Wednesday, 10 May 2017

My Recent Mental Health Journey

If you hadn't already seen, this week is mental health awareness week and I'm sure you've already heard a lot about it in the media and also from other bloggers and similar posts to this. I didn't plan this post and I definitely didn't plan to talk about my recent struggles but everything just seemed to fall into place. I've not blogged in over a month and this week is the first time in maybe 6-8 weeks that I've felt up to answering emails, replying to comments and writing anything at all. So, it just seemed right that my first post back would be about the exact reason why I have been so absent from everywhere.


For many years I've suffered with anxiety, it's just something that I've learnt to live with but it's the dark shadow of depression that I've ignored over time and failed to even register within me. I knew that I sometimes got really down, didn't want to leave my bed or speak to anyone and due to my already rocky physical health I just assumed that it was something that came along with my situation. I think deep down I knew that I was suffering quite badly with depression but it's only recently that I've opened up to the idea of truly accepting it. It's strange because I'm one of these people that isn't good at hiding how I'm feeling, you can tell quite clearly when I'm feeling down or sad. I did take it upon myself to get some help this year too, I reached out and was soon attending high intensity cognitive behavioural therapy sessions with an amazingly supportive counsellor. I found it really helpful and on the last session my counsellor commented on how glowing I looked and I felt it too, I felt like I had faced so many demons and put to bed a lot of things that had happened in my past. It was only weeks after this that I fell into the deepest and darkest bout of depression that I had ever experienced.

At the same time my physical health had really taken a turn for the worst, I was in the process of changing medications and was ill a few times in the space of just a month. My body was being hit hard from every direction. Soon my physical health was making my mental health worse and vice versa, it was a vicious circle. I struggled to leave my bed, hold a proper conversation and self care went out the window. I couldn't understand how things had gotten so bad just weeks after I'd finished my CBT, which at the time I thought was helpful. The thing is, it was helpful but what I struggled to understand at the time is that sometimes there isn't a reason for why you feel the way you do, especially when it comes to depression. I felt numb and being unable to attach those feelings to a reason was only making things worse, it's only now looking back that I realise that there isn't always a reason.

After weeks and weeks of it I'd had enough and I did the only thing I could think of to do, I spoke to my doctor. I'm lucky to have an incredibly supportive GP who understands my condition and chronic pain better than anyone I have ever come across before. In fact he'd only just recently referred me to the one person in the UK who may be able to operate on my spine so I had so many reasons to be happy and yet I felt nothing. He understood everything I said and knew that chronic pain and complex conditions do so often cause mental health problems, I didn't feel I had to explain myself, he just got it. I've been taking anti-depressants for nearly a week now and just that appointment alone helped me to take back control. Things still aren't 100% and I know it will take a little while for the medication to start working but it feels good to be back to what I consider to be 'my normal'. I'm on some new painkillers too which are by far the most effective ones I've tried so far, so I've been able to start doing the things I love again which has made such a huge difference. When you suffer with severe chronic pain and a complex condition it can be so isolating and lonely when your ability to take part in the few activities you can still do is taken away. Blogging is everything to me, it's my daily life and often my light in a room of darkness so to be able to do it again has made a huge difference. 

Shona.
SHARE:

6 comments

  1. Shona dont beat your self up for not blogging, a month is nothing especially if your struggling and need a break. Im sorry your still feeling low, its hard when you feel like there are so many things bringing you down. We all have our deamons. I hope that the meds make you feel a bit better. And i wanted to say im really happy for you getting referred to see someone about the cyst.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did at first but I'm definitely not beating myself up about it anymore :) Thank you, I have some hope now in regards to the cyst :) x

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing this. I'm sorry to hear you feeling low I have been feeling low at the moment with not having motivation to go out and gaining weight and sad news recently. I know I need to get out more but it's hard when my other half I care for as Mental Health and struggles to get out. I have a event on Facebook if you want to come on over and share your story and make more people aware.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1361613837207467/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My partner also suffers with the same mental illnesses as myself so I understand your struggles and hope you can get through this low patch soon x

      Delete
  3. Well done for blogging again, that first post back after a break is the hardest! Chronic conditions/illnesses, while physically demanding, can really impact on all other areas of health (mental, social etc. etc. as you already know), but it's great you've got the support of your GP (speaking from past experiences, it sucks a lot when healthcare professionals aren't on board with something that has been affecting you all your life and they still don't quite get it!). Keep going, you've got this.
    - dani, dansy.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is the hardest isn't it, getting back into the swing of things! I feel very lucky to have found a new and supportive GP in these past 6 months as I too have had my fair share of doctors who simply do not care about your health beyond what they might find on a scan! Thanks x

      Delete


Blogger templates by pipdig