught the illness that created Glandular fever by doing this and do you know what? It totally stopped me snogging unknown random men there after!!!
Glandular fever made me really ill..initially 3 weeks of intense illness and then a good 6 months of reduced time college attendance and blood tests. It took 6 months for my white blood cell count to come back to normal parameters and I’ve never felt quite the same since I got it. Its Epstein Barr virus that causes Glandular Fever, I then had the misfortune of being infected by this virus again when i was around 24 years old…again it floored me, I tested positive for it in a blood test but my GP was adamant that I couldn’t have glandular fever again, that I had a different un-named illness, This is being looked into by my current GP… unfortunately, god that’s an understatement!, I fell into a black hole, a black hole of fatigue and depression. I lost the will to carry on living, I really did just want to curl up and cease to exist, everything hurt too much to be here.
Now I had experienced depression before, truthfully I’ve been dealing with it since I was a teenager… I have ups and downs… a senior practitioner at work commented on it a couple of years ago, not in a horrible way… more a ‘your quite up aren’t you, you are like that at times aren’t you?’ kind of way … and I said yep, seems to be the way, some people might want to medicalise it … we looked at each other, turned our noses up, shook our heads and he said no, its just you. I like him a lot for that. My ups and downs sit within a usually containable parameter, other people have far worse to deal with and that’s something I am very aware of. But it took me time to be like this about my mood changes, it was much harder when I was younger, I learn and although I learn quickly, it still took time . I’m very lucky that I am able to reflect and that I’m very psychologically minded. Because that is what has given me the edge on dealing with mood changes. But back in my early 20’s I was engulfed by low mood, it happened because of events in my life…nothing there that I actually want to share with you… enough to say I took an overdose and tried to cut my wrists, All contained within my family, friends and GP practice. What I learnt quickly was that my actions caused people that care about me hurt and I’d already lost a friend to self harm. I like some of you, lost a beautiful friend who was only 15 when she died, I refuse to call her death suicide because I do not believe she meant to die, I think her actions were someone calling out for help. And that is really what I was doing. I feel the loss of my friend each and every day and I knew back when I was 20 years old that I would do everything to never put other people who care about me through that again. The depression I went through after that second EB infection truly tested that resolve. Each and every day was a battle to remain here. It was the days before dosset boxes, tri-cyclic antidepressants were the only antidepressants available. So my GP asked me the question would you take these in one go. I said I would like to think not but I can’t say it for certain, I’d like the possibility of that taken away from me. She then contacted the chemist in the village I was living to ask if he would hold my prescription and provide me with 3 days anti-depressants at a time, she then had a row with him over his mercenary attitude that he could levy a prescription charge for every 3 days! Seriously you have to wonder about some people!! So anyway a chemist in Camden Road was a lot more helpful and they held my prescription until such time as it was safe for me to have more than 3 days supply of antidepressants. Truthfully it took me about 2 years for me to get truly better from the mental effects of this illness and that continues to reside within me… it is as I have said before likely that I have ME, my GP tells me that current thinking about Glandular Fever is that it never goes away and she like me thinks ME is a good fit to explain my ongoing fatigue and problematic immune system.
So I took antidepressants for a while and eventually my mood settled, can’t say if it was because I took them or not but what I do know is that I don’t like them. They raise my anxiety levels expeditionary and I’ve just found out that they affect other responses, responses that I for one don’t want blunted, I’ll add the link if you are interested. I prefer to feel my emotions as they are, painful as that can be… that’s my choice and I in no way seek to alter any of your own decisions about this matter. I prefer to seek out counselling and other cognitive ways of dealing with mood changes and in learning just who I am… It works for me… might be a bit painful for others to observe.. but that’s their issue and not mine . I am truly not a fan of BIG PHARMA… they are mercenary and that aren’t interested in us, I take medication, I have to, ME and osteoarthritis mean I live with constant pain. So at the moment I take painkillers but I am working on other ways of dealing with pain cos I don’t like mediation…..I only recently clocked with the aid of a trusted work mate that I do actually have a very high pain threshold because of this constant pain… But bloody hell do I feel acute pain!!??!! That is most probably because osteoarthritis alters your pain receptors and your perception of pain! But I don’t take anti-depressants.
here’s the promised link …. she’s very interesting… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-ewvCNguug&feature=share
As a by the by, going back to the getting of Glandular Fever, the following New Year I went out with friends, not sure if we went on a pub crawl, suspect not due to energy reasons, but anyway a boy I know…. and as one of my good girl friends said to me recently, they are all still boys!! asked me for a kiss…. I was a little inebriated and said I couldn’t possibly do that, I might catch Aids… yep those were the early days of knowledge of HiV and Aids and yes those were my words…. Sorry!… He, not surprising was a little bit upset by my response… I for my part was just a little bit bewildered by his response. Later me and my pals left this pub to go somewhere, may well of been back to my parents house as they always used to go away for New Years and even though they used to tell me not to have people back, I always chose not to listen, but that’s me!! anyway where ever we were going I spoke to my girl friend about what had passed earlier, she had previously had a relationship with this particular boy, and I was astounded when she said ‘oh Debi, he really likes you’. Good lord I just had not seen it!!!
This people is a bit of a pattern, which I will explain further in a while. Oh goodness says me I had not realised. I still know this boy and he may read this, if so, I’d like to say I think we made our peace a long long time ago, cos I think your a great person, witty and intelligent, but I find I kind of need to say it was never my intent to cause you harm or pain, I was just simply oblivious. And of course he had previously had a relationship with someone that I am friends with… its a bit of a no go area for me. Rarely break that one and if I have, I will be able to explain why if asked….
So I am frequently obvious to how people react to me and I think there are two reasons for that, the first being I relate to people as people, gender simply isn’t a issue. I make decisions about people based on whether I like then as a person or not. I determine whether they are of interest, if they are trust worthy etc etc etc based on them and not whether they are male or female. Truthfully, it has historically got me into trouble on occasion. And again if I have ever turned down your advances, it was because I simply wasn’t on the page. and again I apologise if I was blase and maybe a little thoughtless as it is never really my intent to cause pain…. Okay that’s not always true, if I am proper nasty I’ve usually thought about it. I do have a razor sharp tongue and as my dear much missed pa used to say I don’t suffer fools gladly…. and don’t try to box me into a corner, I don’t like it. There is a second reason and probably a third but they can wait.
Occasionally I meet people that I am instantly attracted to, but 9 times out of 10, I go very strange if this happens. I can’t look people in the eye, I turn away from away from them which is actually very clear none verbal communication!! and I will talk complete gibberish as I actively seek to get away from them. A male friend was once completely astounded to witness the ever confident Debi behave in this way… he really could not believe what he was watching and was a such slightly lost for words!! Its the sort of thing that just makes me laugh and shake my head!!! Its a moment where my inner normally well concealed anxieties show themselves!!!
But even rarer than that are the people that I am instantly attracted to who I can speak to, these people are rare and somewhat precious. I usually maintain friendships with people like this…. we may go through rocky periods to get to that point but that is usually the way it is. And I’m thankful for that.
So the roller-coaster continues, I continue to have major trust issues but I’m working really hard on those. This most recent physical illness has affected my mental well-being, I can clearly see that and actually that has been a profound learning curve. I have reached out to a couple of trusted girlfriends and been very clear to state how I have been feeling. That is a major step. A step in the right direction. I’ve maintained contact with other friends, Again a major step. And again a step in the right direction. Running way from you all did not help. I’m back with you and I don’t intend to leave you anytime soon.
But I am now going to go and work on some collages. I have previously written about the therapeutic value of creativity and I will at some point soon share what I wrote. But simply at this point in time I find that it helps to contains a lot of my emotions… it does in fact help me to regulate my emotions.
So I’m off to be creative. Please take with you the thought that if you are my friend, and I will happily tell you if i see you as a friend, that you matter to me and that in some way or another you are in my heart.
As ever Love & Peace