Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Time to take notice!

Eleven years ago, in Aug 2003 I had my breakdown.  It is only now that I actually call it that.  I never really had a word for it before, but it was the biggest turning point in my life.

And a break down it was, a complete and utter break down of everything.

I had seen it coming.  I had felt the vibes in me.  I knew something wasn’t right within my soul.  So it came as no great surprise that Monday morning, I walked towards my office with the usual sense of foreboding, high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, heavy breath, and anxiety, to find myself 30 minutes later in a heap…  Having sat down at my desk, I knew I had to see my doctor urgently, and within minutes of making that call, I was struggling with life itself.  I remember the day so clearly, from the panic around me, to the fact that my team leader drove me home, rather than call the ambulance that I so desperately needed at the time.

After a few weeks of being completed drugged out, Occupational health stepped in, and organized 6 weeks of counselling with a local practice.  That woman did more damage than good!  She opened up a whole can of worms that should have been left alone, as she could not deal with the contents.  She spent more time talking at me, than to me, telling me what I should do, and so on and so on.  I couldn’t wait to finish the 6 weeks with her.  It felt like unfinished business, but I had no trust in her to truly open up.  But at least one thing I did learn was that I was indeed depressed.  Just as my doctor had told me.  Initially, the very idea of depression, was something I had been bemused by, but it soon dawned on me that I was suffering, and as time went by, I realised just how bad I had it and for how long I had really been suffering.

I was appointed a psychiatrist, who I still see, and went on to attend other types of counselling, but I didn’t really have the same issues as some of my peers; so I never felt that I got anything out of it, except understanding the different degrees or levels at which people can suffer.  More importantly, I learnt that depression can last for years and years, and some people don’t ever really get over it.  Being myself, I had thought I would recover in a few months, that I just needed a break, and here I am eleven years later, still not out of the woods.

I was very open about my illness.  Many people have thanked me for my candidness, and for being willing to talk about it. I described depression like falling a series of steps, and acknowledged that we all suffer from it at some time in our lives, but for most it will last for a very short period of time i.e. falling down to the first step.  But to the unfortunate ones, they fall a lot further down, maybe even hitting the floor, and that’s when the true problems can arise, that’s when we need the help of medication, to pull us out of it.  It is a chemical reaction within our brain and body, there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves, so there should be no shame or stigma just because of people’s ignorance.  I became quite good at seeing it in other people, and my honesty was was always welcomed and appreciated, because I understood.

A doctor once said to me, that he best cures for depression are:
1.    Sunshine
2.   Exercise
3.   Laughter
Three things guaranteed to boost your mood, and make you feel better…  If only it were that simple.  Depression usually means that you have stopped enjoying or take no pleasure in anything, because you feel so flat and so low.  So how do you summon up the energy to get yourself motivated?  It takes all “feel good” emotions away from you

Many people were shocked in the way I had changed, I was no longer chatty or humourous, I was very, very quiet and withdrawn, basically, I became the complete opposite of the person I usually was.  People questioned how I could be depressed, with having the nice house, a good job and a lovely husband to boot, all the material things that make people happy; because they simply could not understand how it could happen to me.  After all, if I could get it, so could they.  I came to recognise who my real friends were, and undertook a major housekeeping exercise, ridding myself of negative forces around me.   Cutting off people who thought they always knew what my problem was, and had a cure for me, in fact it pretty much affected anyone that didn’t listen to me. 

About 18 months into my breakdown, I was assigned a Psycho- Therapist, for more counselling, and this was the first step towards my recovery, and me getting my life back.  This amazing woman named Margaret, held the keys to so many of my internal locks, and bit by bit she encouraged me to match each key to a lock, to discover what was hiding behind.  It was then that realisation finally took control.

I came to accept just how broken I was, but always had it in my mind, that one day I would be healed again.  And that thought kept a positive light burning inside of me, in spite of feeling like I was surrounded by darkness.  I am so proud of myself, because I never lost my free spirit, I have remained so focused throughout this illness, and I have emerged so much stronger than ever before.

I am so proud of myself, because I never lost my free spirit, I have remained so focused throughout this illness, and I have emerged so much stronger than ever before.  Sx