• Tara Vaughan

A Quarter of a Pill




I cut down to a quarter of a pill at the beginning of the month. Three weeks in and I’m doing okay. Well I say okay, I’m doing okay now, I wasn’t a couple of weeks ago.


I cut down to a quarter of a pill and a few days later I had an anxiety attack in the pub when we were out for dinner. I managed to hold it together until I got home and then it all came out, literally. I throw up when it's bad. That weekend my mother talked to me about how she thinks what I'm doing isn't working. She want's me to try something else, but she doesn't know what. I tell her that she's a fixer and what I'm doing is working but it takes time. I know that I need to get back into my body and I think the way forward is to do regular yoga and meditation practices. I also tell her that living at home is pretty tough. My family are my triggers and I'm pretty okay when I'm not around them. I also have this attachment part of me that wants to be close to my mother but this other part that just wants to push her as far away as I possibly can. It's a mind fuck really.


I week later things got pretty bad and I figured out in therapy this morning how it all kicked off.


I have this strange feeling that whenever somebody says “Can we talk”, “Can I talk to you”, “Let’s go for a walk and talk”, anything along those lines really, I feel as if I’ve done something and they are going to tell me off. I search round my head looking for answers for what I may have done. I know where it stems from; it comes from my childhood and being told off by my father. I have feared being told off ever since.


Twelve days ago, my parents sat me down, they were trying to be helpful and I put my defenses up because I thought they were going to tell me off. At the end of the conversation, they hadn’t told me off but my anxiety was still high and I was still waiting. I go mute when I’m like this, I don’t have anything to say nor do I want to say anything. My mother wants to connect with me and the more she pushes me to talk the more I want to push her away and stay silent. My father then snapped and started to yell at me and for the first time in my life, I stood up for myself and answered back. As, I’m sure you can imagine, the first time you do anything you don’t quiet get it right, I really didn’t get it right and went straight over the line and said something that can’t really be unsaid. Too be honest with you, I don’t remember the exact words of what I said but I know it wasn’t good. My mother’s reaction was to hit me and my father’s reaction was to shout even louder and tell me to go to my room amongst other things.


I have spoken to a few people about this and they have said the same thing, your parents cannot parent you and treat you as a child at 26 years old. Telling your daughter to go to her room is not the answer.


A week later I had just about recovered from that set back. I was home alone in the country, my parents stayed in London and I had the most peaceful time relaxing and getting back into my body. On Saturday I got a last minute invite to a Hunt Club Ball and I surprised myself by being spontaneous and saying yes. I had an anxiety attack before leaving and therefore I was late and another in the car on the way there. But I made it. During dinner I remembered that it was okay to excuse myself and go to the loo, I needed to ground myself; the loo break wasn’t long enough so I had a cigarette before coming back and joining my table. The whole time I was away from my table I was giving my self a pep talk, telling myself that it was okay to be away, that I have permission to be away, that I can do what I need to do to get through the night. It helped, it really really helped.

I got dragged onto the dance floor, which I was trying to avoid because of my new fear of dancing but found that I could move. I was so surprised because it was only a month ago at my brother Jamie’s wedding that I found I had lost all ability dance. I was stiff and rigid at the wedding, not knowing what to do with myself, how to move or even where to look. This time was different. I was still extremely anxious and couldn’t be there for long but I managed to dance, it was uncomfortable at times but I managed it.


I woke up on Sunday with a terrible hangover, which I thought was really unfair seeing as I had only drunk water all night. I allowed myself to feel rotten, to veg on the sofa all day watching shit TV and eating crappy food. I went outside for an hour to sunbath and fell asleep. I didn’t feel guilty about lying around doing nothing because I had accomplished something and was proud of myself.


I now feel this unusual feeling, something that I haven’t felt in a long, long time and that I think is almost happiness, not quite happiness something in between unhappy and happy. I’ve gone from a bad okay to a good okay. I’m not great but I’m getting there. I still can’t see where my live is going but there is now a ray of light shining through what has been a dark dark sky.

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