Friday, 12 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and I have certainly been aware of my mental health this week.

I woke up on Tuesday, after a great weekend and no problems on Monday, struggling to get out of bed. My head and body was heavy and my brain was cloudy. I eventually forced myself up (because I can't bring myself to ring in work sick for a bad brain day) and I went to work. I was empty and heavy all day. I had a little cry on my break and tried to tell myself it's a bad day and tomorrow will be okay.

Tomorrow wasn't okay. Neither was the day after and so far neither is today.

This is the worst I have been for months and although I know that there doesn't have to be a reason, it makes me angry when it shows up without reason.

I'm angry and annoyed because I was recently thinking about dropping my dosage again to start coming off my medication. I'm angry because this has deflated me and made me think I'm not ready. It's made me think that I'm not doing as good as I thought I was. I'm just angry at my brain for doing this to me.

But I have been honest and told people that I'm struggling at the moment. And I'm lucky that I know such good people.

It's been worse and I got through it. So I got this too.

Hopefully the clouds blow away over the weekend.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Big Update

Well. It's been a while. 9 months to be precise.

My last post was about being on antidepressants for 6 months and the progress I made. I had quit my full time job and started working from home, still having bad days and just had my medication dosage increased.

9 months later... 15 months since being prescribed antidepressants... I am still taking them daily. I have recently reduced my dosage back to the 20mg I began on, my "bad brain days" are happening more rarely... and I am back in full time employment. And generally, I am happy. 

That is massive for me. Saying that I am happy. I wasn't sure I knew what being 'happy' felt like because I felt nothing but emptiness for so long. The last year has been great for me, I'm in a great position and I am so proud of my own progress.

So what's been happening in the last 9 months...

At the end of June/start of July I had my dosage increased from 20mg to 30mg of Citalopram. I had noticed my bad days becoming more frequent and started to feel like I was before I took medication. I was brave and went to the doctor once I realised what was happening. We agreed to increase the medication and I responded well to that. I definitely felt the improvement and I stayed on 30mg until February this year, when I felt comfortable and ready to start decreasing the dosage. 

With working from home I was only doing a small number of hours a week just to give me a bit of an income whilst I took the time to sort myself out. I enjoyed what I was doing, I could manage my workload to how I was feeling and could take time out when I needed to. Around August time I was half feeling really good and half worrying about my financial situation. Being a spreadsheet lover though, I set one up mapping out all my incomings and outgoings. I took into account how I was feeling and decided I'd give myself the rest of the year to continue keeping myself as number one and not putting any pressure on myself. By September, I was feeling really good and positive. I found myself on a job website and saw an ad for a receptionist. It was full time, which did worry me a little, but the job role itself sounded manageable. So I sent my CV.
The following day I got a phone call to go for an interview. I went for an interview. I was afraid of having to explain why I left my job/why I was working from home and that being an issue. But it never came up and I didn't want to bring it up. The role was explained to me and I felt like I could do it no problem. A few days later the job was offered to me and I took it!
I've now been there a little over 6 months and I love it. It's a relaxed environment, I don't have too much responsibility right now and everyone is lovely. It was the perfect job to get me back in to the swing of things. I have opened up to some of the people, including bosses, about my struggles with mental health and they've been very understanding which reassures me greatly.

A new job also meant a new car! I had to get rid of my old little baby around May/June time due to the running cost and the fact that I wasn't having any real need to use it anymore. It was a hard choice as it did make me feel like I'd lost some of my independence and freedom. I have to travel by car to my new workplace and so I got myself a brand new car! My first car that wasn't a little old thing with 3 previous owners. A brand new one. I got my freedom back!
I also drove on the motorway for the first time..! Yep, despite being a driver for 5 years, I never went on the motorway. I was always very afraid and nervous and felt like my cars have always been too old and shabby to handle it. And now, the motorway is basically my second home. The first time I drove on the motorway may have a little something to do with the next point...

...Around May time I was having a brew with some girls I used to work with. One was complaining about a guy she was speaking to on Tinder. I'd never used it and told her to let me go on hers to find her someone. It was a laugh and she made me download it. I thought why not? A bit of fun. But it was quite nerve wracking. It was something completely new to me. But I also was at a stage were I felt comfortable and good about myself and I wanted to meet somebody. I was always a bit afraid in the past to meet someone. I've never liked myself before. I always hated how I looked, I didn't think I had a personality or anything that anyone would be attracted to. So I hid away. How can I expect someone else to like me when I don't like myself? Would I have to tell them I have mental health problems? Would that scare them aware?
But I found some confidence and downloaded Tinder.
I had the kind of messages you see online from the assholes (probably another blog post on its own). But I got chatting to a few decent people. I met up with someone (which was terrifying!). I let one of my friends know what I was doing and where I was going. And kept it during the day. It went well, we saw each other again but there was nothing. Hey ho!
And then I got a new match...

He had a Disney related image and he was cute. We met. A few times. We hung out for a couple of months and then... we were together. And I am beyond happy. He gets me and understands as best he can that some days aren't easy, and he's always there on those days. I am so comfortable and relaxed with him. I could get super soppy but nobody needs to read that..!
He's good though. I like him quite a lot.

So a lot happened since last summer. I still get the odd Bad Brain Day but I'm getting better at managing them and telling somebody when I am struggling. I'm feeling good and happy with my current life choices. I am so proud of myself.

I'll try to not leave this empty for as long this time. This was actually quite therapeutic.