#TimeToTalk Day 2016

Today is #TimeToTalk Day. Time to talk about mental health with no stigma attached.

I think it is so sad that as a population we feel that we can’t talk openly about mental health. Chances are, if you have never suffered mental health issues yourself, then you know someone who has. Openly or not.

I’m one of those that feels comfortable talking openly about it. I suffer with anxiety and depression. Plain & simple.

But it’s not always so plain and simple.

If you know somebody is suffering, please make the time to talk. Even a simple “How are you?”. Even if they are not fine, it feels good that someone cares when at that time they may think nobody does.

That person at the bus stop. Say hello. They may be feeling like the loneliest person in the world, but you could make them smile. They may be feeling really anxious that day and may just give a smile, but please know that you have just made their day.

Don’t avoid them. Mental health is not a disease. You can’t catch it if you get too close.

Please.

Make time. Time to talk.

When you just can't do it | Depression

It’s been months. Months since I felt black like this. I suppose life can be described in a spectrum of colours, and people will almost always generally know how you are feeling. And right now I am feeling black. Like a black hole of despair.
Despair. Despair at myself. At life. At everything. You know when you consider the worst possible thing that could happen. Is how I feel right now.
People ask, “What’s wrong? Are you feeling a bit low?”. No. No I’m not just feeling low. I am depressed. And it’s repeatedly hitting me hard in the face right now. It’s been fairly under control for months, with slight hiccups along the way, but now. Just.
There are just no words that you can use to describe to someone who just doesn’t understand. Who just hasn’t been there. From an outsider looking in, you are simply just having a bad day.
For the first time in months, I just physically can’t bring myself to get dressed.
But tomorrow. Tomorrow is a brand new day. And I might, just, manage it.

#TimeToTalk Day – #Take5ToBlog

Today, February 5th, is #TimeToTalk Day. Time to #Take5 to talk about mental illness, to take that step to help end the stigma and taboo.

Regular blog readers will know that I have suffered from mental health issues myself so talking about it and raising awareness is something I am very passionate about. I’m going to share my 5 sentence mental health story; you can do the same using the following format, either over on the Time to Change Facebook page or in the blog comment box:

My name is Stacey and I have experienced depression, post natal depression, and anxiety. My mental illnesses have affected my life because I have lost a sense of being, a sense of belonging, a sense of acceptance; my anxiety has given me a loss of social life, and my depression has driven me to suicidal thoughts. My greatest source of support other than my husband who has been at my side when I needed him the most, has been my online community of friends; though social media can be awful at times (some of which has led to low points with my mental illnesses) it can also be really amazing knowing that even though someone isn’t physically there, they are still there no matter what. My hope for the future, for me, is that I will beat these horrible illnesses; for mental health in general, is that the stigma will one day be eradicated. I’m taking 5 on Time to Talk day because I am not ashamed; I am passionate.

Anxiety & therapy

On Monday I attended therapy again. I had a few sessions after my PND with J, and my miscarriage and they helped me so much. When I went to the GP after my breakdown last year I decided that as well as medication, I would like to see the counsellor again as I knew even just one session would help me, just talking about things.

I went to the session mainly ready to talk about my social anxiety, as that is what is affecting the most since my major depression started. It just stops me from doing things, going places, as I’m so scared of having a panic attack and paranoia rears its ugly head. I’ve always been a little lacking in confidence and anxious when in a social situation in public, but ever since then it has been the worst; so much so that I haven’t even wanted to go to gatherings with people I know.

I can never put my finger on exactly what causes my anxiety, all I know is the feelings I get when it’s approaching; I get hot, my heart rate speeds up, paranoid thoughts, I feel sick, I lose my breath, sometimes a panic attack will ensue. I’d heard people talk about them before but now it’s actually happened to me, I know how horrible it is.

The session booked was with the counsellor I saw last time so I already felt at ease and what to expect from her in particular – she remembered me too! First off we discussed what had happened to make my depression so bad again, and I told her – I didn’t really know, it just kind of ‘happened’ with the breakdown. She said she was proud of me for recognising the signs this time though and getting help straight away; when I’m feeling like this it always makes me so much happier when somebody tells me how proud they are of me (like a couple of friends have been doing recently – you know who you are, thank you).

We then talked about my anxiety as that is the worst at the minute. We discussed techniques for dealing with it in social situations, some of which I have instigated already (another proud comment from her!). These include taking deep breaths, counting to ten, and leaving if I feel that a situation is getting too much. It’s also much easier to go everywhere with somebody else, but unfortunately that’s not always possible!

One of these situations is joining a Slimming World group (for which I will write a totally separate post) – I have been contemplating it for a long time now but my anxiety has really been pushing me back and I’ve been putting it off. It’s not so much the whole taking part and being on a ‘diet’ that worries me; it’s the entering a room full of people, on my own, and everybody looking at me (though we’re all there for the same reason). Some people I have spoken to recently also don’t seem to understand the anxiety and I get the whole “You’ll be fine once you’re there” – unfortunately it’s not quite as easy as that; gosh, I wish it was then I’d be going here, there & everywhere!

Anyway, she gave me some light reading on dealing with anxiety, and I have a telephone appointment in a couple of weeks to see how I am getting on. I didn’t feel I needed a physical appointment at the moment, though I can always make one if needs be. I know my anxiety will probably never go away completely, but anything that helps me deal with it is, well, a great help.

Sometimes it just feels so lethargic to talk about things with somebody who is impartial to you.

Breakdown

Yesterday I had another breakdown.
I really didn’t see this one coming, it just came from nowhere.
Hubby was at work, the boys were playing, and I was sat nearby.
I had been feeling on edge all morning but that’s nothing unusual for nowadays so I didn’t think too much of it, really.
Over the space of a few minutes I just completely lost it. I cried. Floods and floods of tears.
Pacing up & down.
Trying so hard to stop myself…
I wanted to go back to this same place.
I was scared.
I couldn’t stop what was happening. 
But I was scared. For me. For my boys. For seeing Mummy like that. They should never have to see Mummy like that.
I sent hubby about 30 messages, and rang him, just begging for him to come home and save me.
It just felt like somebody else had completely taken over me.
That’s not normal, is it?
I’m not normal.
I’m in this big black hole, and I really really despise it.
I just want to climb out.
If only it was that simple.
I hate depression.
Eating away.
Destroying.
You can’t beat me though.
I will win.
One day.
Whenever that may be.