It has been a very long time since I wrote on this blog. Looking at this site I see I have several drafts waiting for completion. Why the silence?
In November of 2015 my mother became very ill and, after a month in hospital and nursing home, she died. While I was helping look after her with my brothers and sisters I decided to stop taking my bisphosphonate, alendronic acid, as it was just one more thing to take into consideration in this chaotic time. As the effects are very long lasting I figured it wouldn’t do me any harm.
While everyone around me was feeling upset and miserable I was feeling more cheerful every day. I realised that I had sunk slowly into quite a severe depression while taking the alendronic acid, but, being a gradual shift, I hadn’t realised what was happening. There is a tale that if you put a frog into room temperature water and gradually increase the temperature it won’t jump out and will end up being boiled to death. That’s what was happening to me. I do recollect standing outside my lovely new studio on a sunny summer day wondering why I wasn’t happy, but didn’t take the thought any further.
It took a full year off the drug to feel that I had regained my biochemical balance. I can’t say I am happy all the time, but my moods are related to things that are happening to me, and my baseline is my usual rather annoying Pollyanna seeing the good in things.
The data on depression and bisphosphonates is very sparse. I found a report of five people who had reported depression, and the consultant I now see for treatment discussions said she found some too. That is important to her, as she can say it is a little reported but known reaction. I have chatted to several people about depression and osteoporosis drugs, such as the guy who plastered my staircase ceiling, and he said “oh yes! I noticed my Dad couldn’t be bothered to make a cup of tea so I told him to stop taking the drugs.” I suspect that the large drop out of people taking these drugs includes a lot of unreported mood change.
I had intended to do a PhD in this area, but felt so demotivated I deferred the place at University, and then changed to doing a part time MA in Fine Art, which felt like a manageable introduction back into doing things. I’m now working on interpreting issues around bones and health in my art, and am starting on an animation of bone remodelling. I still maintain my interest in the personal and social effects of an osteoprosis diagnosis, but am looking at matters from another direction. I am pleased to report I am enjoying the course, though finding it difficult as someone whose previous education and work has always been in the social sciences, to understand the vocabulary and rhetoric of this area.
My intention is to use this site to discuss the issues in this area that interest me, so that I maintain a word picture of my researches as well as sculptures and other visual media as outcomes.