I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before so don’t want to bore you all, but I suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. This is cumulatively and singularly known as ‘Stress’, anxiety and depression are both independent conditions and both contribute to real stress. This is not stress like a busy day at work, when I didn’t get my work finished and had to stay late, then missed a gym class and was late to the pub type stressed, this is real stress where it affects me both mentally and physically, and it is both serious and its debilitating to many people. Just to be clear here, 1 in 5 adults in the UK suffer with this long term, and many in silence, because they are too embarrassed or too scared to get help.
I am self-referred for my disorder, and I should add that it is a disorder, not a condition or disease just a disorder. I get counselling and do not take medication, I know some will say that maybe I should if things are bad enough and it has been recommended by my previous counsellor, I really liked her and had made good progress, unfortunately she moved house and had to finish. I have been promised a new one, who I should be starting again with soon.
Back to the subject of medication, lots of people are prescribed one of the many types of anti-depressant drugs, things like Prozac, and Citilopram are the most common. But, since it’s my choice if I want to put chemicals into my brain that may increase some, and inhibit, other functions of it, I have a made a choice not to so far, and until recently, I have managed and coped this way reasonably well. In the case of the 2 drugs above, they work by increasing production of serotonin, and therefore lifting your mood, but, on the flip side they inhibit pain receptors, and what they don’t do is help you work out why you are suffering and solve that problem, they just artificially make you feel better. The choice on not taking the drugs, may have to change at some point soon as I am struggling to find sufficient coping mechanisms at the moment, and don’t always feel I have the time and support I would like from those close to me. This is the truth, but a slightly skewed impression of it though, because I also don’t ask people for that help and support. This is just another problem that is symptomatic of sufferers of depression, you know, if we could just ask for help when we needed it, then just maybe the down periods may not be quite so low or so long.
I should be clear here that I don’t think this is anybody else’s fault but mine, others aren’t mind readers after all, and in some cases, they can’t do anything except be there to listen, and for others it’s just because they have better things to do with their time than deal with me, or really that should say, help me, like be a shoulder to cry on, if you get my meaning. It’s hard dealing with someone who is depressed, because one minute they are fine and the next something can just trigger an unannounced down turn and the variance can be dramatic. I can leave for the day happy and come home after a good day and just feel totally Meh !! nothing anyone says can really help that and sometimes I just have a build-up of issues that I need to get out, this usually ends with tears and upset by me, and puts a huge strain on others around me as it can make them feel like they have neglected me, and mostly that is not the case. To make things worse, this can sometimes be for a day or so, and sometimes builds slowly over weeks, whichever it is, it’s equally hard to face and work through
But here’s the thing about being someone who is depressed, more often than not, others don’t notice it, and that’s partly because they don’t want to see it, no one wants to see someone they care for being torn apart from the inside, partly because if they do, then they must deal with an emotionally charged and slightly unstable friend but mostly because people who are depressed hide it well and often don’t realise themselves until its already taken hold.
So, this is my problem, there really is nothing I can do, because at this point, I have already ‘Manned up’ ‘Dealt with it’ and ‘Grown some’. I have got to the point where I feel like total crap, like I am failing everyone I care about, I feel like I am becoming a waste of space, and, in my own mind, pretty useless. I gradually start to feel lower and lower, my mood becomes flat and disinterested, my anxiety levels start to build quicker each time I must do something, I constantly worry about letting people down or failing them in some way and now my stress levels are silently through the roof. This is all still just in my head, everyone else carries on with their lives, using me as a friend to unload on about their own worries, work colleagues doing the same and the family as well, and this is where as the person suffering, the big hole is waiting for me, right there just opening wider and wider waiting for me to get close enough to the edge to just topple in. But It’s like I said, it’s not that no one cares enough to throw me a rope when I need one, it’s that no one actually knows I need the rope throwing in the first place, and that is the problem with for those of us who suffer from Stress, Anxiety and Depression, because we don’t always know we need that rope either.
You get where this leads?? It’s so easy for others to dismiss me as just being upset, emotional and miserable or even as negative, but this is so very counterproductive, because what no one else sees is the additional trauma that I then go through, feeling even less adequate than I did in the first place, this is a cycle of processes that must be broken, and that can only be done with support.
So how do we end up Stressed, Anxious or Depressed ?? Well, the trigger can be something from an age back, can be something recent or it can be cumulative over a longer period of time, months or even years maybe, no one really knows, other than its likely that it is just the brains way of clearing out stuff it can’t handle or contain any more. Think of it like a hard drive, and its full, you can’t upgrade and get a bigger one, and you can’t just delete it and write over the crappy memories and thoughts with better ones, because you already did that, that’s why they ended up kept in the archive until it couldn’t take any more.
What is known is that some people cope better than others, and some cope with different things better than others, so what can cause one person distress, may have no bearing on someone else, this is why it can be so hard to identify someone who is stressed, and if they are identified it’s not a case of just deal with it, because they can’t, if they could then they wouldn’t be stressed in the first place.
So why am I writing about this?? Well, why not, I am really finding things tough at the moment, I regularly feel like I am standing on the edge of that abyss and that if I don’t call out and get that rope thrown quick, then it’s likely I will fall, and it’s a long way down from where I am standing, which means that its massive climb back up, but asking for help is harder than climbing even though climbing would seem like the harder option to most people. And, what’s brought this bout of feeling down on then?? Well here’s the thing, I don’t really know, I do know what contributed to making it worse, and that was feeling like I am not achieving things at home that I perceive should be easily achievable, feeling like my entire support network has abandoned me despite feeling like I have been calling out to them on so many occasions, and also not making time for me, investing everything I have in others and in general avoiding facing my problems head on. I have lots of problems as well, some deep rooted that have affected me most of my life, others are shorter term impacts through situational circumstance, some problems temporary and some probably permanent.
One thing I do know is that by writing this Blog, and being more open and sharing things in my life with others, really does help me move forward in dealing with the problem of not feeling I have a real support network. It really helps me put things into perspective as I write about and analyse my own experiences and feelings, and trust me, that’s a good thing. It won’t stop me wanting to just curl up in a protective ball, it won’t stop me bursting into tears for no apparent reason, and it won’t help me feel better about getting up and getting out of the house to go to work or anything else for that matter on some days. But what it does do, is helps me to ask for someone to throw me that rope, and pull me up, and maybe just one day, I will work out how to do that before I fall down the hole, before I hit the bottom and have to climb back out.
Additionally, if anyone reading this feels that they suffer like this, please don’t suffer it in silence, call out to a friend or anyone, message me though this blog, add and follow me at one of the links below, I will answer any messages I get, and if things are really bad, contact a help service or the Samaritans, there is lots of help out there, you just have to put out a hand and grasp it.
This has been a very different post to my usual ones, and has been particularly hard to write, but I feel it needed to be written. I hope you can take something from it, and normal blog posts will resume next time I promise. Finally, I would really love your feedback, so you can click on the link on this page or comment on one of my other feeds through the links below.
Love and Hugs. Sophie x