So my referral back to the Community Mental Health team has finally been accepted after more knock backs than I can count. After the way things were left at my discharge from Services in December, it was assumed I wouldn't engage with them again. Anyway, that's all by the by now and I saw my psychiatrist and care co-ordinator on Friday. It was an intense hour discussing the last few months with regards to my mental health highs and lows, being detained in hospital again, and piecing together what a period of stability looks like so that I can try with the fertility clinic again. We settled on tapering off Escitalopram in order to start Aripiprazole - and I was really happy with this outcome especially as I've been waiting so long to get back on it after hospital - however, I took it Saturday morning and by Saturday afternoon I'm having a panic attack at work. My nerves were jangling, I didn't know what to do with myself and I felt like somebody was sitting on my chest. I tried to ride it out at work but in the end I went home and eventually had a virtual chat with my local safe haven. By this time, I feel so alien to myself and I'm in tears. It was god awful. What followed was a night of hallucinations and I slept most of Sunday. By yesterday morning, I was almost feeling normal again but it really knocked my confidence at work. My psychiatrist thinks I'm one of the rare ones where the mood stabiliser interacts negatively with the anti depressant. When I started Aripiprazole in hospital, I'd been detoxed of medication for about 3 weeks, so it had nothing to react with. I'm not going to be put off, but it's definitely frightened me with how it quickly changed me in a terrible, uncontrollable way. I want to say it's all the medication, but I have been feeling very low and exhausted since coming back from India and Nepal. The world feels very loud at the moment and I feel really fragile.
I've been on this amazing holiday of a lifetime and family pilgrimage and now I'm feeling hopeless - but I feel like I have no right to feel this way. I know something is wrong because, after a trip like this I would usually be buzzing, and that buzz would carry me for months. But I'm not feeling any such buzz. Work is difficult and relentless and I feel like I'm drowning. In the last week, out of sheer desperation, I've restarted my anti depressant. It was sitting in my medication drawer and I just made the decision that if I've got something there to help me, use it! In the absence of any external help from my GP and the Community Mental Health team and feeling completely and utterly ignored and forgotten about regarding the new mood stabiliser I was supposed to be taking after coming out of hospital, I thought it was time to try and help myself, rather than sabotage myself as I'm so accustomed to doing. I can't say it's working yet, but the knowledge I'm regaining some control just by taking it is helping.
I forced myself to go out in the garden on Friday and Saturday because the sun was shining and I badly need distractions. I finished pruning and cleared all of the leaves and that was immensely satisfying. I also mowed the lawn and started building the path to the shed - a project from last summer that I put on hold as the flowers were still blooming. Sadly, I have lost all of my fish again. These ones only survived a year! So I've ordered a stronger netting and a plastic heron to try and keep the real life heron out of my pond in the future!
Back to work today boo! I just cannot believe that this time last week, Mum and I were taking the scenic flight to see Everest. This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. The weather was perfect as you can see from the photo and it was so worth the extremely early start. It surprised me that we had to check in like a regular flight. It's all taken very seriously. I guess considering where we are and how quickly the flight could go wrong, that's a good thing. Our landing into Kathmandu was pretty rocky and that's the first time I've ever really worried about being on an aircraft - and I've been on some dodgy flights!
The rest of Nepal - Pokhara and Chitwan - was a whirlwind of enjoyment and lovely hospitality at stunning accommodations (Pavillions - The Farm and Tiger Tops), long drives on bumpy and broken roads (it's so wonderful to be travelling again!), mooching around Pokhara the much more chilled out sister to Kathmandu, temples, pagodas and boat rides, getting lost trying to find Tiger Tops, just missing a male tiger bathing, sweating on safari (again, so fab to be back travelling!) and ending our stay in Nepal with a walk with the mahouts and their elephants down to the river for them to bathe, whilst we enjoy a perfect sundowner to celebrate 3 weeks of amazing adventures on the road. I mean, what could be better than that!
wonderful to get away from the town and noisiness and watch the tea pickers in the sunshine though.
We then had a short pitstop in Gangtok in Sikkim just because and nearly got stuck when heavy rain flooded the river and broke some of the bridges! It was lovely to be welcomed as the first British tourists they have seen for two years.
After Gangtok, we arrived in Kalimpong and met up with new found family. That was really special. We visited Dr Grahams famous school where my Nanna went 100 years ago and St Joseph's Convent where my Grandpop's sisters went. We found my Great Grandfather's estate - which called into question whether he did live in Darjeeling - and my Great Great Grandmother's grave along with her boyfriend's! The villagers who remember my Great Grandfather, were able to give us bits and pieces of information, but there is so much more to discover. It's rumoured it takes two days to ride around the estate on horseback. Unfortunately the Indian government claimed the land from my Grandpop's sister who remained in India and now use it for farming. The villagers don't hesitate to ask us why we never claimed the land and sadly because my Great Aunt has now passed, we don't have answers for them. I was gutted we ran out of time and the mist was descending rapidly. We did learn that most of the bungalows from the estate were burned to the ground in the 1986 riots when the local people wanted independence from West Bengal. This was another piece of devastating news, along with the fact that nobody seems to know where my Great Grandfather's grave is. I think I have more questions than answers from this trip!
Staying in the Mayfair Himalayan hotel which my relatives used to own and run was some consolation. I tried to soak up as much of the history as I could despite the hotel being full of conference types. I definitely would have liked to have seen it pre Mayfair ownership.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.