Anxiety, mental health, Uncategorized

The mornings are the worst.

Well, when I say mornings, I mean whenever I wake up. Because I have a non-existent sleeping pattern at the moment.

When I come too, after my not so refreshing 2-4 hours, it’s there within 1 second. The churning and dropping of my stomach.

The palpitations. The butterflies throughout my body. Sometimes tears, salty, salty tears.

How do I get up? Why should I get up? I don’t want to be awake with this pain all day.

Anxiety: “I’m just going to keep your heart pounding like this and stomach churning all day incase we have to run quickly okay?”

Depression: “Nothing is gonna make me go away, I’m like a thick black sludge. Life’s really always gonna be shit, so why don’t you just stay in bed and torture yourself with questions?”

Me: “But Anxiety, how can I run quickly, and feel so on edge when Depression is telling me to stay in bed all day, how am I hyped up but also drained and lethargic?”

The internal fight between the two kicks off big time when I wake up. It has done more so for around 8 months now. I stay in bed, with no energy letting the depression win, but then anxiety chips in and chastises me for being in bed all day, calling me lazy, and avoidant. Telling me that If I get up now, everyone will judge you anyway. So I may as well stay in bed with the butterflies flying round, preparing for the worst, rocking yourself back and forth.

Then the nurse in me actually has a small worry about getting a pressure sore and I give my self some pressure relief. I know I’m low but the last thing I want is a gaping grade 3 on my arse that needs packing with durafibre!

Especially with my current situation (we’ll get to that later.) Mornings, well my version of mornings, are when the ‘why and how time’ starts;

⁃ why did he lie?

⁃ Why did I tell him how bad it was?

⁃ Why are all my emotions towards him having a jousting tournament in my mind?

⁃ How could he really stoop so low?

⁃ How can he tell me he needs space, that we’re still together and still loves me, but he’s actually on tinder talking to girls with the shittest game ever?! (Honestly “can I tell you you have a lovely smile?!” Vom, what are you? a desperate old man in weatherspoons?

⁃ How can he make everything about himself?

But shouldn’t I be making it about myself now?! At least I don’t have to sit at home whilst he prances off on his boat missing him. Of course I miss him now, god knows why, the guy used to pick his nose and eat it! That’s not what anyone needs in their life whilst their eating snacks watching Netflix.

Ive been screwed over, when my brain is already on its arse. And there will come a time when I can open up to how this even occurred.

Apparently, the term for mornings being worse than the afternoons and evenings with depression is called ‘diurnal variation of mood’. A hallmark of clinical depression. Wooo! And whilst looking for some research on this, I found a study into the effects of diurnal variation of mood, anaesthetic and interocular pressure (the pressure in your eyeballs) in Syrian hamsters-the world is a very very strange place. Leave the hamsters be. PLEASE.

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Uncategorized

When depression and I became acquainted

I was 16 when it hit me. Like a metaphorical train. Ever been stuck in a well? I should hope you haven’t that’s such a stupid situation to get yourself in, anyway, I digress. I have been, but only in my head. Stuck down there, can’t get out, you can see the light, you can shout, but you’re at the bottom of a bloody well!

Little did I know it had been manifesting it’s self with its little demons for years, I was first dragged unwillingly to the doctors by my mother at the age of 10 due to my uncontrollable rage. At first everyone thought “here we go she’s getting to puberty, everyone grab a shield and throw chocolate at her.” But little did I know, that was only the start.

I have fond memories of my childhood, made an adequate amount of dens, fell off my bike too many times, I even had a Barbie Ferrari!

But there were troubles. I really feel far too scared to discuss right now – I’ll save that for my therapy sessions.

Long story short, divorced parents (like everyone these days) but a messy divorce. Police presence, giving evidence in court at 14.

Now, don’t be jumping to conclusions here, I was never abused, but there was an element of that in my life. A lot of anger.

I’m sure you’ll be glad to know, I have a good relationship with my parents through all this.

Now, you may think “how is anger in anyway related to being depressed?” WELL, Sigmund Freud described depression as “anger turned inwards.” And despite all his other theories (honestly that man had some really concerning ideas) his description is pretty accurate.

In my case, it was ‘maladaptive anger’. With traumatic experiences contributing to dysfunctional responses to my inner anger. The anger being driven by the critical parrot on my shoulder telling me that nothing will ever be okay.

I got into a wonderful habit of letting the inward anger build, and build, and build until I had an Empire State Building of hate in my head. Then BOOM, I’d scream, shout, throw knives (not even in a way that could get me on a talent show doing it) and in general go bat shit crazy. Then hide away for days, feeling guilty, but knowing no other way of expressing and releasing the inward anger and deep hurt.

This was on and off until I was 16, doing my AS levels. Got myself my first proper boyfriend, it was the whole ‘first love, besotted, best feeling in the world’ thing. During this time of my infatuation my mum couldn’t cope with my maladaptive anger and I was living with my grandma in another town. Then….

You know how the story goes, girl gets heart broken by first love. Crying, eating ice cream, being the junior Bridget Jones. Despite how much I was told “you’re only young, you’ll get over it it’s fine.” It was rejection. My crap functioning brain couldn’t deal with it at all.

I missed school, I lay in bed for days, I lost friends, I fell into a trap of self destructive behaviour to punish myself and him (We’re actually pretty good friends still and we often lol at our teenage antics.)

I was soon dragged to the doctors again when I was discovered plotting my own demise. The anger turned to a deep deep sadness, I didn’t even have the energy anymore to behave crazily. In come the child and adolescent mental health team, anti-depressants and therapy. I started to build myself up and realise what’s been happening for years. I focused on me.

But just like herpes… it never truly goes away. It’s sat there on your shoulder, muted slightly with the meds. But just pushing you to see everything negatively. Reminding you when you smile or laugh that it won’t last, you’ll soon feel like you’re in that well again. It took 2 years to get to a place where I felt in control. However, as I went to uni, I was lost in the big old mental health system. Seeing my GP 6 monthly for a meds review where I would kindly nod that I feel okay and go get on with my pretentious art degree.

I WAS feeling okay at that time. I made some great friends who I will forever love, I had some of the most hilarious times, especially in Cockpit (may that place forever rest in peace). And I met someone new, someone who had so much in common with me, made me laugh until I almost pee’d. Everything was going swimmingly.

But that parrot was still there… and at some point I’ll let you know how it’s been there.

3 in 4 mental Illnesses start in childhood. With 50% of mental illnesses taking root before a child hits the age of 15.

Can we look out for these kids?! Keep an eye, let them play, use their imaginations, try and protect them (not from everything these kids need a back bone, they’ve gotta be able to tell another kid not to use a stick as a weapon.)

And that’s all for now, it’s like war and peace, sorry. (Can’t help but apologise for everything that’s another great trait.)

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Anxiety, mental health, Uncategorized

An introduction to anxiety for me

So you know when you’re really nervous for something? You’re giving a presentation, going on a first date, or about to go on a thrill-seeking rollercoaster. Fair enough the last one of the 3 has an excited element, but those butterflies flying around in your stomach are still there right?

It’s familiar to most of us, and is a natural response to fear. It’s the adrenaline hitting your beta receptors, speeding up your heart rate pushing the caveman or cavewoman version of yourself into fight or flight.

It’s justified for a lot of people, and biologically needed now and again (not that we have much need for running away from terrifying predators anymore) and a lot of people can rationalise this feeling, they know the feeling will go after the anticipated event. You’ve just got to get through it.

But some amongst us have this churning of aggressive little winged bugs in our stomach on a day to day basis.

The pounding of your heart making you think you genuinely may drop dead. And me, a registered nurse who works in cardiology knows this isn’t the case. I don’t have an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Nor are the stabbing pains across your chest the indication of a massive Myocardial Infarction (heart attack).

But my irrational brain workings often won’t let me see in such clarity.

For nearly a decade now this has been a regular feeling for me, and of late, on a day-to-day basis. And the best part of it is, a lot of the time I have no idea why! Nor am I in a life threatening or completely nerve racking situation where this feeling is justified.

The human brain and body is fantastic eh!

My beautiful brain has been great to me. It got me some great GCSE’s and A-levels. It got me two bachelors degrees. One of those being a first class honours degree.

It works with me everyday; to keep patients safe, to plan their care, assess if they are on the correct medications, if the doctor may have missed something, and being with patients and their families through the most difficult times.

But along with all this, my brain loves to work against me.

It LOVES to read into every situation and see it in a daunting and negative light.

Off the top of my head things such as, someone says “you’re hair looks nice, why did you decide to change it?” Queue the feeling of dread whilst my mind shouts “they don’t like it, they think you’ve done something stupid and you look stupid, they preferred it before, now everyone is going to be laughing at you.”

RIDICULOUS RIGHT?

Or, jokes, banter, a bit of sarcasm. And believe me i give as good as I get, it’s the main way me and my friends communicate. But that inner niggle in my brain says “they’re being serious you know, they really think you’re a joke.”

There are many other occasions and events that get my brain making bubbles. I’d love to list some more but them winged bastards are having a right fit in my stomach and chest at the moment so I’m going to leave it for now. But I can always keep you updated!

It stops me doing things I want to do, it strains my relationships, with family, friends and it’s apparently the reason my long term boyfriend decided to finish me over text message, with his families support, because they couldn’t get their head round it.

It’s debilitating. And it’s called Anxiety.

Yes everyone gets anxious, it’s part of being human. But not everyone has their lives tested by it every single day.

It nearly won recently. But, I’m the winner really, because I’m gonna kick them butterflies up the arse. Only my stomach ones, I’m completely against aggressive behaviour towards butterflies (the high brown fitillary butterfly has declined by 94% since the 40’s, so please don’t kick them).

25% of people are estimated to be affected by mental health problems. 1 in 4. That’s a lot.

Always be mindful of other people. Talk, or don’t talk. Ask people if they’re okay. Distract people, make someone smile. You never know what’s rattling around in their head.

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