The withdrawals from risperidone are varied: tremor, headaches, nausea, fatigue. I have not experienced heightened anxiety or a return of intrusive or psychotic thoughts so I am persevering with the end of this relationship. It has fared me well, literally, but I am ready to say goodbye to its grip on my weight gain and the havoc on my hormones (did I mention that my periods are yet to return despite having stopped breastfeeding over six months ago). I live in hope that the weight will start to reduce at a faster rate over the next few weeks from ceasing my 2mg dose to nil last weekend.
Two weeks until the withdrawals stop.
I can do this.
I am determined to go on as normal, ignoring the negative thoughts coming in to say ‘you feel nauseated therefore you should not run’ or ‘this fatigue is really getting me down, maybe life is just shit’. I love catastrophizing everything, it really is my go-to thought process! To accompany this delightful experience, Master X has tonsillitis. Poor fella. The first night he was awake with the cough we were annoyed that he would not just sleep. But I took him to the doctor and after the diagnosis felt bad that I did not hold his sweet ailed body that night. All I did was think of myself and the tiredness that I would feel from missing sleep. Following the diagnosis I felt terrible about that first night, but have spent the last two nights awake with him at intermittent times and last night I sat in the rocking chair with his long body folded into my arms until he was asleep and calm after some forty minutes.
This is a great example of catastrophising. I hear Master X wake up and think ‘oh no, he is never going back to sleep and now I am going to be tired tomorrow which will mean that my day will be difficult and my head will be cloudy…’ and so on.
But does it really matter? What do I gain from thinking like this? I know from that first night that Master X does not gain a mum who is gentle or loving in her night time tending, but rather gets one who is harsh, selfish and well, thoughtless. I am going to be kind on myself and say the past is the past and there is always opportunity in parenting to make amends, to admit mistake, to consider new ways of being with our children through love. I think that selflessness is a difficult transition to make as a new parent, especially as a parent in my 30s where my way of being has all been self-centred for the majority of my adult life. I built a high-flying career, sauntered around at will, revelled in my privileged as white woman in the west.
Motherhood has really slammed me in the guts with reality, and the type of reality I want for my child. I know that I truly do not want for Master X to feel like no-one will be there when times are rough, but I also do not want him to think that everything is rightfully his. This last point is something we are working on at the moment by introducing the word ‘no’. We are careful to give him a reason to accompany the directive, to try to build a context of understanding; yes, even at ten months old. And next time he wakes in the night from ailment or fear, I will do my best to say yes, I am here. Because you are not alone and we can do this together. And the world is not a catastrophe because you are not able to play with the heater or eat the plastic from the dog food bag,
or because you have a cough and cannot rest at night.