#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.

Losing trust

When my mental health is like it is at the minute, I find paranoia really brings itself to the forefront (social media doesn’t help this, but we’re so dependent on it nowadays – especially for bloggers).

Hand in hand with feeling like I’m not good enough and am always doing something wrong, it’s not a great pairing.

Today has been a day where I wonder who I really can trust.

You see things, hear things, from people you thought were good friends.

Banter between people. One of them who you have already lost trust in, anyway.

It could be innocent, but those demons in my head tell me different.

Is that me?


Have I done something wrong?

Do people really dislike me that much?

Should I just disappear?

Maybe it would be better.

I wouldn’t need to be thought of, or discussed, then.

Maybe only in sadness and grief.

From a select few people, that is.

I wouldn’t need to think these thoughts myself.

Go away paranoia, go away loss of self-worth.

Go away, depression.

But the loss of trust, that can stay.

I don’t know who to trust nowadays.

I just don’t.

We’re going back to the start…

You may have seen last week that I had a huge breakdown and have fallen into the big black hole again.

Where you just can’t see the future in front of you. Sometimes you don’t want to see the future in front of you. Sounds harsh, but sometimes it’s oh so true – that’s what it does to you.

Anyway, I digress.

After the breakdown, we saw it was a cry for help and I made a doctors appointment. I knew what I was going for, and that was anti-depressants. I was adamant that I wanted them, and when she asked what I was there for, that was the first thing I said at the same time as bursting into tears. It was inevitable.

I was in there for ages. So many questions – just get on with it already and give me them. Please! She could see that I just wanted a prescription and to get out but it was kind of like background noise to me – I was zoning out.

I had to do the depression questionnaire again. I got a score of 19 which is classed as ‘moderately severe’. I had told her that I wanted to kill myself. But she didn’t think I needed AD’s. Counselling would do the job. (As well as other options to work through, e.g. getting out a bit more – easier said than done with sky high anxiety too).

I was jittery. I had counselling before and it did help, for a while. But I still had to go on AD’s afterwards. So I didn’t want to go through the same routine again. Easy option? Maybe. But right now, I will do anything.

She could tell I wanted them. Needed them? In the end she asked what I’d rather do. Well obviously, I said AD’s and I would try counselling as well too, alongside the other suggestions. So she gave me a prescription and she also gave me the number of the crisis team, just in case I ever feel like doing something like *that* again. I have to go back in a couple of weeks for a review. Obviously I’m not sure where I’ll be at right then.

I hate this.

I hate this, so much.