Jack of all Trades and Master of None…

Hello folks.  This afternoon, I thought that I would take a moment to talk about mental health.  We all have it, and we all experience it, good or bad.  My own life’s experiences, quite scarily, amount to a quarter of a century’s worth.  And when I look at my statistic in this way, it sounds extremely bleak.  Whilst I can only comment in depth on my personal backstory, this doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to listen to the backstories of others.  I have oodles of empathy, and have often been a sounding board for others to share their innermost thoughts.

For those who don’t know me, my mental health deteriorated when I was 18.  I had been at university for approximately two weeks, and I was completely unaware as to how my life was falling apart at the seams.  And, sadly, my health had declined so much that it led to my first hospital admission.  My friends rallied round, visiting me in hospital.  My family was completely and utterly baffled as to why I had been diagnosed as having manic-depression, or, as it’s known today, having Bipolar Mood Affective Disorder.  It took years for me to accept that I had this condition, which is, lifelong.  And even longer to adjust to the fact that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life.  My ambitions of being a journalist were washed away with pills to cure my ills.  I have regular flashbacks to my first episode, and of subsequent episodes, and they are not pleasant at all.

My life seemed to spontaneously combust whenever I started a new qualification or course.  There were days when I thought that I would never hold down a full-time job, or move out of my parental home.  Whilst my friends gained their degrees and went onto find their dream job roles, I had to forge a different path for myself and get qualified in other ways.  I did this by volunteering for many different organisations, and taking advantage of free education whenever I could.  I have completed many courses successfully, however, there are so many more that I had to give up.

At the age of 24, I started my first full-time job, and at the age of 37, I gave up full-time work.  I was completely burnt out with the 9-5 regime; and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to my put my own needs first.  It didn’t work out exactly as I planned.  I lost a relationship, my home, and my dog in the space of a few short months.  But more than that, I lost my sanity, again.  Whilst I have had no manic relapses for over three years, I still suffer anxiety, low mood and depression.  I have been in a secure and loving relationship for over two years now, but, it has been difficult for me to move on from the trauma I experienced and work through the trust issues that I was left with.  Recovery has taken its time.

We all have our different coping mechanisms and strategies; for me, it’s in the form of counselling or group therapy.  Last October, I finished a CBT workshop, that focused on anxiety and stress.  It has helped enormously with the psychological issues I was trying to deal with on my own.  I often return to its session handouts to work out things that are worrying me at the moment.  Two weeks ago, I started taking a beta blocker, to help with the physical symptoms of anxiety.  And, they have really made a difference.  My insomnia has reduced and I feel calmer within myself.

Having a mental health issue, is like having a deep war wound or scar from life’s battles, which has to be cleansed regularly.  The first step towards healing yourself, is to talk to someone about how you are feeling, allowing them to help you in the best way that they can.   This may be a family member, close friend or a work colleague that you trust.  Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence, as it seriously isn’t worth it.  Let the tears fall, but remember, that there will be happy times and laughter again.  I guarantee it.

Take care tiddlypeeps x x x