Time to Talk Day 2019

As today is Time to Talk Day I thought it apt to share my mental health story.

I suffer from depression and anxiety which is thought to be a chemical imbalance rather than justified depression.
Meaning I often feel depressed when there's nothing to be depressed about and I am then unable to answer "what's up?", in fact I deal with things much better when I have a justification.

I have suffered from depression probably from about age 13.
I hid it for a number of years and lived in denial. I remember my friends speaking to a teacher through concern when I was about 14ish and that teacher just told me I was 'attention seeking' and to stop.
I hid it for a number of reasons, I didn't want people to think less of me, I didn't want my parents blaming themselves, I didn't want people dismissing me as angsty.

I self-harmed, sometimes a lot. It wasn't 'attention seeking', it wasn't because I thought I was bad or that I needed punishing, it was just a release which helped when nothing else was.

As I got older and became more in charge of my medical care I spoke to different GPs, some who dismissed me and some who medicated me with 2 different antidepressants neither of which worked.

Eventually as I reached my 20s the Drs finally took me seriously and believed there was something more real wrong than teen problems. This is so wrong and hopefully no longer the case.

I tried everything I was offered; computer based CBT (which I HATED), counselling (apparently I just need more money and more sleep), about 5 different medications and more recently a stress course and 1 on 1 stress counselling.

The stress course was great for any justified anxiety and I would highly recommend it, the other treatments just weren't for me.
Medication works for me, so far I've had 3 which don't and 2 which do. I had to change in the last year from one which used to work but stopped working, I'm now on a different medication.
I'm not naming these medications on purpose as different things work for different people and I don't want to sway anyone's feelings in any way.

Now I have a fantastic GP who really gets me, she can tell how I'm getting on just by having a chat.
I'm able to be more open about my depression although I do normally downplay it quite severely.
I recognise my symptoms much more easily now which is powerful because it gives me chance to reach out to friends, family or medical professionals early.
I trust myself now, I have a house full of medications and sharp objects and I know I am strong enough to manage my feelings.

Don't get me wrong urges and temptations still exist I'm just in a stronger place. Years of living with depression have trained me. This doesn't mean I'll always be strong enough but hopefully now I can see the downhill slopes coming I can take any steps.

Mental health isn't a fad, it isn't teen angst, it isn't a phase, it isn't because I'm "sad". It's an illness, no less than a massive infection. just because you can't see the symptoms doesn't mean they're not very real. You can't see internal bleeding but you wouldn't tell someone to get over it.

I won't get better, this is part of who I am and I accept that.

How can you help someone with depression?
Be there for them
Don't make them talk about it, don't try and cheer them up, just be there. Don't stop inviting them no matter how many times they decline, send them a text to check in, pop round for a cuppa and I cannot express this enough
We may not know every time but sometimes we do.

For me it's laughing with a friend in front of TV, a silly chat with a friend, pancakes at Wetherspoons, a quiet night in or sometimes it's letting me have time to be depressed; sometimes I need to feel it to get over it.

Image result for the best thing about eeyoreImage result for the best thing about eeyore

Be like the 100 acre wood were for Eeyore and that will be everything to a lot of people.

A very important footnote: you can't help everyone, not everyone will let you know they need help. If someone chooses to end their battle and their life do not look at what you should have done better, how you could have helped more. It is not your fault! It is not anyone's fault! No one had failed. Someone just couldn't fight any more. 


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