Nausea (Feeling Sick.)
I remembered reading that exercise was good.
So I did star jumps.
I did star jumps while fat salty tears ran down my face.
I howled and I jumped, wondering if the breathlessness might take away the constant nervous shudder in my stomach. As my heart pounded I knew that I needed to leave the house. I needed to leave the house and go and talk to a doctor.
But I didn’t like leaving the house.
I wanted to stay in the house forever.
Breathless and blubbering, I put my sunglasses on and I forced myself out of the door. I walked seven laps of the park, whispering incantations to myself, trying to believe in the magic I needed that would take it all away.
On the last lap, I hastily turned left, and before I could change my mind I scurried into doctor’s surgery.
I told the GP I felt nervous all the time. I told her I wasn’t in control, I was overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless. I told her that it made me feel sick all the time. And I had a phobia of being sick. So I also felt scared, scared of being sick and scared of going anywhere in case I was sick and also scared that I would never not feel sick again.
She was kind with her rehearsed soothing doctor’s voice (I wondered if they took classes for that in medical school). She prescribed me pills and put me on a waiting list for therapy. But the drug was called Sertraline and it had a common side effect of nausea. I didn’t think this was a good idea. But her soothing voice coerced me into it. It felt like my only option. On the leaflet it said nausea (feeling sick). The words taunted me.
I took the pills and I spent three days rigid in my bed. I felt as though my body was wading through jelly. Every movement I made had me feeling nauseated, dizzy, debilitated. I couldn’t eat, drink or sleep. I didn’t dare move for fear of throwing up. My stomach ached. My fists were constantly clutching the bedclothes just to remind myself I wasn’t moving.
On the fourth day I couldn’t stomach the water I needed to swallow the pill. So I ploughed through the slimy air. I stood up straight for the first time, and I flushed those nasty little pills right down the toilet…
At the time what I didn’t know is that I suffer from something called Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and depression. I still find it hard to say the word depression, it all feels self-indulgent to me and I don’t know why, I guess it makes me feel like the human that is broken – like a faulty toy or an old Barbie with it’s hair hacked off – so I don’t like to admit it.
But this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. And nearly two-thirds of people in the UK suffer from a mental health problem. So if we can’t admit our experiences and talk about them now, when can we?
It was the lovely Leonard Cohen that wrote “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Some of us are full of cracks. I am full of cracks… And one almighty rupture that felt as though it would never heal.
But it did.
And you will find a source of light. Whether it’s in medication, therapy, exercise, meditation… or a loving boyfriend that’ll force feed you carbs and incite a marathon of 90s romcoms.
P.S This post is dedicated to that loving boyfriend, who didn’t and doesn’t give up on me even when I get a LOT crazy. x
If you have any questions please just ask. Or share your story below so I can prove that we’re not all alone…