Tag Archives: depression

Time To Talk 2016

Has it been a year already since my last Time to Talk post?! That is terrifying.

What I want to share this time is the truth as I see it. When someone tells you they have a mental illness what do you think? Will it change your view of that person? Will it change your relationship with that person? Will you have to act differently around that person?

The answer to all of these things is no. The person is no different than they were before they told you. In fact it is rare that people with mental illness open up with people about how they are actually feeling.

If anything you should have positive thoughts about the person trusting you so much that they can talk to you about their mental health.

As someone with mental health issues – I am very open about my conditions and actively try to start useful discussion on the subject as well as support others with similar issues. One of the best yet hardest lessons to learn with mental illness is you are not alone. However, I also know from experience that every single persons mental health is 100% unique to them. My anxiety will not be the same as every other person with anxiety. Similar traits and physical symptoms, yes, but identical no.

I, like many other people with mental health issues, spend a lot of effort trying to be “normal” and to cope internally. We disguise ourselves so well that no one notices we are ill. We go about our day and no one would know that inside we are at war – with out own minds.

I wrote the rest of this article specifically to illustrate what it’s like in my little unique head sometimes. During a panic attack. It wasn’t easy to do but it’s the most honest I could be. So, here goes:

Right here, right now. I am in the midst of what I call a functional panic attack. I’m not sitting hyperventilating into a bag just yet, I’m functioning; I look normal or even relaxed on the outside but inside I’m panicking.

What are you panicking about? I hear you ask. Nothing I don’t think – I woke up like this for some reason.

What are you thinking? Normal thoughts and questions but FAST everything is like constantly going downhill on a rollercoaster. This is my inner monologue:

“You should sort out James’ lunch”
“You need to take out the bins NOW!”
“Empty the dishwasher – there are too many dishes on show!”
“Now take your meds”
“You have a cold, make a hot drink”
“You should have something to eat – why haven’t you eaten yet?”
” Why haven’t you taken out the bins yet? – You should have done that by now”
“My god my back is sore”
“There are too many papers on the table sort that”
“But wait you haven’t had breakfast yet”
“You should do that article now that you said you would write during your next attack – if you don’t whats the point in your blog?”
“Don’t panic too much you’ll have a seizure”
“That breakfast isn’t very healthy”
“You haven’t taken your meds yet”

And so on.

While this is all going on – my autonomic nervous system has kicked in – this is the fight or flight side of the nervous system. The side that works when someone attacks you or you need to run away from a lion – this makes my heart go at 124 beats per minute (I measured it on S Health on my phone) as well as this my hormone control has released adrenaline (what they inject into people having in anaphalactic shock) and a whole cocktail of other wonderful stuff. Just to perpetuate the feeling that all these tasks are actually life or death situations and not just tasks.

I’m now going to go sit and try to calm my panic a little.

So there you have it. Nobody could tell if they looked at me. Neither the physical or the mental stress shows on the outside.

Mental illness is exhausting but it’s part of who I am. I just need to learn to control it and accept it.

One of the best ways you can help all the people you know who have mental illness, or even someone who you just think needs a little extra support is to talk to them. Let them  know you are there, you will not judge and you care about them. It will help. Maybe not immediately, but it will in the long run.

It’s time to change, it’s time to talk.

GFG x

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World Mental Health Day 2015

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Hello everyone,

It seems fitting that I should come back to my little corner of the web today on World Mental Health Day as the main reason for my absence is just that; my mental health hasn’t been that great. As some of you know from my Time to Talk post on the 5th of February I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive and Depressive episodes.

Right now, I am in the midst of a bit of a heady mix of them all although the good news is after waiting quite a while (my phone assessment was on the 8th of June!) I have finally been placed with a psychologist and we had our first session. She seems knowledgeable and I think we will work well together. So here’s hoping this is the start of recovery for me… or at least a little closer to living “normally”.

Recently I was asked where there any good points to my mental illnesses and if offered, would I get rid of my mental illness if I could?  So I thought I would share my answer with you here today. My answer is in reference to when my mental illness is under control and not as volatile as it is at the moment (aka “a good day”)

So the good bits:

1. I can actually work really well under pressure as I am more or less constantly under pressure in my mnd so external pressure doesn’t really phase me too much usually.

2. People find me very open and non judgemental as I know all too well how hurtful judgement can be.

3. My experience has given me the drive to help others in the situations I have been in and to battle against all mental health stigma.

4. I am very emotionally in tune with others.

5. I am an excellent at seeing all possible outcomes of any risk quickly as my brain is wired to see all problems far ahead of time.

6. When I’m not full blown OCD and I’ll I’m actually just really neat and organised.

7. I am humbled that my openess about my mental health has led other people to come to me in their darkest hour and ask to talk. This is what everyone with a mental illness needs. To talk. It really does save lives.

8. I think that when timed correctly aspects of mental illness are strength. Caring for an ill relative through the night? – insomnia. Need to work out all possible outcomes for your hypothesis for a lab report? – What if anxiety. Making your final draft of your PhD poster to present at a conference? – perfectionism.

Sometimes our greatest weaknesses are also our strength.

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people. Next time you are out and about look around you. For every 4 you count one is likely to be just like me. We hide it well. So well we often joke to each other about it. But inside our heads behind our smiles we need someone to say it’s OK I’m here you can talk to me.

So talk to someone today. Have a cuppa and a chat. It’s good to chat.

Love, GFG x

Time To Talk 2015 – My Story

I’ve been planning to write this blog post for about 2 weeks now. It is probably the hardest one to write. It’s about something that I don’t tell anyone unless I am comfortable enough. But I have pledged to talk about this as it is something that I wish I could feel comfortable to talk about and talking can literally save lives.

So here goes.

I am Lisa, I’m 28, I do my job well, I am in a long term stable relationship, I love surfing, gaming, I’m slightly addicted to Pinterest…

And I have generalised anxiety disorder with depressive and obsessive episodes.

There I said it. That’s me.

When I tell people I have mental health issues I get one of 3 reactions:

1. (Least common – thankfully!) is that it’s “all in my head”, I shouldn’t feel anxious about x,y or z or I should “just get over it/myself”. This reaction doesn’t help at all.

2. (Most common) blank look, “oh…” Then never bring it up again. However, the relationship changes to be slightly awkward and lots of trying not mention anything remotely related to mental health.

3. (Least common) “I/ my aunt/ friend/ husband has *insert mental health issue here*”, “if you need anything I’m here”, “Do you want to talk about it?”. Thank you to everyone who falls in this category – I wouldn’t fight the good fight without you.

So what’s it like to have generalised anxiety disorder with depressive and obsessive episodes?

This is a difficult one – no ones brain is wired the same so my day is not typical to a person with the same mental health issues I have. However, I will try to explain as best I can.

At my worst, my day was filled with fear. I literally couldn’t leave the house, I didn’t eat, I had to keep the house perfectly clean, and I worried about everything (and when I say everything, I mean everything). Someone doesn’t text me back – “they’re dead!/ they hate me/ who would like me anyway”, I eat a morsel of food “your going to end up fat/ this will make you sick” you get the idea. When this was my life – I thought about giving up. But with the support of James and my mum as well as a few special folks I am still here and I am still standing my ground.

Today, I am a little better, I fight everyday to keep my thoughts in check and I take medication to help me in my battle (Effexor 225mg if you are curious). I was once told that “Your meds are like a plaster, if you cut yourself you wouldn’t leave it to get worse you would help it have the space to heal. It’s the same with your meds” and I use that every morning.

My job keeps me super busy and I have no time to let the thoughts take over. Sometimes I find it hard though. When I get up in the morning and have to get up out of bed, go out and face the world the voices are overwhelming. I can proudly say though that they haven’t beaten me yet. Even on the worst days I have not given in. And I will not let it beat me.

Recently I have been pushing myself. I got on a bus recently for the first time in nearly 2 years. I have went out for coffee with someone who wasn’t James or my mum and I attended a yoga class. It’s taken 2 years but I am getting there.

If you have mental health issues, know anyone with mental health issues or just want to reach out to someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Please take 5 minutes now. Asking a simple “how are you?” Or saying “I’m thinking of you” can literally change a life.

Please pledge not your money but your time.

It’s Time to Change.

It’s Time to Talk.

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday