My depression treatment so far…

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.

 

what?

 

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.

 

Day 30 – Hopes For Your Blog (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

So I kinda touched on this in my intro posts but I felt I should elaborate anyway. 
I don’t really have any specific hopes for this blog. I hope that I keep it up. I hope that I can use it as a outlet for any negative thoughts and anxiety that I’m feeling rather than getting inside my head too much. I hope that I can turn my rants into mildly funny posts, as when I’m struggling with my mental health I also tend to get very irritable along with my low moods.
I hope that me being open about my mental health makes just one other human feel a little bit less alone. I know that before I came across anyone else talk about it I felt like a freak. Why is everyone else coping and I can’t? Does that make me weak/pathetic? Now I know that dealing with life’s pressures alongside dealing with depression & all the demons that brings makes me incredibly strong.
I hope that reading my drivel is fun for at least some of you. Not everyone will like it, I’ve always been an acquired taste.
So if you’re reading this, thanks very much. I’m absolutely thrilled you have to you. Xxx

Day 29 – A Confession (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

A don’t really know if I can do a ‘confession’ as such as I’m quite an honest person really – this closet is near enough skeleton free! But I will open up about something for you.

 

I’m about to go through a couple changes and I’m really quite nervous. My second year at university has come to an end and I’ll soon be moving back home with my parents and I’m looking to commute next year, so living at home again will be a big change. Sometimes I think that moving back in with them is a bit of a step backwards but I try to remind myself that I’ve only just turned 20, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Besides, I genuinely enjoy their company (when I’m not being mega moody).

 

I’m also about to start a new job. I’ve only ever had one job before and I had it from literally the moment I turned 16 (I interviewed at 15 and they told me I could start right after my birthday) up until last week. It would’ve been easy to stay just because I’m so comfortable there but I’m also looking forward to the challenge, learning some new skills and being in a different pool of people (as socially awkward as I am).

 

I’m restarting driving lessons after my last disastrous lot. My instructor was not a very nice man but that’s another story for another post. Driving makes me really nervous but I’m hoping that as I get better at it I’ll also get more confident. I’m starting again with an instructor that a friend recommended to me so hopefully I’ll get on better this time round!

 

I’m also just starting to feel a bit anxious about the upcoming final year of my degree. There’s just so much riding on this year. I’m trying to minimise my anxiety by getting some ideas flowing about my dissertation now so I don’t waste too much of third year planning something that could’ve already been planned if that makes sense.

 

So there we go, I’m very scared. I know that trying my best to keep my mental health up these coming months is going to be absolutely vital but I got this, and so do you.

Day 28 – Most Embarrassing Moment (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

We’re gonna throw it waaaaaaay back for this embarrassing confession. Now anyone that knows me knows that I embarrass myself on pretty much a daily basis, it’s basically a part of my personality. So I thought take you back to my childhood for this standout moment.

 

Picture the scene, I was really young, just 4 years old, on a family holiday to Butlins. So as is common at Butlins there were some characters on stage and they invited a bunch of children, including myself, on stage. So we did whatever, I’m guessing we like sung a song together or something, is there they sent us all back down to sit with our families again. Now to get off the stage you had to go down these steps and all the other kids were bigger than me. So the host lady offered to just lift me down. Now 4-year old me wasn’t very trusting and took a while to take the plunge. However, unfortunately just as I took the plunge and walked into her arms, she thought I wasn’t having any of it and walked away. Instead, I plunged to the floor.

 

Cue a very public concussion for myself. 16 years on its a story that still haunts me and regularly gets laughs from my family.

Day 27 – What’s In Your Closet? (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

I’m British so I’m going to assume this post is inviting me to detail what it in my wardrobe rather than being a coming out space? Anyways this is going to seem like a bit of a mixed bag but that’s because it’s my university closet/wardrobe and space is limited! If there is no picture at the end of this post, then that means I had a look at my wardrobe after writing it and decided it was not fit for public viewing!

 

Okay so my wardrobe has stuff on top of the wardrobe itself so I’ll start there. Up there (and I have to stand on my desk chair to get it down) I have my duvet (because the UK is experiencing a rare heatwave), my laptop bag and a box with my spare bedding and towels.

 

Then inside the wardrobe itself we have the top shelf (that I also need to assistance of a chair to access) and on there are all my hoodies (stashed away due to the aforementioned heatwave), all my jeans, pyjamas (at the very front of the shelf to make them more easily accessible) and a few random clothing items that stay better off of hangers.

 

Then down the right hand side we have to two shelves so that makes 3 spaces if that makes sense. The top one contains gym leggings, tops, gym underwear (thick ankle socks and big, 100% cotton knickers – I’m not about pulling a thong out of my butt mid-workout). The second one is the rest of my bras and knickers, tights, anything like that. The bottom one is larger and that’s where I throw all my shoes and bags. I also have my little heater here, and in winter my fan was there instead.

 

Then to the left is the actual clothes rail featuring a whole variety of items (of which I tend to rotate the same 5-6). As this is so high up there’s a big space underneath it so I kinda just store random food there. Like cereal I haven’t opened yet, new cartridges for my water filter, unopened crisp bags (that’s ‘chips’ for any American folk out there!), porridge sachets, unopened alcohol that doesn’t fit in the fridge, emergency tea bags (could I be more British?) and unopened whey protein. Kitchen cupboard space is very limited here at university.

 

IMG_1521

IMG_1520

Guess I was feeling brave enough to let you all have peek (I promise that’s not my idea of ‘tidy’).

Day 26 – Your Hidden Talent (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

So I’m going to approach this post in two ways. The first will be something that is widely accepted to be a talent and the other will be drunken party trick (which I would argue is indefinitely a talent but potentially not everyone would agree).

 

So the (accepted) talent that I have is that I sing. Even a lot of people close to me that know I sing don’t know I’m very good at it because I get THE WORST stage fright EVER. Literally even in front of my closest friends/family. I had singing lessons at school and it was months before I could even confidently work on a scale with my singing teacher. As my music GCSE came with a performance exams we used to do practice performances in front of our class (of just 10, very nice pupils) every 6 weeks and I was also terrified. I couldn’t open my eyes till the end of the song. Even when I rehearsed in front of my mum she wasn’t allowed to look at me.

 

I remember one time I wanted to really challenge myself but I auditioned for a solo in our school concert and was put in the programme to sing Lana Del Rey – Video Games. We had a rehearsal that afternoon and I froze so badly, I barely got the words out and it sounded relatively awful. I could tell everyone was nervous for me but they (terribly) pretended it was fine I just needed to ‘project more’ or ‘be more confident’ they’d say. When it came down to the performance I ran an earphone bud up my shirt so I could hear the original track whilst the audience could hear the instrumental and pretended that I just singing along to Lana in my bedroom. Somehow, I pulled it off.

 

It’s just always frustrated me so much because I love to sing more than anything but try as I might, I just can’t get it together in front of a crowd (childhood dreams crushed right here).

 

I’m not too sure how to best explain my other talent/party trick and as it involves my butt, I’ll refrain from adding any demonstration pictures. Basically, you know how when you tense your butt your cheeks like go in? Well I can do that one cheek at a time, and I thought everyone could, till my friends informed me this was incorrect. I can also do it with my knees, with I’ve found more people can do but still not everybody!

 

Let me know your talents/party tricks – hidden or otherwise!

Day 25 – Your Biggest Regret (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Okay I’m not going to get too specific with this post because I know it’ll just read as though I’m draggingggggg an ex-boyfriend/friend/whatever. But its not ‘dragging’ if its true, right?

 

Honestly I’m not really a ‘regrets’ person. Like yeah I do some dumb stuff but I’m usually able to just go ‘ahhh that was a bad decisions wasn’t it hahaha’. I think this is just going to sound very generic as I know lots of people would answer this post the same but honestly my biggest regret is just putting up with things for longer than I had to, and trying to keep toxic people in my life.

 

I’m sure you all know what I mean. That guy that’s not even notice to you but you just reeeeeeally like him? That friends you keep making effort with for it to never be reciprocated? Late know phone calls listening to friends going to through hard times, but never quite remember to ask how you are? Who even has the energy? (Answer: not 20 year old me, but teenage me appeared to have plenty of energy for it all).

 

I think it’s just part and parcel of growing up though right?