To mark the end of #mentalhealthweek2019 I thought I’d share a little about me!
I’ve always suffered from anxiety – as a child, it was separation anxiety from my mum, which continued into my teens, when I was bullied at school. This led to a whole other world of anxiety which I’ve tried to overcome over the years and try not to dwell on.
As as an adult, my anxiety has manifested itself more as social anxiety (I am naturally outgoing but then worry after the event if I’ve said too much; have I upset anyone? Is everyone offended?) and this worsened after having my son Dylan, ten years ago.
I was made redundant during my maternity leave and ended up staying at home longer than I wanted. During which time, I saw the signs of more serious anxiety settle in, alongside what I now think to be postnatal depression. I used to go walking as light relief but felt that a dark cloud followed me everywhere. I remember listening to Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days are over’ and wishing that they were – not because I wanted to end if all, but because I just wanted to be happy and stop worrying.
I started working again, which really helped but couldn’t still couldn’t shift the anxiety. After explaining to my husband one evening that I had visions of me harming our son – please note I would never, ever harm him, I was simply afraid I would go mad and do something – he urged me to seek help. I was so ashamed, reluctant and scared but felt that enough was enough. I went to see my GP who was fantastic. She listened to my (edited!) version of feelings and prescribed me 20mg Citalopram as well as a course of Talking Therapies.
Within a couple of weeks, I felt the difference of Citalopram – I felt ‘airy’; I could see a bit of blue sky beyond the clouds and my focus and zest for life slowly came back. I attended the Talking Therapies course but, because the drugs were working so well, I don’t think I really got the full benefit of it, however the course was excellent and I would recommend it – god bless our NHS!
That was 6 years ago. I have tried to reduce my dose of Citalopram but it didn’t work for me – I got what I call an ‘itchy brain’ where I can hear a pin drop (people walking on carpet sounds like sandpaper on wood), I got very irritable at everything including myself and the cloud started to creep back in. I’m fine with it though – times have changes so much that we’re now talking about our mental health and I’m no longer ashamed. I wouldn’t be ashamed if I was diabetic or asthmatic and you can’t see those illnesses, so why should I be ashamed that my brain’s a bit mis-wired – I’m quite kooky or ‘avant garde’ as my mum describes me!
So that’s why I wanted to get involved with Mental Heath Mates. In my darkest times, I didn’t talk to anyone and I don’t want anyone else feeling that way.
Our next walk is on Wednesday 22 May at Dinton Pastures – do come along if you can.