Two years ago this month I was diagnosed again with Depression. It wasn’t a surprise, not really, not deep down.
I thought I was tired, run down. I thought my PCOS was causing problems. I thought I just needed vitamins, more veg perhaps, less wine. I thought I thought, I thought.
After much talking with my husband, I made an appointment to speak with my GP. She was amazing. She ran blood tests to rule out all of my, could it be this, could it be that theories and to make sure there was nothing wrong medically. She supplied many, many tissues and a welcome shoulder. She aired her thoughts in a sensitive manner.
I was broken. Not beyond repair. I felt broken. I knew hand to heart my cloud was back. I’ve always thought of it as a cloud. It never really goes away, tucks away behind the sun for a time, peeks out once in a while then sinks back to its hidey hole again. This time it stayed put, right here, hanging over me; dark, grey and full of woe. I couldn’t see a way to escape it. I didn’t have the energy. I didn’t know how.
I was past the point of talking, I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept in three years, I didn’t know what sleep was. I needed medication. Despite the attention mental health gets in the media, despite how I feel about others who need medication for mental health issues (take the help!) I felt like a failure right there and then. Not ashamed as such, just like I’d failed myself. I’d fallen prey to the ‘what does she have to be depressed about?’ folk during previous spells. That stays with you. If you’re reading this and have experienced that negative shit……fuck them! Seriously. I don’t swear much, but no other word is strong enough to convey that message. You do not need a reason, depression does not need a reason, that is not how it works. If you are reading this and you have had that thought, ‘what does x have to be depressed about?’, wise up and educate yourself.
Between appointments I had to visit my Aunt, I couldn’t get out of it. I thought I’d ‘appeared normal’ until a phone call later with a simple question, ‘Are you okay? ‘ Sheer exhaustion had caused my mask to slip. Other than my Aunt, I didn’t tell people, I didn’t feel a need to. Besides which, what do I do, make an announcement? No, I kept it to myself instead, hiding away. It was easier. Or at least I thought it would be. It wasn’t. We had a family wedding to attend. Anxiety hit me like a tonne of bricks. I didn’t know at the time that’s what it was, it was only later I realised. The day of the wedding I was ill, my stomach was in knots, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t breathe properly, I couldn’t sit or stand, I couldn’t think and I couldn’t explain it. I decided I wouldn’t go, then guilt, I couldn’t do that to my husband. I’d be fine, I’d go. Except I wasn’t fine, I wasn’t fine at all. I really didn’t catch a breath until I got home that night. Even now I can’t describe the feeling, I was choking, drowning under my cloud. It was too much, too soon. I hid it well again, of course, smiled, made small talk, hid behind a mask.
That Christmas, 2015, I didn’t leave the house for 10 days. You may gasp when you read that but I needed it, I didn’t want to go anywhere or see anyone and for once, I was doing what I wanted. The children weren’t holed up here with me, my husband saw they escaped with him from time to time. I needed to be that selfish, I needed time, I needed to sleep, to read, to do nothing, to do mindless stuff, to find me. It was good. I started to feel human. My medication was working for me, time was working for me.
It’s a long road this time. Over the last two years, there have been good times, not so good times and downright awful times. My GP has been wonderful, it pays to have a GP who takes the time to know the person, I am very fortunate to have her. Anxiety has reared it’s head a few times since. I’ve had times where I’ve needed to be incredibly strong, I tend to fall after those spells but I can handle them better. I close up, shut down, cry at times. I don’t shout, that’s not me. I don’t talk, I’m not a great talker when push comes to shove. My GP has suggested counselling. It’s not for me right now. I like calm, cuddles from my mister, cuddles from my children, security, a walk to clear my head, space to process thoughts, time to watch the waves ebb and flow.
If you think your husband, wife, partner or person is the single the best thing since sliced bread, I apologise in advance for bursting your bubble because I got him, I got the best one. He has never wavered, his support for me is phenomenal. I am overwhelmed at times. When one feels so low, it’s often hard to comprehend how deserving we are of such love and support. I never take him for granted, he knows that for despite where my head was at I always thanked him but do you know something? He didn’t want thanks, he just wanted me back.
And, now, two years on, most days I am back. I’m still on medication, I need it and will continue as long as my GP advises it. This year hasn’t been the easiest, my family has been through a lot, I have been through a lot, but I’m here, I’m getting up, I’m functioning. I’ve learned a huge amount, stuff that may sound incredibly daft but when you stop and think, it really isn’t.
- It’s important to stop. Just stop, take five minutes, take an hour, do it. I still have days, weeks even when I ‘forget’ to stop, my husband is very good at reminding me to slow down and breathe.
- Sleep, it really is not overrated, we can’t function without it.
- Housework isn’t going anywhere, time is.
- Be kind to yourself, self-care is crucial.
- You don’t have to hide, please don’t feel shame.
- You deserve to be happy, you aren’t one in a million, you’re once in a lifetime.
- Speak out, seek help, just ask.
I never thought about sharing my cloud, until I realised this week that I’d reached two years. I was taken aback, it doesn’t feel like two years. I say it and it seems so long. It just goes to show, depression doesn’t come with a time limit, no more than it comes with a warning.