Book Review: Paranoid.

A review of: Paranoid – By Lisa Jackson.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42191274-paranoid

TITLE:

Paranoid

AUTHOR:

Lisa Jackson

GENRE:

Thriller/ Mystery

PUBLISHED:

2019

PAGES:

368

GET IT HERE:

amazon.com.au

Overview:

Luke Hollander was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, 20 years ago in the town of Edgewater. And his half-sister, Rachael, has been living with the guilt of it ever since.

What was meant to be a silly teenage game, turned deadly in a heartbeat, and Rachael still doesn’t know who replaced her soft pellet gun for a real one.

Rachael continues to blame herself for shooting Luke, and regardless of the relationships her guilt erodes, she can’t seem to move on and forget the horrors of that night. And judging by the whispers of everyone else in Edgewater, they haven’t forgotten either.

My Thoughts:

Paranoid, by Lisa Jackson, was a quick and easy read. Her writing flows well and leaves the reader wanting more. Jackson writes a compelling mystery – giving the reader enough of the past and present tense to keep up the guess-game, right to the very last page.

I was actually one of the many readers who seemed to think everything was all tied up, I knew who the culprit was and the story was done – when the last piece of the puzzle came along and whacked me in my silly, proud face.

My only qualm was that the shock ‘twist’ happened so late in the book, I felt I had already had closure and was ready to move on to a new book. Although there were a couple of telling clues, there probably could have been a few more, in order to make the ending seem more ‘complete’ rather than a tacked-on last thought.

My Rating: 3/5

Quote Of The Day 20/02/2020

THURSDAY, 20/02/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/688206386790225162/

‘People don’t mind taking some hard punches for the right reasons.’

– Christopher X. Shade

Quote Of The Day 18/06/2019

TUESDAY, 18/06/2019:

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/331446621?context_page=8&context_query=black+and+white+photography&context_type=search

‘The problem with having problems is that ‘someone’ always has it worse.’

– Tiffany Madison

Quote Of The Day 17/06/2019

MONDAY, 17/06/2019:

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/166802140?context_page=2&context_query=courtyard+photography&context_type=search

‘The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.’

– Judith Lewis Herman

Quote Of The Day 27/05/2019

MONDAY, 27/05/2019:

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/288619118?context_page=3&context_query=hospital+photography&context_type=search

‘Nobody ever stays the same after someone they know tries to kill themselves.’

– dee Juusan

Anti-Depressants (What The Doctors Don’t Tell You).

What (the Doctors don’t tell you) to expect when you decide to take Anti-Depressants.

 

FIRSTLY:

The decisions to start taking any kind of anti-depressant medication can be very daunting, especially when you may not know much about the drug your GP is prescribing or recommending. Most of the time, in my experience, you don’t even really make the decision at all – your GP does.

And although Doctors/ GP’s are intelligent and educated people, they don’t always gets it right – much the same as us. Sometimes they forget that there is a human being attached to their diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s for this reason that I recommend always double checking a few things, and even perhaps getting a second or third opinion, before blindly beginning a long-term medication.

 

 

MY PRESCRIPTION STORY:

Visiting The GP.

When I decided to visit my GP on the suspicion that my depression and anxiety was getting worse, this is (step-by-step) what happened:

  • I was asked how long I had felt the way that I did
  • I was asked to explain why or what was making me so sad and stressed
  • I was asked to fill out a generic questionnaire/ mental health assessment survey
  • I was told by my GP that I was most likely suffering from the effects of depression and anxiety
  • A Mental Health Care Plan was organised for me
  • I was prescribed an Anti-Depressant medication and told to take one daily

 

Is that all?

All of these questions, and diagnoses, were completed by my GP within 20 minutes. And a lot of people have the same sorts of stories. So for starters, let me just note a few things here:

  • I was 18 at the time
  • I wasn’t asked about my Mental Health history by this GP at all
  • I wasn’t referred to a Psychiatrist for any kind of evaluation or diagnosis
  • I wasn’t offered a choice of who I wanted to see or asked if I had anyone in mind
  • I wasn’t told I had a choice about whether to take the medication I was prescribed
  • I wasn’t told of any side-effects that I might experience if I did take them

 

But wait! There’s more!

Every GP you see will be different, but just remember that if you have any questions, or doubt what your GP might be saying or prescribing, remember you have every right to ask questions. It is your body, your mind and your life.

You do not have to go into any details with your GP about why you’re feeling the way that you are – they are not a Psychiatrist. You have the right to ask to be referred to a preferred psychologist, or be referred to a psychiatrist.

You are within your rights to not take any medication without seeking a second opinion – this type of medication can sometimes be very hard to come off of, so it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into. And you should always ask what the side-effects may be.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT:

Within an hour of leaving the GP’s office, I had been to a chemist, had my prescription filled, and had taken my first pill, and that was that. Or so I thought.

 

Immediate side-effects…

When I hopped in my car to head home after visiting the chemist and doing a bit of shopping, I realised something was really wrong. I drove halfway up the street before I had to pull over. My head was spinning, my vision was blurry and I felt lethargic, like every muscle in my body was working in slow motion.

I rang my GP straight away and explained my symptoms. I was told this was completely normal, and that I would be okay in a day or so. I managed to get home safely, thank goodness.

But that information may have been better received before I tried to drive home.

 

Research, research, research!

I can not stress the importance of researching your medication enough.

The first night, I went to sleep very early. I woke myself up about 10 times that night grinding my teeth. By the morning, I was exhausted, my head hurt and I felt terrible. So I decided to look up the product information for my new medication, to see what else I might be in for.

It was hard to tell which possible side-effects I might experience, because there were quite literally hundreds of them.

And the GP never told me about a single one of them.

 

Why wasn’t I told?

Beginning a new medication without being warned of the things I might experience, like common side-effects, was really upsetting and confusing.

Not only was I dealing with the issues I had before I began taking the medication, I now had a plethora of other sub-issues to contend with.

At one point, I was even prescribed a higher dosage of the same medication, when I explicitly explained the side-effects I was suffering from to a completely different GP.

 

 

THESE DAYS:

It’s been over seven years since I was first prescribed my Anti-Depressants. I am still taking them, and I do still suffer from a lot of side-effects. I’ve learned to manage most of them, but more importantly, I’ve learned how important it is to question your GP’s opinion if something (no matter how small or how silly you think it seems) doesn’t feel quite right.

Anti-Depressants can be very dangerous medications, so it’s important you ask questions. For me, this medication rules my entire life. When I first started taking my medication, I wasn’t told much, so I thought I’d compile a list of a few things my GP didn’t tell me about:

 

Numbness

My GP didn’t tell me much about the side-effects of my Anti-Depressant. The way they described it, I would take the medication, and I would feel better.

But I didn’t feel better, necessarily. I came to realise that the medication simply numbed my emotions. On the one hand, I wouldn’t feel very depressed. But on the other, I wouldn’t feel very happy, either.

It’s taken a long time to adjust to feeling very… well, bleak. Not too sad, but not too happy. Just existing, some days. Yes, not having overwhelming sadness is good. But not being able to feel joy and excitement can sometimes be hard.

 

Dry Mouth

A very common side-effect of Anti-Depressants is having a constantly dry mouth. And one definitely not worth overlooking. Dry mouth can lead to infections, soreness and a bunch of other oral-related nasties, including bad-breath.

 

Weight Gain

While there are other factors involved in gaining weight – lifestyle, work, levels of activity – since beginning my Anti-Depressants, I’ve gained around 15kg. That might not seem like a lot to some, but weight gain can cause serious self-esteem issues and can make you feel even worse about yourself.

 

Sex-Drive

I would say that I was about average when it came to being sexually active, but as time has gone on, I’ve noticed my disinterest in sex. Which is another thing my GP failed to clue me in on. Sometimes I really have to force myself to have sex, and it’s not a nice feeling.

On the occasions where I do feel like sex, I also have to battle with the fact that it doesn’t feel as good as what it probably does without medication. It can really drop yours (and your partner’s) confidence, and it can be difficult to connect without that intimacy.

The right person will understand, of course, but it can be an incredibly difficult thing to bring up.

 

Withdrawals

This is the biggest challenge I have with my medication these days.

If I go even six hours without taking my medication on time, the withdrawals start. And they’re not pretty. I wind up feeling like a full-blown drug-addict coming down, and I’m not over-exaggerating.

I get headaches, lose concentration, feel dizzy and nauseous and sweat so much people notice the marks under my arms and on my back.

If I go twelve hours without it, my anxiety kicks back in with a vengeance, my heart races and everything around me is suddenly overwhelming  – too loud, too big, too close. The fine balancing act my brain plays on a daily basis is derailed and I become a nervous wreck. Every noise is terrifying.

Twenty-four hours without my medication is agony. The only reason this usually happens is if I forget to get a prescription filled and the chemist is closed for a public holiday, or I forget to pack it if I go somewhere.

It’s horrendous. I get brain-zaps, which are basically described as a feeling as if your head, brain or both have experienced a sudden jolt, shake, vibration, tremor, zap or electric-shock. You can find out more about them here.

Along with the brain-zaps, I start to get so wound up I can’t sleep, can’t talk properly and every muscle in my body is tensed. I don’t eat and I become paranoid. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much pain you experience, having to go through this.

And my GP never told me about any of it.

 

Memory

Even though my GP knew I was studying at university, they still failed to mention that a possible side-effect of my medication would be that my memory could be affected.

I became forgetful, unfocused, lethargic and wasn’t able to remember basic things, like what I did the night before. I couldn’t describe certain things – my mind would go blank. It was an awful feeling, realising my memory was becoming hazy. Even now, I struggle with words, remembering small things and even people’s names.

 

Suicidal Thoughts

Again, you would think that the GP may have mentioned to me that I might get sudden urges to swerve my car into a tree, purposely do dangerous or risky things (like drugs) or think about how utterly pointless existing is on a daily basis. Nope!

Suicidal thoughts are a common side-effect of Anti-Depressant medication, and it’s hard work, reminding your brain every day that you don’t, in fact, want to kill yourself. Especially when you’re getting urges to do just that. Not to mention, it’s pretty disturbing and can feel incredibly invasive.

There have been loads of times where my medication has made me question my own sanity.

 

 

WHAT NEXT?

Every person will experience the effects of their medications slightly differently. You may find that you experience things I haven’t noted here, or perhaps there are things you don’t experience, that I have noted. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Deciding to take Anti-Depressants is a personal journey, and that’s why it’s so important to listen to your body, and ask questions.

Remember to keep an open mind, ask questions, don’t overlook your concerns, and remember that Anti-Depressants aren’t going to fix you. You need to use them in conjunction with therapy, healthy lifestyle habits and in a responsible way.

If you, or someone you know, wants to find out more information, there are plenty of places that you can reach out:

 

Websites:

Headspace

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)

 

Phone:

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

 

Related Articles:

Why Mental Health & The Workplace Go Hand-In-Hand.

5 Signs You’re in an Abusive Relationship; My Experience & What I Learned.

Mental Illness: Surviving & Thriving

A Beginner’s Guide To Self Love

You Are A Miraculous Work Of Art.

 

 

 

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If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out more at: www.theartofoverthinking,com

Dad: Another Word For Hero.

If there is one thing from my childhood that I will forever be grateful for, it’s my Dad.

 

 

If there is one thing from my childhood that I will forever be grateful for, it’s my Dad.

He taught me so much about this world, and how to treat the people in it.

I wonder if he knows just how much I remember. I shiver for the things I remember that he never knew about.

But mostly, I wonder if he knows just how much he means to me, and how thankful I am to have him.

Because being a parent is a largely thankless job.

 

 

Waiting for Dad.

Going to Dad’s house was like going to a completely different world.

The weeks without seeing Dad were longer than you could imagine.

I spent a lot of time in my room, staring at a tattered photo of my Dad. I would talk to him, hoping he’d somehow be able to hear me. When I was sad, I would hold that picture tighter than I’ve ever held anything else, and I would cry myself to sleep.

They say your childhood shapes the person you become. I guess when you begin to understand the horrors of this world, you also come to appreciate the blessings just a little bit more.

 

 

But Dad, thank you.

When Dad picked me up, I would be so excited.

We always got Hungry Jacks on the drive south to Dad’s house. I could never finish the burger in my Kid’s Meal, but Dad never minded.

He would point out things in the paddocks – windmills, cows, sheep… and I would tell him I loved him, over and over again.

‘Hey Dad’

‘Yes Shayde?’

‘I love you.’

‘I love you too, sweetheart.’

 

 

Weekends at Dad’s.

My Dad’s house was a parallel universe compared to my usual living conditions.

He would cook spaghetti bolognese on Friday nights, and I’d sit at a tiled little coffee table, and eat it out of the smallest bowl, with the biggest smile on my face.

He always had juice boxes for me, and they had stickers in the pack that we stuck all over the fridge. I liked the purple ones best.

We also stuck the stickers we got from the jelly packets, the local vet, WWE and RSPCA all over the fridge. And our apple stickers too.

He’d run me a bath, and try to comb my matted hair. He’d dry my hair by throwing a big warm towel over my head and ruffle my hair and plonk me next to the fire if it was winter.

 

 

Saturday mornings.

Dad taught me how to use the stereo system in the lounge room so I could watch Saturday Disney in the mornings before he woke up. I’d do drawings to send in to the hosts, with pretty pencils Dad bought just for me.

He had an empty Moccona Coffee jar that he would fill with little fruit balls. He kept them on the table by the back door. I’d sneak into them in the mornings… when I wasn’t sneaking the dogs inside, or sneaking into the kennel with the dogs outside. The kennel was made out of an old metal water-tank, and it was always nice and quiet and cool in there.

I learned how to use the landline, and would call my friend Jilli, who lived a few blocks away. I remember laughing and laughing, until Dad would wake up and decide to organise my breakfast.

He always had different cereals for me to try in the mornings. And he always made me honey and banana sandwiches for lunch.

 

 

Special moments.

Dad always made sure we were doing something. Time was always so precious. We’d go to the beach with the dogs and pick up rubbish, or do paintings, or work in the shed. Sometimes we’d build trains with Dad’s old Lego, or we’d stay out in the garden digging away. There was always something for us to do.

Sometimes we’d go camping with Jilli’s family at a place called Scott’s Creek. We’d collect tadpoles and find firewood, and try and jump the streams in our gumboots. It was so quiet, and the marshmallows by the fire were always somehow better there than anywhere else.

Dad and I would go fishing down the Coorong in the boat, and he’d show me how to tie the knots for the anchor, and what to pack in case of an emergency. Sunscreen, flares, matches, spare clothes, first aid kit, towels – we even had a thin army blanket, which I would pull out of our big waterproof tub when it got breezy. He taught me how to put the cockles on the hooks without hurting myself, and how to throw the line in without catching on anything.

I remember seeing dolphins and seals and birds. We helped a pelican once, who’s beak was tied up with fishing line and hooks. The pelican sat with us on the shore for the rest of the day, and we fed him all the fish that were too small to take home.

 

 

Home.

At home, I’d have a little wooden trolley that had different coloured painted blocks in it. I loved building little towns for all the Matchbox cars Dad let me play with. Dad always built much better houses and castles than I did, but I never minded.

He taught me how to play chess, and never let me win. He would patiently sit through my tantrums, reminding me you always had to be one step ahead. Something I’ve come to learn is true in life, too.

I remember writing letters to the tooth-fairy, asking her to give me $20 to take Dad on the Cockle Train from Goolwa to Victor Harbour. She always delivered. The train ride was always so perfect, watching the ocean from the window. Except the day the Diesel Train was running instead, and its horn was so loud I refused to ride it.

We even had a little jar that we would put all the five-cent pieces we collected in. When it was full, we would count them by hand, and then take them to the bank and cash them in.

We’d watch ‘Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday’, and we always laughed. Nothing was ever too hard for him to do. He had a monkey puppet that I absolutely adored. He would give him different voices and I would laugh until I was exhausted.

When Dad had friends over, he would hold me, and I would put my ear to his chest as I fell asleep, and listen to his deep voice as I drifted off.

Dad taught me to appreciate the little things in life. But I’ve come to realise that those little things are the most important of all.

 

 

Sunday mornings.

Dad had video-taped the Looney Tunes movie for me, so on Sunday mornings I could watch that instead of the boring shows on TV. I was always up early. When I was at Mum’s, I’d usually put myself to bed, so I was used to being awake early most days.

Sundays were always depressing, because we knew I had to leave. We’d drag the day out as long as we possibly could, but the time always came quicker than we wanted it to.

There was only one time that I remember when Dad came to pick me up, that I refused to go. It was after my end-of-year Kindergarten concert, and I was dressed as a little angel with a halo over my head. I don’t remember what Mum said to me, but I refused to go. I cried and cried and cried, and then when Dad left and I’d realised that I wasn’t going to Dad’s house that weekend, I cried some more.

My Dad never hurt me. He never made me feel unsafe or unloved. My Dad was exactly what I needed, all of the time. He was a teacher, a toy repairer, and gardener, a chef, a singer, a comedian… A hero.

 

 

Happiness.

After 7 years, multiple psychologists/ psychiatrists and ugly custody battles, being a missing person for 8 months, and a lifetime of trauma, the court finally ruled in my Dad’s favour. And I finally understood what true happiness was.

 

Happiness is getting to be a child.

Happiness is being able to attend school regularly.

Happiness is learning you aren’t dumb.

Happiness is learning you are valued.

Happiness is being able to have a packed lunch.

Happiness is having friends over after school.

Happiness is having a safe home to play in.

Happiness is not going hungry.

Happiness is not being cold.

Happiness is not sleeping on the side of a road.

Happiness is not something you have to do favours for.

Happiness is having a say.

Happiness is having clean clothes.

Happiness is having clean hair.

Happiness is being tucked in every night.

Happiness is going to bed safe.

Happiness is knowing there’s breakfast there for you in the morning.

 

 

But mostly, happiness is knowing you are loved. Unconditionally.

 

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