Mental Health Battles – My Ugly Truth

The Stigma

1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness each year.

I’m so sick and tired of the stigma surrounding mental health.  All of this rubbish about the stigma ending is such a pile of poop.  It hasn’t ended at all.  People still think mental illness is a sign of weakness.

I’m really struggling with my mental health at the moment and I’m really embarrassed by it.  It’s so hard to ask for help or to tell people how bad I feel, which adds to the isolation I already feel.  The fact that I can’t just pop to the local supermarket, I can’t pop round a friends for a coffee and, right now, my entire family, along with my best friends are on holiday whilst I’m at home.

The Attitude Of Others

A huge contributing factor to the stigma is the thoughtless shite that comes out of the mouths of some people.

gossiping

Recently, someone told me instead of having my assistance dog with me, I should use a teddy bear that speaks to reassure me and leave my specially trained dog at home.  I was really hurt by this.  This person wasn’t kidding either, nor was she intentionally being mean.  Some people recommend sufferers of anxiety just “don’t think about it”.  Just come out for a little while, said to a sufferer of agoraphobia.

Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate

There is no specific type of person that’s more susceptible to mental illness.  It doesn’t discriminate.  Suffers past and present include Abraham Lincoln, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Thompson, Demi Lovato, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Nicole Kidman, Winston Churchill and Robin Williams.  Highly intelligent and successful people.  We don’t see these people as weak, so why do I feel like such an idiot for suffering?

Suicide

It makes me feel really cross when I hear people say suicide is the cowards way out.  I strongly disagree.  To actually make that decision and act upon it must be the most difficult decision that person ever makes.  Living with mental illness is really bloody hard.  The daily battle with your own mind.  Not feeling comfortable in your own skin on a day to day basis is horrific.  I understand why people make that decision to end their suffering.  Unless you’ve walked in their shoes, save your judgement.

My Journey

mental health medication

I withdrew with medication back in May.  It wasn’t a decision I made lightly.  They were clouding my mind too much, I had words missing from my vocabulary, I was struggling to string together a coherent sentence.  I felt like it was time to stop them and see what my normal is.  I didn’t just wake-up one day and chuck my pills in the bin.  It was done very slowly over the course of almost a year and under the supervision of my psychiatrist.  I was on pregabalin and sertraline.  I’ve heard these medicines work really well for some people, but I never really felt they were for me.

Since being medication free, my thoughts have been much clearer and I feel like I have more of a grasp on my thoughts.  The downside is that I’ve  been really struggling with depression (which isn’t something that’s affected me for many years) along with a variety of other negative side effects.  It’s been a total rollercoaster but I was really happy to be free from medication.  I genuinely think natural remedies and good nutrition can work wonders for your health.

Rock Bottom

meds

People often refer to this rock bottom place.  I hit that today and I hit it hard.  I’ve had to throw my medication free success out of the window tonight.  I’m pretty gutted but it’s had to be.  People talk about losing the will to live.  I felt that quite literally today.

Whilst I’m typing this I’m on 5mg of diazepam which enables me to have a brief respite from the anxiety I’ve been feeling all day.  I am taking this every four hours, clock watching until the next dose is due.  Following several calls to the emergency mental health team and my local GP, I’ve decided that being medication free is too dangerous for me right now.  I’ve just taken 10mg of citalopram and that is that.  Part of me feels like a massive failure but also I understand it’s what I need right now.

Recovery

I genuinely think this is rock bottom.  I also believe I will get better from this.  My plan is to document my journey in the hope it will help others that are also suffering.

If you need help, you’re not alone.  Mind is a brilliant charity for people with mental health struggles.  You can find their contact details on their website.

friends

The best advice, in my opinion, is to talk about it.  I’m blessed with amazingly supportive friends, but even in my darkest hour, I couldn’t tell them about it, which is frustrating.  When I did tell them, they were fantastic and knowing they are there if I need them in invaluable.  Also, my Mum is amazing – I’m extremely lucky to have her (she’s actually staying with me whilst my family are away, being my medication keeper and making sure I’m safe).

We need to BREAK THE SILENCE!  If we all talked about our mental health struggles, we’d feel less alone and they’d be less of a stigma for those of us that do struggle.  It’s so common.

So please, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk.  Talk until you’re blue in the face.  Get it all out there.

Why not come and join in the chat here in this Facebook Group?

Lu Lovely

16 Comments

  • Reply August 18, 2017

    Keith

    That is so true I know it must have been hard for you to write I cannot sit here and say I understand completely how it must be for you but I do know you will get better , we will always be here to help whenever we can 🙂

  • Reply August 18, 2017

    The American

    The struggles you experienced today is building the strength you will need for tomorrow. Together we will get through this. You’re so loved

  • Reply August 21, 2017

    Rose

    You are the strongest person I know Lu, well done for telling it how it is, take care lovely xxx

  • Reply August 21, 2017

    Linda

    I am so sorry to hear this. I can partially relate, I don’t think I have clinical depression, but external factors (grief, redundancy, moving house – all of it happening in a month or two), made me almost stare at it in the face. It is a battlle and it takes a lot of discipline. I found talking therapy worked for me as well as CBT – in training your mind to think differently. However when chemicals in the brain are involved the battle is harder. Have you tried running? I’ve heard it helps – I have been running for a while. I can’t say I am MUCH better but at least I sleep better….I guess grief is a different matter but depression is a stage of grief too.

  • Reply August 22, 2017

    Vicki @ tippytupps

    Well done on being so brave. I do think that being so open and honest about these things is the key to removing the stigma. So many people struggle in silence and they shouldn’t have to

  • Reply August 22, 2017

    Katie Halsall

    So many people just don’t understand, and it leads to comments that can be more damaging. It is definitely important to keep speaking about it as a community, and well done for doing just that!

  • Reply August 22, 2017

    five little doves

    I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I have been at rock bottom, so bad that I attempted to end my life and spent months in a mental health facility. It has taken me years to get where I am today, still on anti-depressants (have been for 20 years now) and always will be, but much happier and stronger. Sharing your story is so brave, much love. xx

  • Reply August 23, 2017

    Rox Snedeker

    I cannot even imagine how you must be feeling, as I don’t personally know ( That I know of) anybody that suffers from this, but all I can say is that I feel your pain and that you are not alone <>!

  • I am so sorry to read this. It must’ve been a tough decision to go back on medication but you have to do whatever is right for you. A very brave post x

  • Reply August 23, 2017

    Sarah Humphreys

    It is very true, there is so much stigma about mental health, Well done to you for speaking out and writing about it to help others understand what some people are going through. I do hope you can begin to feel better soon.

  • Reply August 24, 2017

    Little B & Me

    I really struggled with my mental health whilst I was pregnant.
    I told no one as I thought they would take B away once he was born.

    My entire last few months of pregnancy were anxiety filled. I’d worry that the fruit & veg stall I past had Toxoplasmosis on their fruit & veg & by going past & breathing I was putting B in danger.
    I felt so down & so ill. I had no skin left on my hands from over washing.. I did try & get help but the midwife laughed so I left it & sorted myself out.

    I couldn’t ever go through that again & I can now understand how bloody hard mental health issues are to understand & ‘recover’ from x

  • Reply August 24, 2017

    Clare

    You are so brave to write this, kudos to you and I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. Stay strong and keep writing, I really think it will help you and other people. x

  • Reply August 24, 2017

    Clare

    Wow, I absolutely admire your bravery writing this, especially having an off day as you were. I don’t think anyone understands mental health unless they have lived with it, and even those who live with someone who has mental illness often struggles to know what to say. Keep writing and telling your story as I truly think it helps other people know they are not alone. Coming off medication does not make you a failure either, in fact it shows me how in control you are, as you know something isn’t right. There will be a right time to come off it, but it shows no weakness being on it. I hope today is a better day 🙂

  • Reply August 25, 2017

    Duncan

    Well done for having the strength and fortitude to explain so clearly how things are. I heard about the ridiculous incident with your dog, but don’t let one ignorant individual get in the way of you succeeding in your struggle.
    You have the most caring and lovely family and friends, who clearly had a Lu-shaped hole in their lives this week, whilst making the best of their holiday. Let them guide & help you, keep working to find a sensible balance of meds and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see you with them next summer xx

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  • Reply September 11, 2017

    Cardiff Mummy Says - Cathryn

    Thank you for writing this. Like you say, there is so much stigma around mental health, it is not easy to talk about. It is so important though to help raise awareness and understanding. I have a close family member with a mental illness and it has been tough.

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