The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


And there it is again. The hurt.

It is a pressure in the chest, a gaping void in the stomach, a lump about to form at the back of the throat and the dizziness of standing at the top of a high cliff wondering what it would be like to just step off.

I don’t know what’s causing it. I just want it to stop.

I don’t know whether it’s a symptom of something physical, like the B12 deficiency, or whether it’s psychological and to do with unresolved issues.

I cannot see what purpose it is serving. It is destructive. If it is my subconscious trying to tell me something then it’s being bloody obscure about it.

I just want the pain to stop. I want to function properly. I want to feel enthusiasm, joy and motivation again.

Probably be ok again tomorrow. It doesn’t usually last much beyond one day, although it seems to be happening more often these days.

I don’t know a cure, so I want to revert to distraction methods. But I no longer use drugs, could never cope with the hangovers to really get into alcohol and I can’t afford the money for retail therapy or gambling. Food has been the major distraction of choice over the past decade or more, but I’ve spent over 18 months battling the demon that took me to 19st 9lbs (275lbs).

So what’s left? What can I use to blot out the pain until it’s passed?

TV? Is that it?

And that’s only if there’s nothing too emotional on. I can’t cope with emotional dramas when I’m like this.



rnp said...

Oh Kim, I know that lump in the back of your throat feeling all to well this week. I know for me it is purely emotional.

I am sorry you are having a difficult time with something... I hope that you will get a check up to insure it isn't something in need of medical attention, just in case.

Life is difficult sometimes, and while I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason--it never stops me from questioning "WHY".

I hope your next post has you in your usual state of mind.

Stella said...

Kim, I am sorry you are suffering. I suppose you need to rule out the physical stuff first (have no idea of the symptoms of B12 deficiency), presuming you have had blood tests done - anaemia? Even tho I don't know the symptoms of the B12 I have a sneaking suspicion they are along the lines of anaemia? So presuming doc has tested for all and everything, and not being a doc myself (but having first and second hand experience of depression/anxiety), and physiological problems ruled out, could well be depression or anxiety or depression/anxiety. Physiological a hell of a lot easier and quicker to treat than psychological. Whatever it is I hope you haven't given up on finding the root cause and here's hoping you start to feel better soon.

Chris Black said...

Hang on in there Kim....

quinn said...

Kim. I am a little confused as to your exact symptoms...
From what you describe , for all except the lump in your throat, I would say to talk to your doctor regarding your gall bladder.

Gall bladder attacks primarily start out slowly and over time increase in frequency as well as intensity.

dizziness, sweating, chest pains, nausea light headedness, all of those are symptoms of many things but also gall bladder.

I have been there took over 1 year to get my gall stones diagnosed. after having all kinds of heart tests etc done..I told my symptoms to a friend on the internet and she said sounds like gall bladder could be the problem..I went in had an ultrasound done and found out it was in deed Gall stones.

I suffered for over a year for no good reason....they said they never thought of gall stones because I was in my early 30's and it is primarily for woman over 40 that are overweight.

I would recomend that you at least ask your doctor to rule it out. It cannot hurt to check. I did have to have my gall bladder removed but it was so worth it. I was having attacks more and more frequently and if they become really badly they then have to do emergency surgery which would have been far more risky.
I wish you health my friend.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks for your concerns. It's not the nausia and chest pains of gall bladder problems - it's depression.

I've been through depression before - I once spent 18 months on anti-depressants, and another time spent over 2 years in group therapy.

Depression sneaks up on you over a long period of time because everytime you start to feel bad you distract yourself. Then one day you might realise that you've spent the last several years of your life distracting yourself through your addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, work, gambling - whatever your distraction of choice is).

This time round I recognise it. The feeling of overwhelming hopelessness. The pain is like that of intense grief - an aching, yearning feeling that hits you in the heart and/or guts. You want it to just stop. And even though you might know that in the long term your distraction of choice is damaging, you just want to blot it out for the now. Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe not, but you'll worry about it then. Right now, you just want the ache to end.

I've had my physical and psychological reasons for depression in the past - a bad diet with lots of processed foods doesn't help and being stuck in a rut with your life, feeling there's no way out.

But things are different now. I've lost 90lbs in weight and eat properly and I gave up the life that was causing me so much stress. So I don't know what's causing this now.

I think the bouts of depression are following something physical. My B12 should be back up to normal, but we don't know what caused it in the first place. Perhaps the deficiency was a symptom of something else. I'm supposed to be getting more blood tests soon, but it seems that these things stretch out forever.

If it is psychological and to do with unresolved issues, then it is being bloody obscure about it. I've become very good at recognising when I'm hiding things from myself, and I cannot see anything this time.

I'm hoping it will eventually get sorted, but in the meantime I'm am getting these bouts of depressive ache more frequently, but I don't know how to deal with them without falling back into the old comforts, which are just too damaging.

Charlie said...

I call this the inner hysteria.

quinn said...

WEll, kim... I want to say, bravo for knowing and recognizing that it is a sign of depression that is a huge step in the right direction to coping with it. Also, for being incredably brave to open up to all of us about having depression.

I have been there myself, terrible feelings of hopelessness and sadness and I thank goodness recognized the signs also and went to my doctor and got treatment.

I am always aware that it can come back and like you , have distracted myself in many ways when needed.

I hope you will please talk to your wife, your doctor, someone that can help you look for whatever you need to help you through this time in a healthy way.

You can always talk here or email me personally just if you ever just want to talk.

Depression is not just having a bad is a challenge, but can come through it , you are not alone.

Stella said...

Aaw Kim, I know, depression is a bummer. Presume you have had your thyroid checked? As I'm sure you know that can be a physiological cause of depression.

And depression can be so hard to treat and recovery slow. Not lecturing here, speaking from experience. I have suffered from depression (my mother suffered from depression) and my hubby suffers from depression (what a great team eh?) I don't believe that there ALWAYS has to be a reason for it, I think some people are just prone to it and you don't have to have unresolved issues or bad past experiences at the root of it. I wish there wasn't such a stigma attached to depression as it is an illness/condition like so many others.

I also wish there wasn't such a stigma attached to taking anti-depressants. Hey if someone has epilepsy or diabetes no-one would DREAM of saying "oh don't take those drugs, that's just masking the symptoms, you're weak, you should be able to cope without drugs", would they? All the drugs do is replace the chemical in the brain that and when that stabilises and you feel better, your brain starts acting like it should and releases the chemical. They are not mind-altering drugs (not the modern ones anyway), they are not sedatives, they don't change your personality. A friend of mine who is on anti-d's for a couple of years now says "they allow me to BE ME".

K, sorry for going on, I will stop now. Thinking of you Kim and hope you get to the root of your depression and can look forward to feeling better.

Stella said...

ps Ever try St. John's Wort? OTC but suitable for mild depression only.

Me said...

Hello Kim,
I can totally relate to what you're saying on this. "The feeling of overwhelming hopelessness".
Yep. Been there, seen that, done that.
Am there :(
I have no advice. Sorry, I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.
I particularly find it a bitch that you can "intelligently diagnose" yourself with this, tell yourself "ok so now you suffer from depression"
You can't take on advice and thereby solve it.
At least I can't.
I've had advice up to my ears.
I never helped.
So what do I do?
I endure.
Wait for it to pass.
Cause it always does.
Only problem I also know it'll resurface another time soon.
What's the option?
I don't like the idea of medication.
Life's a bitch..

Attila The Mom said...

Oh Kim.


My oldest is dealing with this, and it's so hard to know what to say or how to help.

Depression hurts. It really does.

I'm not going to offer platitudes or advice.

Just know that I'm thinking of you and sending you all of my best wishes, my friend.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I'm sorry, Kim.

There's not much I can say, except to try to hang onto the fact that this too will pass. If it doesn't and, weeks from now, you still feel like this, it might be worth reconsidering another doctors visit. Medication can be a life saver and sometimes there just isn't too much choice, particularly if you have a family who need you.

Best to you Kim. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way.

Kate said...

aaw Kim, that sounds really crap :-(

You've been given loads of great advice by other commenters so instead of more here's a hug


Kim Ayres said...

Charlie - sounds insteresting. Care to elaborate?

Quinn - don't worry, I'm not suffering in silence. If I need to talk, I'll talk, or write about it on the blog - gone are the days when I'll hide what's bothering me. The problem is that this time it's not about refusing to talk about hidden issues, it's about not knowing what issues it might be, if any at all.

Stella - I think the thyroid checked out ok in the first set of blood tests.

I've been on anti-depressants before. And while I think they can help give you breathing space to address the issues that are causing it, too often they are just handed out as though they are the cure, while the actual causes - be they physical or psychological - are never actually addressed. I'm extremely reluctant to go back on them unless it is an absolute last resort.

me - welcome to my ramblings. I know exactly where you're coming from and I appreciate your empathy.

Atilla, Sam PCB & Kate - thanks for your support.

When writing this, I wasn't expecting answers - the only chance I have of finding them are with the help of my doctor and anyone he points me to. It's just venting.

Last night the comfort eating took over, which I know doesn't help in the long run, but I'm back on track with plenty of fresh fruit and veg today.

I'd like to put up a new post, but I can't think of anything just at the moment.

Gyrobo said...

There's nothing wrong with comfort eating. It's sleep eating you've gotta look out for.

Pendullum said...

I have no advice...
Just the hope that you stay with us...
Keep communicating and know that you have people that are out in bloggersphere that have been touched by you...
Are involved in you...
That enjoy your insights and are willing to go on the journey of being... With you....
It is very powereful of you to have shared...

Freakazojd said...

Thank goodness for blogs when you're feeling blue. Sometimes depression takes blind aim at unsuspecting targets - so I hope you're not spending too much time/energy trying to figure out why you're feeling this way. It may be strictly hormonal and not necessarily tied to some unknown issue. As you said, you know yourself well. Trust in that, do what you logically know is best for you (staying off the drugs if that's not what you need, eating well, sleeping well, getting out of the house - and out of your head - and spending time with loved ones), and try to just ride it out. This too shall pass.
Sending you smiles. :)

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Hi Kim

Sorry to hear you have been suffering from a bout of depression. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it doesn't last long.

I'm no expert, but I have looked a little bit into the brain-gut axis and depression. If you've been experiencing gut problems recently you might like to check out the evidence that what happens in your intestines affects what's going on in your brain (I'm not medically qualified, so I can't suggest any treatments).

best wishes


sarah said...

sounds like anxiety.

i'm sorry. sounds like me just about every other month. can't tell you how exactly i get through it, but talking to someone who understands normally helps.

Kim Ayres said...

Gyrobo - let me guess - you once dreamed you ate a huge marshmallow and woke up to find your pillow was gone...

Pendullum - thanks for your warm words. I'm not planning on going anywhere :)

Freakazojd - smiles back to you :)

Dr J McC - I'm not aware of any gut problems. I guess as a parasitologist it's your first point of call. Thanks for your thoughts

Sarah - I think I just have to ride it out for the moment.

jotcr2 said...

I hate feeling like that. I know that it is only a temporary thing - like you say, it only lasts a day or so, but I am very impatient with it, and get more frustrated.

Foot Eater said...

Kim, I was going to email you about this when I read your post but then I read the comments, and since the subject of depression has been discussed so openly, I thought I'd join in.

When I was training as a psychiatrist I used to believe that depression always had complicated psychological roots that needed addressing if the illness was to be cured, rather than smothered under a blanket of medication. I've come to realise that, while this is sometimes the case, at other times depression can arise in psychologically and physically healthy people. Sometimes it just is, like many other illnesses. I agree that it's important to consider underlying causes, whether physical or psychological; but eventually the depression may turn out to be a primary illness needing treatment in and of itself.

Newer antidepressants are a lot better than the older ones as regards side effects; and cognitive behavioural therapy can be very useful, though not always easily available on the NHS.

Kim Ayres said...

Jo - true - it's a pain in the butt.

Foot Eater - I'm not saying never, but I want to explore all the other options before looking at anti-depressants. My feeling on this is that the tiredness and low mood swings are following something physical. My doctor said the whole B12 thing is unusual in guys under 60 so he's keen to look into the causes of that. My hope is that this uncovers something.

Twenty Major said...

Have you thought about buying a puppy so you can watch it die?

Emerald Bile said...

Magnesium deficiency can make you feel like crap and Zinc supplements are good for your libido, which in turn cheers everyone up! Get yourself down to Boots and buy a decent mineral supplement - lay off the caffeine and alcohol and go for a really good massage which will help with your weight loss as well as releasing negative emotions. Killing pets might work for some. I'd kill a monkey, personally.

SheBah said...

Kim - I'm with Footsie, don't knock the medication. Clinical depression is a horrid black cloud. When you are depressed it stops you taking any positive action, ennui rules - at least on the meds you can analyse and work out a course of action.
BTW is that the first comment Twenty has made on your blog? That alone might help cheer you up a bit, as he seems to be a dyed in the wool manic depressive.

BStrong said...


Hang in there guy, you're not alone. I've been in a dark place lately in which I'm having difficulty getting out of. I'm almost positive that it's borderline depression.

To relieve some of the stress, yesterday I went on a 24 mile bike ride with my freinds. The time with my friends made me relize that my issues are absurd. Also, the pain in my legs this morning have made me forget about all the bullshit in my life.

Moral of the story "When your feeling down and you think that things can't get any worse, look around you and observe; life isn't so bad".
Disclaimer: Unless you're strung up by your nuts and someone is holding hot coals to your feet:)


Kim Ayres said...

Twenty - Welcome to my ramblings. I clearly touched a raw nerve with my comment at FMC's.

I had thought about it, but then I remembered I had a photo my niece texted me when hers died.

Emerald Bile - Welcome to my ramblings too. Sound advice, and I'll give serious consideration to the monkey

Shebah - first comment here from both Twenty and Emerald Bile. Blogging Royalty in some corners. Perhaps I should have gotten out the good china

Brian - sorry to hear you've been visiting the dark places. Hope the strung up by the nuts and hot coals comment isn't coming from personal experience...

OneEar said...

"Vertigo is anguish to the extent that I am afraid not of falling over the precipice, but of throwing myself over." Sartre -"Being and Nothingness"

Kim Ayres said...

That's the one.

Mark Williams said...

I knew exactly what you were talking about, primarily because I suffer with it periodically myself. You captured the state exactly and accurately. I applaud you for that, for giving expression to something that seems so nebulous and yet is so devestating. It feels like a physical possession, as if something has taken you over. Sometimes it is like a vile, negative voice that won't shutup. I have tried numerous techniques over the years to improve my well-being and they have had an impact for the better. I find I recover from my bouts of depression much quicker. But I am still subject to them and sometimes you know you, despite all the tricks in the book, sometimes you just have to weather these storms, just hunker down and get through them. I keep telling myself that I've come through this before and I will do again.

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