You may recall that, following Trev’s death, I struggled a little with depression, which manifested as a bad temper and lack of patience; basically, I was a grumpy bastard. Not sad or unhappy, it’s interesting to note, but grumpy and unpleasant.
I tried counselling, which helped a little, but in the end it was drugs that helped – antidepressants.
Even a tiny dose worked instantly like magic, and the old Stu came back. In fact, they worked so well that I came off them after about a year. Unfortunately, I then landed a new job, one which I was initially very excited about, but that turned out to be very different to what I expected.
Eventually, it led to me going back on antidepressants. That was a year ago, and now I’ve been working towards coming off them again by reducing my (admittedly minimal) dose. Unfortunately, it’s not been as easy this time – once again I’m snappy and prone to angry outbursts of impatience.
But I’m persevering, trying not to rely on drugs, and instead rein in my temper. A few years ago, I’d generally see the best in people and their motives – a joke would be instantly recognised and treated as such.
Today, I’m not quite as good with irony.
The Lovely Melanie might catch me playing Titanfall during the working day and ask “Busy?” Previously, I might have laughed; today I find myself taking it as a personal dig and getting defensive.
The girls might have a petty argument about whose turn it is to let the chickens out. Previously, I might have rolled my eyes and sent one of them out out; today I find such pettiness infuriating.
I’m trying to be on my guard against negativity, to recognise and douse those black flames whenever they flare up, but it’s not easy (certainly not for my family!)
It seems odd that the working of my brain has been changed by Trev’s death. That relatively fleeting emotions (or, at least, ever-changing emotions), have somehow become locked into a new inescapable mode by a single outside event. That my entire personality has been shifted by this.
I don’t think six months of working from home has helped my recent attempts to leave the antidepressants behind either. Not being with people subtly erodes your memories of them; your imaginary interactions with them – the models in your head of what so-and-so would say about such-and-such – drift, and not for the better. :-(
Sadly, meeting with friends I’m often surprised at how nice they are and how good it is to see them in comparison with their image in my memory.