Hope you all enjoyed your break from me yesterday after I rambled at you for 30 days in a row! I’m going to try and keep consistent with 3 posts a week now but it could well drop down to two if I’m having a busy/lazy week.
I’ve touched on my mental health in many previous posts and said I’d write a detailed post about my treatment so far (which is far from over!). So here it is.
I guess my depression treatment kicked off 4 years ago with my first interaction with a counsellor, when I was 16. In other aspects of life I was doing really well. I had my first job, my GCSE grades were great, I had plenty of friends and a boyfriend, exercised regularly, no major struggles! I just knew that I had a lot of dark thoughts and that was when I started speaking to someone. This women was absolutely amazing and so so good at her job. In the year that followed I went through a lot of awful things and didn’t react well, I stopped the sessions with my counsellor (though I needed then more than ever). After this my treatment was on hold for a very long time.
I was to have no other treatment until I arrived at university, aged 18. In my first year I failed one of my January exams, and a lecturer of mine had a chat with me to ask what was going on as my coursework grades were good and I always attended class and contributed. I explained that I was feeling really anxious about the exam and had a panic attack beforehand and almost didn’t attend the exam altogether even though I had studied/revised really hard. She recommended I speak with one of the university counsellors (it wouldn’t have been appropriate for her to get too involved herself). So I made myself an appointment.
Biggest regret. It was awful. I felt worse afterwards. I went to this counsellor unsure of how much I was going to tell her/open up. I begin by telling her I had been struggling with anxiety during exam season and it was having a big negative effect on my academic performance. She stopped me there, told me that she too struggles with exams. I thought to myself ‘ah, so she understands! Brilliant.’ Nope, she proceeded to add that she never managed to combat it, could only go on courses that were exam free as she could not cope and she was sure she’d never be able to get over it. As I’m sure you can understand, I pretty much gave up any hope that she was going to help me then.
My treatment went on hiatus again here until the start of 2017, with me aged 19. I went to my GP and said that I was really struggling. I’d been doing all the things that you’re meant to do to help yourself: exercise regularly, eat well, meditate, stick to a good sleep hygiene routine. I didn’t know what to do as I was still feeling very down, with suicidal thoughts, very irritable, I was isolating myself. One of my biggest issues was that I was in university and struggling with some days feeling really ambitious and other days feeling totally hopeless. I was prescribed 50mg of Sertraline/Zoloft.
I had many side effects initially. Cue the driest mouth in the world and the craziesttttt dreams!! Side effects aside, I didn’t actually feel any different at all so at my next check up my doc upped my dosage to 100mg daily. 6 weeks later I was still feeling so cue another dosage increase to 150mg. More of the same followed, with the added side effect of struggling to fall asleep at night (a real deal-breaker for me) so back down to 100mg I went.
When the summer exam season came around just a few weeks ago I realised I was starting to panic. I was putting plenty of time and effort into my revision but I was feeling really anxious and hopeless for the challenges to come. I nervously decided to reach out to my university counsellors again (there are a few and I figured I had a good chance of not getting the same counsellor again). They told me that as I had not had an appointment in the last 3 months, I would have to have an initial telephone consultation so that THEY could decide if I needed an appointment.
If you’re mildly depressed do you not deserve help? Only the suicidal are worthy of help? This ended up being irrelevant as the telephone consultation they offered me was around 6 weeks away, and long after my exams were finished so I just had to tough this one out alone.
That’s basically where I’m at right now. On the whole, I’m not doing toooo great. I had meant to make an appointment at my doctors but I’m putting it off. My GP has left and I was not comfortable with the GP I had previously so I’m a bit nervous to see who I’ve got now. But I really shouldn’t put it off much longer and I won’t – you guys can hold me accountable!
But please, if any of you are needing to reach out and get help/treatment of any kind, do as I say and not as I do and do it! You got this.