Makeup for camping

I begin to see what I’ve avoided thinking about

I meet a psychologist who is tall, handsome, and clever, and who asks me insightful questions and helps me see, all too clearly, what I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about: the fear of losing my home when I divorce, the stress of retrenchments at work, loneliness, pointlessness, the failure of a broken marriage. I go back to work way before I’m ready, to be told my job will be downgraded. This sends me into such a rage that it jolts me out of my stupor. Let’s go for a drink and have a gin and tonic and take some Valium, teases my colleague. It sounded remarkably like my old exit plan. Except, I’m not looking for an exit now. In some ways, the crash was my exit. I left the old me behind, and came back altered.

I stopped the sleeping pills. Really? said my doctor, delighted. Those are extremely hard to give up. I’m surprised you managed it. I still have an emergency single doze of temazepam, but I’ve forgotten where it is. I took my last halfgram of diazepam in April last year – down from 10. The anxiety still creeps along my limbs, but I can deal with it. Most of the time. The antidepressants too, have been halved. However, while citalopram may elevate mood, it depresses lots of other things, most notably libido.

My partner – with a smile that warms my bones – can compensate for some of that, but I need to be more interested in him than a double episode of Homeland.

I also sleep a lot which, after months of horrendous insomnia, is a blessed relief.

Now I take every day as it comes.

I treasure the people around me who’ve helped me this far, especially my partner, who unhesitatingly moved in to look after me, and really saved my life.

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