Hey, I start off by putting a possible TW on this post! Just in case it upsets anyone. It will discuss depression, anxiety and moments of self sabotage and maybe episodes of depersonalisation/dissociation. If that hasn't put you off, then thank you! I'm going to write this as best as I can.
Before I go backwards, it is important to me to tell you why here, why now and why so early on, so that is where we will start. You have seen and heard about the good times because I have been avoiding the bad. The bad is still here, never really goes away but you learn to live with it as it seems to be quite common with today's society. Unfortunately.
Today is Wednesday 22nd September 2020, but this will not be going live until Friday - when I hope you guys see it! I have just come off the phone to Forward Thinking Birmingham's Access Center to access mental health services again. This feels like the 1st time and the millionth time, at the same time, I hope that makes sense. It sounded positive and will be put before the panel Friday! I really hope it works this time! Today is an okay day, I am full of cold but I have loads of amazing plans for Friday which I am looking forward too! Now is important because I want to be able to look back on this post in so many months time and hope to have some answers, continuing to manage. It is important for me to fit a mental health blog in now because as I said in my "About Me" blog, it is not just a place to write about things, it is my diary and that is the best way for me to write. I would like to think nobody resonates with this but I know that won't be the case. I want people to know it is okay. Regardless of your mental health 'stage' it is okay. I am going to write this blog in sections.
Accessing Mental Health Services.
I have come to a point now at the age of 22, where this is my last shot of accessing NHS/Funded services for my mental health. All these tick boxes, criteria, how many times you have accessed! It is all a mind field, for example back in March, I tried to access mental health services just to help manage and get things into place whilst I was off work. This was before lockdown. I rung around places such as Living Well Consortium, Birmingham Healthy Minds, Pattigift Therapy CIC but I hadn't been discharged from one and then there was a 12 week wait until you could access again! I'm sorry but that needs to change! If people are feeling brave enough to ring you, then help them! Anyway, I just end up going around and around in circles. A few weeks ago, I was at a stump! I didn't want to try the NHS again! So I considered medical insurance but they don't include pre-existing medical conditions unless you don't access support for 2 years first. We were going to look a private but it is expensive! I cannot afford to pay that right now, it is finding the right service, how do you know to trust them! So I ended up back on the phone to my GP and that is where we are at right now... waiting for the panel to decide what support I need! If this doesn't work, I cannot deal with another tick box assessment again!
Depression... How I began to know you?
Now I look at you and face you everyday, I now know that you were probably always there. You run in the family and my upbringing probably has a lot to do with it. I was just so used to you that I didn't recognise that I was living with you! I used to have to talk to staff at my secondary school about what and how I was feeling and what I wanted to change. I began to get brave around my mid teens with trying to talk to doctors about what I now know to be my mental health. One GP basically dismissed my claims and other services were okay but CBT wasn't what I needed because I did not know the problems then and I still do not really know now. However, if I read my notes it talks about the past four years. This is purely because I am now in a good environment, where feeling like that everyday and not really having connections is not okay. I have so much amazing stuff go on but depression makes you question everything and you pray that for certain events that it hides away! Depressions side kick is Ms Anxiety, I never really knew what anxiety was and it turns out I had anxiety when I didn't realise, it isn't always the tight chest, breathlessness, state of confusion or in my case the nail biting! It appears in so many ways and sometimes I will not notice she is there. With tick boxes I have mentioned above, I questioned many of times whether or not I had depression because it just didn't fit the norm. Even though I knew I had it and accepted it, it wasn't until my wife, Sam, looked at NHS' website and read out things for me to accept it. Even again with MInd.org.uk PDF about depression that I remembered that they are part of it too!
Mind Over Matter: Medication and Me!
I have been exploring medication on and off for the past four years trying many of sorts, stopping and starting, never under the watchful eye of a GP! Disclaimer: I am no way a medical professional, please discuss medication with a trained professional! I have tried Sertraline which was meh... okay but the nausea and the advice about it just put me off to be honest, I have also tried different doses of Fluxotine or better known as Prozac, I didn't have a great time on this, I seemed to go into a bit of a downward spiral and had moments of self sabotage. Now you will find me on Citalopram, Sam is on Citalopram so I know it works for her, which I know doesn't mean it will work for me but it was worth a go. Luckily, it does. I do not want to be on medication forever as I like to think a lot of my time with medication can be mind over matter. I think I need to find and address my issues. I believe I will then be at piece with myself, making sure I love myself always.
Self Sabotage: When it doesn't feel real!
Leading on from above, I have had moments with medication - not usually MH medication, where I have found nail biting and occasionally hair pulling was not enough. I have taken multi-vitamins, paracetamol etc, in weird but not suicidal/self harm dangerous amounts just to feel something. There has never really been any self harm or suicidal thoughts, thankfully but it does no way mean that these things were okay. For example, a few years ago when I was a teenager, I took two paracetamol, every four hours, eight times a day and blamed it on my bad back. When really, I was suffering with a bad mind. Remember, you can physically feel or see a broken arm or leg, you cannot always see or feel a broken heart or mind. I sometimes like my mind, sabotage the good things, like my life and I even let it destroy my job! Services need to be there, when needed! Not before and definitely not after. You cannot preempt these things, you cannot plan for them!
Healthy Support Network!
The importance of a support network, I mean a healthy one! I can't talk I don't always opt for the salad... I opt for a pizza! But when it comes to your head, you can't do that! You cannot include toxic people in your support network! You just cannot do it! Trust me, I have learnt the hard way. Some people, you can have in your life but aren't what you need in your network! Only you can determine that! Not me! I promise, it takes time but you will find it but I couldn't do this without Sam, she is truly my rock which I never appreciate enough! She knows I am ill before I do, which is very helpful! Truly! It takes practice and if that means taking your family out of your support network do it! Your mental health has to come first, not family first!
My depression and anxiety, possibility of other mental health issues are continuing to evolve, especially my understanding. It fluctuates and that is okay. It will never define me, it is part of me. It holds a lot of answers and a lot of questions. There are a range of mental health services available and you have to push for them! Again and again and again! It is worth it, I promise! I will keep you up dated! I hope this blog, finds useful to you.
Useful resources include: Taken Directly off Mind.org,uk website!
Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).
SANEline. If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
The Mix. If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.
Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email email@example.com or text 07786 209 697.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day)