Towards the end of last year I posted that I wasn’t doing so well.
I think I was still thinking that I could manage and maybe in a few days I would feel better.
Well sadly, although Christmas was good, I just got worse. To the point what was going on in my head was stopping me from riding my bike, and I just generally wasn’t functioning at all well. I was staying in bed until late on my days off work. I was eating rubbish. I was struggling to hold a conversation. I was miserable.
I decided to do the PHQ-09 questionnaire. For those that don’t know, this is what your GP would use to help them diagnose depressive illness. I scored 21, which indicates severe depression. This was a real wake up call, the way I was feeling wasn’t something I could ‘manage’. I realised that I needed to get help. I went to my doctors, and he agreed and I walked out with a prescription for Citalopram.
I’m now 5 weeks in and I feel….normal. For the first time in a long time, there’s no swirling vortex of negativity in my head, weighing me down. I’m no longer so exhausted I can’t phone my Mum after work. Which is especially important now. I can actually hold a conversation with Stu, talk about the future, feel engaged at work, and can just about cope with things that are outside of my control. I’ve lost 10lbs because I’m not comfort eating any more. Generally I’m enjoying life again.
I was away on holiday recently in the Alps and we had some really bad visibility. It reminded me of how it’s felt over the last few years. Like a fog/cloud has slowly been creeping up on me – at first it’s a slight haziness and you get used to it and so learn to ignore/cope with it. As time goes by it gradually, slowly gets worse. Until one day you wake up and you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you. And because you can’t see you get frightened of simple things – going out, meeting people, weather. Weird stuff that didn’t used to frighten you at all. Anxiety often accompanies depression. Approximately 2 weeks into taking the Citalopram I woke up and the fog had gone. Funnily enough it was literally sunny outside. It was incredible. I’m one of the lucky ones that the drugs DO work for.
I’ve been pondering how I was feeling and what lead me to get so low. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I have been unwell. Mentally unwell. This is what I mean when I talk about mental ‘health’. There’s no shame in admitting you’ve got a cold, or type 1 diabetes, right? So why would there be if you were to say ‘I’m depressed, but I’m getting medication and help’. Still, some people find it hard to talk about these things. Obviously, I’m not one of them.