I’m about to share something with you that’s a little uncomfortable for me (not gross medical uncomfortable, don’t panic – no boils or plagues here).
Normally I don’t talk about this sort of thing, and I don’t think I’d be talking about it at all if I wasn’t experiencing such a noticeable improvement in how I feel.
About a month ago I started taking anti-depressants again. I’ve been taking them on and off for about a decade and have been dealing with the problems which make me need them for a great deal longer. I often see people talking about mental health problems as a ‘battle’. They ‘fight’ their problem to carry on with their life.
I don’t see it as a battle, a battle suggests an end. A victory or a loss. In some cases that will be true (for example some people will experience depression as a result of circumstances in their life, then never again) but not everyone is that lucky.
I consider myself to manage. I manage my problem and sometimes I’m particularly crap at it.
The point of this post is that I was doing quite badly at managing it (and it took me a while to realise). Five weeks in to my medication I can’t believe what I’ve been missing, how much easier my life could have been if I’d taken steps to change things sooner.
I didn’t realise until I found myself crying in my car every time I was alone. This was a familiar sign.
I should have gone to the doctor’s a lot sooner (probably about a year ago, actually) but my mind was tricking me into believing I’d be a failure for doing so. I like to give the impression I’m completely together, I want people to think I am at the very least reasonable at life. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t managing any more.
Now when I wake up, I just get out of bed, I don’t dread the day. I also don’t feel as cripplingly tired as I used to. Previously I would need to go back to bed in the afternoon.
The biggest difference I have noticed is my new carefree existence. Before I had this crutch I would worry about everything. Absurd worries would fill my time and wear me out.
I needed a contingency plan for every eventuality, however unlikely the situation was.
It is so very freeing so not be plagued by heightened concerns and unnecessary panics. I can now see how very silly some of these anxieties were.
In the interest of steering this post away from being a massive downer, I’ll share with you some of my less recent (but still rather silly) concerns that kept me up at night.
When I was 16, I lay awake at night worrying about how I would have my hair when I was an old lady. Hours would pass and my thoughts would go round and I just wouldn’t sleep because I’d never reach a resolve. Ridiculous right?
I also used to worry that I’d get no GCSEs at all and no one would want to marry me because of that. I did nothing to help fix this worry (like study), I just stressed out about how I was bound to be a spinster with no qualifications.
I am, however, delighted to inform you I have 10 GCSEs and a fiance (who hasn’t once demanded to see my record of achievement) so it all worked out in the end.
The point of this stupidly long anecdote about my teetering mental state is that you shouldn’t put off getting help. I did and I was suffering unnecessarily.
It’s only from the clarity of five weeks on anti-depressants that I can see how badly I was coping. I’ve always been high functioning, always able to hold it together, do my daily tasks and carry on unnoticed. Don’t mistake a high-functioning state for a healthy one, don’t let your mind trick you.
One of my concerns was about talking to my doctor, I was worried she’d try and make me talk about how I was feeling or suggest some sort of therapy that I knew I didn’t want. Even this worry was unfounded, I told her I was struggling again and wanted to go back on the usual tablets, she just smiled and wrote me a prescription. She explained my care plan, asked me what I was doing with my life and sent me on my way.
If you’re feeling like you aren’t managing either, see the doctor as soon as you can. Talk to someone today. You don’t have to tell them uncomfortable things, you don’t need to tell them anything other than that you think you need help.
Drugs might not be for you, but there will always be a solution.
Tablets have been hit and miss for me in the past. There have been times when they have made me worse, times they have made me feel nothing and clouded any creativity. This time is one of the successful ones. This time I feel like me again.
(In case you were wondering, this post’s title are lyrics taken from a song about the writer’s mental breakdown.)
Chemicals don’t flatten my mind, chemicals don’t mess me up this time.