Dealing with depression

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Never judge a book by its cover!

In June this year I was diagnosed with depression, sitting in front of your GP breaking down and him turning to you and saying those words “I think you’re depressed” was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to hear. On hearing those words I instantly thought I was a failure. I was inconsolable in the doctors that day and I spent most of the rest of the day crying.

Depression was something I had never really understood at that point and no one close had really gone through it that I knew. I’d seen characters in films and on the television be diagnosed with depression but still if I honest didn’t take much notice of it.  If someone would have asked me this time last year what depression was I would have probably said “isn’t that when someone is really sad” I know that’s probably naive but that’s honestly what I thought.

On doing some research I found out that 350 million worldwide suffer with depression. In England 1 in 6 people suffer from some kind of mental health issues and 1 in 4 suffer from depression.

But why don’t people talk about it? I’ll be really honest to this point I haven’t really told a lot of people. I was so embarrassed and I honestly thought I was a failure on happy pills!! It wasn’t until a couple of months ago when I was talking to a Nurse about it that she said that I shouldn’t feel ashamed about been on anti-depressant medication. She said if I was poorly with tonsillitis or a chest infection I’d get prescribed tablets to help me with that. And that the doctor has given me my anti-depressant medication to help my brain.
Another reason I haven’t really told people is because I’d told someone back in July about depression and they didn’t believe me. They accused me of making the whole thing up, I was so hurt and so upset by it that for a while after I didn’t tell a soul. The reason that she said she didn’t believe me was because in her words “you have no reason to be depressed.” She thought that because I’d been on such an incredible weight loss journey losing 3.5 stone and turning my life around that I should be happy 24/7. Yes I was happy on the outside and I couldn’t have been prouder of myself for losing that weight and for falling back in love with exercise. However id been suffering in silence and I just felt like I had no one to turn too, I didn’t want to talk to my family or friends because I thought they’d think I was a drama queen and wouldn’t understand so for months I thought it would be easier to try and cope by myself.

I was so down all the time, I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, I didn’t want to socialise, I couldn’t sleep properly . I even had weeks where I couldn’t even bare training at the gym. I literally got out of bed went to work, came home and went to bed. People around me knew something was wrong  and kept asking me if I was okay to which  9 times out of 10 I would reply “I’m fine!" and cry. After a series of events that happened in my personal life, which I wish to remain private  I just couldn’t take anymore, it was almost like I was a champagne bottle and I was too full up and just had to pop! Back in June I was driving home from the gym, id had the worst day ever at work, I’d been told by my gym that my personal trainer had left, I was on my period, I was super exhausted, I had family issues going on and things got too much! I ended up driving to my Aunties as I’d had a massive panic attack, I knew it was a panic attack thankfully previous to that I hadn’t had one for ten years. I remember the day like it was yesterday, I couldn’t really talk, my blood pressure was sky high and I couldn’t stop crying. Luckily the week before id already called my GP to make an appointment not because I thought I was depressed. I actually had made the appointment to be asked to be referred to a counsellor to talk. As I said above I went to see my GP and was diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressant medication which I take daily to help. 

How would I explain my depression! When I am having an off don’t even want to get out of bed, I lie there obsessing over all the mistakes I think I’ve ever made, replaying them over and over again. Its such a hard thing to explain but I end up winding myself up over the stupid little things like not being able to find my favourite pen instead of simply using another pen! I also start thinking the worst about every situation, for example I could have plans to meet a friend for coffee and he cancels because he has to work late, Instead of thinking that’s a shame maybe next week I start overthinking every situation and I convince myself that he isn’t working late his just saying that as an excuse and the truth is he doesn’t want to see because I’m a bad person! Paranoia creeps in and then I’ve gone from this one friend who I’ve decided doesn’t like me to everyone disliking me. I then get images of myself trapped in a room forever by myself. Or it could be that someone hasn’t text me back I start debating in my mind what I have done to them. This might sound stupid to some of you but this is real fears to me, I am not thinking what I think to be a drama queen. 

The worst thing that a person can say to someone “snap out of it” or “pull yourself together” It's not intentionally that I’ve felt like I’ve felt I don’t wake up in the morning and decide today is going to be a bad day. Sometimes we don’t want to talk about it, sometimes we want to change the subject and talk about something else. For me I don’t like being pressured into talking about my depression as sometimes I find it hard explain it myself. But one thing I would say is don’t judge a book by its cover just because someone looks happy and seems happy on the outside it doesn’t mean that, that’s how they are feeling on the inside! 

I really hope that more people will start talking about depression and mental health instead of been embarrassed. I understand why people feel that way as I did too but now I’m ready to share this with everyone and talk about it whenever is needed. 

One thing that has helped me is exercise, I find it  very therapeutic. The gym makes me feel so good, its really good for the endorphins that’s for sure. Now I am not say that the gym will help everyone with mental health issues but from personal experience it has such a positive affect. I know a friend who sufferent with anxiety earlier in the summer this year and he said that exercise really helped him and also motivational videos on you tube.  From the research that I have done on the two side by side I have only read positive links between them both.

On a personal note I find exercise helps for some of the following reasons:
·         Good distraction – put my head phones on blast out the tunes and just work away
·         My gym is such a happy friendly place
·         The gym makes me feel good
·         De-stresses me, I don’t think I’ve ever left the gym stressed. I always leave feeling calm and relaxed and like a weight has been lifted of my shoulders
·         Helps keeps me fit
·         Improves my health
·         Sleep better

I must admit I am still taking my anti-depressant medication, I am on the lowest dose which I take daily.  I have made such good progress since I’ve started taking them. I am feeling a lot better about myself and more in control. After a couple of weeks on them I was back in the gym training which is what I love. I starting feeling more confident to socialise with people and my sleeping has improved dramatically and so has my moods. Now I am not saying things have improved 100% because that would be telling fibs, I still have the odd one or two bad days but now I have coping strategies that I use to help me so I can “snap myself out of it” (Yes you can say that to yourself just not have other people tell you to snap out of it!” Some people may argue with me and say that the tablets are “psychological” and to be honest I simply reply that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Whether they are or not I don’t care, they are helping me and that’s the most important. When you’re on antidepressants you can’t just come of them, you have to be weaned of them I am hoping when I meet with my doctor this week that he will drop my dose and eventually be of them.

One thing that I told myself was that when I was ready to talk about my depression that I would become very vocal about it. I don’t want other people to feel like they have to suffer in silence like I did for a while because they are ashamed of been diagnosed with Depression. Depression isn’t a label and you should never judge people because they have mental health issues. It doesn’t mean they are sick or infectious it just means they may need a little support. 

I haven’t decided yet how I am going to get more people discussing mental health but I will!! The NHS website states that 90% of people in the UK that have committed suicide have mental health issues. (If anyone has any ideas – please let me know – you can contact me through my contact page)


Sammie xxx
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