I love blogging. FACT. I love social media. FACT. I hate anxiety. FACT.
After hinting to it in a previous post I have, for a long time, been reluctant to fully share my mental health story. This was because I wanted it buried. Forgotten. Done with. What I’ve learnt in the last few weeks is to fight anxiety and depression in a totally different way. I’m learning not to question ‘why me?’ and ‘for what reason?’ Instead I’m accepting that it’s there and putting coping mechanisms in place. I also want to share the journey & write about it – even if the only person it helps is me.
Firstly, I absolutely hate that it’s called ‘mental’ health. Why not just class it as simply ‘health?’ In a world where everyone is trying to break down social barriers, why is there still such a stigma? Mental health issues don’t discriminate, are out of your control and apparently 1 in 4 people will suffer this year. If that’s the case why do you feel so alone? I’d really like to try dispel some of the stigma attached even if it is only in my social circle. I think it all comes down to education – why are we never taught about it at school?
I have no idea.
Describing Anxiety & Depression
A couple of years ago I watched a friend go through a depressive episode; watched as their eyes would fill up for what appeared to be no reason. I hold my hands up and admit that all I could think was the typical ‘get a grip’ and ‘people have it worse than you’. Oh how I can sympathise now. It’s hard describing it to people who haven’t suffered from it – I always end up referring to metaphors like ‘I feel like I’m trapped in a tunnel’ or ‘I’m at the bottom of the ocean’. I’ve been doing some reading around the topic lately as it helps to know that people have gone through what you are and came out the other side. In Matt Haig’s book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ (a slightly morbid title but I would recommend to anyone, sufferer or non-sufferer) he put it quite well…
‘When you are in it, you are really in it. You can’t step outside it without stepping outside of life, because it is life. At its most extreme, things that an everyday normal person would hardly notice have overwhelming effects’.
Basically it is, at times, a living hell. It doesn’t fit within the normal spectrum of emotions. Intense.
The idea of medication for a mental illness sounds terrific.Take a tablet and the symptoms simply disappear just as a headache does with paracetamol. Unfortunately for me this hasn’t been the case and I have actually come to a point where I do not want to try any more. I’ve tried Propranolol, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Mirtazapine and Venlaxflaxine. All working in different ways. All broken promises. It’s actually quite scary writing that long list down in hindsight. You are, in essence, a lab rat searching for the ‘right one’ for you. Whilst I’m not discounting the many millions of people who have felt better on anti-depressants, I do not believe they are the answer for everyone, including myself. I’m hoping to go down a more holistic route without the use of chemicals. I’m really hoping it works.
A new approach
As you can see from the image, I’m starting to get quite a collection of self help books and DVD’s. Matt Haig’s book puts it in perspective, Ruby Wax’s help you cope and apparently Charles Linden’s cures it. I’m going to try them all and I’m going to write about it on the blog. I’ve decided to share because why not? I’m an open person who wants to try do something positive. Startling facts and evidence such as suicide now being a leading cause of premature death in the UK makes me want to try do something and spread a message. I bet you didn’t know that it kills more people than stomach cancer, Cirrhosis, colon cancer, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Did you?
Something has got to change.
I’m posting this now because tomorrow afternoon I’m going to London. A city I absolutely love and can’t wait to explore again. In the past 10 months since my health issue (notice dropping the ‘mental’) began I’ve booked and missed so many opportunities like Dubai, Thailand, Prague & London. I feel like I FINALLY have the coping mechanisms in place to actually go on an adventure again. This doesn’t mean that I’m not shitting myself because I am. I’ve had my confidence knocked majorly but I think it’s about time to try get it back. So just like this post, I’m seeing this trip to London as therapy.
To my family and friends, even though some of you might not understand it please stick by me. I’m trying my best to get my health back so I can create amazing stories with you.