Me and Mental Health
So, I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while but kind of held off. Mainly because I’ve been finding ways to keep myself busy and try and ignore a niggling feeling but with a lot in the media recently and my upcoming GP appointment I kind of felt like I should. Those that know me very well (which is a handful) know that I suffer with Depression and Anxiety, those that don’t know me as well may well have no idea. I don’t like admitting it, or overly talking about it. I’ve struggled with it for 14 years, my earliest memory of my Depression being when I was 11! Over the years I’ve had good spells and bad spells. I’m a huge lover of psychology and exploring how the brain works and I find it amazing how a small chemical imbalance can have such an extraordinary effect on somebody’s life.
December 2016 was when it was the worse. It was two weeks of hell. As many know I’m Diabetic, (if you don't you can find out more here), I fight everyday to have a ‘normal’ life and to keep my blood sugars under control, but add a chemical imbalance on top and sever anxiety in to the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster. 90% of the time I cope with it, I have ways of dealing with my nerves, I have strategies in place for when I feel low but those two weeks were so much overwhelming that I lost every bit of control of it.
A huge part of my Anxiety is the fear of losing control. But that was exactly what happened and the darkness of my Depression began taking hold. I make rash decisions to try and regain some control but those decisions effect my Anxiety even more. I begin losing myself, lose sight of who I am and what I stand for. And that scares the hell out of me! People who know me know that I am normally confident in myself and I’m passionate, but when the darkness sets in I’m doubtful of everything, every feeling and every decision.
Having Depression and Anxiety together is exhausting! You feel like you are numb to everything yet your emotions are overwhelming and powerful and you have no idea how to handle them. You cry yourself to sleep for no reason, your brain and veins feel like they are going to burst and your heart is going to beat right out of your chest. But you don’t know why, you can’t find a solution and Anxiety takes hold some more.
It’s tiring, every day, mentally you are shattered. Getting up for work made me feel sick, walking to the bus stop sent me in to cold sweats with my emotions taking hold. Faking a smile and keeping myself calm all day exhausted me and by the time I got home all I wanted to do was fall asleep yet I couldn’t switch off. So I laid awake, tears streaming, feeling like I wanted to scream and rip everything off the walls, but I didn’t have it in me. Intrusive thoughts would begin and as much as I wanted to reach out I couldn’t.
Depression isn’t just a ‘bad day’ and Anxiety isn’t just being ‘nervous’. It’s something that millions of people, myself included, deal with everyday of our lives. Most days it’s okay, but sometimes it takes its toll and you’re too mentally tired to fight anymore, so you let it take control.
It’s pushing bad thoughts down, it’s trying to convince your brain that life isn’t bad, it’s sleeping for 12 hours and still being exhausted, it’s feeling lost but not knowing why or what you’ve lost, it’s trying to find a way of explaining how you feel when you don’t understand why you do feel it yourself, it’s wanting to be alone yet not wanting to be lonely, it’s wanting to escape the four walls you’re trapped in but not being able to stomach stepping outside, it’s feeling completely empty yet feeling ready to burst, it’s holding back tears until you can hide away and break down. Depression and Anxiety is hiding from the people who know you best. The people who make you realise just who know you the best, the ones that can look in your eyes and notice they’re empty, the ones that know the small changes in your body language and the ones that notice your absense even when they’re sat with you. They are the people you need, no matter how much you think you don’t, or that you’re a burden, you do need those people. They remind you of who you are, remind you that Depression and Anxiety do not define you or control you. And remembering that is the beginning of finding the light again.