A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that I was suffering with depression, that I had started to take some antidepressants and was starting to feel better. When I said I was feeling better it didn't mean the depression or anxiety had gone away, it just meant I was feeling better than I had been.
Depression doesn't go away by taking tablets, yes your mood will lift but you can still be left with the issues that are causing your depression. I will always have depression, at some points in my life the symptoms will be very evident often times they won't. It takes work and courage to face the things that are causing you to feel depressed. I am just on the beginning of this journey again.
When I wrote about how I felt when in the midst of depression it struck a few chords with people who read the post. I got some lovely feedback so I want to thank you for that. In my post Rainbows and Unicorns I described the feeling of depression....
When you have lived with depression, you learn the danger signs. They can be very subtle and can take you a little while to pick up on them but they are there. Mine started with getting less and less sleep, then the feeling of sadness crept in, one that wouldn't go away. Then I start spending money to cheer myself up. It is usually gifts for others as if I alone am not enough to please them. Then the self loathing starts with a vengeance, I start feeling like I am a failure because I have put on weight (comfort eating and wacky hormones), ugly because of the new facial hair that has sprouted and the teenage skin I suddenly acquired. A failure in so many ways that my inner voice of criticism literally doesn't shut up from the minute I wake until the minute I go to sleep. It is a lonely place inside my head and it seems so stupid to retreat there but then that's depression for you.
I will be honest I am still having bad days, where my chest aches with sadness and I just don't want any contact with the outside world. I am lucky in the fact these kind of days are only occurring a couple of times a week. As my GP said when I saw him, bad days are normal and he didn't want me to be so medicated that I was numb to all emotions. I don't want that either, it is important to be present and to be able to feel things, be they good or bad. I am a little over emotional at times, I cried on Monday night when Jeremy Vine was saying goodbye to Strictly Come Dancing on It Takes Two, after being voted off in the dance off.
He couldn't dance to save his life and hubby and I nicknamed him the praying mantis but he was so upset to be leaving the show it really moved me. The clip above is the best dance he did. Finally getting the score of 4 out of 10 from the judge Craig Revel Horwood. I am a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan (Dancing with the stars in the USA), hubby and I watch it together every week religiously.
I am a little more prone to weeping at the moment however I didn't shed a tear at the John Lewis Christmas advert this year but oh my days did I sob due to their advert in 2013!! I still can't watch it but have provided it here for you if you dare!
Here is this years John Lewis Christmas advert, not a patch on the 2013 one. Completely dry eyes in this house!
Going slightly off on a tangent as I am prone to do, (see above! lol!) I wont lie, I am a bit of a "Its fucking November" person when it comes to Christmas. I really do believe that Christmas is a December event only. It maybe my previous retail background that has caused this, Christmas would start for me in September, where I would plan my schedules for my department and Christmas stock would come into the store. I have done the majority of my Christmas shopping but that is only because with a fixed income I need to start in June such is the size of Hubby's (Jay's) family. Oh and another thing I hate is wrapping Christmas presents at anytime leading up to the festive season.
So the bad days are still with me, I had quite a wobble on Sunday. Sometimes things get too much, living this life with chronic illness isn't easy and people's belief that once the condition is diagnosed and starting to be treated, so you must be getting better really grates. I spent Sunday in my head, barely talking and ended up quite poorly, spending the afternoon in bed hooked up to my oxygen concentrator because I felt like I couldn't breath. Those types of days get me down as you begin to panic that there will be more of them to come. I was anxious that I was going to have a meniere's attack because I was so exhausted (that can be a warning sign that an attack coming). Luckily it didn't happen and once the breathing side of thing was more under control after a dose of mestinon, I slept the remainder of the day.
What gets me down the most at the moment I guess is the menieres, the attacks have dropped to one per week roughly (I was unlucky enough to have two last week), but because I have been given medication to treat it, people assume that the attacks don't happen anymore and are quite surprised when I tell them they are. I wish like countless other people with chronic illness that the pills did make the condition disappear but it doesn't. The unpredictability of the condition also frustrates me, I feel anxious when I plan anything in case I have to cancel at short notice. Anytime I leave the house i have to take a bunch of medications with me just in case I have an attack, treating it early on in the attack, a bit like a migraine, means I get back in control and it shortens the length of the attack. If left too long the medication won't work as effectively and I could be left with the spins for the rest of the day. I feel that it has taken over my life.
So I am slowly perking up, the good days outnumber the bad, bad days are still happening. However everyone even those people without depression have days where they don't feel good mentally. That is normal, it is when the bad days outnumber the good that you need to seek help.
Mental health organisations in the UK that can give you immediate help:
The Samaritans if you find yourself needing someone to talk to, the samaritans will provide it without judgement. I have used them myself in the past and I can not praise them highly enough.
These are links to Mental Health Charities that can help you with information and support.
Rethink Mental Illness
Young Minds - this Charity provides support for children and young people with mental health problems. It also has a help line for parents to assist them to help their child.
Help is out there, if you need help reach out to one of these organisations.