Time to talk

Posted: February 6, 2014 in health
Tags: , ,

I always wanted to start a blog about how well things are going for me, and what a happy life I lead. However in recent weeks I have been struggling. Not just your average struggles of day to day life (such as working, socialising and generally normal stuff)…..but struggling with an ongoing battle against depression and anxiety.

This is something I have kept hidden from most people, except a few close friends and family. I can function very well most of the time, but when I have a dip, I really have a DIP.  Whilst I have a bout of depression, I feel fatigued, sluggish and generally empty. The emptiness is the worst thing about it. I no longer take joy in the things I normally would take joy from. I become completely withdrawn and either refuse to contact friends/family or just plain ignore them. This is not done in any way to appear rude or ungrateful to people, however I just have an overwhelming feeling of self loathing that makes me think ‘why would people want to be with me right now?’

For me, so much of my illness is self inflicted, and generally internalized. I over analyse situations, and get worked up into a state of panic, which leaves me feeling paralyzed and unable to function. If I am feeling low I delve into a downward spiral of negative thinking. This means everything I do or say I view in a negative way. If everything in my mind is viewed in this negative way, then why would I believe that people want to be around me?

I also feel such a state of negativity that I become paranoid about what people think of me, and how people view me. With this feeling lies one of the worst parts of my depression; I genuinely think that people can sense my illness and that they are judging me in everything I do and say. This can be crippling in certain situations, especially in many social situations.

My latest bout of depression has meant me taking time out of work, from a job I only recently started (I think the big change of job and comfort zone actually triggered the issue). To be fair, my employers have been excellent and are doing all they can to help with my return to work. At the moment, that return to work scares me a bit, as I don’t feel able to cope with the simplest of decisions (cheese or ham on my sandwich?) let alone manage a large corporate website and take charge of projects. I have high hopes that I will return to work and play a full and active role in my team, after all I’ve been here before and got through it.

For those that have known me for years, and seen me interact and socialise, this article will probably come as a shock. I clearly have some coping strategies that get me through in life. It’s at times like this, when I have lost my coping strategies, that I am at my worst. I can’t imagine how I will get out of bed some days, let alone go outside and face the world.

I have spoken to several people about my depression, and I now realise how important it is to talk. The simple things are very much appreciated in times like these. Simple things like a text from a friend, an offer of a coffee/beer with a mate, or a hug from a loved one. The road to recovery is a slow one, and with the help and understanding of people in my life I know I will get through this episode, and bounce back even stronger.

This is not written with the intention of gaining sympathy, however my aim is to raise awareness. If the stats are true, then 25% of people reading this will have their own mental health issues. If reading this has helped one of those people then I am pleased that I have made this public. Think about this – if I wrote a post about a broken leg, I would probably have people visit me to sign my cast, and make jokes about itching it with a knitting needle. Just because this illness can not be seen does not make it any less real; in fact is it not more real given the debilitating nature of the illness.

I was inspired to write my story after reading the time to change website.

Keep well, keep talking.

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Comments
  1. I understand how hard it can be to go through anxiety and be concerned about how others see you. Though it’s hard, you have to remember that if you are trying your hardest to make progress, it doesn’t matter what others think. YOU know you are trying.

    Like

  2. Simon Leech says:

    Great article Stu. Hope you’re well. Take care mate.

    Like

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