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 s 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 even enjoy 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. 11th September 2017
I read a post earlier from another blogger about how her anxiety that day, had affecting her posting some pictures of herself on her fashion blog.
It made me think how brave she was for being so open about how she feeling and how her anxiety had really impacted on what she wanted to achieve that day. I’ve never been open enough about my own mental health. Its something I’ve slowly had to get used to doing over the last year.
So, although this has nothing to do with beauty or make up, and I’m aware not everyone will agree or be comfortable with me putting these kind of thoughts & feelings out there on the internet for everybody to judge. But what matters more than that, is that someone who is also struggling with their mental health might read this and feel a little less alone, a little bit stronger or more positive afterwards. Or it might even give an insight to a family member or friend. So here goes…..
I have spent a lifetime struggling with highs and lows (mainly lows) in my mood and spent an obscene amount of my energy and time trying to cover up how I felt. I struggled in silence. You see, I’m not the kind of person who has mental health problems. I’m confident and smiley, fun to be around, strong and independent. Or, that’s what I became incredibly good at having people believe. Until last year. Last November I had a full mental health breakdown. The professionals call it a mental health crisis these days.
Essentially, my anxiety had reached such a level that I was crippled with fear. Unable to leave my bed for days, a deep depression set in. The worst I’ve ever experienced and what was unbearable to face, was that I knew it would not be the last. I was diagnosed with mood affective disorder – or, in other words ‘We’re not totally sure if it’s bipolar yet or not’.
In this last year, I have had to learn to slow down ALOT. Learn how to manage my mood to keep myself stable. Learn how to talk. Learn new ways of coping and most of all, learn how to accept the bad days. See, even with all the help and support I get, the 5 medications, the therapy and self help, nothing takes it all away completely. I finally accept this now. As in, now. Just. As I write this. Now.
Today was a good day and I took full advantage. Saw some friends, family and did some gardening, got stuff done. Because, as negative as it might sound to anyone else, tomorrow I may feel rubbish. I don’t know. No amount of positive thinking today will change how I might feel tomorrow. It’s a whole new day and I’ll just have to roll with it, however it comes. It can be that unpredictable. But then, if you are reading this and are feeling the same, you already know all that don’t you. Big love.
And, just so you know, the experts are right, it does feel quite therapeutic to write down your feelings. I might do it more often.