Don’t Take Your Mental Health For Granted

In my last mental health post ‘Good Riddance to Sad Rubbish‘ I wrote about how I felt my mental health has deteriorated over the last 6 months and even more so again over the last couple of months. It pains me to admit but I am again suffering another bout of depression. I am finding it frequently more difficult to cope with stressful situations, am on a hair trigger with becoming irritated, crying very easily, and have resorted to self-harming again when I feel my head is going to explode with distress. I don’t want to be like this, and want to get better again as soon as possible. I have explored pre-menstrual symptoms (in my post ‘Dreadful Diet‘, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD, as above) as a cause of my low mood and depressive symptoms, but having seen a psychiatrist yesterday, I know that I am simply more susceptible to those factors because of a return of the depression.

So, a new plan of attack has been formulated, starting with an increase in my dose of anti-depressant. As I took the extra yesterday, I told my husband I didn’t think I would feel any different! He looked at me sceptically and rightly so. Within a couple of hours, as I was trying to do the grocery shopping, I was yawning away – every few seconds – and wondering why. Then it dawned on me – that was my first side effect. Sounds comical, and it is really – but you just can’t stop yawning! When I initially went onto this drug, I yawned for three days! Don’t ask me the physiological reason why – I’ve no idea. I had an early night last night as it has given me a banging headache and makes you feel more sleepy too.

This morning I’ve had the next round of side effects – feeling extremely fuzzy and needing about an hour to fully wake up – it’s a bit like somebody sitting on you. It’s hard to walk at first and I still feel very shaky now three hours later, making typing a little tricky. The headache is still there and I can’t concentrate or speak very well. Hopefully this won’t last very long, just a few days as my body adjusts to the extra serotonin. I am very grateful to my husband, who supports me every step of the way, and has run me a bath and is taking the boys to the park as I write. He is my rock. I am also very thankful for the mental health services in Leeds, I have again been treated promptly and with great care as soon as I have taken the giant step to speak to my GP. The psychiatrist was fantastic yesterday and reassured me that she wasn’t just going to increase my dose and leave me. I feel she fully understands my issues and needs, and her final words to me were “don’t worry, we’ll get you right again”.

Despite the depression, the true me inside is still popping her head up. I have reacted much quicker this time than I did with the postnatal depression, so have not got to the desperate stage. I still have periods of feeling good, and it was during one of those periods this week that I decided to give myself a challenge – a 100km trek in the Sahara to raise funds for PANDAS – the pre and postnatal depression charity. I have done this for several reasons – first and foremost for the charity – because it is VITAL and needs the funds to continue their fantastic work. Secondly on a personal level, because even though a few hours later I was crying to my husband saying ‘how on earth do I possibly think I can do this?’, I know deep down I am strong and CAN do this. I NEED a goal, and what a fantastic opportunity it is.

There are several reasons for this post, and none of them include sympathy – I definitely don’t want that! My reasons are:

  • To reinforce that it is okay to talk about mental illness the same as any other illness
  • To reassure those who are struggling that it is worth opening up
  • To educate those lucky enough never to have suffered how it feels to those that do
  • As a therapeutic outlet for myself – it’s good to talk, much better than bottling it up
  • To track my own progress

Finally to please, please ask for your support and any donation you can spare to this amazing charity. I know times are hard and I fully understand if you haven’t a spare penny. If you have though, please consider donating – so many mums, children and families WILL benefit from your donation. Just click on the image below.

Sahara Trek Donation Page

Sahara Trek Donation Page

Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

Wishing everyone mentally healthy weekend!

Emma x

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