First post of spring.

I missed my usual friday plant post again last week.

By way of explanation…

I have been taking large doses of Citalopram for depression since June 2017. My mood has been much more stable, despite some wobbles over the last two weeks.

BUT, I am tired. I acknowledge I have a lot going on in my life with my art and my projects with my WP friends. Plus my horticultural endeavours. And the day job. And the gym. And dealing with tension at home. But others manage all this and more besides.

I am not sure I am depressed any more. Depression saps the enthusiasm for doing everything. My enthusiasm has returned in spadefuls. I feel a need to make some major changes to my life too, but that is covered in a post I drafted in October and still have not dared publish.

The issue at the moment is the tiredness. Some of the little time I can find for my creative pursuits has been squandered by lack of energy and focus.

Back in 2006 I also emerged from a period of depression with renewed enthusiasm. I was ready to move ahead with my life and be assertive enough to push past any resistance. And I did so for months before little things, and barriers being put in my way, chipped away at my confidence and I slowly retreated back into my shell. A few more years of wasting my life then resulted in my most recent battles (lots of stress and no joy makes life seem pointless).

Looking back, depression has followed approximate ten year cycles, typified by the pattern described above. Below is an approximate map of my moods over the last few decades. The red line on the graph below represents the two times when my dreams of escape became concrete attempts at a final escape.

You will note from this that I am detecting signs of a downward swing again. I am not worried about this yet but I am noticing I have become quite withdrawn and irritable, which is a danger sign.

What am I doing about this? Well, discussions with my doctor have led us to wonder if the medication itself is causing my tiredness. So for the last week I have been weaning off the meds. So far it has been ok. I had one disturbed night but there were other possible causes of that. By the end of next week I will be med-free unless there is a crisis.

This weekend I will be attending, and helping at, a spring flower show in Kendal in the Lake District. I usually enjoy this but when looking around the greenhouse yesterday for things I could put in the show I realised that after 24 years it has become a chore and that I was resenting the time I spent on it. So I am done with it. I will continue to help out (as one of the youngest and fittest members of the team I am useful for moving tables around) but I am finished with taking plants after this year. It feels liberating.

This in turn leads me to question why I am continuing to grow so many things that effectively tie me down to potting and watering chores. I foresee a big decision about this coming along soon, and possibly a big horticultural fire sale. I will see if I manage to resist adding to the collection when faced with the plant sales at the show. I will wait at least until summer before acting just in case it is med withdrawal that is affecting my decisions. I do not think it is.

Another thing that has caused me to question my future is that earlier this week two of my colleagues announced they are taking early retirement. They are younger than me, have fewer years of service and are in the same pension scheme.

Apologies for the tone of this post. I felt that after being very upfront about mental health in the past I should continue to be so. There will be a more jolly post along soon.

Meanwhile, some pretty pictures…


Arachnophobe trigger warning – do not click on this link!

Suffice to say that I think spiders are gorgeous and these ones are especially so!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2019/mar/06/the-ultimate-lovely-legs-competition-the-worlds-nine-most-beautiful-spiders

25 Comments

  1. I am so happy you posted this my friend. It is quite interesting how the cycles run and why. Its exciting that you are changing things up and inspires me to follow your lead. I hope you enjoy the show this weekend and have a new view from your recent decisions. Big hugs and lots of love!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really hope the tiredness wanes as you come off the meds. I’ve experienced similar lethargy only to find out that a simple pill has been the cause of it. It’s always a balance between the good meds do and the side effects they give us. I’m glad you are posting about your mental health. It’s good for…well…your mental health!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I will talk with you about this offline. I’m glad you posted and I agree with reassessing your life in terms of what you REALLY want to keep doing and what you want to stop. I am embracing a period of drastic change (too) and thoroughly recommend this every few years. For me 8 years seem to be a cycle. The other point I would make is that unless you change aspects of your life, medication is only ever a bandaid. In your case, I’m so glad you are weaning yourself off it. Hugs x

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Well done for reflecting on your life and sharing Darren. I think you have over-stretched yourself and your nature is one of perfection so nothing short of excellent will cut it for you. Listen to your gut and your heart…whatever has become “a chore” let it go and embrace your new interests!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you Linda💕. It is going ok so far apart from a bit of a headache. At least a part of it is cognitive fatigue (burnout) because I am trying to do too many things. Some are out of my control of course.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you for your support. Yes, it is time to reassess things. I could argue that most things are out of my control but this is not really true is it? Provided I have food, water and shelter everything else is a choice ultimately. Having strength to change things is another matter. Hugs to you too. x

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Thank you Marie. The art and my friendships are the things that give me most pleasure now (and curry of course). I still enjoy growing, photographing and drawing plants but much of the work involved in growing things in pots is unwelcome now. x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Men never forget their tummy!! Lol! You are in charge of your one rehersal we call life, so I respectfully suggest you move on from ‘growing things in pots’ and grow whatever is making you happy right now instead! And have fun doing it too!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think it’s great that you stay honest and sharing about your mental health, Darren, because I truly believe that by admitting it we are at least a tiny step towards feeling better. And I get your anxiety about heading in the down direction again. Try to just keep an eye out for these warning signs but otherwise don’t worry too much about it. It could well be that you’re ready to leave the meds behind which in itself can be a frightening act. As long as you do it supervised though it should be no problem. Take care! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is interesting. I always feel terrible around the darkest part of the year. Most people do but I am sure that vit D is part of it. Sorry to hear about the genetic thing – that must be really hard. Thank you. Hugs right back to you❤

    Like

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