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  • Writer's pictureTara Vaughan

Halving The Drug

Tuesday 22nd June was the day I decide to half my antidepressant. On Wednesday evening I cried myself to sleep and on Friday I broke down in my mothers arms. I wasn’t sure if it were the drugs and I was making things up in my head if it were real and I was starting to see more clearly but I feel abandon by my friends. I know friendships are a two-way thing and I know that I haven’t been there for anyone these past ten months but as much as I haven’t picked up the phone to anyone, nobody has picked up the phone to me. I get that people have their on lives and I’m not living in London anymore so it is harder to see friends, especially as I freak out if there’s a group of friends together. But nonetheless I broke down about it.

I read things that say you find out whom your true friends are when you go through a break down and maybe that’s it. Maybe my friends before I broke down were my friends because I was fun and I’d have dinner parties and now that I don’t do those things, these friends of mine aren’t around.

I had a real freak out about it and the strange thing was, I had a friend, Gen, coming to stay with me that day for the bank holiday weekend. I was also freaking out because friends have been choosing between Hugo and I. I find out that he’s been invited to things that I’m not invited to and it hurts. I’ve never been through a break up before so I’m not entirely sure how it works but is it meant to hurt this much when friends choose between you?

The next day I had organised a picnic and everyone bailed except one friend. Coincidence? Maybe. But at the time it had me back in my head telling me that no one cares about me, that I’ve been abandoned. That’s the thing with depression, it lets your thoughts run wild and I have no control over them. Gen helped me get through the weekend more than she could imagine. She got me out walking, playing with the dogs and pony and enjoying the sunshine when it wasn’t pouring with rain!

After the bank holiday weekend I was back to my routine but with the added nervousness of my brother, Jamie’s, wedding. I originally excused myself from my strict routine I have going on so that I could help my mother with the organisation of the wedding but I found myself going back to my routine. I needed to avoid all triggers possible and staying out of the wed-min was the best way possible. It worked, until the day before. I had made sure that I was out of the house from 8:30am – 4:30pm that day. It was going well, my last appointment of the day was to have all the ‘girly’ things done that one needs to do before a wedding; you know, manicure, pedicure, etc., etc. It wasn’t till half way through my appointment that I realised that the radio was on, the therapist had left me alone in the treatment room for ten minutes and four love songs played in a row – thanks Steve Wright! They broke me. I did everything I could to stop myself from screaming to the therapist to come and change the station to Classic FM or Radio Three – I couldn’t see, I had something over my eyes, otherwise I would have done it myself. I had to act normal; I couldn’t show my weakness that some stupid love songs could torture me. I made it out of my appointment and somehow managed to drive home where I broke down in floods of tears.

My mother and I had spoken about me taking something to get me through the wedding. I thought about micro dosing on Cocaine or MDMA but my mother wasn’t sure – as I don’t actually know a drug dealer I knew I couldn’t be sure of what I was getting my hands on and so I decided to go a different way. I managed to get hold of some cannabis that arrived the day before the wedding. I was given instructions to try before the wedding and not to take more than three tokes at a time.

Once I had recovered from my wobble, I went outside to feed my horse and have a smoke. I had a couple of puffs and that was it. By the time I got back to the house I was starving. Now I’m pretty sure it was a combination of not having eaten all day and having smoked but I had the munchies big time. I hadn’t really been hungry all day but this kicked my body into gear and said eat something. The thought did cross my mind to offer some to my family, I thought it could be a fun bonding thing we could do but I thought it probably wouldn’t go down so well knowing my family. I got through the ‘last supper’ in a pretty okay mood, went to bed and slept – for the first time in a long time, I slept well.

The morning of the wedding came and my goodness I was nervous. I knew I had to perform to the best of my abilities but I had to do it without putting a mask on. I have spent my whole life wearing various masks and now I don’t have the energy to put them on anymore. Hannah’s brother was an usher so he was dropped at my house and I was picked up and taken to Hannah’s house to get bridesmaid ready. The last thing I wanted was for Hannah to think that I wasn’t happy for her. I am happy, I know that deep down I am happy for them both, but right now the feelings that I have towards love and marriage are the complete opposite to how they ‘should’ be.

I remember the day Jamie and Hannah got engaged. It was a Saturday and I was in the pub celebrating a friend’s birthday. They called me to tell me the news and afterwards I and ran outside and announced it to all of my friends – I was so happy for them. They got married almost a year to the day later and so much has happened to me in that year. I know that deep down I am happy for them, it is just painfully difficult for me to show it, when all, right now, I want to do is scream that they’re making a mistake, that love isn’t real and it doesn’t last forever. I know that that part of me is the part suffering from a broken heart, and that part of me doesn’t want anyone else to feel the way that I feel.

I made it through the service and I made it to the reception without any added help. A very good friend of mine came up and put her arms around me, lit a cigarette for me and told me I looked beautiful. She had been messaging me the days leading up to the wedding to make sure that I was okay and now she was here to tell me that I got this.

Not drinking at an event like this was pretty terrifying. I stuck to my cousins for support and went outside for a puff or two to calm me down during dinner.

Smoking (cigarettes) that day and night was a huge resource for me. It allowed me to escape situations. Don’t want to be talking to someone in the marquee, go outside and have a cigarette. Don’t want to be talking to someone outside, go inside because you’re too cold. It worked pretty well for me.

Dancing was hard. I used to love to dance. I could dance sober, I could dance drunk, it didn’t matter. But dancing sober without my masks, my goodness that was difficult. I tried but felt so uncomfortable. I was stiff and ridged; I’d lost all rhythm. I’d forgotten how to move.

I made it through the wedding without breaking down and that to me was a huge achievement. The day had been looming at me for months. To start with I was worried that Hugo would still be invited. Then as the months went by I found other things to worry about and then a few weeks before, I was worried about who was invited, there was someone in particular I didn’t want to see for I was worried I punch that person in the face – luckily for them they weren’t invited. Finally it was time for me to worry about where I was sitting. Would I know them? Was I going to have to make polite small talk? Was I going to have to answer questions about what I’d been up to and why I wasn’t drinking? Would I be sat next to someone who understood what I am going through? Someone who knows me, someone I could lean on for support?

The thing is, I made it through the day. I got through the small talk, the people, the anxiety and I am so proud of myself. For anyone who suffers with a mental illness you may know what this is like, just the thought of all those people can be crippling. It was difficult but I made it. I achieved something huge. I made the big step forwards. And I did it all sober. I left the wedding looking exactly the same way as I entered instead of shoeless, looking like I’d just been dragged through a hedge backwards, had my hair brushed with a fork (to be honest, it looks like that most days). I woke up with no hangover or memory loss, with all my belongings & clothes, no random cuts & bruises, & no randomer in my bed. Although I was exhausted, tired from the long day, I had made it.

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