So it’s been a good few weeks since I last posted, I’d say probably around 6 weeks. I have good reason for this, that I would like to share with you using a passage I wrote just under 6 weeks ago, describing my recent diagnosis of Depression.
On Friday I was placed on anti-depressants by my GP.
This doesn’t seem like a big statement to many, just a statement of truth. It doesn’t sound like a confession, it doesn’t sound shameful, maybe to a minority it sounds like attention seeking but to you, it is just something you have read, perhaps with mild to moderate interest. To me it is a confession, it feels a little shameful and I certainly worry of sounding like an attention seeker. But worse, I worry of sounding weak.
On Thursday a well meant passing comment reduced me to tears and I just could not stop. This followed weeks, months even, of desperately trying to help myself – yoga, diet, meditation, crystals, comfort TV, exercise, talking, writing – but no matter what I did, the melancholy, the negative feelings about myself, the lack of real hope and enjoyment, the detachment and irritability, the insomnia, it just would not shift. At least not for longer than a day or two.
So anxiously and shamefully I made an appointment. I responded to the receptionists query about why I needed to see the GP awkwardly and dashed out as quick as I could, avoiding the elevator and taking the stairs because there was a wait and I felt anxious she was watching, knowing I needed to see a GP for “mental health”.
The GP didn’t hesitate prescribing a monthly repeat of Citalopram, perhaps it was my long medical history of refusing any painkiller stronger than Paracetamol on repeat giving him reassurance I am not a drug seeker or perhaps it’s the fact that a huge percentage of chronic illness sufferers at some point or another fall foul of depression.
I often see Facebook posts depicting depression artistically, with horror like figures hanging over their victim or long winded and imaginative posts full of imagery and shadows.
For me, it isn’t and hasn’t been half so dramatic. It just creeped in, imperceptibly. Positive thinking became harder, my energy sapped, rather than meeting challenges with fire and ferocity I held a touch of positivity back and steadily but surely I met them half heartedly, then bitterly and eventually the smallest non-event had me reduced to hopelessness, in tears overwhelmed by the slightest of challenges. I am tired, yet it’s hard to sleep. I am rational yet I react irrationally. I am positive yet I cannot be positive.
So now I have taken a great step and admitted, it is getting too much. I have no cloaked figure stalking me, no shadow. You can run from those, turn on the light – they can be fixed. The demon lays in my head, it is not romantic, impressive or beautiful – it doesn’t have the energy to be so. It is just a heaviness – a great big fat guy started to sit, but is now laying, on my positivity, too big and lazy to move whilst my usual positive self is squished underneath, trying to push him off but getting too tired to do so.
So far I just feel groggy on the tablets, I feel defeated and the weight lift from admitting I felt so rubbish hasn’t come yet. My great friend gave me some amazing reassurance though, to think of this as a break. The tablets will give me a break from the overwhelming negativity, give me some time to process the reality of being a chronic illness sufferer without being crippled by negative feelings everytime I think of today, tomorrow, years from now. And I like that idea, this is just a little bit of help.
No matter how big and powerful your usual self is, there could always be a bigger thing to squish it – I just need to give my positive self a break, something to kill the discomfort of being squished whilst I feed that bitch Wheatabix…
I’m not sure whether I really had intention of posting at the time, but I’m glad I wrote it at least. 6 weeks into treatment and I don’t feel as though I could really describe the feeling again if I tried. And I think it’s important to share the feeling, so others in a similar situation may recognise the symptoms and realise, there is help available to get you away from these feelings.
I would urge anyone reading this post who is concerned about possibly suffering Depression, or any mental health issue, please visit your GP and ask for help. I didn’t think anything would help but 6 weeks on a mild anti-depressant has me feeling so much more positive. Sure, I still have my bad days but nothing like before.