Feeling well enough at last to find my voice again
I have known for years there was a forum here and was too afraid to join because it would mean admitting I needed medication and just couldn't fix this by myself. So here I am at last! I hope this helps even one person if they are feeling like I did. Ok here goes.....
I'm a 32 year old mum of 2, 15 months apart. I'm happily married, love my job, love my family and friends. I have support. Nothing bad has happened to me. So I thought I had no right to feel depressed. I have always been an anxious and emotional person. Mood swings were normal for me. I made every excuse to myself and the doctors to explain away my poor scores on the postnatal depression checklists. I admitted I constantly thought about suicide but that had been normal for me for years so it didn't feel like a big deal, it didn't mean I'd do anything. I was angry all the time and my moods were unpredictable.
Hubby said constantly I don't care what the doctor said you perform for them and I know you. Something is wrong. After my second bub and the start of a new health condition (psoriatic arthritis) I saw a psychologist who said I was dealing with chronic pain and two small children and what I felt was normal.
I practiced mindfulness. Family and friends gave me rest. Eventually I got medication to help my joints. I talked. I ate well, I went back to work. Everything was supposed to be better....
But I felt worse. I'd see the doctor and they'd say I was ok but I'd stand at the sink washing dishes and plan the steps of how to kill myself. If I wasn't busy I would find the thoughts repeating. They'd all be better off without you. You're worthless. They'll only put up with so much of your issues and then they'll leave you. So I'd plan how to die. And I was TERRIFIED.
My husband told me to write down exactly what I felt on a bad day and he put it in an envelope and made me an appointment for the psychologist. We made a plan. I would go in and say I need you to read this. I don't feel like this now but this is how I've felt most days for years but I can't seem to communicate it to a doctor and get help and I'm so frightened.
And finally! A crisis plan put in place until I could see the psychiatrist! Apparently I have had major depression for over 12 years. Only after starting an antidepressant did I notice how anxious and self destructive I had constantly been. I don't have suicidal thoughts anymore. I am happy again. It's the start of my journey but there is hope at last.
Welcome to BB. Thanks for posting your inspirational story.
It has warmed my heart to read such a positive post. I hope it will help many. The forums are a great place to share. There are so many benefits from participating here. It feels good to help others with our previous experiences plus we can learn and grow through listening to others.
It is wonderful that you are feeling better after such a long time. Depression can certainly twist your thinking in many ways. Realising that you are not yourself is made harder, as your mind overanalyses and does loop the loops without you understanding that something is not quite right. You have done well in reaching out to your husband and doctor for help. It is never easy to take that first step, like making your first post here, so here is a beautiful bouquet of pretty mixed summer blooms for you.
I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks again for brightening my day.
Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. It is indeed wonderful that you have found the courage to post here. This is a safe place. No one will bully you, put you down, tell you it's your imagination or any of those judgemental comments. Have you looked at other posts while you were fighting your depression? There is a great deal of wisdom here from people who have gone before you in their depression stories. There is hope here.
It's good you said I thought I had no right to feel depressed. Depression jumps into lives wherever it can. Not picky or sexist or ageist or any other category you can think of. As far as depression is concerned people are just people. So if you catch yourself saying "others are worse off than me" immediately press the delete button. There is no better or worse when you are depressed. You are depressed, no two ways.
Pretty crappy psychologist not to pick up your depression however much "you perform for them". Your husband clearly knows you well and cares about you very much. Tell him I send him my congratulations and thanks for being such a good bloke. When it comes to mental health there are many folk who are simply too scared to see a doctor. Yes they may have a MI but it will not go away by itself or by wishful thinking, and sadly can lead to your way of thinking.
Your husband was right on the ball suggesting you write down your feelings. Apart from giving you some relief it gives you something factual to think about instead of having all those dreadful thoughts swirling around in your brain and getting more and more exaggerated. I have been there, planning how to end my life and I'm not sure how much of the time I was serious about it. But thinking in those ways is not a good idea no matter whether or not you think you will put your plan into action.
Can I clear up a little confusion? You said your husband made an appointment with a psychologist but at the end of your post you talk about a psychiatrist. If you don't mind clarifying please. These two professionals actually work differently. You need a referral from your GP to see a psychiatrist.
What a fantastic feeling to have lost those horrid thoughts and to feel you are finally starting your journey towards better health. As said above thanks for making my day.
I look forward to more stories of your journey. Please feel free to ask any questions you wish. We are here to share.
Thanks for your reply! Your comments were so right! I felt so guilty for feeling so bad when I should have been happy. I'm sorry that you have had to experience these feelings too.
I am blessed to have a husband who has experience caring for someone with depression and was willing to fight for me when I couldn't do it myself. I tell myself now the best thank you I can give him in return is to take care of myself and try keep this depression under control.
To answer your question, I was going to the psychologist at the beginning and when I went back to her with my letter she told me to get a referral to a psychiatrist from my GP. Unfortunately I can see why so many people fail to get the help they need in time. The initial psychiatrist I was referred to was booked out for 3 months. Hubby phoned around and found a sooner appointment and got the referral changed for me. I was not in a place where I was able to deal with the calls and I feel so sorry for people who don't have anyone who can help them in a situation like mine.
Thank you for the welcome and your words.
Unfortunately there are many who have no idea what depression etc is like and are unable to help their family member/friend. This is the saddest part of community attitudes towards MI. Push it aside, ignore it, tell others to pull themselves together. Mostly I think it is fear about what that deranged person will do or scared in case it is contagious. Both are ludicrous thoughts but not to the person thinking in that way. So we fly the flag when necessary and try to explain. Sometimes I even think it works.
You have a loving and caring husband and that is the best help you can get. How are you going with your psychiatrist? Early days yet I imagine but lovely to know you have a problem (you know what I mean) and it has a name and is treatable. I finally discovered I had sleep apnoea, but for some time beforehand I thought I was going mad, sleep deprivation.
By the way, do you know that Beyond Blue has a safety plan? Look under Get Support at the top of the page and click on Beyond Now- Suicide safety planning. You can complete the plan and email it to yourself. There is a BB app that you can download from the App store or google play. A handy tool to keep with you. Complete it with your husband.
Thank you for your kind words, especially about being in that dark place. Sometimes I felt it was a place of safety where I could hide from all the dreadful feelings. Not really a good idea but as we both know, depression does not make for having the clearest thinking.
And speaking of thinking, how did you go with your mindfulness? Did you teach yourself or had some help from someone with some skills. Not an easy thing to learn by yourself especially when your head and mind are in two different places. One of my favourite ways to 'escape' is to sit outside on the back patio, weather permitting, with a book and coffee, sometimes my CD player and meditation CD. I usually end up after a short while simply looking at the garden, nothing flash, watching the birds and letting the peace seep into my soul. It really is amazing. So inside or out, simply let yourself focus on one thing and stay there. I feel the garden settle round me, holding any other noises at bay and allowing my body to be part of the garden. The peace I get from this is amazing.
I also find meditation good for me. I try to practice morning and evening and I go to a group meditation one night a week. These are the things that help to centre us and give back the control we need.
Its fantastic how open you are and willing to share your experiences. One of the most common comments I've gotten from work and even friends and family is 'don't tell everyone especially not your work'. I just ignore that and tell everyone anyway. I couldn't care less if I don't get promoted because of a MI at least I'm alive to see my kids grow up.
Am I allowed to ask what brought you to beyond blue initially? Sleep apnea sounds about as joyous as psoriatic arthritis is to be honest... Have you found some relief?
Music is my saviour too! I put on headphones and block out everything but song. At my worst I learnt to block everything out but the music as my way of keeping the bad thoughts at bay. If I had time to think I'd start planning and obsessing so I just tried to focus on something else while the kids were sleeping and the house was quiet. And my garden is my escape. Before the arthritis was controlled I felt like part of me had died not being able to work in my garden. I moved like I was 100 years old. I try not to be afraid for the future but sometimes it creeps up on me.
Oh I have to ask, you mentioned the safety plan... does that mean even if the medication seems to work the suicidal thoughts can still come back?
Oh dear I've lost track of time again, these meds make me wide awake. I'd better try sleep. Take care and thanks for listening to me waffle!
Lovely yo hear from you. You sound quite positive and that is great.
Depression is a tricky beast which can return when we are vulnerable in some way. I believe we can live happy and fulfilled lives despite depression and to do this we must learn to be resilient. Everyone has problems in their lives, nothing to do with MI, simply the way the world operates. Being sacked from work or made redundant, loss of boyfriend/partner, death of friends and family members. Even the good parts of life can be stressful, events such as marriages, birth of a child, going on holiday, starting a new job, I'm sure you can add to the list.
These events place stress on us in various ways and if we are susceptible to depression we can fall into that pit again. We can help our resilience by doing the common sense things like eating well, exercising, sleeping, staying away from drugs etc. In short, living a healthy life style. But even so, depression can return and we need to be aware of this. One of the reasons for seeing a psychiatrist is to learn how you react to different situations and why. And then to work out how to recognise and manage these situations as they arise.
For example, if you were bitten by a dog as a child I expect you would fear dogs. After all it would not be a pleasant experience. What happens when you see a dog in the street? Do you run away, scream, hide, whatever. Once you understand your reactions you can decide how to manage next time you see a dog. This is a very amateurish explanation so I hope you get the idea. You and your psych can explore those areas of your life that cause you difficulties and you can learn to be more resilient. Have a chat to your psych about this.
Yes depression can return and depending on the circumstances can be severe. Having a plan is always useful because when you need something like this it's not the best time to start working out what to do when you brain is being misdirected. It's also a good idea to review your plan periodically, particularly when you know something is going to happen that may 'press your buttons'. I guess it's a bit like putting aside some money for emergencies. You never know if or when this will happen, but it's comforting to know you have the resources should the need arise.
I meant to write about the other comments you have made but I am out of words. I am not on the forum much at the moment. I am having a few days off. I will get back to you when I can.
I'm so glad you are feeling better. I just have an idea about your medication keeping you awake. Mine did that initially. I was taking my meds at night so I swapped them to the morning & hey presto! problem solved. I'm not sure if that's any help but I thought I'd share anyway.
Take good care of yourself, Lyn.
Hi Lyn and Mary,
I've been a bit out of sorts this week so it was a nice surprise to come on here and see your replies, I appreciate it, thank you.
Oh and Lyn thanks for the suggestion I did try that too but it made things worse so morning tablets for me haha.
I went and saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he's upped my meds and said before my next visit I need to have a good think about what kind of therapy I want to start. I've googled the types of therapy he talked about but I'm a bit overwhelmed.
I feel so much better than I did so I feel like I'm wasting the psychiatrist's time doing psychotherapy with him. I feel like I don't have any significant problems or reasons to take up his time.
I'm reluctant to go back to a psychologist I saw as she didn't even pick up on my depression...but I just can't bear the idea of having to have to start all over again with a new psychologist.
And of course there is the key issue.... Money. Money means prioritising by needs. I'm stable, so much better than I was and not having suicidal thoughts anymore I'm just irritable and want to sleep so compared to everything else in our lives I'm the last priority and therapy is expensive.
I'm not really looking for any answers just to vent. I get that I need to be proactive in looking after myself and I need to accept that my health is important but it's easy to make excuses when you're juggling bills and small children.
Thanks for letting me get this out.