Happy Pills (SSRI’s)
I woke at 3am, fairly normal for me, I normally fall asleep between 11pm and 2am, which generally means I wake up between 3 and 5am, Sat watching a bit of TV, scanned Facebook, again normal boring mundane stuff. Until my mind suddenly sparked a thought in my head, and its a single thought that sparked a series of other thoughts that has lead to writing this at 5:56am.
My sleep routine has been pretty solid for many years, since my early teens I have been able to easily function on roughly three hours sleep a night, every night. Taking medications they make a fundmental change in the way my head works in general, and I am surprised that this morning is the first time I have spotted it, and it would also potentially explain why I tend to write more during the earlier hours of the morning.
I have always found the peace of the early hours to be the best part of any day for me, no matter the day, I always wake up as I said between 3 and 5am, and when I do my mind is instantly alert, there’s now morning blurry eyed brain fog, all my neurons and synapses come to life with a tonne of thoughts and ideas.
My normal brain routine from the second it sends the instruction to open an eye is, 100MPH off and running, it constantly asks questions like;
Do we need coffee, Do we need a smoke, Do we need the toilet, Do we need a shave, Do we need a bath, What’s on the job sheet for today and normally very high on the agenda What are we going to do for some fun today? then come the instructions after the intial fast assessment of needs;
Get up, Bathroom, Bath tap on, use toilet, go to kitchen, put on the coffee, go to living room, put on a news channel, get a smoke, normally followed up with my brain running through the diary for the day and checking the sleep time thought log (I’ll explain later, if I remember) to see if any inspiration happened during sleep that gets whatever project I am working on moving for the day, once the first one drops I normally receive a flood of thoughts and ideas related to work that day.
All these thoughts and plans take place during the period of time where the coffee is being done the bath is running and I’m having a smoke. Once that stage ends the bath is ready, coffee made, smoke done. Then whilst in the bath (normally no longer than 10 mins), my brain cells sort the ideas and thoughts I had runnuing through whilst getting to this point and then files them in order of relevence to the project or job, and picks the ideas and thought processes to develop from the options left behind after it first sort.
So by the time I have gotten out of the bath, a process which normally takes around 25 to 30 mins from the point of waking up, I have prepared the start of my day, which jobs to do and in which order to do them based on how far along the developed thought process I have stored away.
Then whilst I work on the jobs that are already well underway in the mind I transfers that into written formats, and whilst I’m doing that my mind carries on finishing the thought processes and passing them to my fingers, eyes etc to transfer to the keyboard, camera, note book etc.
It’s a process I have developed over many years now as I have always since I can remember my first clear thought at the age of three had a mind that runs at a very high pace, it can have 5 ideas at once, and completely develop all of those ideas simultaneously discarding as it goes, when it hits on workable ideas they are thrown onto the filing table in my mind map.
If you’ve never heard of Mind Maps I would wholeheartedly say go for it, do some research and see if Mind Mapping can work for you, I first remember hearing about Mind Maps from of all places that great British Comic Bob Monkhouse who had an amazing ability to create jokes as stories as random sets of words thrown at him from the audience.
The way in which he explained it works is really rather simple, he says he holds categories of words in seperate parts of his mind map, when he asks his audience to call out something from that category and he’s chosen one of the words, he pulls it from the draw and onto his mood board, and so on and so on until he’s built up the list of keywords to fit into the joke.
Then he goes to the next section of his Mind Map the Openers in which he obviously stored a set a base opening scenerios for jokes, then builds the back story and so on and so on until the joke is fully formed by which time he’s almost finished telling the joke and is closing the final draw the Punchlines by the time the audience hear said Punchline, he’s already accepting the laughter and applause while he checks his mind map again for his next part of the act, and it rolls again.
It was roughly 10 years later when I first read about NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) the basic premis of NLP is layed out in the Graphic above to save me boring you with the details, but I will say its a facinating subject and has proved useful to me over the years having developed techiques using NLP to manage my Mental Health and Working Day alongside each other. So if you think some mind re training would help you, I’d say go for it and have a read up.
I’ve wondered of on a slight tangent maybe, but it all relates and will pin together by the time I finish writing, back to Mind Maps, I loved the idea of having an ordered mind, as up until my late teens I was the typical teen, lazy, blah, blah.
But by this time I’d already started experiencing periods of depression (or as well called it back then feeling sad), its around then I noticed that during the “feeling sad times” my ideas don’t seem to keep coming, it turns out they did but they just got lost in the air of the other “sad thoughts”. It was whilst reading about NLP I remembered the Bob Monkhouse Mind Mapping story, and I thought I wonder if I could design my own Mind Map so that when these “sad times” happen I can easily re-call happier memories to help life the sad mood.
And my very basic Mind Map began to take shape with one simple draw with the lable Good Memories attached with a Dymo Gun, sat on a beautiful Oak desk and the Leather High Back Chair and the basic office layout, no windows yet, it just felt comfortable, a so called “Happy Place”. And for years building my Mind Warehouse has become a Labour of Love and a place that really is a Happy Place for me to be.
For those of you that know the TV Series Warehouse 13, my Mind Warehouse is a little something like that, although I will add my Mind Warehouse did actually come before the show, I should have got a Copyright on that idea huh!.
In Warehouse 13 the rows of shelves house the worlds weird and wonderful artefacts, my Mind Warehose differes in that it houses rows of filing cabinets all neatly labled and ordered into categories and a number of other criteria. The Mind Warehouse is my go to place for every decission I’ve made and need to make, it’s the place in which my life is stored in an ordered and control manner, wondering around inside the Mind Warehouse I can easily move from one section to another with a single thought, there are no miss-filled index cards, memories, documents, everything is eactly where I put it (that’s important to remember for later, again if I remember to come back to it, but it will again show that my Mind Warehouse is out of order if I don’t remember to come back to it).
I drifted again. the Mind Warehouse, ah that’s where I was – It’s lovely, it’s a beautiful place, always perfectly clean, everything filled exactly where it should be (sure I mentioned that already), nowadays when you enter my Mind Warehouse you enter through a Solid Oak Door into a functional but lovely and comfortable office, a high backed sumptious Leather Chair greets you as you walk in, you walk across a deep pile carpet that feels so light and comfortable underfoot, then you spot the light of the coffee machine and instantly that fresh smell of ground coffee fills the office,
Right toes it’s nearly 7.30am and to prove how defective my Mind Warehouse currently is 4 and a half hours after waking up its finally accessed if I need a bath and said, “Oi Stinky Fella, get it sorted”, so now off for a bath.
*PAUSE. 7:52am Res … (oh wait) *Pause. …. 7:54am (next coffee in) and Res …. (oh!) *Pause. …. Forgot the basic tread of what I was writing about, so went to read it back … and 8:09am Res… made a couple of corrections, back on thread again now, oh hang on … 8:10am *Pause. …. 8:24am Resume …
Above is a perfect example of how my mind currently works, it cannot finish one process anymore whilst thinking about other questions, jobs, problems etc, it can only focus on one thought process or job at once, and for someone like me who loves running at that 100mph and doesn’t feel comfortable or safe, not being able to do more than one task at once in my Mind Warehouse.
8:27am *Pause .. a difficult bit to write coming up, moving away from the keys to properly finish the thought rather than just type as it would come out angrily and that’s not what I’m trying to achieve her, so brb ….
8:35am Resume, wondered off to think and randomly posted a Facebooke Status,
“8:33am – Holly crap, just noticed I’ve currently written some 1714 words on a blog post, it started at around 6am and it’s still going. just hope it makes some sense when its done and it actually has point lol.”
8:48am *Pause – just drank some coffee, it’s gone cold, that won’t do, re-fill time. 8:58am Resume ….. oh feck … pondering where to go next, 9:00am the alarm on my phone is ringing and my Google Home system is telling me its time to take the tablets which is of course the focus of this post, perfect segway for me to get the words running again …. 9:02am Resume .. we may as well actually mention the Medications as we are at that time of the day for the first one, every morning I take Citalopram a quick description:
Citalopram, sold under the brand name Celexa among others, is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. The antidepressant effects may take one to four weeks to occur.
That’s the morning gift of Happy Pills, then at 10pm we go to Happy Pill two Mirtazapine, and another quick description for you …
Mirtazapine, sold under the brand name Remeron among others, is an antidepressant primarily used to treat depression. Its full effect may take more than four weeks to occur, with some benefit possibly as early as one to two weeks. Often it is used in depression complicated by anxiety or trouble sleeping.
So, currently as you can see I am having a two pronged approach to the Medical Treatment side currently, I haven’t mentioned the strenghths of each tablet as it tends to cause all sorts of disagreements with people, and I don’t want to be drawn into all the if you take this dose it causes this and this and all that old pony, so no numbers EVER (that and I always feel people judge some way just how messed up I am by the level of Medications I take).
Let’s get back on track, before the other various tangents I was talking again about the Mind Warehouse office, back to the description, as the lights come on in the office a fantastic screen appears on the wall displaying some beautiful relaxing scenery (it used to be a window into the Warehouse and nothing more, but as Technilogy has grown my Mind Warehouse has had some upgrades, hence running the description again…).
Back to the office, the desk is to the left of the new Oak Warehouse Door, (I broke the last one trying to get into the Warehouse to find some happier thoughts, hence being in a bad place for the last few days). Behind the High Backed Leather Chair, I love typing that as its the same chair I use at my desk in the real world, the Mind Warehouse office one is in better condition as it can be instantly replaced anytime, the beauty of it being inside my mind, anyway drifted again, behind the chair is a cupboard all sparkling clean at all times, coffee machine continually full of fresh coffee, made with freshly ground beans, cups laid out (we’ve already established guests are not getting in, so I can now reduce the number of cups available and comfy chairs for that matter, one of each from now on), with biscuits (obviously those packs of three you steal from cheap hotels, you know the ones).
9:31 *Pause, just realised I’m still just wearing my dressing gown after having the bath, that won’t do not being presentable enough in front of the keyboard lol, 9:42am Resume … so, well anyway, dressed now and I’m wearing a lov….. sod that old capper lol, on we go (we are getting closer to the difficult bit now, still not fully formulated as to how it will be written, and if I’m being totally honest a lot of what I’ve written has been to avoid getting to this part), but we’ll crack on, oh wait, 9:44am coffee cup empty, can’t write the next part without more, so sorry *Pause (at least for you you’ll get to carry on reading as if I never stopped, I have to cope with the forgetting where I was lol).
9:50am OK, let’s actually power on through now and see if we can’t get to the conclusion to this in one last hit, let’s rip off that plaster and get it done (and not Brexit, oh crap, my first mention of politics, this could end badly) … **anyway dragging myself back from avoidance techniques … back to the Mind Warehouse Office.
Right, we’ve done easy chairs and coffee table, new Solid Oak Warehouse Door (no idea why I feel the need to point out Solid, but hey ho I digress again), the position of the desk, which in itself is a Masterpiece of perfect order, Laptop perfectly position for the height of the desk and the lovely (you guessed it…) High Backed Leather Chair, Freshly ground coffee, ok we’re all back in the room now yes? we’ve got that smell of the fresh Italian Roasted Coffee beans that waft from the perfectly clean coffee machine (but now I’ve reduced the cups if you’ve actually slipped in here with me, sorry, not enough cups for you to have one).
I pick up the one pristinely cleaned Mug (I don’t do cups), pour the lovely freshly roasted Italian Coffee which fills the cup fast, putting the pot back on the machine and its full again as if none had been poured, I turn and take the 10 steps across the sumptuous deep carpet that makes the perfectly polished Black Shoes stand out against the blue of the carpet, and causes light to bounce up into my glasses, and a whole wave of happiness is surrounding me, I have a coffee, everything is perfect I’m ready for another day, I’m in the happiest place I know, my Mind Warehouse.
It’s perfect right, you are in the room with me and you can feel the serenity of the office, the joy of the memories and thoughts that are just the other side of the Solid Oak Warehouse door, the office is quiet, I turn the chair, put the coffee down on its coaster (no cups on my perfect desk), which is to the left of my Laptop, and to the left of that is my Tablet, I put the coffee down, sit in the amazing …. High Backed Leather Chair, which is perfectly made to fit my back, so zero pain from the old hip, it is perfection?
Then a thought passes across the front of my mind, it’s fleeting, it’s not perfectly formed, it’s full of doubt, the thought is simple ……
What if, What if, What if….
What if, today it returns, and then as I sit there ready to take the next step in the routine which is to tap the power key on the tablet (as with everything in the office it’s always perfectly working and 100% charged at all times…).
I stab away at the Back to safety button, but it’s too late, there is no back to safety. The perfect lighting tuned to my eyesight to replicate the perfect conditions of my Mind Warehouse, it goes RED, it SCREAMS at me, turn, escape, run, but it’s too late, the perfect lighting drops to a deep red, it eminates from the corner in between the desk and the office wall, it’s the place the rubbish bin hides, but its the rubbish bin that houses the fear.
(my heart is actually racing as I write this now), it’s so vivid in my mind, I can almost reach out and grab my own arm to try to pull me out of the door, but I’m frozen with fear, both the me who’s sat in the chair and the me that’s watching from just behind the office door, peering through the crack trying to find a way to talk that me that’s stuck in the office, it doesn’t work, I give it one last try from the outside, I try pushing with everything I have against the Oak Office door, now it seems there is one of those auto close springs on the door, and someone has tightened the screws so tight that no matter what I do I can’t force the door open, with one last desperate shout of RUN the door slams in my face and the me from outside vanishes into nothing, and I re-appear back in the now deep red warning lights of the office, with the dreaded corner flashing it’s now neon red lights towards the office celling (my mind seems to like corners, it’s where I seem to always find the bad stuff, but I guess that’s fairly common).
The trusty office rubbish bin where on a normal Mind Warehouse day the bad/negative thoughts were simply dealt with and filled into the bin and life noved on. No longer though.
The bin is no longer that trusty office bin, the one the cleaner pops in and empties at 8pm every night, (at least that’s the schedule of my non existant cleaner who’s suddenly working in my Mind Warehouse, I hope shes on some kind of work trail, I can’t afford her wages as well haha).
I sidetrac k (on purpose) again, timecheck, I started at 6am, its now somehow 10:44am and I still haven’t go to the whole point of this, I’m now onto another coffee, so again let’s once more power on togethre until the end, (typed as though anyone is ever reading this, but if you just read that I guess you are reading it, well Hey, hello). So, back on we go …
The bin I’ve established is no longer a bin, its something that holds nothing but abject fear for me, it’s something of an innocuous looking Filling Cabinet (as you’d expect from the contents of the wider Mind Warehouse), execpt this one holds no pleasure, it holds no happy thoughts, its where all of those memories you NEVER want to remember live, its not even those sad memories from the Funeral of a Family member or close Friend, they are out there sharing the joy of the main Mind Warehouse, no these thoughts are not for out there, these are the darkest thoughts, the ones that cause the nightmares, the ways that can NEVER be allowed to infect the perfection of the Warehouse just the other side of that Solid Oak Door, oh! maybe that’s why I’ve been refering to this door as Solid Oak Warehouse Door, thicker and offeres more protection to stop the thoughts and memories now filling the office from after they start escaping and from the now open Draw, reducing their ability to affect the perfection that awaits out there once I can get back to it.
I scramble around on the floor, trying to scoop all all the idex cards, bad words, reminder phrases, images, video replays and damn right awful stuff that I have spent years trampling down into this one single draw, anything that could possibly hurt me or remind me of a bad time is forced into this draw, but the point at which things start to fire from the draw at a hell of a pace, no matter how much scooping I do, how tightly I screw my eyes together to block out the fountain of pure evil now envolopng the room, the junk is pressing against and rising slowly up Solid Oak Warehouse Door, I can’t breath so I push up for some air, and all I can see is the room so full of the bad thoughts, memories and everything else that it’s pitch black in here now, no sounds other than the memories screaming from the cards that have spewed from the dream.
That’s it the Mind Warehouse is now closed, the blackness and dread have firmly taken over the office, but thankfully that Solid Oak Door still protects the Mind Warehouse outside in the hope I can make it back there again as quickly as possible.
#Shaun who him? – I’ve worked in the Employability & Skills, Recruitment, Training, Careers Advice & CV Writting/Consultancy sectors for over 20 years. Currently developing my life long passion of Photography with the eventual aim of building a new business venture. McLaren F1 and Ayrton Senna fan who also enjoys cooking who more recently using my enjoyment of writing to talk about my own Mental Health struggles.