It’s Monday again. Not a normal Monday though, where everyone feels a bit flat, pining for that excitement of the weekend. A kind of Ground Hog day of the worst Monday of your entire life, Monday. Sounds dramatic, I know.
I wrote a while ago about how anxiety and depression affect my day to day well being. I use the phrase ‘affect my life’ rather than that ‘I suffer from’. I don’t like to use the word suffer. It makes me sound like a victim. A victim of some terrible tragedy, and that, I am not. I have a lovely fulfilling life with a gorgeous and kind support network which includes my husband, children, a fabulous best friend and family. Even with all that, the demons get me. And they’ve got me bad at the moment.
I’m not planning on using this post to moan about trivial first world problems, nor gain your sympathy. I just want to use the platform to be more open about mental health and if me sharing how I feel or manage my mental health invites a conversation about your own mental health or that of a loved one, well, then that can only be good can’t it?
So, today I’m waiting to be referred back to my local mental health team. In short in the last two years I’ve had a period of severe anxiety and depression and I have recovered, and now I’m back there again. And the worst bit is that I know that it isn’t going to be the last time either.
I try to explain my cycles of ill health to my GP, physiatrist, husband and basically anyone else who asks, but because I have no obvious single (or, maybe it’s yet to be discovered) trigger, I haven’t got very far in trying to prevent relapses.
There are lots of logical things I do that are good for general well being – routine, part time work, me time, eating well, exercise and fresh air. These things also help others to convince themselves that I really am helping myself but to be honest, it doesn’t make that much difference when it comes to a mental health crisis, because if I’ve slipped that far, then it can feel impossible to see that anything could have prevented it.
I suppose I’m trying to make sense of why I am in this dark space in my head again and find some glimmer of hope that I will come out of it soon. Stephen Fry once described his mental health like the weather, and I have to agree; it may well be raining today and it may well be brighter tomorrow.
One thing that always surprises me when I talk candidly about my mental health issues, is that others themselves are surprised that I am affected by feelings of fear, panic or low mood. I don’t think I come across as the type. I guess I can be a master of disguise sometimes and put on ‘the face’. That’s not to say my smile isn’t always genuine, there are many times I am enjoying life. This makes it all the more difficult when I seem to lose the ability to enjoy even the simplest of life’s pleasures. Even the ability to pretend you’re enjoying life for the sake of others.
So that’s where I am right now. In fear. Hiding from the world by staying at home in pyjamas with zero motivation to wash my hair or even write much. Contemplating what cocktail of medication I may be put on next and if they will help or just make me balloon up two stone in a few months.
Maybe some of you are feeling this way too. Or maybe you’ve cracked it and have the answers to getting your brain under control. Get in touch either way. I’d love to hear from you.