My Thoughts On Lover

It’s been a month now since Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover.

As I’ve listened to nothing else since that day, I think I’m in a position now to share my thoughts on some of the tracks. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Taylor Swift and I have to say that this album lived up to all of my expectations.

“I thought that it would kill me but it didn’t: it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.”

The opening track, I Forgot That You Existed holds a brilliant message for me. It reminds me of a very specific feeling that you find yourself experiencing without warning. When you’ve spent so long overthinking a situation or pining over a crush or resenting an enemy… then, without you realising, it starts to fade away until one day you stop and go, ‘wow, I haven’t thought about that in ages… and I’m thinking about it now but I don’t feel anything’. To me, that’s how you really know you’re over something. And the more intense that feeling was, the more satisfying it is to realise you’ve forgotten it.

“I cried like a baby coming home from the bar… I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?”

Cruel Summer is some of Taylor Swift’s best lyrical story telling. When I listen to it I feel like I’m right there in the situation about which it was written. Sneaking around with someone just for fun, then falling in love and being faced with the choice between breaking your own heart by calling it off or carrying on and risking the agony of that unrequited love growing stronger. And then ‘he looks up grinning like the devil’ because he’s been feeling the same way all along and actually it’s all gonna be okay. Argh! I love it! I also think it’s brilliant to belt in the car with the windows down.

“I blew things out of proportion, now you’re blue. Put you in jail for something you didn’t do”

I relate hard to Afterglow. In this track Taylor sings about the excruciating guilt one feels when their insecurities cloud their view of a good thing that’s right there in front of them. I’m like this. I catastrophise. I can take a minor issue and turn it into something much bigger, panic about this seemingly huge issue, convince myself that the whole relationship will come crashing down and then start preparing myself for that by creating distance and blame. It’s like a form of self sabotage, but when you take a step back and realise that you overthought the whole thing, sometimes you have to say “That was all in my head, and I nearly let it destroy us. Please forgive me.”

“My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue, all’s well that ends well to end up with you”

Lover’s title track was my favourite of the four pre-release tracks. It’s a classic love song; from the bridge that reads like wedding vows and references Shakespeare to the timeless instrumental lilt. I’m lucky that I have someone who I think of whenever I hear that song and even though he’s not a fan of Taylor Swift, one of the first things I did when I heard it was play it to him, like reading out a love letter and saying ‘this is how I feel about you.’ Also there’s a line that reads, “I’ve loved you three summers now honey, but I want ’em all,” which matches our timeline too so that’s kinda satisfying.

“I once believed love would be burning red, but it’s golden, like daylight”

In Daylight, Taylor describes how this new chapter of her life feels like a reawakening after the dark time during which she wrote Reputation – Daylight almost became the album title until she realised that was “a little on the nose”. She touches on letting things go, leaving the darkness behind, and most poignantly realising what real love feels like. She cleverly references Red, her 4th studio album, which was about all the parts of love that feel like the colour Red: the anger, the lust, the despair, the danger. The parts that are romanticised in the movies but are actually pretty distressing in real life. Daylight is Taylor professing that, for her anyway, love should be like Daylight: nourishing, refreshing, warm, healthy, glowing. Not always perfect, but always there to greet you after a long, dark night.

I wish I could write a little paragraph on all 18 tracks, and maybe I will eventually, but 5 will do for now. Listen to the album for yourself and let me know what you think. Which are your favourites? Do you agree with my take on the ones I’ve mentioned? What other music releases have you been loving lately?

A Word To The Wise About Antidepressants…

Since June 2017 I’ve been on prescription antidepressants. 

They started me on Sertraline but one of the side effects it gave me was severe night sweats and I couldn’t cope with waking up drenched every morning, so last September, I asked for it to be changed and they gave me Citalopram instead.

More recently, I’ve got worse at remembering to take it every single day so sometimes I’ll forget in the morning and not take it until lunchtime and some days I’ll forget entirely and miss a day. This week I’ve had a right royal memory lapse.

On Monday night, I went to stay at Toby’s new place in Surrey and I know that I didn’t take it the following morning because I forgot to take any with me. I’m pretty certain I haven’t taken it since then but I’m not sure whether I did take it the days before. So the most recent possible time I last took Citalopram was Monday morning, 5 days ago.

On Wednesday, I barely managed to drag myself out of bed but was unsure why I was feeling this way. I hadn’t had a particularly enjoyable Tuesday evening and it had been a late night. Maybe I was just tired? I had to get up because I knew I had packing for uni to get on with. I did very little and what I did manage, was done on the living room floor while binging Suits on the TV. Thursday came and I had a coffee date arranged with a close friend. Had to postpone this by half an hour because I overslept and I actually very nearly cancelled. I probably would have done if it hadn’t been the last opportunity to see her before going back to Brighton. I had a lovely couple of hours though and it really made me feel better.

‘Maybe I just needed to get out of the house,’ I thought. I was wrong.

Today was the worst day. Overslept again and had to really face the music with what was left of my packing because I head back to Brighton tomorrow! I was still feeling low and by this time very anxious about going back to uni (which I have been for a while so not entirely unexpected).

As I was packing up my bedside drawer, I pulled out my Citalopram packet and had the sudden realisation. “Shit. I haven’t taken this in days.” I took one there and then but by this point it was way too late. When I received some disappointing news concerning a family issue about half an hour later, I burst into tears and started to have an anxiety attack. I phoned Toby in a state, crying about how I don’t want to go back to uni, and how awful the other situation is that I’d had an update on. He managed to calm me down enough that I wasn’t sobbing down the phone and when he had to go back to work, I went to bed for a mental rest and a short nap.

Around 5pm, I woke up feeling calmer but exhausted. Mum and I finished my packing and then went to the home of another close friend for a farewell drink.

The point of my telling this long winded tale is that if you are on medication for your mental health, it is SO important to take it regularly and at the recommended dose. As someone who’s training to be a pharmacist, I could have told you that anyway, but living out the consequences of going cold turkey for almost a week is something truly different to learning a fact in vocational training.

If, like me, you take medication to help you live a relatively normal life, please do everything you can to maintain your medication. Set an alarm on your phone (this is what I’ll be doing from now on); ask somebody you trust to remind you; buy a pill box with days of the week on so that you can see when you’ve taken today’s dose; keep spares in your handbag in case you forget before you leave the house. And if you do want to come off your medication – deliberately! – don’t do it without talking to your doctor and/or pharmacist first and seeking advice on whether you need to reduce your dose gradually rather than going cold turkey.

There’s no shame in taking medication for your mental health, just as there’s no shame in taking painkillers for a headache or anticoagulants to prevent a stroke.

Just don’t pull a Hermione and forget about your bloody meds for 5 days!

 

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On 1st October I’ll be announcing an exciting event that I’m going to be a part of. Stay tuned!