I have always been scared to talk about my depression. I worry that people are just going to think that I’m lazy or that I’m being overemotional or that they won’t take me seriously. I don’t understand my own depression, so how can I expect someone else to. I feel like anxiety is more relatable and accessible to people that don’t have an anxiety disorder, because everyone has felt anxious about something in their life before. I don’t feel like depression can be explained in the same way. Yes the low mood is quite a large part of how depression affects my life, but I’ve been hiding it for a long time so when I tell people that I have actually been feeling empty inside for months they aren’t going to believe me.
This week, my mental health is in a worse place than it has been since I was 15 years old. I have had several depressive episodes in the last few years and anxiety is a daily struggle in my life, but it took this breakdown for me to realise that all of my self care up to this point has just been an excuse to ignore the real problems. My own coping strategies and self care methods have helped me through some really rough times, but I needed more. I had so many unresolved issues through years of untreated depression that the pressure put on me from my job pushed me over the edge. In my lowest moments, I was a complete mess. I was so physically and emotionally drained that I began to feel like I cannot cope.
This episode is what has urged me to get some help and it has taken me a long time to get here, but I was completely honest to a doctor about my mental health for the first time in my life and I was prescribed antidepressants on Wednesday. It was a weird day, where I combated so many things that make me anxious but also I was crying the entire time.
First, I wrote a very honest email to my tutor at university and cried just typing out the words “I’m struggling”. I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling I wanted to remain in control and I don’t want people to think I’m weak. Then, I rang a local counselling service and cried while giving them just my basic contact information. I will have my initial assessment with them in a couple weeks and be added to a waiting list. I rang the doctors surgery and arranged a same day over the phone appointment with my GP, which I then had to wait all day for. I rang my mum to tell her what had happened and explain that I haven’t gone to uni, I will be there when she gets home and I will probably still be an emotional wreck. When the doctor rang me back, I had to answer some really tough questions about my own feelings and how my depression affects me. Next, one of my work colleagues rang me because she’s worried about me. I cried to her on the phone while waiting for my mum to collect my prescription. In the evening, I rang two of my bosses from work and cried to them on the phone explaining the situation and trying to arrange for me to have the rest of the week off.
Since I’ve started taking Citalopram, the only side effect I’ve noticed so far is feeling really drowsy. I’m sleeping really deeply at night and waking up feeling light headed. I was told that my anxiety would be heightened for around 2 weeks before the antidepressant kicks in, which could take around 4 weeks.
It’s interesting that I feel slightly better in the days following my bad day, but I was able to be so productive in fighting my depression and that has had a positive effect before the antidepressants have even had a chance. Yesterday was actually a really good day. I wrote myself a list of basic things to do (e.g. eat breakfast/lunch, wash hair, workout) and I stuck to it. I admit that it took me 3 hours after I woke up to do anything, because I still just felt generally low and I did just sit staring at my laptop screen for a while. One positive that came from yesterday, I didn’t cry once all day and I stayed calm. Today started very much the same way with the low feeling and lack of motivation, but 3 hours after waking up I sat down and wrote this post. So, that’s something positive and productive from the day.