Last week I did something which I probably should have done a while ago. I listened to some of my closest friends who have been telling me for years that I need to see someone, that I need someone to talk to and that, quite frankly, I’m not invincible.
I went to the doctors. I have been struggling for some years now. It’s really painful for me to admit that or even write the words. This is not a post that I want people to read and pity me. In fact it’s a post I would rather secrete away in the corners of my memory but they say writing is therapeutic so here goes!
For the past few years I’ve relied on the fact that I have an amazing family, brilliant friends and a pretty great life. It surprises me when people refer to ‘what I have had to cope with in the past’ because the things I have had to cope with are about bereavement and sadly people do die.
I lost my mum at a relatively young age but I’m very lucky in that my dad is a pretty amazing dad. He makes me challenge the view that 1 parent families are ‘not normal’ because I think (or thought!) I was a relatively well balanced person and that was down to him. I had close female relatives who guided me through the perils of being a teenager and I thought that I had ‘got through it’.
Over the past few years I’ve always experienced a slight ‘down time’ around August (the anniversary of my mum’s death). Usually surrounding myself with friends and family has enabled me to ward off the feelings and perhaps hide them from those that know me the best. Then a couple of years ago my gran (my mum’s mum) passed away after a short battle with cancer.
That summer was pretty tough. I’m not going to go through the rollercoaster of emotions but suffice it to say that it was NOT FUN. My husband had to cope with a basic wreck and could not understand how I could function at work yet resulted in a teary mess at home. Every day. It was pretty exhausting, probably more for him than me! But he stuck with me and despite being confronted with some pretty scary sentences explaining what the heck was going on in my head, we got through it.
Then last June my nan (dad’s mum died). I always knew it would be tough as she was THE ONE. The one who was always there for me and could ‘sort my head out’. Her death brought along some emotions I just wasn’t ready to deal with but all I can say is I definitely underestimated it. I went through some pretty dark days. Two of my closest friends were by my side every day and I could share anything with me. They mentioned counselling but I dismissed the idea. After all, I was the strong one right?
Despite doing a role where I counsel others about being strong and asking for help, somehow that didn’t translate to me! I refused to confront my feelings and as a result did a pretty good job (I think!) of hiding things.
Then the other week I snapped. I convinced myself my husband was better off without me (he isn’t). He basically gave me an ultimatum. He loved me but he could see what I was constantly denying to myself, that I needed someone else to talk to and if I didn’t do something about it, then he couldn’t see a future for us.
Now, I don’t go on and on about my husband but he’s pretty awesome and I definitely did not want to lose him so I did something about it. I went to the doctors, sat down in his office and promptly started weeping. He was amazing. He didn’t make me feel like I shouldn’t be there, he accepted me as I was and did a test. The result? Moderately depressed.
He sent me for some blood tests and I’m due to go back there next week. He’s already suggested medication which is fine. I’m due to have an assessment chat for a counselling session this Friday and my manager, who is pretty awesome too) has already got me sorted with an occupational health referral.
Oddly, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief knowing that I can be ‘fixed’. It’s not just me. I have good days and I have bad days. But I hope never to have ‘those’ days again.