Depression curse

That’s what I feel it is right now. A curse that I will never be free of. I’m coming to learn and finally accept that it may follow me like a shadow for the rest of my life. But somehow I have to stop it being such a curse in my daily life.

Right now it’s making me feel so poorly again. Today I awoke and was sick three times with a chesty cough, however in reality it wasn’t solely this that kept me off work. Without it I probably would have gone in. But with it I felt that the combination of physical exhaustion and mental illness was too much.

So how is the curse troubling me? What are the current difficulties?

  1. I absolutely hate myself! I cannot see anything good in me. I feel like the most selfish, miserable, good for nothing person in the world. I feel like a complete failure as a wife, mother and teacher.
  2. My self confidence is so low I’m so anxious. I can’t even look people in the eye. I’m scared nearly all the time. In the classroom is certainly the worst.
  3. I’m lonely. I’m feeling so alone yet I’m surrounded by people. I have two beautiful young boys and a husband with me but yet I feel alone. I have friends only a text or phone call away yet I am lonely. I have colleagues offering to help and yet I’m lonely. Why? I’m pushing people away. With every offer of help I refuse to accept it. With every kind word I shy away. Why because I’m so scared these people who I like will lose respect for me and hate me if they spend even a few minutes listening to me. I almost want someone to force the issue because I can’t but no one does because they don’t know what to do for the best.
  4. The curse tells me it will be this bad forever. For the last two years I have been riddled with this curse. Yes it has been up and down and I have had good times too. But right now I’m beginning to feel like i am a hopeless case. People must wonder what a waste of space I am because I am always ill.
  5. Self harm. I know it is still such a taboo subject but it’s daily in my life. Currently I’ve done it quite a lot recently it hurts. Not only do I have the marks I have the pain as well.
  6. Suicidal thoughts. These are daily too. I wouldn’t say I’m in crisis (I’ve been there and I know the difference) but it doesn’t stop the thoughts going round my head as I feel like everyone would be better off without me.

I keep trying to remember what friends say it will get better. But it’s been going on and off like this for 2 years now and it doesn’t feel like there is any end in sure. I wish someone could wave a magic wand.

Never felt so ill.

This morning was a new low for me. Never before (even when I was off work for 6 months) have I felt as bad mentally as I did this morning. With no reason for the depths it was crippling.

I felt like the black dog was sat on my head. I could barely carry my head on my shoulders. I felt like the storm cloud was pouring down on me. I felt sick with anxiety, which I couldn’t pin point a cause to. I felt lifeless. I felt dead inside.

I got up with my boys as it was my husbands turn for a lie in. I pushed myself so hard to feel better. I even made healthy muffins in an attempt to refocus the brain. It didn’t help.

By 9am I was lying on the bed staring into space. I craved just lying there all day (like I have done before). More than ever before, to a deeper extent, I felt like depression was eating away at my soul. It was like I was truly losing who I was.

I forced myself into the day. With a husband streaming with hay fever and complaining that I am so hard to live with when I am like this (which I am). His concern that I must take some time off work because I can’t go in like this, kicked me into action (I’m desperate not to let work down again).

I forced myself into the shower and started to tackle the smallest of tasks. My youngest and I popped to Tesco whilst the eldest and my husband navigated the tennis lesson.

After lunch I sat in our lean to outside feeling that the dementors from Harry Potter had truly stole every living part of me. I was trying to put on a brave face for my husband and children whilst snapping at them so easily. I finally gave in and went for a nap.

Being woken an hour and a half later by my youngest putting teddies around my head, I felt extremely groggy. My head was that horrible, gritty sleepy that I get if I sleep too long in the day. But thankfully the depression had lifted a bit.

As I told my husband I will take the sleepy grogginess over the depression any day. He commented that I was brighter. I was. I felt i could feel again. I felt like life was there for me again.

Please don’t expect people with depression and anxiety to always explain why they are ill. There isn’t always a reason. I have a poorly head. My brain is sick. I don’t necessarily need to have had something happen in my life to cause that.

Please don’t call people who commit suicide selfish. If you have never experienced depression you can’t possibly understand what it truly feels like. People who commit suicide do not want to die. They are instead desperate to end the pain of depression. It is the worst feeling you can ever encounter.

It isn’t like the pain of childbirth or other extreme physical pain. It is a deep and gut wrenching ache. It’s like someone has cored our your heart and soul as easily as you core an apple.

Please don’t judge.

Please listen.

Please understand.

Please don’t worry.

The last few days have been horrific for my mental health. Primarily a lack of sleep have compounded the fragility caused by recent counselling sessions. It’s still staggering to me how quickly I can spiral into darkness.

The self harm has returned to its worse. Last night I went out with a friend but came back and couldn’t stop. My mind was racing with the conversations and anxiety for today. Self-harm used as my comfort blanket.

The suicidal thoughts are back. I’m honestly not about to go and do anything at this moment. (Husband…take a deep breath and calm down). But the ideas are certainly flying around my mind. Walking past a previous precarious location at the weekend sent my mind wandering where it is not wanted.

The lack of focus is really bad. I haven’t really got back into reading since this episode of depression started 18months ago. But a tell tell sign for me right now is that I can’t even focus on anything to watch. I can’t make a decision even about that.

Another sign I’m doing the pushing people away thing. At work I’m too scared to talk to some people because they will immediately read how unwell I am. Other friends I’m putting off and not wanting to see because I’m just too tired and can’t face company.

And the sleep completely gone to pot. This never helps and makes me feel perhaps much worse than I would if I had some good sleep.

But please don’t worry. I haven’t shared this to get you all running. I haven’t written this because I’m in crisis. I haven’t written this because I want any different treatment.

There is a part of me which is trying to hold onto the message that it will get better. There is a part of me which is trying to hold onto what a good friend said yesterday “the tiredness is making this so much worse”. There is part of me which knows it will hopefully turn a corner again sometime soon.

I can still function. At work today I sat with colleagues as the directors spoke to us and I felt comfortable and at ease. At home this evening I played with my boys like I didn’t have a care in the world.

Let’s hope a good nights sleep helps.

P.s. I went for watching the film nottinghill on Netflix as I can just zone in and out of that I have seen it so many times!

What I am most proud of in 2017.

It’s been a pretty difficult year in many ways so this is quite hard to write but I want to try and end the year on a positive note. I have been inspired by many people who I follow on twitter who have been doing posts of what they have achieved in 2017, so here I am following suit. So here are the three things I am most proud of this year.

1. Still being alive. At the heart of it this is my major achievement. In 2017 the depression has hit its lowest ever point. Earlier in the year suicidal thoughts became the norm. Planning ways to commit suicide gradually increased. Finally three visits to a location where I could commit suicide occurred. A multi-storey car park was very appealing. I have explained about suicide in previous posts so I won’t go into much detail here. But certainly I have fought a war with mental illness year and my biggest achievement is I am still alive.

2. Holding it together for my two beautiful boys. Of this I reflect and feel so proud. Never have I been so ill as this year. Lucky to be alive. But despite the illness I have managed to still be a mum to my boys. Most of the time they wouldn’t have known anything was wrong and I have fought so hard to get well for them. They are beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful and very loving. I am proud of the role I have played in their life this year.

3. Returning to work and enjoying it. Back in May/June time I was looking for a way out of my current role. I was so poorly I couldn’t consider going back. Unfortunately money wise I needed to look for an alternative, something that perhaps would cause me less stress. My union representative and I discussed getting a settlement with my employer so that I never had to go back. This was so appealing. So what I really needed in many ways.

But come June I returned to work. Come September after the long teaching summer holiday I returned back to my normal hours and responsibilities. There have been some ups and downs but mainly I have coped and I have actually enjoyed my job. I am proud that I have managed to not let the illness completely overcome me. That even though the illness tried to persuade me to quit my job I listened to friends who advised me to take my time when making important decisions.

So what are you most proud of 2017? Please feel free to share.

P.s. I’m also very proud of publishing my first book on kindle. From tomorrow -2nd January it is reduced to 99p. Please take a look buy and share. Becky x

Be there for me-my book on kindle

The danger of words.

So today I had good news my broken wrist is healing and my cast could finally come off. It’s great news as it is another step in the road to recovery. But at the same time it now really hurts. I have to wait for physio. I’m not allowed to lift anything than a cup of tea said the consultant. Fun when I have a one year old!

So I was feeling quite upbeat today. It even felt like I had a protective coat on. Nothing could upset me today. Not the lack of sleep last night (thanks Thomas). Not the year 11 assessments that needed marking. Not making small talk with a visitor at work.

I was proud of how I was helping another member of my team. Supporting. Listening to them. Putting stresses into perspective. Trying to help them not get ill like I did last year.

That was until one comment. It is so utterly ridiculous how something so flippant. Something so small brought everything flooding back.

Sitting in the department office at work with two colleagues. One of them was looking for something in her old emails. She stumbled across a lovely email that the team had received after a stressful event. Out loud she remarked how nice an email it was.

It was like being hit by a train. Everything came flooding back. The desperation. The feeling of being a complete failure. The feeling of not being needed by anyone.

Neither of them were to know that the email she briefly referred to was the one that made my suicidal thoughts real. The one that turned the thoughts into plans. The one that one night made me so desperate I wanted to walk out at 10pm to kill my self. The one that resulted in a friend stopping me. The one that meant I hugged my husband so tight that night and cried into him for most of it.

It reminded me that I am still on a road to recovery. For a little while it put me back into the emotions of that day. Neither of the people I was with would have had any idea what was going on in my head at the time. Neither of them would have realised the effect on me.

Of course it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I am happy that the email she was referring to was sent. I am pleased for them. It surprised me that these simple words could have such a powerful affect on me.

Now hours later I’m back wondering how on earth they did. But sometimes it is a smell, a sound or a couple of words that bring back memories. They are still raw for me.

8 quotes for depression.

A few months ago I started using Twitter (again). I was set on a course to help overcome the stigma of mental health. I used quotes to inspire me. Months on I wanted to write a post which picked 8 which are important for my mental health journey.

A bonus one is the one as the image of this blog post. This for me is the most important. We can’t always see what others are going through or the illnesses they have. Depression is often invisible and many of the stigmas I have struggled with are due to people’s lack of belief because they can’t see anything is wrong.

1.

Depression is all consuming. It can eat you a way till you feel like there is nothing of your being left. It is exhausting. It is a battle just to get out of bed. So for me this quote is so important. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to just have breathed today. That’s an achievement!

2. I often use the words fighting a battle in your own head. Trying to overcome the war. Every day is so tough.

3.

As someone who has been extremely suicidal this is so true. Suicide is so misunderstood. People think it’s the cowards way out; that people haven’t consider who is left behind. That is so far from the truth. For me the depression was so bad I felt I was a burden to everyone in my life. I thought no one needed me as I was a complete failure. Therefore winning the fight and not throwing myself off the top of a car park when everything in my whole being was screaming to do it was the bravest thing I have ever done.

4. At times I wished I could have had the right words to explain how it felt. There are at times no words that can express what is going on, especially when you don’t understand it yourself.

5.

When I was at my worst two friends kept reminding me of this. It always felt genuine coming from them. One was a fellow depression sufferer and the other had a husband who had overcome the illness. It’s the message I think everyone with depression needs to know.

6.

This is a key tip for someone trying to support someone they know with depression. Being there and listening is key! You can’t solve depression like a problem but showing you care can make so much difference.

7.

This quote relates to the one above. Being heard and understood is so important to someone with depression. When your whole being lacks self belief and confidence it is very encouraging to know that there is somebody in the world who believes you.

8.

Lastly I would never want to inflict this illness on anyone. I certainly would get rid of it in a second if I could. However, it has taught me so much about how to help others. I have learnt strategies for supporting other people with mental illness mainly because I know what has helped me. I also know what has made me worse! Therefore I do think it is those who have experienced depression or some other form of illness or difficulty that will try to help others.

A poem of depression

Depression is tough

So often I have had enough

It’s hard to keep going

Through treacle I am rowing

The road to recovery is so long

To rush it would be so wrong

My mind tears me apart every day

Overbearing thoughts make me pay

On the outside I look so well

It is so hard to even tell

That deep inside me is a war

The biggest one you ever saw

But despite all of this strife

I do still want my life

I have often wanted to give up

As depression is a gloomy overflowing cup

My friends have held me tight

My husband mr right

My special boys my reason for life

To keep fighting despite the strife

Words of wisdom, listening ears

Have stopped the flowing tears

Love, understanding, belief

To be honest it is such a relief

Still more battles to be won

In order to see the sun

It will get better, it will be good

A battle won I knew you would

Message for a friend with depression.

So over the last few weeks I've witnessed the destructive nature of depression from the other side. "I'm a failure. I'm a burden. I don't want to live like this anymore. I have had enough. I'm too tired of fighting." A friend who has had enough.

Mental illness is different for everybody. Depression is certainly not the same person to person. But there are similarities. Listening to these words has been like hearing myself talk.

Over the past few weeks I've been in an ok place. Things certainly seem to be looking up. It is a slow process and I still have low hours or days but it feels like the tide has turned for now.

Listening and helping others with their own struggles is helping me feel needed. It gives me some value back to my life. It lets me to put into practice some of the advice I have been sharing.

I can empathise completely with my friend. A few weeks ago this was me. You hate yourself so much. You see no value in who you are. You feel a burden and a trouble to everyone. You are so scared of dying but wish you weren't because you just want to end it all. You can't live with it anymore.

Helping my friend has made me realise how hard it is for the person on the other side. It is a natural human instinct to want to make it all better. Give advice. But depression and mental health is not rational. It can not be problem solved. It is the most irrational thing in the world.

It is hard to fight my natural instinct to ask "what's wrong? Or what's happened?" I know from my own experience the answer is "nothing". There is no rhyme or reason to depression. It just hits at anytime often without an event to stimulate its growth.

So I've been trying so hard to remember my own words of advice for those wishing to help. Listen. Believe. Be there. I don't know how successful I am. I can criticise myself so easily I find I judge my responses.

To my friend. I want you to know. You are special. You are valued. You are wanted. You are needed. You have helped me and I am trying to be there for you in the same way.

It is your brain that is poorly. You have a mental illness. You are not all these things that it is telling you. I know you don't believe me when I say these things. But I will keep saying them incase there is something you can hang on to. Years after I first had depression I can still remember the words of a good friend who used to regularly tell me how amazing I was. I used to push it away. But somewhere it stayed in my head.

I will keep listening. I will keep being there. And more than anything I 100% believe you. I believe how bad it is. I believe what you say. I believe how awful you feel.

It will get better.

My experience of being suicidal.

Desperation. So low I couldn't handle it anymore. I just wanted it to be over. It hurts so much. Every second of everyday is a complete nightmare. I am a burden. I am a failure. I had walked here. Taken steps to my end. "Just going for a walk" I had said. Ended up at a place where I could end it all.

A few months ago this was me. Mother, wife, daughter, teacher contemplating ending it all. I thought it would be better if I wasn't here.

Last week Sinead O'Connor posted an "alarming suicidal video" (independent). Her video, which I haven't been able to watch because my own experiences are still so very raw, has been commended for its openness and bravery.

I have been thinking about this post for a while. Am I brave enough to share? Will I get the tone right? Can I explain it clear enough? Can I get people to understand? But O'Connor's video made me remember stigma is only shattered by sharing.

The Samaritans share that:

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK.

6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland

There is still a battle to be won. A fight to eradicate suicide. If we have any hope of that we need to help people understand suicide. There are so many myths about suicide.

Firstly and key for me is knowing

"the majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have."

Depression can make life feel unbearable and impossible to live. In the midst it is so difficult to see that there is anyway out.

I can remember the first night I really felt suicidal. I was off work, yet I had just heard about something that had happened at work in my absence. I was happy for my colleagues but I felt like I wasn't needed anymore. It felt like they were better off without me. When this combined with my thoughts that I was a useless mum and wife was catastrophic. A burden to everyone. No one would miss me.

That night I was desperate. I just wanted it over. I wanted to go and throw myself in front of the first car I saw. The combination of texting a friend and her husband contacting mine meant I spent the night sobbing in my husbands arms rather than anything else.

In the weeks that followed that time, suicide was often on my mind. Several times a day I would think about it. This is someone petrified of dying. Scared of the unknown. I don't want to die. I want to live forever. But depression is so bad at my worst I would have considered death just to make it go away.

I have planned different ways. I had thought about when. Then one night after a particularly bad day I put my boys to bed and declared to my husband I needed space and I was off for a walk. I set off in the direction of town. I knew where I was heading. I text a friend. I told her how I felt. I told her where I was. This was my safety net.

I walked whilst texting. She urged me to turn around. She begged me to stop. She commanded me to come to her house. I ignored her instructions. I pushed her worries aside. I was glad her children in bed meant she was unable to come out to me.

I walked. I cried. I internally screamed at the desperation I felt. I knew where I was heading. As I turned a corner I could see it in front of me. It was like I had reached the promised land. There was a sense of relief. There was the multi-story car park. There I could end it by throwing myself off the top. Quick. Sudden. No pain. Not to be found by a family member.

And that's as far as I got. A street away. I didn't dare go any closer! Just in case it was like Winston Churchill once wrote:

"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through…A second's action would end everything."

I avoided the situation where in a split second I could make the wrong decision. I avoided dealing with the second of desperation.

3 times I have made this journey. 3 times I have been so desperate for the illness to be over. 3 times I have lost all hope that it would get better. Many more times I have had other suicidal thoughts (sometimes several times a day) and done nothing about it.

This is not a selfish act. Of course I had thought about my friends and family. Depression is irrational. It cannot be explained. In those moments I felt like everyone would be better without me in their lives. I knew people would be upset but long term I thought they would be without the burden of putting up with me.

So what stopped me? My two boys. Thank God they are in my life. God is great. Even at my worst. Even when I can see the car park. Even when the option has seemed viable. They have made it impossible. Luckily never have I felt that they would be better off without me. I know my suicide would affect their whole life. They need me now and in their future. I'm their mum and I couldn't do this to them. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have been able to hold onto this in the depths of despair. Others haven't.

So what do I want you to know? Suicide is real. Action is needed to be taken to eradicate it. Suicide is not selfish. It is not a wish to die. It is a wish to end the pain. A desperation for it all to be over.

Please be there for friends and family. If you are worried about them, don't shy about the obvious question. Ask it. "Are you suicidal?" And if they say yes. "Have you made any plans?" It maybe the thing that could save their life. Sometimes people need to talk. Sometimes this is all it takes to help.

I repeat. Im lucky. I have had four friends and a husband who took me seriously. Who encouraged me to share about the reality of my suicidal thoughts. Thank you.

If you ever feel desperate call the samaritans free from any phone anytime 116 123 (U.K. and ROI).

My Liebster Award Nomination

I was recently nominated to take part in the Liebster Bloggers Awards. The Liebster is an online global award that helps people connect with new blogs. It helps you to spread your blog and raise awareness of other new blogs that generally have 200 readers or less.

The rules can be found at Global Aussie who originally started the award WAAY back in 2011 – https://theglobalaussie.com/blog/liebster-award-2017/

I was nominated by https://travelbear92.wixsite.com/travelbear who has a fantastic blog which is a combination of travel and mental health.

She asked me to answer the following questions and then continue on the tradition by nominating 11 more new bloggers to follow on the trend.

1 What made you start blogging?
When I was off work with depression I wrote a book to try and help my self recover and process my thoughts. I had suffered some stigma with different people and I wanted to explain what depression was like so that others wouldn't have to suffer in the same way. The book hasn't really gone anywhere. I had a major blip in my recovery and felt very suicidal. I decided to start writing my thoughts down and start a blog and I haven't looked back since.
2 What have you found most helpful since starting your blog?
The therapeutic affect it has had on my own mental health. It is helping me with my recovery from depression. Even if no one reads it, I will keep going as it is self-care for me.
3 What inspires you everyday?
My two boys. They are very young and they have kept me alive and fighting this horrible illness. They inspire me to be a better person and to be the best mum I can be. Also today I visited my 96 yr old grandad in hospital. He has dialysis 3 times a week, cancer, is blind in one eye and currently is in hospital as he has pneumonia. Him and my Nan (also 96) have been married for 76 years. They are so special to me and have overcome so many difficulties including world war 2 and the death of a child and grandchild.
4 If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Say yes when alan lovesey asks you out aged 17. He is now my husband and after 3 rejections in sixth form we eventually found love at the age of 28! When I was younger we were friends but i just didn't see him as anything other than that. I wasn't the best of people, I definitely led him on and made him think I wanted more. I regret that. I hate that I hurt him. I love that we found true love eventually.
5 What’s your biggest dream and do you think it will ever become reality?
I would love to become a published author. I have so many ideas for books. I don't really have the time to write properly at the moment but maybe in the future. I think becoming an author is so difficult. You need to get a break. An opportunity. Maybe one day.
6 When do you find time to blog & do you struggle?
Blogging at the moment is very spontaneous. I tend to write in the evenings after I have put my boys to bed. At the moment I have found it quite easy to fit in as I'm new to it and enjoying it but I think it will be harder when I go back to work after the summer holidays.
7 How important is mental health to you and what is your experience of it?
Mental health is essential. Everyone has mental health. Everyone needs to look after their mental health. As a sufferer of depression I have struggled with my own mental health. My blog and twitter account were set up with the aim of helping to shatter the stigma of mental health.
8 Do you like yourself & do you think you have Self Love?
I don't. I'm my biggest critic. I constantly see my self as a failure. I don't have much self esteem or value at the moment. I am working hard with my counsellor to try and build this up again.
9 What do you gain from blogging?
Improvement of my own mental health. I have also had some amazing comments from friends, colleagues and associates who have been shocked at my openness. It has led to people opening up to me about their own mental health and struggles. I am proud that I have given them the confidence to share what they feel because they know I won't judge them.
10 What is your favourite blog post of yours so far and why?
My post on self harm is my favourite so far. It was very scary to write because I was very worried about what people would think but at the same time I am proud of being so open and honest and hope it has helped others.
11 If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have always wanted to travel to Australia! Think it will be a long way in the future now because of money and having a young family but I hope to one day.

I really enjoyed taking part in this process. Thank you @travelbear92 for the nomination. It is now my turn to pass on the baton and nominate 11 others. I have been reading some really good blogs recently. I'm sorry if any of you have been nominated before and I don't know, please don't feel the need to do it again.

My favourite at the moment is written by @meandmymhmatters. I know how much this individual is currently struggling with their mental health but this doesn't mean they aren't working to inspire and help others with their blogging. You are amazing! You are important! You are loved! Remember that!

1.me and my mental health matters: Meandmymentalhealthmatters.wordpress.com

2.thoughtxhange1:
Thought xchange

3. M.chavez
Chavezanxiety.blogspot.com

4. Andrew Penner
Medium.com/@dancingbass

5. Cloudy light 1
cloudylight.wixsite.com

6. Stronger together
strongertogeth1.wordpress.com

7. Chaotic goddess
chaoticgoddess.me

8. Rich young minds
richyoungminds.com

9. Loving mental health
lovingmentalhealth.wordpress.com

10. Louise north
perksofbeinglouise.blogspot.co.uk

11. Kate Hawkins girlmasked.wordpress.com

My questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What inspires you?
3. What is your favourite quote?
4. What is your biggest achievement so far?
5. What is your dream for the future?
6. What is your experience of mental health?
7. Have you experienced any stigma associated with mental health? What?
8. Have you got any strategies that you use to improve your mental health?
9. Has something happened in your past that affects the person you are? How do you overcome this?
10. What self-care do you practice for your mental health?
11. What have you learnt about blogging since you have started?

I can't wait to read your responses.