Woop Woop another guest blogger, this time from another colleague Caroline.
She's pushing Mental Health Issues in my local office, which is great and is passionate to champion openness and understanding.
Like other guest bloggers there is often a slight hesitation initially then a keenness to share and a recognition that even to write it helps.
So here are a few words about her 'Journey' - i know I love the subtle musical references....
Take Care Paul
Keep going but look out for the potholes
Paul asked me a few weeks ago if I’d write a guest blog, which both touched and terrified me! I’m no writer but I want to try because I think we need to be open about our mental health experiences. My dream is that we’ll eventually talk about health, just health, and instinctively know that we’re talking about physical AND mental stuff.
Health is health.
Over the last few months, Paul and I have shared snippets of our own personal health journeys and it’s been brilliant to know that there’s someone else out there who ‘gets it’. Someone who understands how tiring it can be to wear your “I’m fine” face and who knows good it feels to be honest about how you’re feeling without the fear that the other person will start talking about the weather or try to fix you! You wouldn’t try to fix someone’s broken leg, so why do people feel the pressure to fix your broken mind?!
More often though, self-reliance isn’t the best answer for me. Recently I realised I wasn’t coping at all well with life. A string of events over a 5 year period left me feeling a bit broken and bruised. Worn down. I felt very stressed and uncertain about everything. I knew I wasn’t feeling right but couldn’t explain what was wrong. Choosing happiness wasn’t an option. It was different to anything I’d experienced before. Grief following bereavement made sense. Fear and anger after harassment. Loss and loneliness after divorce. They were utterly horrible but logical reactions to a bad thing. This was a different kettle of fish.
Eventually, I broke. To my eternal shame I nearly hurt one of my kids in a moment of – what? – rage perhaps. Frustration. Helplessness. Exhaustion. I nearly hurt her, nearly. Nearly was just too close and too terrifying to ignore. I went to my GP, talked, cried and she diagnosed depression.
The diagnosis was a bit strange really. I felt surprised for a moment and then utterly relieved because someone had listened, understood and said it’s okay. She explained that depression is usually a combination of our reactions to life events and a change in brain chemicals. It’s hard to know which causes which. It is not a choice. For that reason and to my own surprise I started taking anti-depressants and after a few months I felt “me” slowly emerging from the enormous cloud of “stuff” that had dragged my mind down for so, so long.
After a few more months I smiled and meant it. I was calm with my kids. I remembered that my husband is really quite nice after all. I got some work done. I started recovering.
I’m still smiling and still recovering. Slowly but surely. It’s not a straight and smooth road (beware of sneaky big potholes) but I’m on it and going roughly in the right direction.
I’ve often heard it said that we shouldn’t dwell on the past. I tend to agree but I do think we should learn from it.
Me? I’ve learned that not talking about stuff is really, really bad for me. I’ve learned that you can be open about your mental health issues without fear. And I’ve learned that people will listen if you give them and yourself the chance. You don’t have to be alone.
Just don’t stop believin’......
Mr Paul Wyse