I like to think that I have been fairly honest with you regarding my battle with mental health, and that it has perhaps helped create a mental illness conversation and in some way lowered the stigma that surrounds it.Yet it feels like a long time since I sat down and wrote a mental health based post. Today is #timetotalk day and I wanted to ensure that I contributed to it in some way.
In the past I have shared some of my experiences and knowledge with you, and it was initially difficult for me to think of exactly what I wanted to write. Trust me, I have written, deleted and rewritten this post at least seven times. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted this post to achieve or what I wanted to share with you, so after much deliberation I decided to create a “Time to talk” tag.
1. What is you’re first memory of your mental illness?
It’s hard to know what is memory and what’s not, bearing in mind that I wasn’t conscious of my illness at the time, but I can clearly remember having no energy at all. At the time I was living away from home due to work, and I would stay in bed pretty much all day, barely sleeping and certainly not eating. I lost a lot of weight during that period and was the smallest that I have ever been. When I did find the energy to go to work, I would immediately go to bed afterwards and alienated myself from everyone else.I can clearly remember one occasion when I pretended to my friends that I had gone home for the weekend, wanting to be left alone forever.
I can’t tell you how long this period of my life lasted, I can’t remember, but it must have gone on for a few days/weeks because of the amount of weight I lost.
2. When did you realise that you had a mental illness?
Again, I’m not entirely sure. I’m almost certain that during my depression I didn’t realise that’s what it was called, and that I instead just thought I was lazy. In all honesty I’m not entirely sure when it dawned on me, a part of me thinks I might have stumbled across the definition it in a book or on the internet. I can’t remember, but it was definately about three-four months afterwards. I then had it confirmed by a GP.
3. How did this diagnosis make you feel?
Being ill made me feel like I was lazy and it made me feel really demoralised. Being diagnosed was a different matter altogether, because I think I was relieved to have a diagnosis and to understand that there was a reason for what had been going on. I guess I felt that understanding it might help me get better.
4. What were you diagnosed with?
I was diagnosed with having had severe depression, and of having anxiety with obsessive tendencies.
5. What treatment did you have?
I was initially prescribed some beta-blockers and anti-depressants, but I only took one course because I was barely seeing a difference. I also sought counseling from our university counselor.
6. Why “time to talk” is important to me?
It’s important to me because there is still a huge amount of stigma surrounding mental illness, and for a long time I felt ashamed to talk about my battle. I often wonder how much easier it would have been, had I known what was wrong and what I was going through.
So I know this is a pretty brief and basic post, but I’ve already discussed a lot of elements of my mental illness in various other posts in the past and didn’t want to be repeating myself. I hope this post can help someone, in someway.