Last stop: this town

17 Oct

“You know, we’ve spent every day together for a month now. Are you bored of me yet?” 

It was said in jest – I still refuse to be clingy with S – but, as always, there was a nugget of truth in my words; a small fear I covered up with a nervous giggle. Since S and I first discussed the possibility of moving in together over a year ago, I’ve worried that spending so much time in each others pockets will cause some sort of breakdown between us – we’re both so used to our own space – but so far it seems to be working. I don’t want to question why it’s going so well, in case I somehow jinx it, and going well it is. I’m still in some sort of weird denial; I keep expecting to wake up tomorrow in the little white bed in my old bedroom, with the sheets covered in loose tobacco and ash, my head fuzzy from co-codamol overdoses. All that feels so far away now, yet too close for comfort. Life doesn’t work this way for me, it never has. It’s never been so good. I don’t think I can be blamed for worrying, can I?

We’re still living in chaos, but it’s a strange, enjoyable sort of chaos. The large hallway of the flat is filled with boxes, as is the living room and temporary bedroom, and the kitchen and bathroom still have no floor coverings. It’s a bit of an awkward situation; we’re renting the flat from a friend’s mother, who lost her father a few months ago. Her mother is in a nursing home with dementia and arthritis. I don’t think she was quite ready for us to move in, or maybe she forgot when we were supposed to be taking over the flat, but the bedroom is still filled with their belongings – paintings, books, old clothes – which is starting to cause a problem. Perhaps I’m overreacting as usual, but it’s frustrating that we can’t move in ‘properly’. I want to unpack, I want to see our belongings together so it all feels real. I want to sleep in the bedroom with the big bay window and built-in wardrobes, instead of a small room which the bed can just about fit in. I want to be able to make this our home. We’ve been here a month, and the bills haven’t even been sorted out yet.

I’m probably the only person in the world who wants to pay bills.

On the whole though, it’s wonderful. I always imagined I’d end up on my own in a cheap bedsit, living off cigarettes and peanut butter from the jar. If I’d stayed in school long enough to have a yearbook – if we even had yearbooks in the UK – under my picture it would have said “most likely to end up alone, eaten by cockroaches”. Honestly, I never believed that life would throw me the lifeline it has. That it would change so dramatically.

On the subject of change, everything has been shaken up on the medical side of things. I saw my GP on the 9th, determined to finally make my point about the way I’ve been treated; or not treated, rather. Moving out has given me the motivation to stand up for myself, if only because I don’t want to burden S with all my problems. Now we live together – I can’t stop repeating that we live together, it’s still so unreal – I can no longer hide all those freak-outs and breakdowns from him, and the last thing I want to do is make him feel like my carer rather than my boyfriend. Living with J taught me just how difficult it is to be constantly bombarded by mental illness, and S doesn’t need my craziness hanging over him. Neither do I.

So I sat, and explained to my GP just how difficult things have been.

This is probably going to take longer than usual“; and take longer it did. He listened though, and made all the right noises; nodding when I explained how let down I feel by the treatment I’ve received from the specialists I’ve seen recently.

Physio has been worse than useless, referring me to the Biomechanics Clinic, then when the appointment finally came ’round after being cancelled once and pushed months ahead, they referred me back to physio. Told me to keep doing the exercises on my foot, regardless of how painful it is. Told me there was nothing really wrong except for a bit of tendonitis. I can’t walk. I can’t sleep. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and I’ve had gallstones. I don’t think I can take the constant backwards and forwarding anymore. I can’t take the tiredness, the lying awake at night wanting to cut my foot off. I’m sick of it all”.

He looked at me. Put his head to the side, and leaned forwards.

Has the anxiety and depression become worse?

So it all came flooding out. How I simply can’t cope anymore; with the pain, with the panic attacks, with the hospital visits and disappointment. I can’t pretend that things have been rosy over the past few months; the combination of medical let-downs and moving house has sent me somewhat over the edge. Not enough to truly worry anybody; just enough for me to know that things aren’t working properly. My brain… it had become tired. Cynical. I think I’d given up in many ways.

And I didn’t want that, not when I have this chance to assert my independence and live the way I’ve always needed to. For the first time since I can remember, I have a little potential. Not much, just enough to reassure myself that I do have a place in the world.

And the fibromyalgia? Joint pain? We need to deal with that too. I’m going to put you on Cymbalta; it’s an antidepressant and works for anxiety much like Cipralex did, but it’s also licensed for nerve pain. Cipralex just doesn’t seem to be working for you anymore. You need to stop taking it, wait two days, then start the Cymbalta. That way there shouldn’t be too much of a gap where you’re without some form of medication for the depression and panic attacks. I’m also giving you Arcoxia, which should be more effective than Celebrex at controlling the pain. Finally, I know you’re tired of referrals but I think you should see orthopedics. I’d have referred you sooner but with your history I thought rheumatology would be more suitable. We’ll do some blood tests, to check for RA again, and see where we go from there. See me again in a month, and we’ll look at how you’re doing on the new tablets.”

I left the surgery with a prescription, an appointment with orthopedics for the end of the month, and a small sense of hope. Of course, it’s not the first time I’ve felt that hope and been let down, so I refuse to get too excited by the possibility of finally seeing some improvement.

I’ve been taking the new meds for six days now. Yesterday I began to feel the real effects of Cymbalta; fuzzy head, dry mouth, misplaced energy, and bizarre dreams. However, I haven’t panicked, and the dark mood has lifted a little. Taking a new antidepressant after years of Cipralex working perfectly is a little scary – I’ve relied on it for so long – but so far everything seems okay. Nausea, but no vomiting. Stomach pains, but not unbearable. Most importantly, the pain has decreased dramatically, to the point where I can now walk without a stick. I’m still stiff, and I still stumble, but I can walk to the shops; a massive improvement.

Living with S is everything I had hoped for, and more. We cook together. He brings me cups of coffee and rolls cigarettes for me when I’m tired. We have a huge leather sofa with a chaise longue. A low Ikea double bed with new sheets and a king-size duvet. A communal garden – currently waterlogged – and neighbours who say hello when I bump into them. We live in a village now; still in the same town, but nicer somehow. Slower. Less stressful. There’s a grocers. A butcher and a fish shop. Spar. A hairdressers and a shop which sells frozen yoghurt with fruit in.

I know we won’t be here forever. Renting is probably our only option for the rest of our lives – we simply can’t afford a house and probably never will – but for the time being, I’m in my own little paradise. A place I can be myself, without pressure to perform and be ‘normal’. Somewhere I can exist without feeling I should always be doing more to be like everyone else. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that I’m getting on well with my mother. We speak regularly on the phone, and I visit at least once a week. She now agrees that we needed to be apart. That I needed my freedom.

I have freedom.

You don’t know how amazing that feels.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Every day life


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47 responses to “Last stop: this town

  1. stuff I said

    October 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    What an amazing update, I am so very happy for you! xx

  2. Julie

    October 18, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I wish you could see the giant smile on my face at reading this. I’d been hoping, really wishing for it to all turn out well, for this move to give you the space to be you that you’ve clearly needed. I am so deliriously happy for you that it is working out. I love that you’re speaking up for yourself and demanding to be actually treated, instead of juggled by the system.

    And you know what? You’ve got way more potential than you give yourself credit for. You’ll get there. I didn’t get myself figured out until a year ago, at 33. Some people take longer than others, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just who we are. I can also tell you that the time it took, the struggle to get here has made me savor it more, made this so much sweeter. You’re getting there. :D

    *hugs* Such awesome news, wonderful post.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Massive *hugs* right back :D I do hope I’m finally getting there!

      As for potential, I suppose it’s a scary thought for me, as I’ve never really seen myself as somebody who could have it. Lately I’ve been realising that perhaps potential doesn’t mean having an amazing job and a big house and a car (as I’ve always sort of believed) but… just being able to do the little things. I think I have a long way to go before I really accept that, but I do feel like I’ve made that first step by speaking up. I still can’t really believe I spoke up for myself and demanded treatment, it’s so out of character for me!

      Thanks much for the comment, and as always the support x

  3. anonymousunidentified

    October 18, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I was glad to see your post today, to see that you’re getting help and doing better. I wonder about you when you don’t post for a while. What you’re up to and when you’ll post again. Your blog always touches me in one way or another, somehow half the time it’s just what I need to hear. To know that we are not alone in this world going through tough times is a strange relief to me. I just love reading your blog, it gives me inspiration and hope. I hope that things continue to improve for you. And today specifically I just wanted to say thanks, reading your blog just helps me get through my own tough times a lot.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Thank you so, so much for this comment; it’s a lovely thing to wake up to. Leaving the blog alone for a while… I suppose I started to think that maybe I’m writing it for no real reason. I guess I need the occasional confidence boost with my writing, which you’ve certainly given; thank you.

  4. buckwheatsrisk

    October 18, 2012 at 1:25 am

    congrats on your new paradise! i know how good that feels!

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Thanks :D And lovely to see you. I’m glad you know how it feels, because it’s wonderful!

  5. jhon baker

    October 18, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Cymbalta is the miracle drug for chronic pain sufferers. I take 120 mg a day and previous to it I was bedridden.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

      That’s good to hear; not that you were bedridden (obviously!) but that it’s worked for somebody. I’m hoping that it’ll make a difference, as it’s too soon to really tell yet. I’m not sure what dose I’m on, but it’s somewhere between low and high, with the potential to raise the dose if I need it. It certainly seems to be helping with the depression and anxiety even in such a short time, so I’m really hoping it’ll do for the pain as well. I’m so, so glad it’s worked for you.

  6. judithatwood

    October 18, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Love to fill your new home — I had a feeling that things with your Mum would ease up once the two of you moved apart — You really did the best thing for both of you. And I understand the doubts and the questions, as I have been in a very similar position, wondering if my partner is going to get sick of dealing with me. But you know S loves you — he wouldn’t have moved in with you if he thought he wouldn’t succeed. The two of you are going to continue to be good for each other for a long time. Blessings on your new life, luv!

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Aw, thank you much, Judith! I think I always knew I was going to have those doubts, but I suspect it’s probably a normal thing for anyone to feel anyway; and as the weeks go by, the doubts do lessen. It helps that S is reassuring me without me having to ask, I think he knows the way I worry.

  7. Catriona

    October 18, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I too have a huge smile on my face now. What a glorious start to the morning!

    It all sounds wonderful and three cheers for speaking up to your GP.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Aw :) I must admit, I do feel much better for writing it all down; I’ve missed it! I’m glad I could put a smile on your face.

  8. YAPCaB

    October 18, 2012 at 7:35 am


  9. Bourbon

    October 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Oh wow. Really happy to hear all this. Well deserved xx

  10. hypercryptical

    October 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I am immensely happy reading your post! Love that life has taken on a certain positivety for you and hurrah for you and S, your new home, new relationship with your mum and the good (listening) doc!

    Missed ya posts!

    Anna :o]

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      I’ve missed posting! And I’ve especially missed reading other blogs; we still don’t have reliable internet yet :(

      Hope you’re well!

  11. Nataly

    October 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    SOOOOO very happy for you :) I hope the Cymbalta helps and I am glad you are enjoying living with S and your freedom. xo.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Thank yoooooooou! Cymbalta does seem to be working so far, and I’ve read a lot of positive reviews of it. Of course there’s the negative ones, but no point stressing over those. I’ll just see how it goes.

  12. My Ox is a Moron

    October 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I’m so happy for you! Keep fighting for yourself, you are definitely worth it.

  13. thebirdieflies

    October 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    You sound so happy, so free, so hopeful, and it seems like everything in your life is finally getting better. I don’t know why, just reading you sound so joyful brought little tears of joy in my eyes.

    I’m so happy for you. I was half afraid when I read the lines in the beginning, they felt very ominous. But when I read the rest of the post, well, what can I say, it was an extremely optimistic read. I’m SO SO SO happy for you! :D

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Oh :) What a lovely comment; thank you so much dear. A lot of things are beautifully, wonderfully better; of course there will be dramas along the way – I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket quite yet – but so far I seem to be building a nice little life. About time too ;) I’ve missed you, and hope to get back to writing properly soon.

      • thebirdieflies

        October 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        “…building a nice little life.” – Oh oh oh how cute!

        I imagine a nice thatched cottage with hens in a yard and a happy smiling you baking apple pies and what not. All fairy-tale-like. ;)

        • halfwaybetweenT

          October 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

          Haha, not at all ;) Although it’s pretty close to “The Dream”, although it’s a converted farmhouse rather than a cottage ;)

          The flat is lovely though, really nice and in a perfect area. We honestly couldn’t have asked for more!

  14. lalalemzo

    October 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Your whole life gives me hope. I know that sounds a little nutty on my part, but it really does. I love you, and I’m ridiculously excited for you and your new life. I missed seeing your posts, they lighten up my day, and they also let me know you’re at least okay enough to write (I’m a worrier, I can’t help that, haha). Congratulations, and I’m sending love your way. <3

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      I’m sending love right back <3 Your comment really touched me, and when I read it yesterday I didn't quite know how to reply. It's been a long time since I really paid enough attention to this blog and reading others, and to know people are still rooting for me… eh, it's lovely. Thank you so much.

      • lalalemzo

        October 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm

        I just find some sort of connection to what your going through, even if I haven’t personally been through your battle, so I feel like it’s part of my blog to comment and let you know that there are people still rooting for you, be cause we do. (:

  15. Surviving the Storm - Walking on a Rainbow

    October 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    What an inspirational post! The pure joy and hopefulness I feel radiating from it makes me happy to know you! I’m so very glad that things are moving in a positive direction. You deserve this. That is something you need to remember and use like a mantra! You Deserve This!

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you! I suspect it’ll take me a while to accept I deserve this; but heck, I seem to be getting there in tiny little baby steps.

  16. The Creative Outpost

    October 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    It sounds like you are doing very well and being aware of your personal struggles is half the battle. I know it gets hard. Another pitfall that people sometimes succumb too is self sabotoge, so fight that battle. We are so used to functioning in chaos that when things settle down we get out of our comfort zone and thus respond in that manner. I am so happy things are going well for you!!! Loved you post:)

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Oh, self sabotage is my usual pitfall, and one I’m really having to concentrate on so I don’t slip back into the habit. You’re entirely right… even though everything about the move and my life right now feels perfect, it does feel uncomfortable. Scary, I suppose. It’s all so different and unexpected.

      Thanks much :)

  17. Don't let me get me

    October 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Well done. Small baby steps leading on to bigger ones. Happy days fellow blogger :)

  18. faithhopechocolate

    October 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Yay for your GP! And for life starting to be normal.

    Incidently, if you’ve got chance, go find Le Clown and his Bloggers for Movember post (it’s probably linked from my blog) because it’s not just doing the normal Movember stuff but is also doing mental health and you definitely need to at least read what he’s planning.

  19. Surviving the Storm - Walking on a Rainbow

    October 21, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Hi! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award. You totally deserve it!

  20. Ron

    October 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I read your blog, but rarely comment. I am on your side, hoping the Cymbalta helps, and that you and S make a go of it.

    • halfwaybetweenT

      October 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you very much Ron; it’s always appreciated to know I have readers! I truly, honestly do hope we’ll make a go of it.

  21. Mental in Norfolk (@MentalinNorfolk)

    October 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences ~ I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. If you want to you can have a look here:

  22. Paul Smethurst

    November 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    There is a saying outside a pub were i live near it says living life means sometimes you may have to take risks but remember this if you don’t you might risk even more. Give yourself a pat on your shoulder it might seem hard at times and the weather most foul and you have come so far it would be stupid to turn back now better to travel that few more months of woe because look what you stand too inheret good luck your nearlly their Oh and this is for you X you deserve it you


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