Church is just over, and I feel like I need to write this now or I never will. The opportunity arose to tell my story or testimony if you like. I however chickened out and didn’t. Everyone who did speak, mentioned taking risks, stepping outside your comfort zone and recognising your own importance. All things I find difficult to say the least.
Over the past year or so I haven’t really been myself. I suppose I’m doing this as therapy and reflection for myself more than giving you all a reason to think I’m crazy. Well crazier than you already do! Life definitely has its ups and downs and I suppose it’s how you handle those which helps create your path in life.
As many of you know I’m a nurse, I managed to change my job role about a year ago and went from being a staff nurse to deputy sister within the same area. This has not been without its issues for me. At the same time as doing this, I have also been completing my masters at university, I’m on the society of vascular nurses’ council, I took part in youth groups at church when able (which wasn’t very much might I add) and I worked. The hardest thing for me has been learning to say no to taking tasks on or doing shifts. I’ve struggled a lot with this as in my view of myself it was seen as a failure or letting others down. Little things have become major things in my head and this still continues to happen unfortunately but thankfully not to the same extent. Throughout the first 6 months or so of my new role I was quite happy pretending I was ‘fine’ and nothing was affecting me. This wasn’t the case. I had become very isolated as a person, going between work and home, back to work and to see my boyfriend, (thankfully I didn’t forget about him as he’s the only one who would take me) and so on. This was unbeknown to me at the time. I seen very few other people, if any and became secluded in social settings, so much so that invites weren’t even offered anymore. This made me feel much worse as I felt as if I’d offended people, that they didn’t like me when in actual fact I started to overthink every situation, making them into mountains. I found stepping into management difficult and having to create boundaries with friends I worked with. Greater responsibility made me more stressed and I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to switch off when I left work and I still find this hard to do, but I’ve seen myself at my worst, so I am trying. Everything made me become very irritated and on edge, 24/7. It never turned off. I was extremely emotional and cried at the drop of a hat or became angry and annoyed over nothing. I felt that at times I was watching my life happen and I had no control over anything. I like to be in control. My whole outlook was so abnormal but yet felt so normal to me.
Feeling like this continued for weeks and months and unfortunately the closest people to me had to deal with me at my worst. It finally came to a head when myself and my other half had headed away for the weekend and I was very sick….in reality I was extremely anxious and uneasy. Panic set in. This was not the first time this had happened however it was going to be the most life changing for me. I knew I needed to see the GP and everyone urged me to go. I did. I came out with a diagnosis that was life altering for me and somewhat unexpected. After explaining how I’d been feeling, the sickness, weight loss, lack of sleep, rapid mood changes, just some of what I’d been experiencing and ignoring, he told me he felt I had depression. Well you can only imagine how I felt. I cried, I was in shock, I felt crazy and isolated. I just wanted to runaway and hide. Life for me just felt like it was crumbling, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.
Trying to somewhat compose myself I got started on tablets…yes happy pills. I knew I had to try them, if not for me for everyone I’d affected and not acknowledged. Initially I felt horrendous and that I needed to stop them. I read so much about feeling sick and drowsy, all of which were true. I just wanted to hibernate. With a lot of encouragement from my parents and boyfriend, I kept going. I had regular check ups at the GP to see if they were helping and yes they did a bit but I didn’t feel how I thought I would. I had been getting out to see people, most of which where very understanding. I will say not everyone was and that was difficult to accept especially not having straightforward thinking. My tablets continued to be increased in dosage and others introduced to help combat other issues. Sleeping tablets were added to see if my sleeping pattern improved…it didn’t and still isn’t great. I continue to wake up once or twice a night. I find nighttime can be really hard as your mind goes into overdrive. You assess your whole day, relationships, plans, conversations, the list is endless. I still do this. I can’t seem to switch off. Also, nearly every thought is negative. I will always be pessimistic than optimistic. Trying to adapt and change this is not going well. Anti-anxiety medications and anti-sickness where also added. I already took a beta-blocker or that was going to be introduced…a silver lining…possibly. Adjusting your life to taking medications is difficult enough without knowing if they are going to make a difference.
4 months down the line I can safely they have helped me, whether that is all psychological, I don’t know. I’ve adjusted my life. I’ve taken up hobbies, excessive baking and running occasionally is allowing me to direct my emotions and energy into a task. I have been trying to message people every so often…I will get better. Regular coffee dates and catch ups have helped and allowed me to vent and not keep everything built up. I never wanted to tell anyone how I felt and buried it all down, just regularly saying ‘I’m fine’ which I obviously wasn’t.
The encouragement and support from my boyfriend and family has been without a doubt the greatest help. I am difficult to deal with at the best of times and they have had me at my worst. The past year has had many peaks and dips which I doubt will disappear completely. Many have said bad days still occur but it’s how you learn to cope in situations will help. I don’t think I’m better yet and for a period of time I had removed everything from everyday life, re-introducing them has been very trying. I do think I will get better over time, but I know I have to do a lot of work myself to achieve this.
Over the past while I have seen plenty on the internet regarding mental health and sharing my journey almost feels insignificant compared to others. This is where I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. Many people have question why I started a blog and for me if was an outlet and a distraction. It has allowed me to escape from everyday life and do something I enjoy. I did decide initially to make it about clothes and fashion however life creeps in and I feel its important to address that aspect as well.
I hope speaking out about having depression…yes, I said it, will help address the stigma which I even have regarding myself. Accept others for who and what they are. Don’t label or judge them, (easier said than done, I know). Lean on others for support, you can’t do this alone. Make sure and speak out. I hope in a year I will be writing and acknowledging how much better I am coping but for now I’ll continue to take it a day at and time.
Thanks for taking this journey with me!
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