Tag Archives: depression

My demons had put on weight. It was time to exorcise them

So. We all have memories associated with different things, places, smells, objects, tastes, songs, films – the list is endless but for me, one song in particular has always, well, I suppose, had a hold over me emotionally.

When I was younger, I’d walked out of bars and parties because it had been played. Fighting back tears because of the memories. But the old cliche says time is a great healer.

So a couple of weeks ago, I went away on stag weekend with a few friends to Liverpool – my old stomping ground, memories galore. The weekend itself was incredible but that’s a tale for another day. One of our evenings culminated in a karaoke bar – where unbeknownst to me, that song came back to haunt me.

The song was played at my late father’s funeral, and i genuinely thought I would never be able to listen to again – for obvious reasons. But in a room full of friends with a belly full of alcohol, one friend belted out said song and it blew away 15 years worth of demons. Just like that. Friends. Laughter. Time. Change the setting and context and i was able to relive a very difficult situation with new eyes and ears.

It’s odd. Because since then, my mood seems to have levelled out. I really think i have put something to rest within myself. Something has shifted within me, and I like it. Nay. I love it. I never thought such a life altering experience would or could happen on a stag weekend.

Here is the song. Please enjoy it. Hug each other. Smile. Be kind to people. Smile. Laugh. 

Aerosmith – I don’t wanna miss a thing

Give me Therapy

So. I’ve been thinking about how Americans talk about seeing their therapist or psychiatrist as openly as we talk about going for a pint. Feel this is another stigma I want to chat about.

After a tough couple of months, I’ve started seeing a new therapist. I think i’m now in double figures for them so I get a feeling for how useful it will be. 

After years of battling, beating and re-battling depression I have developed anxiety. I didn’t even notice. I began worrying that I had nothing to worry about. So rather than let my own mental health drag me down again, I sought help at the first possible juncture.

Anxiety is new to me. From my first session I felt immediately better. Knowing I needed to open myself up to the process. For this I needed to be honest and open. It felt good to let all this worry out. 

With the combination of medication and 3 sessions in I can feel a palpable change. It feels easy to talk about being back in therapy, but why won’t people talk about it? Is it still too British to admit defeat? To say we are struggling? 

It’s time to change. Talk. Have a cup of tea with an old friend. Be there. Be present. Be strong.

Drip Drop…

Ever heard the analogy about stress and beer? Well if not, it goes something like this – imagine your store of a stress is an empty beer barrel. The more stress we experience, it drips into our barrel and unless we let some stress out then it spills out everywhere – and no one likes spilt beer.

With this in mind recently i’ve been going through a fair amount of stress like many people do on a daily basis but ive been imagining that beer barrel getting pretty full this past few weeks. Dripping away like a leaking tap.

The awareness is key here. Knowing that im getting stressed and not enjoying that feeling – i know some people who say they never get stressed, well i envy you.

Having an outlet, being able to pour some beer out before it over flows and causes a health and safety issue is paramount. But what can you do? How do you prevent things from reaching crisis point where theres beer everywhere?

Some turn to alcohol. Which is a depressant, which can make you feel worse. But whatever works for you works for you. There is no prescription for what you can do. I personally love video games. I like to immerse myself in another world for a little while and calm my over active brain down.

I also depend on my family. They are everything to me. I have a daughter. A little tiny (sort of) one that depends on me. I can have a terrible day. The worst. Stressed up to 11. Within 5 minutes its forgotten.

image

There are so many things that have helped me on my journey through depression, relapse and recovery. Expressing myself through doodling and art helps.

Take some time for yourself. Tell people your struggling. Speak out. This week marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week. Be aware. Have conversations. Break down stigma. Stigma’s most powerful weapon is itself. If we no longer fear talking about depression and mental health wecare taking huge steps as a society.

Its time to change. Check out this link and be part of something incredible.

Time to Change

The Drugs Don’t Work – Or do they?

So.

For various reasons I stopped my medication a few weeks ago and I could almost feel the serotonin dropping put of my system.

Ive been on and off various medications for my moods over the years with varying degrees of success and side effects – some bearable, some completely unbearable.

So, I’ve recently re-started my anti-depressants and had what is known as a rebound effect – not as fun as it sounds. Basically my mood has dropped significantly to the point where wearing the “normal me” mask is exhausting. I find myself either wanting to sleep or stay up all night, starve or eat everything, laugh or more likely cry.

But things are beginning to feel normal again, so the medication must do something. It keeps me on a relatively even keel even when the stresses of life get to me. But its my friends and family that keep me, me.

I’m hearing so many more conversations about mental health now which also encourages me. I know I’m not alone in my struggle and I would welcome anyone who needs to talk to have a coffee (or tea) with a loved one and talk. Failing that, drop me a line and let’s talk.

You are stronger than your depression, and by sharing the burden, you make it weaker and easier to beat.

We can do this.

Sleepless in St.Martin

I’ve been here before, that old familiar feeling. Nothing keeping me awake apart from myself.

Since I started back on Anti-Depressants, the side effects have begun to kick in. My appetite is still somewhat diminished, which is disconcerting because I’ve always enjoyed food. But when it’s presented in front of me, I feel I need to eat it, not because of hunger more out of necessity. But the main side effect that has always kicked me when I’m down, is sleep. Or lack there of.

I work hard, I try to do a lot of sport, other commitments permitting of course. Thus I should be tired. I can usually just decide, ‘right, that’s enough, sleep now’, and within 10 minutes or so, I’m out for the count, for the night. But not now, it’s as if my sleep cycle has been turned upside down. I feel physically tired, but my mind seems to have other plans. I’m not sat thinking about things either, I’m just not able to fall asleep.

At the moment, I’m tending to just, lie there. This leaves me exhausted the next day, and exhaustion can only last so long surely before I give in? Not in my case. I have been surviving on a few hours sleep, and the sleep that I have had has been interrupted, and again taking a long time to drop back off to sleep. So from having so very little sleep over the course of a few days, with only minimal food inside me, I become grouchy and irritable.

Irritability is one of the most difficult aspects for me to control. One of the main signs of a relapse into depression for me, is irritability. So knowing this, has made me seek the help I need. But then when the help causes further irritability, where does one turn? I feel irritable, I’m down. I don’t sleep, I feel irritable. So I can become a lot shorter with people, snap something at someone, which in turn then makes me feel worse because I’m not a fan of upsetting others. It’s a vicious circle.

I know that this will pass once the medication builds up in my system, but until then I find myself having to bite my tongue or taking a brief moment to gather my thoughts and not react as I would usually. This is a story that has plagued me over the years, and as I have alluded to earlier, has ruined parts of my life.

I know that this is a long road that I need amble down again, but the support that I’m receiving from all around me makes everything seem a lot rosier. I’m still taking one day at a time, and sometimes I’m still guilty of throwing a happy face on a sad day, but it’s just one of my ways of coping. If there are other people reading this, that are worried about having “that” conversation, and opening up about how much they are struggling, I would encourage anyone to speak out. Because suffering in silence does not make you a better person. It will hurt you twice as much in the long run.

Depression is a terrible illness, it can strike you down at any time. But taking these early steps I think will help me in the long term. I am so determined not to let this drag me back to where I have been before, it’s not pleasant. I won’t let it happen.

If you aren’t sure what it feels like to be depressed, then I would suggest giving this video a watch. It puts words to very difficult emotions, and sums up a lot of what I’m going through.

Appetite for Destruction

I’ve always had a difficult relationship with food since day 1 really. As a fussy vegetarian child, my diet consisted mostly of baked beans, lentil soup and potato in its many guises.

But, in time I grew to love food for the most part. Though the last week has shown me that in crisis, my body just doesn’t want fuel. Food can bring out great emotional responses in people, triggering memories, both positive and negative. But when you feel empty, where’s the joy?

I hadn’t eaten for almost 36 hours by the time I arrived at the doctor’s surgery. Not through any sort of blind dieting, but my appetite had upped and gone. Just like my get up and go.

Resolve and determination to change myself dragged me into that appointment. And I began on my road to recovery for the umpteenth time. My gp was really supportive and confirmed my severe depression, putting me back on a previously successful medication regime.

Some people will argue that pills don’t build skills. But for me, before I start thinking about any further self help, I need to redress my chemical imbalance. This is a long road which many think will be a quick fix, but I’ve never found it to be that way.

Having made the decision to speak out about my depression, I knew that I had to maintain some of the things that keep me going in life. Work is definitely one of those things, I have a great job surrounded by great people. This gives me a reason to drag myself up in the morning however hard it may feel.

Though starting difficult conversations has never been easy, compiling a blog a week behind allows me time to reflect on the weeks events, thoughts and feelings.

I feel these conversations are starting now, and that can only be a good thing. Suffering in silence isn’t the way to go. I’ve thrown a happy face on far too many times to know its really unhealthy. Time will tell if the stigma around mental health will change.

But this is me, this my stuggle, my difficulties, my relapse and it will become my recovery.