Wren on Medication

Last Monday I went back to the Doctors to see what the next step was, I talked to the Doctor for a while as she looked over the scores that I’d gotten from the questionnaire that I did two weeks prior, I managed an impressive 21/27 which worried her quite a lot.

We had a chat about my mindset, how I usually viewed things and how things had been in the two weeks since I last saw her. I told her that things were only getting worse for me and that my normal mindset was pretty fucked anyway, so I was caught in a trap of depression and anxiety.

She said that she’d start me on medication (citalopram) to get me out of the immediate problems that I was having and then see about a longer course of CBT. We also talked about my time with CAMHS and she said something that I thought was a little revealing- she referred to it as ‘not very directive’ which basically means that they don’t really have a grand plan, they just hope to talk you into being better. So it is as crap as we all assumed…

She also told me not to look at the side effects, she said that all medications have side effects and I shouldn’t worry myself by looking at them. She did however say that it wouldn’t start working for around two weeks and that I would probably have very vivid dreams and an upset stomach… joy.

I did one week on 10mg per day just to help me get used to it, the first dose that I took I took on an empty stomach and for whatever reason it made me go completely loopy, I made the mistake of going to a friend’s dinner party and spent the whole night giggling hysterically and dozing off at the table. I couldn’t eat much but managed to hold down some bread and potatoes. The next day I felt pretty good, though I don’t know if that was the placebo effect, sleep deprivation or the medication.

The first couple of nights I kept waking up feeling sick and dizzy but this stopped after a little while, I had a dry mouth for a few days but this too faded. As the week wore on I started to feel more mundane and less positive than I had when I started the medication, I’m hopefully going to start to feel a change in the next few days when I double the dose, so fingers crossed!

I’m going back to the Doctor’s a week today to see how things are going and so that she can prescribe me some more medication, I’m being drip-fed pills at the moment until they know they can trust me not to kill myself… oh the joys of mentalism.

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Why I Observe the Solstice

I stay awake through both the longest and shortest nights of the year. I light a candle when the sun goes down and blow it out when it rises again. When every other ritual is tossed by the wayside, when I stop meditating and lose track of Druidcast it’s this simple observation that never fades.

For this winter solstice I won’t be having a proper ritual like usual, it’s my closing night (the final performance of the current run of my most recent show…. for those who don’t know, I’m an actress) and so we’re obviously doing that and then getting pissed afterwards… but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to go to sleep. I’m going to stay awake through the longest night of the year because that’s how I make sure the Gods know that at the end of the day, they’re the ones in my heart.

The reason why I keep this observance (ritual?) is hard to put into words, I think it’s almost my way of giving something back to the Gods. In my mind the solstices are the times that the world comes close to ending, the time when the Gods need our help, and by staying awake through them it’s almost like I’m carrying the flame of the Old Religion into the next part of the year.

It also gives me some time out, it’s special time just for me and my Gods and it lets me reflect on the last half of the year. I can remember the summer solstice of this year really clearly, it was the start of a hell of a lot of things- especially relationship-wise, and looking back it’s strange to think that I had no idea about the rollercoaster ride I was about to go on.

Sat at the end of those six months it’s a little scary to think about what could happen before the sun reaches its peak again, I don’t know what the next half of the year will bring, only that I hope I can claw through with my mind and self intact.

What does the Solstice mean to you?

Blessings,

Wren x

Talking to the Doctor About Depression

Yeah, the titles are just getting more and more inventive…

So following on from last Monday’s post I ended up going to the Doctor’s on Tuesday, and this is basically what happened:

Arrived at the Doctors and got called in, weirdly I’d ended up getting an appointment with my old family Doctor who I hadn’t seen in about eight years… so once we’d both gotten past the ‘I remember you!’ moment there was a really long awkward silence where I ummed and ahhed before doing what I do best and diving straight into the middle of the issue.

I told him that I thought I was depressed; I’d been feeling numb and unemotional for about three or four weeks, I didn’t care about my personal health or hygiene, I fluctuated between apathy and feeling so anxious I felt sick and in physical pain.

He was very good and went through all the right questions (after four… nearly five *shudders* years in the mental health system I know exactly what they’re going to ask and exactly how to answer) I have to say that it was a bit weird having to talk about the hallucinations and self harm as I know they’re two of the more serious symptoms and I don’t think he was really expecting me to casually admit that it’s pretty normal to hallucinate and cut myself.

He asked a fair bit about suicide, I was honest and told him that I thought about it a lot- both irrationally in the moment (like getting the urge to step out into the road) and rationally (thinking that it’d be kinder to myself and everyone if I died) but that after B’s death I didn’t think I’d ever be able to go through with it. We had a very intelligent and calm conversation about my mental health, I pointed him towards his computer screen and briefly gave a potted history of my mentalism as he scrolled through shitloads of medical records.

He then asked me about my thoughts on medication, I said that I’d gotten to a point where I didn’t really care any more- so they could throw their pills at me all they liked, just so long as it did something. He gave me a massive pamphlet and a web address and then asked me to book an appointment for two weeks time and fill out a lovely questionnaire. I sloped off into the waiting room and did as asked, the questionnaire was lots of fun as I’m sure you can imagine, I even added up my scores at the end to save them some time and then spent about five minutes wondering if the large number that resulted should or would be cause for concern…

Anyways, I’ve chanced the website that he gave me the address to and it’s basically all CBT, something that after four years of mentalism and one psychology A-level is rather familiar to me (the best part about the psych A-level is that I can tell you exactly why CBT is probably useless in my case) the main issue that I’ve had is that I genuinely don’t have enough time to do CBT, I write these posts a week or so in advance (lies, I’m writing this one on the night it’s being posted) and I’m currently in the middle of assessment week… which also happens to be show week.

So, a week today I head back to the Doctors- I just need to try and get a lift down there… could be awkward as I haven’t actually told anyone why I’m going there and my Mother will want to know. Got away with the last one when my best friend offered to give me a lift, but this time Ma won’t be at work and will start asking questions if I leave the house that early.

This could be interesting…

’til next time,

Wren x

Evolution of The Witch

PRE-CHRISTIAN

There were many pre-christian cultures that recognised witches or ‘wise women’ as they were probably better known. These were women who had knowledge of herbs and performed what we would consider basic charms and spells. They would probably have told the future, read omens and brewed up herbal concoctions- they were also probably heavily made up of women.

We do know for example that the Romans allowed what we would call ‘white Witchcraft’ but outlawed any harmful sorcery. This is an interesting piece of information as it shows how general and accepted sorcery (or for the sake of this article, ‘Witchcraft’) was.

The term ‘Witch’ probably didn’t exist back then, but we would (and I am…) look back and easily label the ‘wise women’ of those days as ‘witches’ due to the connotations that that term now holds. These were powerful and learned people (women usually) who practised sorcery, fortune telling and worked with herbs.

CHRISTIAN

With the dawn of Christianity came the demise of Witchcraft. The church quickly branded the ‘wise women’ of being in league with the devil; some scholars like to argue that they did this in order to crush powerful women, to an extent I agree- I think that as a male-dominated body the Church would want to crush these powerful, independent women who stood up for everything that Christianity hated.

In order to do this they made ‘witchcraft’ an act punishable by death, however it is worth noting that in the early Christian period a lot of people still chose to visit ‘witches’ on the sly. There was still a great deal of respect for the local wise-woman even with the warnings of the Church, and this was something that would take another few hundred years to die out.

WITCH HUNTING

The real fear of Witches started around the 15th century, the image of Witches as servants of the devil had taken hold and the Church and people of Europe and America began to see Witches as a problem to be taken care of.

Sadly the way that they saw to take care of these Witches was by death- generally in England this was by hanging, and not burning as is the popular image. Many of these women were tortured into confessing and did so as a last ditch attempt to save themselves. The targets of the Witch hunts were old, lonely women. Whether these women were actually Witches or even considered themselves to be Witches is highly debatable, but what everyone can agree on is that they didn’t deserve their fate.

VICTORIAN OCCULT

There was little of what we would recognise as ‘Witchcraft’ in the Victorian era, whilst this was the era that some scholars began to investigate it and make tentative steps forward it was largely ignored. It could be argued that the speed of technological progress and industrialisation could be an explanation for this, it was fashionable and modern to follow technology and science rather than the superstition of times past.

However, around this time period there was a craze for mediums and the occult. This could mainly be blamed on Queen Victoria herself and her obsession with death after the passing of her husband- whatever the reason, even though not technically a ‘Witch’ the Victorian medium is worth a mention in this article.

POST WW1

Again in this era there was little ‘Witchcraft’ as we would know it but again a large revival in mediums and interest in the occult. This trend can easily be traced to the huge losses suffered by the majority of the population in the First World War, mediums and séances became quite normal and routine as people struggled to find ways of coping with their losses.

POST 1951

This was the era in which Witchcraft was legalised and the famous Gerald Gardner came forward with his teachings on Wicca. Over the last sixty years these teachings have blossomed and bloomed through the modern Pagan revival and into Wicca as we know it today.

Return of the Black Dog

 

It’s hard for me to sit here and write this.

 

For the last three or four weeks I’ve been feeling dead inside, cold and closed off to everything. It’s been steadily getting harder and harder for me to feel emotion, my face feels like it’s made of lead and all I want to do is lie on the ground and cry all the time.

 

When it first started I said to one of the guys that I work with that it’d either go one way or another. I honestly thought it’d clear up, I’ve had bouts like this before but they’ve never lasted longer than a couple of weeks. This is just getting worse and worse.

 

I’ve already lapsed on the self harm front, I’ve been ignoring people and sabotaging relationships, I’ve been avoiding getting help and go from caking on make-up one day to hide how I feel to wearing nothing the next because I just don’t care.

 

I’m behind with my work, I can’t think straight to learn my lines, I don’t have enough energy to rehearse… and to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. I don’t care about anything anymore.

 

Whilst on one hand that feels wonderfully liberating it means that I’m in danger of failing my course, letting down the people that I work with and ruining my personal relationships.

 

Kay has spoken to me several times over the last few weeks about doing something about it, she said a while ago that she thought I was depressed- as time has gone on she’s gotten more and more insistent with that observation.

 

Tomorrow I’m going to try and get a Doctor’s appointment. I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to care enough to do it, find a way to get there or even actually attend, but I think I’m going to try. Kay isn’t taking no for an answer and some tiny part of me does appreciate that… other parts of me want to cut, pick up random men and quit everything.

 

If I do get and attend the appointment I don’t know what they’ll suggest, I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark at medication… and I’m really not sure how I feel about that. I’m sick of the anxiety that I carry around with me and I’m sick of the nothingness that I’m feeling (well, not feeling) I hate feeling dead inside all the time, I hate panicking all the time, I hate, hate, hate not being able to live my life because my brain is fucking everything up.

 

‘til next time,

 

Wren x

 

Paganism: My Path

Today I want to use this post to clarify a few things- this is going to be pretty short asnd sweet, but it’s something important.

I’ve been a Pagan now for nearly seven years, I self initiated nearly five years ago- which is actually pretty scary when I think about it!

The first couple of years that I spent on the Pagan path were spent getting to know nature, I didn’t know a lot about Paganism at all, I just trusted my instincts and prayed to Mother Earth. I was happy flailing about, I knew there was a higher power- I had all my life, but this was the first time I’d called it ‘nature’, before now it had either been in the form of the Christian God or as a nameless, faceless power.

I was about thirteen when I went to the library after school and found a book of spells- I can’t actually remember the title of it and don’t really want to break into my old school to find out, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was good. I studied the book and what it said about witchcraft and Wicca with absolute fascination. I’d been obsessed with witchcraft my whole life and the idea of actually practising it was one that filled me up like nothing else.

I did a self dedication and decided to wait for a year and a day until Imbolc the next year to initiate myself. I felt strongly that it was important to wait and allow myself to develop as a Wiccan.

The next three or so years were some of the most challenging of my life, the Gods taught me many lessons but after about two years I was beginning to feel that my calling was elsewhere. I had learnt a lot about Wicca and still to this day am interested and passionate about it, but my interest went deeper.

I realised early on that I had a strong connection to the Gods and the Ancients, I also realised that I had a passion for all things Celtic. I’d had this interest my whole life and it was almost a relief to recognise it again. The whole process felt like coming home.

I began studying the Ancient Celts, their lore and myths and found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into it. Around this time (aged sixteen/seventeen) I started to discover the Pagan community, Pagan music and writings and I found myself starting to feel truly at home.

I started to identify with Druidry, to this day I still won’t call myself a Druid- I don’t think I have the right to, and I won’t for a long, long time. I study the religion of the Ancient Celts and mix it in with my own practises and rituals. I take my inspiration for rituals from my Wiccan background and my own habits. For me Paganism isn’t about magick, it’s about connecting and worshipping the Gods.

I believe that all Gods and spirits and creatures exist, I believe that there is more in the world than we can possibly know and we are not in control, I believe that the Gods will always have the last laugh.

The Gods that I follow, worship and work with are from the Celtic pantheon. I don’t try and pin myself down as anything- though it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this. If you asked me I’d call myself a Pagan- if pressed, a Celtic Pagan… if pressed and held at gunpoint I’d say ‘a student of Druidry’ but you won’t get much else from me than that.

We live in a world that is obsessed with labels, but I think that sometimes religion and spirituality doesn’t fit very well into any kind of label.

Blessings,

Wren x