Let me start this blog by saying this one has nothing to do with my business or my lingerie and everything to do with my mental health. If you don’t want to read it, click away!
The Story Begins…
On August 31st 2018, I made an emergency appointment to see my GP. I was home alone in Brighton and in a panic (to put it lightly). I didn’t think I’d be able to seek help on the same day, so I tentatively called 111 and described what was going on. They contacted my GP and I was given an appointment an hour later.
I spoke to the doctor for a good 20 minutes. We talked about the stress I was under – working for myself and having 2 part time jobs (one of which had given me a 2nd telling-off for a failed mystery shop which I still insist was more of a team failure than my own, which is why I’ll never go back to the hierarchal world of retail), never having enough money, frequently worrying about what my parents thought of me, feeling like the screw up of the family, fear of being unloveable and unworthy, and my looming stint of therapy with a support service which had had me on their waiting list for the previous 15 months.
I feel like at least half of this stuff is stuff I shouldn’t mention, because…
…we don’t talk about these things.
And I have, by no means, touched on the specifics. We really don’t talk about those things!
The doctor was very understanding and compassionate. He asked me what I would like to do. I said I really think it’s time I started taking some medication just to help me get to a stable place so I can start sorting things out.
Going for therapy and making changes in lifestyle, habits and behaviour are all well and good, but I was in a deep, deep hole and I’d been far too anxious and ashamed to talk about it. So he prescribed me 28 days’ worth of Sertraline. 50mg to be taken each morning. And the next morning, I took my first dose.
I get by with a little help…
I’d asked a friend to come and stay with me that night, just to keep my attention on something other than all the emotional pain I was going through. I didn’t want to spend that night alone. I was afraid that I’d end up doing something stupid. So she stayed over and we watched a movie and ate lots of treats. The next morning, I took my first pill and went down to the front room where she had slept.
It was helpful having a friend with me. Medication affects everyone differently, but for me I felt irritable, dizzy and sick. She stayed for a few hours but to be totally honest, the first week was a bit weird. I couldn’t eat – I either didn’t have the appetite, or I felt sick, or both. I over slept. Under slept. I had a load of energy and was really productive and focused on my work. So far, so good.
Oh, so this is what it’s like to feel “happy”
The first 7 weeks were absolute bliss. I felt happier than I had felt since I was 19. I’d forgotten how nice it feels to feel happy by default. Without any external cause. I’m slowly getting back to that after a very rocky summer this year, too. I’ve been doing what I like to call “mood work” – which involves colouring in a little square in my bullet journal for each hour, based on how I’m feeling on my mood-colour scale, and then making adjustments to what I’m doing to make myself feel better/stay happy (orange) – and loads of mental homework (CBT exercises, watching helpful MH and LOA videos on YouTube, talking about my feelings with my mummy).
I did consider coming off my meds in July. I had it in my head that I wanted to be on them for less than a year. But life happens. I’m not always totally stable, even on these pills, but I am more stable than I would be without them. The point being, you can’t put a timeframe on these things. Anxiety and low mood (which is how my doctor described it) are real health issues – they wouldn’t have invented antidepressants if it was all made up! So I stopped pill shaming myself! I would never pill shame any of my loved ones, so why me?
Stop waiting for life to be “perfect”
And as I type this, my bunny has decided to stop eating my laundry basket and simply to jump into it… Oh, Jeremy…
I’ve learnt from my YouTube “mentors” Tony Robbins and Abraham (Esther) Hicks that you shouldn’t base your happiness on “rules”. Maybe my web developer Jon would call them “IFTTT” rules – If This Then That. It’s a web-based service that makes things happen according to specific conditions being met, and a lot of us have similar conditions for our state of happiness or “zen” in our lives. For instance, if/when someone loves me, I will be happy, or if/when I’m married, I won’t have to worry about being loveable, or if my partner doesn’t cheat on my, I must be worthy. The list goes on! You are worthy and loveable already. You can be happy NOW!
Of course you can’t always be happy, but what I’m saying is, we need to stop waiting for the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect living conditions, the perfect bank balance, etc., before we allow this moment to be good enough. This moment is the only moment that truly exists.
I have rambled on a little there. But this is me. I’m trying to be authentic, even if that makes me a little messy around the edges.
Over to you…
If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety or any other mental health condition, and you’re on the fence about antidepressants – talk! You don’t know unless you try. And sometimes even that initial appointment – which is worth your GP’s time, despite what you believe – can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
Go forth and be healthy!