Guilt is a very powerful emotion and something I suffer from a great deal. The guilt I feel about things makes me feel worse and puts extra pressure on me that I do not need. I also do not cope with stress well and so guilt and stress can become a lethal concoction. I have actually had quite a stressful day today and was glad when I got home so that I could rant and rave! Learning which situations you find stressful and recognising the warning signs is the first step to being able to cope (for me anyway). I have found the same is true for depression. At present I am on anti depressants, although it took me many years to accept that I was suffering and that I needed to change things I finally made the step to recovery.
Unfortunately there is still a stigma towards mental health problems which often makes it hard for those suffering to admit that there is a problem and that something needs to change. About seven months ago now I took my first step to what I describe as my recovery. I went to the doctor because I knew that I didn't want to feel the way I did any more. The worst thing for me was the YoYo mood, not bipolar levels but my mood would vary massively from day to day. My lows were becoming lower and more frequent and although my husband was amazing through this time, it was a strain on him and our relationship as well. At the point of me making that first step we were not married and I suppose that was one of the biggest reasons why I knew I had to change something because I did not want to go into marriage with so many difficulties. Marriage is supposed to be a joyous time and if I was suffering as much as I was at this point then it wouldn't have been what every woman dreams of.
So I head off to my doctor to speak to her, she was very supportive and I suppose once I had the first appointment there was a relief about taking that first step. She went through the motions and referred me to counselling as well as prescribed me antidepressants. For a short period of time after this first appointment I felt like I lived at the doctors (that is good I suppose as I was at least being treated properly). It took me a little while to get the right medication, at the right level. Some of the times before this were quite scary because it actually magnified some of my feeling and experiences. I am naturally quite an anxious person, but the medication initially made this worse. I started to wonder whether I had made the right decision, but thankfully since the medication has been sorted it has gradually started to make me feel better.
Counselling took a while to start and so this did not occur until after I got married. Thankfully the medication was beginning to work by the time the wedding came around and I was feeling a little more settled and able to cope, most importantly able to enjoy our special day. The wedding day was all that I could have wished for and the honeymoon was amazing. When I came back from this I struggled a little as it felt that I was coming back to earth with a bang. I have learnt to keep busy, but not too busy that I let things get on top of me. I do find it difficult to say no and so sometimes will take on more than I should do. Learning to pace myself will only take time, but I am trying because I know that this is one of the main ways that I can keep a healthy mind.
The counselling finally started and I attended all the 12 sessions that I was offered. These sessions gave me the opportunity to look at areas of my life in a way that I perhaps hadn't done previously. Doing this has helped me to approach experiences in my life in a way that I may not of done before. As I mentioned previously I do not deal with stress well and it is through counselling and giving myself time to think about some of my experiences I have come to realise this and find a better way to cope rather than going in on myself and letting it eat me up.
I have also found my own counsel in my blog and some of the activities I have now got myself involved in. I see myself in a more positive light and recognise that I have something to offer the world. I write my blog for myself, but I do hope that what I write does help people who may be going through similiar themselves. Depression is not something to be ashamed of, it can happen to anyone. If you are feeling this way it is not a failure to ask for help (this is something that I have only learnt recently). People who have not suffered from a mental illness cannot fully appreciate what it is like but, if you admit you need help people are there to listen, be it a friend, relative or doctor. Please don't suffer in silence.