I knew it was coming, I had checked my diary and I wanted to mark the day, some might say that is a bit bonkers, why the hell would he want to mark the anniversary of that? Well, you might be right, you probably are given the stigma that’s attached but I am selfish so I am going to mark it.
It has been a year since I had my third breakdown. Some of you are probably asking yourself the question that I am always asking myself, ‘What am I not learning here?’, still it happened and I am still here to talking about it. By marking this day I don’t want it to be a moratorium of negativity but a celebration of success and passing on a few things that have helped me and maybe something to watch out for. I am not telling you this for sympathy or congratulations but to raise awareness of something that should no longer hide in the shadows and should be dealt with head on without stigma or shame.
After all depression and anxiety are biological chemical imbalances in the brain, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not there, just because it’s not wrapped up in a plaster caste as you would a broken bone doesn’t mean the person isn’t suffering.
As I mentioned this was my third breakdown or as some call it a break through and it was by far the most traumatising in some ways. There were days where I remembered the tips and tricks to help get me through it and deal with each day as it came but then there were days when I couldn’t even think straight and there are hours missing from my memory still. There were many challenges, getting to see a GP as I free falling into the depths of something I could no longer get myself out of but with an angry husband shouting causing a nuisance I got an emergency appointment at my GP. I was put on various drugs to get me to sleep which had become a major issue, drugs that made me dizzy and feel nauseous all the time. There was one instance where I literally couldn’t walk and had to get my hubby to come and rescue me as I had gone out to get some fresh air (going out everyday was one of my things that I did everyday).
Then came the disastrous early work medical, it’s a long story but it set me back weeks. Sleep was still a huge issues and we hadn’t really found drugs that were really helping me with sleep. I had a habit of wandering off and one day after some crossed words with Hubby I went for a walk but of course my mind poisoned my thoughts and I don’t remember much, I thought I was just wandering around for a bit thinking about what do to now but I had been missing a few hours and a search party had started, they found me, it’s a good job as I can remember I had decided to go away for a bit and I was heading for the train station (I had no change of clothes just a train pass and a few bags of shopping)
Sleeping pills did nothing and so I was left to it and one night after not sleeping for 3 days, it was about 3am and I was watching nonsense on the TV trying to sleep that I decided I was going outside to sit in the cold for a bit but Hubby had double bolted the door and he managed to grab before I got it unlocked where I had another breakdown and I can honestly sit here and say that I was losing my mind. I was taken to the doctors by Hubby and I know a conversation about me being a danger to myself was taking place and sectioning mentioned. In all fairness my Hubby had been amazing but never forget the stresses that are put on your loved ones in these times of crisis. The doctor agreed to give me some Diazepam aka Valium and I slept for the next few nights and I can’t tell you how much it helped.
The recovery was straight forward after all this, we found the right drugs, work organised counselling and I was assigned an amazing counsellor who has helped me in so many ways. I have learned about myself, learned to value myself and learned to have fun again.
So I want to share so advice or tips with anyone reading or who may know someone who may need help.
First, talk, you need to talk and be honest, there will be people willing to listen, my counselling journey started on a free counselling service phone number the company provides us. There is always someone around who will listen, there are people out there that will surprise you, they may not know the answer but by just knowing that you are not alone can help.
Secondly, getting out of the house and sleeping. Get out of the house everyday even if it is just a walk around the park or high street, I went to the shops everyday or walked around the ring road, it stops you being a hermit. You don’t have to talk to anyone just get out. Sleep, I know this is easier said than done but practice the best sleep hygiene you can, getting out for a nice long walk helps make you physically tired.
Third, if you have had to take some time off, occupy that time, I did a few free online courses in creative writing (FutureLearn in the UK), it was also part of rediscovering the things I like doing and make me happy. It really worried me when my counsellor asked me, ‘What do you like doing for fun?’ and I couldn’t answer her. I would grab my laptop and go to a little cafe that did the best cakes in the Midlands and sit and write a blog or story. It has led me to studying psychology now.
These are just a few things that helped me but everyone is individual, some might work for you. You are not alone and never will be, called someone, anyone, they will help. The Samaritans in the UK is a great organisation and I know they can get you off the brink and start the journey to recover. There is no shame to mental health, go to your doctor and get the help you need.
Remember you are not alone and it DOES get better, I am living proof, with help I pulled myself back from the brink, I am stronger and happier and more at peace than I have ever been. You can do it to but it is so important to be honest with yourself.
I celebrate this last year, a year of struggle, tears and laughter, it had made me what I am. I know I keep saying it but it is true….
You are not alone, it DOES get better!