So it’s “Mental Health Awareness week” 2019 . I’ve been quiet for a while for various reasons,including a distinct lack of motivation and inspiration to post or write a post. I mentioned previously that I’d started some counselling. The first lot of counselling I paid for, and although it wasn’t CBT , it was really beneficial to just talk through some of my experiences and causes or what I thought were causes of my anxiety, plus circumstances which I won’t go into here that I went through over the past 18 months which have contributed to the way I’m feeling now.
I had 4 sessions of paid counselling with a lovely woman who let me talk (a lot) about my past and well, everything really. However I’ve stopped those because finally IAPT phoned a couple of weeks back and told me I’d got to the top of their waiting list for counselling which was supposed to be approximately 8-10 months long, and I had my first counselling/CBT session last week and I’m due to have them weekly for the next 6 weeks or so. From the first session I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve had ‘homework’ to do and I’ll get some each week to do. CBT is a bit about what you can do for yourself as much as the counselling side.
At the moment I’m unemployed but have had several interviews and have applied for a lot of jobs and there’s a lot of waiting around, which really don’t help with my anxiety and feeling generally meh.
So, on to what I know a few people have been doing on Facebook and the likes and sharing their mental health issues because it’s Mental Health Awareness week. And why the hell not, we shouldn’t be hiding our mental health problems or be ashamed of them. It’s not a crime to be depressed or to have bipolar, or to have generalised anxiety disorder. So here goes:
I have what I think is high functioning generalised anxiety disorder, which was triggered by, shall we say, an event where I was betrayed by who I thought was a trustworthy person , who turned out to be a snake, on top of university stress at the time, which triggered a series of events from someone who accused me of various things. This was in March 2017. In the lead up to this, I had been having what I now know to be anxiety attacks on a rather regular basis on the way to training twice a week (at the time I was playing rugby), but passed it off as nothing. Unknowingly I carried on putting myself into this situation with a gaslighter and a lot of two faced ‘friends’ that at the time I trusted, naïve as I was, until I reached that point where I effectively snapped. Fortunately I was able to reach out when I reached such a point where I was such an anxious mess I could only just function and be in uni just in body and not in mind, unable to focus. I went to my GP, had a bit of a meltdown, got put on citalopram and after about a month it started to get a little better. I saw a mental health counsellor at uni, spoke to my lecturers about what was going on and things did improve. Then when I got into full time work I self referred to IAPT in the area where I live after going a little bit downhill, and was referred to a wellbeing course which did help for a while until I had a single suicidal thought in August last year, which may have been caused by a medication interaction as at the time I had just started topiramate, which is a migraine medication, with a known rare interaction with citalopram. Oh yeah there’s a thing. I also suffer with migraines, and recently had to up the medication because I had a fun thing (and still have) known as a trapped nerve in my neck, fancy name for the pain is cervical radiculopathy which I’m on some strong stuff for. I also have seasonal affective disorder, which is a huge pain in the arse and bloody horrid from November to February but I’ve got a blue light which has been a revelation to be honest! I also get sporadic depression episodes but it’s been several years since the last one.
I’m a big believer in talking about mental health and tackling the stigma of taking pills . I absolutely fucking hate people attacking others for something they cannot control. I don’t choose to be an anxious mess! Pill shaming is dick behaviour too – it’s like needing prescription glasses. I need my glasses to see and that’s perfectly fine, so needing anti depressants/anti anxiety pills so I can function on a day to day basis. Why should that even be a problem or even anyone’s business?
Simply what I’m getting at, I think, is that mental health is not a stick to beat someone with or bully someone with. It’s not a card to play or be played. It’s not funny or a fucking trend to have a mental illness – I and thousands of others didn’t choose to have fucked up brains so why pretend you have with no good reason?
Keep reaching out for help, keeping talking about mental health, keep going.
Anxiety makes me incredibly tired every day and unmotivated. However I’ve recently re started using the Headspace app for mindfulness which seems to be helping to straighten my thoughts out in a manner of speaking.