The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

To feel normal again...

What is normal?

I’m not sure I really know anymore.

Since the doctor upped the amitriptyline to 25mg instead of 10 a fortnight ago, I’ve not had one of those out-of-the-blue, crushing mood drops I’ve written about before (see Bollocks and Light at the end of the tunnel or just spots before my eyes?), but that’s not to say I feel like skipping down the street, smiling at strangers and handing out flowers to anyone who smiles back either. There’s still a feeling of fragility and a concern that a mood drop could be lurking just around the corner.

But, and here’s the rub, even if the mood drops were a chemical imbalance which are now being counteracted by the anti-depressants, it still doesn’t change the tiredness and low energy and all the other problems life likes to throw at you.

Even if I was “normal” I could still be depressed. It’s perfectly normal to worry about the state of your life and all the things going wrong. The difference is that if I were truly “normal” again, I would then set about changing my life to deal with the crap. Only because of the fatigue I don’t have the energy to do that.

So, if I’m feeling low, is it because the anti-depressants aren’t working, or is it that they are working, but I’m feeling helpless and yucky anyway?

2 months 'til I see the specialist

...and counting.


Mary Witzl said...

Maybe I am a naturally churlish person, but I am glad to know that you're not going to be skipping down the street distributing bouquets, Kim. People who do this tend to make me nervous.

Still, I really hope that your energy problem starts to resolve. I've had less energy myself lately, but put it down to age, encroaching winter and teenagers -- not always in that order.

ADW said...

I wish I had some extra zip a dee doo dah to give you, but I don't. I hope it gets better for you.

Archie said...

I'd be more worried if you were skipping around with flowers and such...

Anonymous said...

this too shall pass..

Unknown said...

I'm another who doesn't relish the idea of you skipping around and handing out flowers - that would be quite scary.

I hope you feel better very soon!

savannah said...

*hugs* just because...this might be a good time to follow the scarlett o'hara school of thought:
"tomorrow is another day-ah"

(sometimes i'm so sothern it hurts, sugar, but i mean well*w*)

Pat said...

Hang in there honey. The change in seasons has a lot to do with it I'm convinced. I had a zit the other day. At my age! Ridiculous.
Sini's got it right.

Eryl Shields said...

You're problems may not be desirable but you fit perfectly well into my 'normal' bandwith.

Glad to hear there has been some change for the better.

Tom said...

My opinion might be in the minority, but I, for one, would like to see you skipping through town handing out flowers. Because then I could at least say to others, "You think I've got problems? Did you hear about the Brit over in Scotland skipping through the streets?"

As far as "normal" goes, seems to me that you're as "normal" as the rest of us lot. That is if by normal you mean staring at the backside of middle-aged life, changing careers that may or may not have brought what was desired, and finding weird spots cropping up where once was perfect and youthful skin.

I hope the specialist can help with the chemicals that rob you of your energy. You're going to need it for all the skipping...

MikeP said...

Could it be you are just bummed out about the UAW going out on strike? Imminent collapse of civilization if the auto industry goes under?

I recommend reading the Broons--that really picked me up.

Unknown said...

I think this must be said, so I will say it. You write wonderful thought provoking posts, you bramble pick with your children, you go to Father/Son/Daughter events, you lose a bajillion pounds. You face a shadowy giant that most people would never recognize and you still take the time to comment on blogs. Your fatigue saps your energy but still, you breathe in and out, day after day. I'm glad your not normal. The normal person would never accomplish what you do.

Brave Astronaut said...

I suppose the larger question here is "What is normal?"

There is a lot to be said for "better living through chemistry," but I agree with others out there who note that you are doing a fine job as a father, a husband, and a blogger.

You invite us all into your head and let us run around. That can't be normal, but we're glad for the invitation nonetheless.

Be well and take time to smell the flowers, but I agree, no running about with bouquets.

Keep smiling, it makes everyone else wonder what you are up to.

Kim Ayres said...

OK, clearly the skipping and handing out flowers bit has everyone a bit uncomfortable (apart from Tom), although I suspect that at least half of you would want some of what I was having if I started doing that.

I appreciate the warm words, comments and gentle ribbing.

The moods come and go, and I generally write on here what happens to be at the forefront of my mind at the time. Sometimes I put something out only to come back the following day and wonder who the gloomy bastard was who wrote it.

Other times I wonder why I don't redesign my blog to be completely black.

While I am still able to spend time with the kids and write the odd blog entry, what the Fatigue stops me from doing is making any real changes in my life, or for that matter develop a decent income.

The fact that I have no idea how long this will be the case, or whether what I have is even degenerative, is worrying at times, even if the ADs stop the unexpected mood drops.

And that's really what this post was about - even if I wasn't suffering from "Depression", there's still quite a lot that can be depressing.

Thank you all for your concern.

And Carole, your words were especially touching, thank you.

Apex Zombie said...

There's no such thing as normal. I got called "normal" once, I then realised that person was as mad as I was.

But man, you know what's what and what's not, and I know you'll be okay.

Anonymous said...

hope you are feeling well again soon.

and don't worry about normal.. i just put as my quote of the day...

"The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be." - Douglas Adams

Pat said...



Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Pat, my darling, you are sweeter than honey on a kitten's nose in a clover-scented June garden, you daftie. You crack me up with your pimple!

I'm really sorry to hear all this Kim but I'm glad that you are finally getting treatment for it. I know you've felt this way for a long, long time.

There are a lot of medications out there and it can take a while to find the one that works best for you. That's frustrating but most people are helped sooner or later when they find the right drug, or combination of drugs. Specialists can do their best in assessing which will help but there is no real, foolproof way of telling what helps until you try it. Some people swear that Effexor, for example, saved their life; for others it makes them horribly agitated; and sometimes it has no effect whatsoever. There are similar stories for paxil and prozac and the rest. The thing is to stick with it -body chemistry's a funny old thing and can vary a lot between individuals who appear to be similar in all other ways. Sooner or later you and your doctor will hit on the right one. I hope it's sooner.

Just no skipping, OK?

Terry Pratchett's new novel Making Money is out! As good a start as any on the road to banishing the blues.

Love and hugs, Kim. I have my fingers crossed for a lightening of your load. Just make sure the specialist gives you more than 5 minutes and answers all your questions!

The Hangar Queen said...

Just stand next to me for 5 minutes and I ga-rown-teeee you'll be more normal than Norm "Normal"McNorma.
That said I know exactly how you're feeling right now.It's a road I've been on many a time.It gets better(or we get better at coping with it..I'm not sure which)
Save the flower distribution for next year.It'll be how we know you when we roll up your High our mini-bus.

Kanani said...

Oh, I wish you could see the specialists now!
I know the meds take 3 weeks before you see any noticeable difference.
Don't have anything more to add, except that I'm sending my best to you.

Kim Ayres said...

FLG - I think I should have said "normal for me..."

Michael - Douglas Adams is the wise man in the hills you never get tired of listening to.

Pat - great news that Sam's back :)

Sam - How wonderful that you're back again - can I now remove you from my Sporadic Bloggers list, or is it just a flying visit?

And don't worry, I know better than to skip

Hangar Queen - sanity is such a subjective thing :)

Kanani - thank you - I'm feeling better today. It might be the meds, but I don't mind if you want to claim credit :)

Tom P. said...

Amitriptyline ? I would be very careful with that one. My wife was put on it for chronic pain (an off-label use) and it worked great except for the side effects: Common side effects of using amitriptyline are extreme weight gain, drowsiness, nervousness, dizziness, and insomnia. So she became drowsy and fell down the stairs and spent three days in the hospital with a concussion. Plus she put on 40 lbs. Needless to say, she is no longer taking it. Amitriptyline slows down your metabolism and can make you very fatigued.

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Tom - thanks for the concerns. I'm aware that different ADs affect different people in different ways and am carefully watching the results and side effects. My doctor seems to be quite aware of this too, which is why he started me off on a low dose to see how my body would react.

Taking ADs isn't something I've done lightly. But at the moment, the chronic bouts of deep depression have become too much to bear so I need something to helpme survive until the specialists can find out what's wrong.

I appreciate your concern and I hope your wife has found alternative medicines to help her

Tom P. said...

Absolutely you should take the medication if it helps. I just wanted yo to be aware that the drug can make you fatigued. By the way, I added you to my Bloglines so expect me to be a regular visitor. I have a weak spot in my heart for dads who have a child with Down syndrome. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Tom :)

Stella said...

Kim, please don't skip down the road smiling at strangers and handing out flowers to everyone - you'll be arrested!!!!

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