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Bear with me. This is going to involve some serious metaphor torture.

(Okay, short break while I coax Ms 14 out of foetal position on the floor. I made the mistake of ringing her teacher about the organisation for the rest of the day and this set off a panic attack. She’s shivering with cold, so I’ll get her into the bath with a book.)

Where was I? Imagine a slinky. Now take one end and secure it tightly in a G-clamp. On the other, screw on some sort of weird twisting machine that slowly coils it in the direction of the spring. Problem is that the twisting machine doesn’t really let up, and keeps going beyond the natural limits of the spring. At that point it slips the grasp, allows a bit of frenetic movement, then grabs hold again and the process restarts.

That’s me on Zoloft. The advantage is that it controls things fairly well. The disadvantage is that there’s a massive amount of tension to keep it there, which is partially relieved off in small completely uncontrolled wild phases.

Four days ago, I accidentally left the pills at home while we travelled, and I made the decision to see whether I could cope without them.

The initial impetus for starting them was that I wasn’t coping with Ms 14’s issues. For those who haven’t followed, or have forgotten this saga, my daughter developed a complex mix of brachial neuritis, which caused pain and paralysis of the muscle under her shoulder blade, meaning she couldn’t raise her right arm above 30 degrees. This moved on to the beginnings of complex regional pain syndrome, then had a bad drug reaction which prevented her from being able to balance, and to top it off, the stress of it all kicked off major depression, psychogenic paralysis and has kept her out of school for over a year. Over that time, we had misdiagnoses, harmful advice, implied criticisms of our parenting skills, and it was really only in June this year that we started getting to the bottom of it all.

All the stress of Zoe’s problems triggered a relapse in my anxiety attacks at the beginning of the year, culminating in my not sleeping and being in an almost constant state of freak out. I realised it wasn’t going to help Zoe if I were like that, so I went to the doctor and walked out with a script for antidepressants.

They did reduce the anxiety (I am not depressive; I am highly anxious with a social phobia), but it triggered a slight mania. I swore more, would make strange, silly movements and would get the odd wild fancy.  Also, I’ve discovered I’m too continually hyped up to work. I have cut my hours to the bare minimum I can get away with, and still struggle. Reviewing becomes difficult as I pace around in circles in preference to writing what is only 250-400 words. It can take days. I couldn’t really concentrate to read, either. So decided it wasn’t worth it. 

Let’s get back to that poor tortured slinky. Imagine the clamp and the weird coiling machine suddenly disappear. Crazy slinky spasms. And because this bloody metaphor was fucked up from the beginning and doesn’t work, someone videos it then plays it back over, say, two days. That’s me over the weekend. Total spaz out.

This morning I’m remembering what normal felt like. It’s nice. I’ll have more of that, please. Zoe’s issues are still present but well enough defined not to create stress on an ongoing basis. The GP has warned that there may be a relapse of the anxiety, but I already know how to deal with that (exercise, relaxation, discipline, no internet after 9pm, and no true crime).

Speaking of true crime, I declare the anxiety is like a tightly coiled spring metaphor dead. RIP.