Mental Health Awareness Week

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I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here a bit and I’m going to write about a very personal experience ….

1st Jan 2014 I took an overdose of lorazepam. I had been given the pills to deal with anxiety and panic attacks. There were a number of pills left as I decided that to use them would be a sign of weakness.

I’m not going to go into the details of why I thought suicide was a better option than staying alive. I’m gagged by law on that one but when I am not I promise to speak out about it.

Mental Health Awareness week starts tomorrow (12th – 18th May) so I thought I would use this to share my own experience of mental health problems.

I have had depression on and off since I was a teenager. Most of the time I would say that there seemed to be no tangible reason why I felt so low. I did not grow up in poverty, my childhood was pretty normal etc etc But New Year’s Day was the day when I decided enough was enough. I felt exhausted and powerless, life had defeated me. The shame I felt at feeling this way was immense and crushing.

Standing up and saying ‘I have mental health problems’ is still such a taboo. People step away from you, view you differently. You are made to feel that you are less of a person and that you haven’t tried hard enough to be happy. Why can’t you just get over it? I wonder how many times people with mental health issues have heard that one?!

So what I am trying to say? I’m trying to reach out to those of you who are finding that life is hard, that there seems to be no hope. There is hope and life can improve. I’m still working on it, sometimes on a moment by moment basis. Life is precious and fragile and bloody difficult so don’t feel ashamed if you feel low, don’t feel ashamed if you need medication to help you face the day. You are as worthy as the next person, you deserve happiness, love and security too. Call the Samaritans, speak to your GP, tell your loved ones how you feel. Shout it from the roof tops if it helps. Suicide is so final, there’s no second chances.

Hold on to this thought
‘This too shall pass’
It does, I promise you.

Massive love, hugs and tea
Exxx

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10 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness Week

  1. Dear E. You are right. It DOES pass – sometimes with the help of medical intervention – but as you so rightly say, there is no shame in that. Depression is just as much of an illness as appendicitis, migraines or whatever else you care to mention.

    And only those who have been through it can know how debilitating it is and that, to some extent, the shadow if it never quite goes -one just learns to deal with it.

    I’ve had two lengthy bouts of depression. I never felt suicidal but every night when I went to sleep I would pray that I would not wake up. Which isn’t great for sure but there’s a world of difference I know from that and feeling actively suicidal.

    Depression is not the same as ‘feeling a bit down’ in the same way as having a really bad cold is not the same as having the flu. If you can get out of bed and walk about you don’t have flu!

    Anyway, you are doing your best E and that makes you strong! Keep swimming and hold your head high. There are many of us out here who share your experience to some degree or another. You are not alone in having had mental health issues. You are fighting and you should be proud of that.

    This too SHALL pass. 🙂

    xx

  2. Been there, got the T-shirt and so on. Its hard hard at the time when you feel low. I’d had a series of traumatic experiences then my first wife died suddenly/ unexpectedly. Enough to send me spiralling down when making decisions becomes illogical and everyone smiles at you – what a shame – but no-one really helps. After a suicide attempt which actually scared me into going to a doctor, I was put on tablets and took them for years. They have caused other damage physically, but I am now in a far better place, as some people say.
    I give some of my time to try to help others who have serious issues with mental health, via phone helpline, and its clear that help services are way short of what there should be.
    I don’t mind talking about my experiences now, and if someone doesn’t want to listen then thats their problem. If my behaviour, due to PTSD, is unacceptable to someone then tough; its not me that intolerant.

    Taking things as they come bit by bit can mean just living an hour at a time, or maybe a day at a time. Feeling better gives spells of happy thoughts that last longer, and I suppose I try to keep busy volunteering whenever I can.

    Like bereavement, you never get over it; you get more used to it, and you learn to be able to control feelings. I no longer want to jump off a bridge – with a small circle of friends, I used to call my anti-depressants “Anti-bridge-jumping pills” and we had a laugh about it. Sometimes the best friends you make are ones who have had episodes of mental health problems. Cos they understand better.

    Remember; everyone is mentally ill, but its just a matter of degree !

    • Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Sorry to hear what you have been through. I also have PTSD and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, it’s quite awful.
      I have my good days and my bad days. I’m a work in progress 🙂 Sometimes I feel ‘normal’ and then I get days when I just lie on the sofa and can’t do anything. Meds help keep from getting too low.
      Take care and I wish you all the best with your recovery.

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