Tag Archives: depression

The next step

This isn’t the blog post I was intending to write tonight but I need to be more awake to write that particular one but I feel the need to write so I am writing!

My last blog post talked about the fact I took a first step to talk to a doctor about something I probably should have spoken to them about years ago. I went back last week for the results of my blood test but whilst waiting I took another step and rang an organisation called ‘Healthy Minds’.

The assessment call that I eventually had went through most of the questions my doctor had asked me and at the end the lady asked me what help I wanted and needed. We spoke about whether I preferred group or individual sessions (group) and whether I wanted to focus on specialist bereavement counselling support (I didn’t at first). The upshot is that I’m attending my first of six cognitive behavioural sessions on Monday 16th March. I’m really looking forward to the workshops which will focus on sharing experiences and coping mechanisms amongst the group. I opted for group sessions purely because I’m not 100% sure what I want to say at the moment and a group session will mean there is probably less likely to be awkward silences.

At this stage I couldn’t believe how quickly everything has happened in terms of the support offered. I also had an occupational health referral appointment come through from work. I went back to the doctors feeling positive and feeling like things were on the right track.

The doctor was lovely and talked me through my blood tests in detail. I was healthy save for the fact my iron levels were a bit low and then he told me about my Vitamin D levels which were…well a bit low. Normal vitamin D levels are between 50-60 units (or points or however they measure levels). Mine were 14.7. Bit low..The solution? More sunlight and in the meantime I am taking super strength vitamin d tablets.  My doctor asked me if I wanted to look at medication for my depression but I have decided to try CBT linked with the vitamin d tablets for now. I’m not averse to taking medication but I’d like to see whether non medication will work for now.

Ultimately I’m positive and my husband has already noticed a difference in me. Hopefully I’ll soon start to see a difference in myself.

The day has come

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.

World Mental Health Day and Me

I was thinking about a subject to blog about tonight and remembered it is World Mental Health Day tomorrow. 4 words for such a massive and wide ranging topic. Mental health is something that I feel is starting to push its way forward as an issue to talk about and that’s amazing. There is a long way to go but I feel a buzz and momentum about mental health that has not been around for a while.

Mental health is something that really interests me mainly because it seems to affect people in so many different ways. I have known a few people who have been diagnosed with mental health issues and the only thing they have in common is that they are all amazing people in my life and I could not do without them.

My earliest memory of someone who was diagnosed with depression was someone who was extremely close to me and depression was triggered by a bereavement. I don’t think I have ever gone back to that person and spoken about that time in our lives and I may never do but that experience of mental health shaped my entire view that mental health can and does affect everyone. It totally smashed my misconceptions that people were not ‘strong’ enough to cope with what life had to throw at them if they were diagnosed with mental health because the person who was diagnosed is one of the strongest people I know.

Since then I have been made aware of a number of relatives and some really close friends that have been diagnosed with a number of mental health issues including manic depression. The main difference since my first experience is that I have been fortunate enough to volunteer as a counsellor which again completely changed my perspective about mental health. Things I have ‘learned’ about mental health? Firstly, everyone who experienced mental health issues were those who I would categorise as ‘strong’ people. One friend in particular is someone who is so inspiring, confident and friendly it did take me aback at first when she was diagnosed with depression but it made me really challenge my own views when that happened which I am grateful for. Secondly, it’s difficult to understand what each individual is going through because every circumstance that triggers ‘mood changes’ is different. Thirdly, everyone chooses to cope differently. Some people are creative, choosing to write (!), or draw. Others choose to run and feel free within a running environment. For others it is about talking.

Someone once tried to explain depression to me as a black hole and the depression acting as a mud bog sucking them in and being unable to see out of the black hole. Coping mechanisms were described as ladders to get out of the black hole and the beautiful surrounding landscape out of the black hole related to friends and family.

I once wrote something on facebook and I’d like to say this as an end to this rambling blog post

“For those of my lovely friends and family who may question why they are here and what they mean to people, you make my life so much better being part of it and I thank you”.

Mental health can affect anyone and does. It challenges my misconceptions every day and I welcome those challenges.