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Mental Health and Me

Hello there!

I realise it has been ages since I wrote a non-book related post. There has been lots going on,  lots I could have told you, but none of it seemed blog-worthy.

As you may know, it's Mental Health Awareness Week. That is something which was only really brought to my attention a year ago when my own struggle became clear. I'm not going to go into the way it all started, most of you probably know from my social media presence this time last year. But now, one year on, I am ready to talk openly and fully about my journey with Depression and Anxiety.

I was first diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder 12 months ago this week. That was the first time I'd ever really heard of it and it scared me. I was newly single, seeking medical care for these issues for the first time in 13 years. I had just read Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon and it awoke something in me. I was put on Propanalol to help with the physical symptoms of the anxiety and, a year ago yesterday, I had my first counselling session. The thought of having to actually sit and face someone and tell them my fears and my open up about my past horrified me. I didn't feel ready, I wanted to run and hide. But I went. I vomited before I went in but I didn't die, like I thought I would. And Millie was the nicest woman I could have hoped to work with. She made me think about myself. She made me question why I was so hard on myself and how I could begin to heal. It all had to start with me. I was away from the cause of my pain, so why was I still so determined to inflict pain upon myself? I stopped self harming almost instantly because I felt like, if I hurt myself, HE would in effect be hurting me still and I didn't want to give him that power anymore.

I was lucky enough to be given 12 sessions with Millie courtesy of the Minds Matter charity. I had to pay a donation, whatever I could afford, at each session but the people I dealt with there were amazing.

During that first week, I was also diagnosed with Depression. I was somewhat familiar with depression as my Mum had suffered from it for as long as I could remember. I was prescribed 20mg of Citalopram, which once it settled into my system, has helped me so much. I became less irritable, less lethargic, less teary. I began to focus on the future and to make plans again. I felt less suicidal and less powerless. This took about 4 weeks for me. It seemed like forever, but I had to keep faith that it would work. And it did. I still take it every night before bed. And boy do I know if I miss one! Mood swings like you wouldn't believe!! I do still have sad days, days where all I feel like I can do is sleep or cry or worse, argue for no reason. I am seeing my gp next week about possibly upping my dosage as I don't like feeling unstable. But we'll see...

I finished my 12 counselling sessions feeling positive, brave, strong, confident and TERRIFFIED! What was I going to do without Millie?? During my counselling sessions, I was also put on a Stress Control course. I hated it. I dreaded going, I was bored. I already knew it all. I meditated, I knew the sleep rules, I was on meds, I was in counselling, I had already changed my eating habits... But in the last week, something clicked and it all made sense. The key to controlling my stress was ME! I had to gain control of it before it controlled me. And I do, 90% of the time!

So, as this was all going on, I was working on building my future too. With the help of some amazing friends, I started to build my little business, saved enough money for deposits and rent on my own house and moved out on my own for the first time in my life! I was scared I wouldn't make it work but I had to try!

During that time, I had begun chatting to and eventually dating my Dads best friend Steve, who I had known for about 8 years. He lived in Birmingham so it was difficult to begin with, but we made it work. Now, 11 months on, he is my rock. Steve has been my partner, lover, cheerleader, supporter, best friend and constant companion. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. We are engaged to be married, he's the Daddy to our 2 furbabies (Pomeranians Bella and Magic) and he is quite simply my world.

He holds me when I'm sad, he soothes me when I'm angry and frustrated. He makes me get out of bed every single day. He makes sure I eat, he brings me cups of tea. He loves me, mood swings and all. It hasn't always been easy. Coming from an emotionally abusive, controlling relationship has been hard. I struggle with decision making. I'm selfish and thoughtless at times. I am spontaneous and a bit reckless. Steve helps me contain this side of me. He tells me when I'm in the wrong. We argue but always talk things through. I sulk, he tells me I'm sulking and then makes me laugh. I love him  more than I ever thought I could and I would do anything for him.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say here is this;

There is life after abuse, there is life after mental illness and there is life after being hurt. It won't seem like it at first, or maybe for a long time. But there is. You have to begin working on yourself and then it will find you.

If you are frightened, feeling alone or worried what people will think, just talk to someone you trust. It can be an online friend, someone you've never met in real life. I find them great sounding boards as they can be more impartial. It could be a trusted co-worker, a family member, anyone. Just talk to someone. This is the biggest, most brave step you could take. You will feel better and the million things rushing through your head will begin to quieten and unravel just a bit. Talk to me if you want. I will listen. I can't advise anything other than get help if needed, but I can listen.

It's ok not to be ok. Remember that. And mental illness lies to you. There's nothing wrong with admitting you're struggling. That's the only was you can beat your demons.

Thanks for all the support and virtual hugs. Sorry for the rambling post but I though it needed to be said, finally. Lots of love xxx

Comments

  1. You've done so well to be working through all of this. I'm really pleased to know that you're so happy in your relationship with Steve. Wishing you every happiness. xx

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