‘A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key’ – Elizabeth Wurtzel
This week is National Mental Health Wellness Week which is something close to my heart. I’ve spoken a lot recently about the stuff I’ve been experienced through with regards to anxiety and my health so I won’t go through it all again but if you’re interested you can read about it here and here. As the festive season approaches all we seem to read about is how to maintain your medical wellbeing but there’s not a lot around about looking after your mental health. It’s easy to get caught up in all the frivolity of everything and forget that Christmas can actually be quite a stressful, depressing or lonely time for many people.
December is personally my favourite month of the year. I absolutely love the run up to Christmas, even more than the day it’s self in many ways. As this year has been quite an emotional one for me I’m going to make a conscious effort to look after myself both physically and mentally. Unfortunately alcohol and anxiety do not make particularly good bedfellows. Whilst the alcohol may act as a short term solution to give yourself a break from your own thoughts, having anxiety with a hangover is like mixing petrol with a blowtorch. So whereas I’m not going to stop drinking over the next few weeks (I have a girls weekend to plan Janine’s wedding at the end of the month for crying out loud) I am going to try and limit the amount i drink. I’m also going to get my worried bum to the gym every day that I don’t have something social on, which should work out at at least 5 days a week. Exercise is one of the only things that clears my head, calms be down and puts me back on a positive thought spiral. IT might also help tackle my current Twirl addiction!
This year found loads of help and comfort from people in a similar situation as me on Twitter and Facebook. I met Stewart on Twitter though our mutual friend Scott, turns out we all have the same moody sense of humour and through getting to know Stew I learnt a lot about him, how he’s suffered from depression and managed to come through the other side. In fact he recently reach 100 days medication free, which is a massive achievement. In honour of Mental Health Wellness Week Stew has been kind enough to share his story, in the hope that anyone reading may be rest assured that no matter how mad things get, there’s always help for you out there.
Ever since I was born I feel like i have had this black cloud over me due to my twin sister being still-born. My Mum soon became a manic-depressive and after years of watching her try to kill herself, my Dad, Brothers and I on many occasions I guess as the years went by and I became a teenager I started to feel doubts about myself. On top of that I had a broken marriage but kept it all buried until October 2012 when I just suddenly broke down on a massive scale and was diagnosed with Depression a few days later.
I broke down on the Friday afternoon and was dragged unwillingly to the Doctors by my partner Cheryl. From what I’ve been told by the so-called experts it was all due to me having to bring two of my brothers up I have a deep-set resentment for not really having a childhood and that had taken its toll on me. I was diagnosed with depression officially by a doctor in 2012 but was also told I have anger management issues that are being dealt with.
Once diagnosed I found it very hard to even get out of bed some days. After a very bad day at work I had an argument with my partner and lost the plot completely and trashed the house with rage and anger. Cheryl has shed many tears although not in my sight, My Dad, brothers and close circle of friends kept their distance, which is common with depression, a lot of people don’t know what to say, or are frightened of saying the wrong thing, so they don’t say anything at all.
After the diagnosis I saw a councilor regularly which helped, I did a CBT course which helped and still attend anger management classes when I feel the need. I do feel that if I could see a counselor more regularly it would help as it does good to talk to others who aren’t directly involved with me. Everyone is different and I think its important to find the right treatment for you, it might be a case of trial and error for a while. A mixture of counselling, CBT, anger management classes and the anti depressant pills which I haven’t taken now for 101 days, helped me.
July 25th 2015 proved to be a turning point for me, when I was assaulted at work and walked out as my boss didn’t really want to do anything about it. I had three weeks off, found myself a new job and they say a change is as good as a rest and I agree. I’m now working a lot less hours for a lot less money but feeling a lot better. The day after this happened I said to myself I don’t feel the pressure of work anymore so decided to give up the pills and I feel a lot better for it. I still feel down when things go against me but I give myself a talking to, even pray and try to think positive as best I can.
I must say Twitter has helped me a lot, so many other sufferers offer help online and offline and you have access to various Depression Groups which you don’t always get through your GP. If were to offer any advice it would be don’t suffer In silence, seek medical help, seek out others who have knowledge of Depression, all help is vital.