Wednesday, 13 May 2015

#MHAW15: Depression & Anxiety

vivatramp mental health blog uk depression anxiety
CN: I discuss depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and thoughts on mortality in this post. If these things are triggering to you, please do not read. 

Okay, I was going to write an expansive post about my own experiences with depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress because it's Mental Health Awareness Week and that seems like a relevant thing to do. It was going to be helpful and wordy, maybe even coherent. However, right now, I don't have the words. Not really. That's the thing about depression, it takes your words from you and places you in spaces where everybody and everything is asking you for a response. The space becomes noisy, almost suffocatingly so, but some dickhead is blocking the exit and so you have no choice but to sit it out and pray that everyone pipes down. 

I am currently in that space. I mean, I'm probably always to some degree in that space and I have been since I was around 8 years old. I distinctly remember having lots of panic attacks as a child. When the rug wasn't being pulled out from under me, I was worrying that it would be any time soon and that feeling is something that I have only just about been able to shake off. As I got older, and found myself in a destructive and abusive living situation, my depression progressed. I drank a lot. The drink didn't help but I craved the person I was when I drank. To everyone on the outside of my head, I looked so happy. I could find my words, even though I struggled to make them form coherent sentences. I felt in control of my uncontrollable nature. It makes fuck all sense now but, then again, I doubt it made any sense then either. 

Since being diagnosed with Crohns Disease, and since my life saving operation a couple of years ago, I have watched my mental health transform into something bigger. The cloud can now get darker and Mr Anxiety-Post-Traumatic-Stress (what a name!) knocks on my door every morning to hand me the paper and engage me in light over-the-fence talk: 'You know there's probably something brewing away inside of you right now that will eventually kill you off? Your know you'll live your life in hospitals, so is there any point in settling and enjoying the things that everybody takes for granted?' I find it difficult to separate the symptoms of each illness, because they can be so intertwined. 

There are good days and bad days, as expected. Some days, like today, I can wake up and I will be fine. I can live, as a depressive, and be fine. Others, I spend living under a metaphorical cloud. That's a bit of an overdone metaphor but, fuck it, I'm using it. Sometimes I'll have lots of noise in my head brewing mounds of make believe bollocks. Sometimes there will be this sort of brooding silence for minutes, hours, maybe whole days.

There are some people that will completely get your problems. There will be friends that are going through the same thing as you, and will weirdly message you just when you're feeling at your worst. It becomes a comfort because it just further illustrates that you will never be alone in your thoughts. I am lucky to have some fantastic best friends. There are others that won't quite understand why you feel the way you do. I often find that in order to best understand such problems, you need to have been close to them. Maybe. I don't know. That's my theory. The fog becomes familiar and you begin to understand its triggers, if there are any, and can learn to help accordingly. You know, in some ways I get why people find it so hard to comprehend. We, as a society, don't view mental health conditions as illnesses as we should so, for some, it can seem pretty fucking terrifying and elusive. It's difficult to process the things that are beyond our control, sometimes. Not everybody will understand your cloud or your shit sundae *foreshadowing, ooh* but you just have to try and focus your energies onto the most important person in the equation: you

And you know what, it can be pretty fucking terrifying for the sufferer too. But I have things that help me get by somewhat, and I have self care and the reassurance that I am much bigger and much more powerful than my health problems. I am the fucking lizard king. Depression is a shit sundae, and anxiety is the sauce on that shit sundae, and post-traumatic stress is the cherry on top of said sauce-smothered shit sundae, but I am not that sundae and that sundae isn't me. 

Fuck, I want a toffee sundae. 

Sundae. 

I do not know why this has taken such a dessert-based turn so lets try and round things up, shall we?! 

If you're struggling right now: indulge in some self care, take time, speak to people if you want to or if you feel that you can and know that I'm rooting for you. If you're someone who knows someone who is struggling right now: communicate with them, ask if you can be of any help and, if so, how. Be a good friend

I wish I could do more but I am only one person and I'm not even remotely qualified. I am qualified, however, to speak up and share my experience. And so, I will be doing so until the cows come home.

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9 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's so reassuring to know that we are not alone in the daily struggles that come with depression and anxiety. Love you long time, you are one amazing woman! xx

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  2. Great post, it's so nice to know you're not alone when it comes to mental illness as it can be so isolating and misunderstood :) xx

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  3. Great post, as ever - sad that it's a reality that people can blog about it, and I wish no one had to go through it, but yeah. Great post, and thank you for writing it. It's horrible to know other people suffer, but it's helpful to know that we're not the only ones out there struggling our way through things. Hope you're doing well, Bee xxx

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  4. Really beautifully written! One of my good friends suffers from depression and social anxiety and as a person who has not witnessed it first hand, it can be difficult to comfort and connect with her on bad days. People really need to give us some slack because it is terribly difficult to know just what to say or how to react. We are trying really hard you know!

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  5. This is a brilliant post, you are honest and strong and I think that is the kind of awareness we need to have, at my work especially mental illness is seen as a weakness, which infuriates me no end as it will probably make people who are suffering less likely to admit something is wrong, I think it is important to remember that the illness doesn't make the person, it is just something they are battling, and hopefully winning. Brilliant and thought provoking xx

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  6. This is a really insightful post Bee. Without going into detail, following on from a pretty hectic few years I am in a position where I'm experiencing anxiety. Before I suffered with it I never really 'got' mental health issues. I thought depression was just an over dramatic way of saying you felt a bit sad. Or anxiety was an over dramatic way of saying you felt a bit nervous. Now I understand it's something that can totally disrupt and blacken your life, making even the most simple of things feel like a massive challenge. It's a battle but one I intend to fight. I don't want my life to be ruled by it. It's very brave of you to write so honestly about this. I know it's something that affects so many people and knowing you're not alone is a huge comfort. Good luck and keep up with the self care xx

    P.S. I also want a sundae now x

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  7. Even when your world feels dark and scary, remember that you bring light into the hard times of others. So much love for you, for your words and for all you offer Bee
    xxx

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  8. I love your posts Bee... I messaged you a while back saying that the way you share your experiences is really inspiring and such a help to those of us looking for some guidance and support.
    Thanks so much, very brave of you to share.

    Jenna
    princessparasox.wordpress.com

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  9. Thanks for sharing Bee. I've had anxiety for a long time but recently things have been so hard. I'm pretty sure I have depression but I'm too scared to go to the doctors about it, I have a panic attack just thinking about it. I'm hoping I'll have a good day soon where I'll find the courage. Sometimes I have ok days and then suddenly you fall back down the hole again and you're back in bed staring at nothing for hours on end. I'm terrible with talking about it to other people, but I so badly want them to know and understand. Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, for being brave and for carrying on as best you can. It gives hope xxx

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