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March 2018

Anxiety And Depression

My story is of anxiety and depression. It started when I noticed being physically ill and not being able to get out of bed at university. I went to the doctor and she gave me a HAD questionnaire straight away. As soon as she even mentioned it might be mental health/depression a weight lifted. It was as if it was obvious. I still let awful underneath but it helped to label it and say it’s an illness it doesn’t define me (and also I’m no seriously physically unwell which I did wonder for a while).

That was 10 years ago and I still live with both conditions. Anxiety has come to the forefront as I feel “used” to my depression. I didn’t sleep properly last night through panic of nothing I could specifically name. My brain is cloudy. I lose my memory a lot in my personal life. I don’t have motivation to fix things or see people. Well I do but only a few times a month. This is fine I don’t punish myself for it, rather I celebrate that I know how to cope. I don’t take medication but I have tried it in the past. I exercise, eat well and I have had 4-5 rounds of counselling over the years. Personally the talking therapies are what works, you see things and work things out you normally wouldn’t.

My partner is very supportive but he can’t talk through why I feel these thoughts and what my brain tells me to think. I try hard to rationalise but I don’t have the strength most days so I just soak up the moment and think “it’s temporary”, “you’ll feel better in the morning” etc.

I used to have baths to try to relax, now I can’t sit still to have a bath. I do housework to “tick a box” and feel I’ve achieved on my days off work.

My professional life (I work in the NHS) is what keeps me going. It is a separate space. I don’t have many triggers at work as it was a fresh slate when I started 7 years ago. I know my family history and circumstances are what have influenced my mental health and I a determined to not let work or my marriage be consumed by it. I take great pleasure in doing well at work and being helpful. I also find that even if I feel awful at home I can ACHIEVE by going to work in the first place.. I come home tired and realise that’s my threshold reached in the bad phases BUT I celebrate this. I haven’t let anybody down, I have served patients and been a really important member of community. I try to repeat this to myself despite my brain saying I’m worthless – I’m not. At this point I just feel sorry for my husband as I will more often than not be silent after work as my psychological limit has been reached. He understands.

Each day can be a battle but I try to savour the good ones and live in the moment. Often I find going away or going somewhere new with my husband or friends helps as unless something goes terribly wrong I won’t be triggered.. It’s a fresh clean head space to me. This I am thankful for, I know people who would be scared to do this as they may have some social anxiety etc.

I do have some social anxiety but it’s when I feel I’ve “messed up” in the past or I half-know people or I think I am expected to act a certain way.. somewhere new I’m normally okay and try my best to make it a happy place for me. It can depend who I’m with and I’m becoming more aware of that.

Thank you for letting me share my story.