Change induced brain malfunction

I saw my psychiatrist on Monday and was happily chatting to him about how well I was doing. Exhausted, yes – but seeing someone else about that. Anxiety still bad, yes – but I am pretty good at managing that. It was my mood that I was really excited about.

For the past few months my mood has been potentially more stable than for the past decade. Or that’s how it feels anyway. Life has settled in the past few months, I know where I stand on most things and I feel safe.

Change though, is an inevitable part of life and although I may try to avoid it wherever humanly possible (just try getting me to eat the ‘wrong’ type of muesli in the morning) every now and then it pops up.

It is in these moments that I am suddenly aware that perhaps things are not quite so stable as I would like or have believed. This morning, I called my GP – my wonderful, patient, wish she was my friend GP. Someone who has fought my corner fiercely over the past few years and has been the one I always go back to when a referral goes wrong, or whatever else I might need.

I called, and found out she had left. I have been crying at anything and everything since. I read an article and cried, I read a text and cried, I hugged my husband and cried, I got cold toes and cried, my blood test results have gone missing and I cried. I haven’t cried in quite such an unstable manner for a while.

Whilst I concede it has only been a few hours, there is something significant and sad about my reaction to this change. My mood is stable, most of the time these days, but then I haven’t had any knocks or shocks in a few months, and here, when one comes I feel my brain sinking into a darker place, I feel my anxiety rising even higher than normal. Whilst I know it will pass, and I will get a new doctor and they may be equally brilliant and wonderful it is a knock that throws open a whole bag of thoughts that I had thought I had tidied away.

Is it wishful thinking that got me to this point? Am I actually as unstable as ever, just more withdrawn and isolated, have I just cushioned the effects of the illness and hidden them away?

It is a reminder that depression can improve, that you can recover and do really well, but that things can cause you to slip, for your mind to tumble a long way in a short time, and that the recovery comes in stages. It is a reminder that I won’t be ill one minute and well the next. This small shock that many would dislike, but not all would melt over seems to have caused my brain to go into a spin and question every part of life – marriage, home, work, purpose and meaning. Am I safe? Is life stable? What else is about to go terribly wrong?

My rational brain can see the irrational thoughts and laugh at them, and perhaps this is the biggest indication of change in my mood. I can see that things are actually ok, I can recognise that life is stable, I know that I have tidied up the panicked and rampaging thoughts before, and that whilst they may affect my mood whilst they run chaotically through my mind, I know I will collect them again and get back to a more stable mood.

It’s just frustrating to objectively look at what has just happened in my mind and know that it isn’t really real, but that it has made me a tearful wreck, all because of one small, sharp, shock.

The biggest lesson of the day though, is that changing Doctors SUCKS!

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  • thank you so much for this – important stuff. Have found not dissimilar things with a succession of different shrinks et al… so unsettling (not least because one has to restart the narrative all over again).
    don’t know if you’ve seen these remarkable photograph sets:
    keep on keeping on

  • You could do worse than sign up with Michael Gormley (Basil Street SW3). You would get a full half hour consultation with a kind man – ok it costs about £120 a visit but you are worth it.

    He helped save my life back at the end of 1991 when polypharmacy at Springfield nearly killed me by calling in a second opinion doctor whose dictum held sway over the ‘psychiatrists’.


  • Katharine,

    Oh how I’ve learned to love and respect the curve ball. You can anticipate and predict as much as you like, but you never seen that one coming. Unfortunately, unlike our favourite muesli, ones G.P is a little outside our sphere of influence.
    You might not know how thrilled I am to hear you talk of stability in your life, it will mean a lot to so many people. I and others see it as an encouraging answer to prayer. As for the tears, it’s good to cry.


  • Vulnerability and sensitivity are twins, good and bad, Saint and Satan Those of us who are sensitive are vulnerable, but we also receive more. It is a gift and a curse. Change hurts, but by the grace of God we heal in time. Praying that you find a GP who KNOWS what it’s all about.

  • Thank you for your honesty, I can certainly relate. Recovery is neither straight forward nor clear cut and it’s scary how things hit us out of the blue. I hope blogging helps you, it’s certainly helped me to read it. Sending love and support x

  • Hello, I’ve been meaning to reply all day, I’ve found myself going through this process many times in my recovery. It’s like at first the stability is a bit fragile and easily broken, but it does come back and you regain equilibrium and gradually things that would have had you in pieces you find you can deal with and take in your stride and you learn the skills you need to manage better. Of course it’s not a straight line, it wibbles and wobbles all over the place and there will be times when it feels like you’ve completely gone back to the beginning. Only you’ll find you haven’t because it takes far less time to get back to equilibrium and stable. That’s been my experience anyway.
    When you tweeted about your GP leaving I realised that even now, when I’m on the whole a lot better, I’d still be pretty upset about my GP leaving and began to have a bit of a panic at the thought. Hopefully you will find another good GP at the practice (hint: I found mine through talking to a practice nurse, they know who’s good and who isn’t) and can build that relationship again. The new person may even have new insights to offer?
    Sorry, I’ve gone on a bit, but hope that helps
    Stephanie x

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