I Want To Be Free…

Dear friend

The last few months have been a roller coaster, constantly turning and not stopping.

I watched my days turn into nights, nights back into days – a walking zombie, doing so much yet achieving so little.

All the time you asked how I was, I said I was fine. All the jokes I received from you I responded with a laughing emoji or just an ‘LOL’.

What you don’t know was that there were days that I could not even summon the strength to get out of the bed or even take a phone call. I had no energy or motivation to feel happy for myself or anyone for that matter even if they had shared good news.

I would drift in an out of sleep and hate myself for being so lazy. I took some time off work because I was struggling with day-to-day tasks and I thought a break would do me good.

I would wait until it was dark to go to the convenience store and by then it would be too late to cook so I would buy myself a packet of  chocolate digestive biscuits to have with a cup of tea before bed. But I wouldn’t have 2 or 4 or 6, I would gradually eat all the biscuits and wonder where they all went.

I would lie awake till the early hours of morning then I would sleep until lunchtime feeling guilty for my laziness, hating myself for not training and binge eating. I would be snappy and burst into tears for the most trivial things.

I would look at my reflection in the mirror and not recognise the person staring back at me. I would just feel so tired, not motivated to do anything at all.

I would lie in bed for hours watching the news but if you asked me what was happening around the world, I would not know. I was absent from my own existence most of the time.

Each night I would make a list of things to do the next day, but each morning I woke up, I struggled with the smallest of tasks.

I pushed myself to do a course that I wanted to do as I had free time. I almost did not make it to the exam as the anxiety kicked in and I had a million and one excuses in my head why it was probably a better idea to postpone to another day.

It was one of those exams centres where you get your results printed straight away. I got my results slip and just put in my handbag and left the exam centre. I got home, looked at the results slip .. ‘I had passed’.

There was no elation, no happiness, just relief that I would not have to do it again. I changed into my pyjamas, got into bed and forgot all about it for a few days.

One morning I woke up supercharged and felt like I could take on the world. I cleaned and decluttered the house and started sending out applications for new jobs.

My CV was received well. My phone was ringing with recruiters wanting to chat about roles they could offer but I just could not muster the strength to take the calls. I didn’t feel good enough for the roles, I just wanted to curl up and hide.

What if they interview me and they don’t like me? What if I don’t hear from them? And with the calls that I took, I would obsess about my responses, did I say the right thing, should I have said this instead of that?

I would then be back on that roller coaster again. I felt like I was constantly running but not reaching my destination, I was just getting more and more exhausted.

Images that show what it feels like to suffer from mental illness. Bringing the inside to the outside.

Days rolled into nights, nights turned into days and quickly into weeks and months. I lost track of time.

Social events became a chore. I made every excuse possible to not go anywhere and if I plucked up the courage to go, I would be late because of procrastinating, should I shouldn’t I? Will I look silly in this outfit? Will I be comfortable with the people around me? Things that never used to bother me were starting to bother me.

Driving became a challenge, stopping for petrol became a challenge, getting out of bed was nearly impossible. I just could not understand what was going on.

I totally lost the zest for life, didn’t have the energy to exercise or even leave the house. I was tired and aching but I could not understand what was going on. I was getting used to being confined to the bubble that I had created, I would imagine myself dead after a road accident while I was driving. If I was at a strain station, I would fantasise about standing at the edge of a platform while a fast train passed.

Photo by Pexels

It got to a point that my thinking was so irrational and I would get upset by the smallest things. I just could not stop it, I wished it would stop, I prayed it would stop but I just continued in my never-ending burnt out state.

I knew I couldn’t continue feeling that way and I made an appointment to see the doctor. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after an hours consultation of describing how I felt.

I was given treatment options but none were forced on me. It was entirely up to me to make the decision which I made in a few days.

I will not lie and say it was easy, but knowing that what I was going through had a name, that I was not the only one going through it and that I could get better gave me a better outlook to life.

I am recovering, I know it will take a while to heal but I am getting better everyday.

I am taking things slowly, one day at a time in order to find stability and improve my well-being.

I do not feel like I am running to an unreachable destination.

I am not afraid of the future. I am facing my fears one by one. I still have bad days, but my good days are better.

I am sharing because I want to be free.

I want to be free to tell you that I really feel like ‘crap’ if you talk to me when I am having a bad day.

I am learning to say no when I feel like I have overcommitted myself.

I am learning that my strength and resilience is what will see me through.

I am learning to to love myself, put my needs first as I cannot help others if I am unwell.

I have decided that depression will not define me. I do not want to conform to a label.

I have control of my life and I will fight everyday to overcome this and encourage other people not to hide how they are feeling.

I know that I will be learning for a long time, but I am excited at a future where I can have control of my life and not hide behind a label.

Staying silent is not being strong. Speaking out is!

 

Uncovering Depression — Barely Paper

Depression: Is it Treatable? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression every year. However, less than 25% have access to effective treatment. Some of the most successful people in the world, including Winston Churchill, Buzz Aldrin, Isaac Asimov, Jim Carrey, Ingmar Bergman, Bob Dylan, Anthony Hopkins, […]

via Uncovering Depression — Barely Paper

Depression is Real!

Depression is a mood disorder depicted by low mood and a wide range of other possible symptoms, which will vary from person to person. It is an illness that can develop progressively or rapidly and can be brought on by life events and changes in body chemistry.

It is not a fancy illness that only affects people of a certain creed, race, gender, marital status, financial status or age. It can affect anybody and it is treatable. It is one of those things that you will not understand until it happens to you or someone close to you.

Depression is a condition that is difficult to talk about. You can call work to request time off with a cold or a broken arm and it is acceptable, but when you have depression you’re seen as lazy, weak, selfish and attention seeking.

Depression is not the same as a physical illness but it can be even more serious because when you are severely depressed you can feel like giving up on life itself.

Depression can affect different people in various ways, for instance;

Mild Depression,

Major Depression,

Bipolar Depression,

Postnatal Depression and

Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD).

It can be difficult to distinguish between grief and depression. They share many of the same characteristics, but there are important differences between them. Grief is an entirely natural response to a loss, while depression is an illness. People who are grieving find their feelings of sadness and loss come and go, but they’re still able to enjoy things and look forward to the future.

In contrast, people who are depressed constantly feel sad. They don’t enjoy anything and find it difficult to be positive about the future. However, depression is more than just sadness and you can not ‘just snap out of it”, or will yourself out of it any more than you could snap out of a cold, broken arm or any other ailment. Just like all other illnesses, it takes a while to recover.

Peoples experiences with depression vary, but they might include:

  • low mood lasting two weeks or more
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling tired or lacking energy
  • not being able to concentrate on everyday things like reading the paper or watching television
  • comfort eating or losing your appetite
  • sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • low sex drive (loss of libido)
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
  • not doing well at work
  • avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life

Depression is hard to ignore at its worst but at the same time we don’t want to admit it. Sometimes we don’t notice it creeping up on us. Many people try to cope with their symptoms without realising that they are unwell. It can sometimes take a friend or family member to suggest something is wrong.

Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:

  • mild depression  which has some impact on your daily life
  • moderate depression which has a significant impact on your daily life
  • severe depression which makes it almost impossible to get through daily life; a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms

People suffering from depression should never hesitate to seek help. There is no reason to suffer in silence, when there are treatments available.

Whatever the cause, if negative feelings don’t go away, are too much for you to cope with, or are stopping you from carrying on with your normal life, you may need to make some changes and get some extra support.

If you’re still feeling down after a couple of weeks, talk to your GP or call NHS 111. Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and make a diagnosis.

If you’re diagnosed with depression, your GP will discuss all of the available treatment options with you, including self-help, talking therapies and antidepressants.

Whether you have depression or just find yourself feeling down for a while, it could be worth trying some self-help techniques.

Life changes, such as getting a regular good night’s sleep, keeping to a healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake and getting regular exercise, can help you feel more in control and more able to cope.

Self-help techniques can include activities such as meditation, breathing exercises and learning ways to think about problems differently. Tools such as self-help books and online counselling can be very effective.

If your GP has prescribed antidepressants, it’s important that you carry on taking them.

There are lots of different types of talking therapies available. To help you decide which one would most suit you, talk to your GP or read about the different types of talking therapies. In some areas, you can refer yourself directly to your local psychological therapies service.

If you start to feel like your life isn’t worth living or you want to harm yourself, get help straight away.

Either see your GP or call NHS 111. You can also call Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

See some other organisations that can help with mental health issues.

 

Being silent is not being strong, speaking out is!

 

Inspiration Video

This is one of my favourite songs when I am having a bad day.
Beautiful vocals from Casting Crowns.
Enjoy …x

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again?
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
I am yours
I am yours
Whom shall I fear, whom shall I fear?
‘Cause I am yours
I am yours
Songwriters: John Mark Hall
Who Am I lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Capitol Christian Music Group

Who can relate?

If you’re reading this because you’re having suicidal thoughts, try to ask someone for help. It may be difficult at this time, but it’s important to know you’re not beyond help and you’re not alone.

Talking to someone can help you see beyond feelings of loneliness or despair and help you realise there are options.

There are people who want to talk to you and help. Try talking to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling.

There are several telephone helplines you can call at any time of the day or night. You can speak to someone who understands how you’re feeling and can help you through the immediate crisis.

We know it can be difficult to pick up the phone, but reach out to somebody and let them know how you are feeling.

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK

Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.

Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

Help for young men

Men may be more likely to avoid or ignore problems and many are reluctant to talk about their feelings or seek help when they need it.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an excellent resource for young men who are feeling unhappy. As well as their website, CALM also has a helpline (0800 58 58 58).

Talking to someone you trust

If you don’t want to speak to someone on a helpline, you could talk to:
a member of your family, a friend or someone you trust, such as a teacher
your GP, a mental healthcare professional or another healthcare professional
a minister, priest or other type of faith leader

Seeing your GP
It would also help to see your GP. They can advise you about appropriate treatment if they think you have a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.

Your GP may be able to help you with access to talking therapies. Talking therapies, such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often used to help people who have suicidal thoughts and usually involve talking about your feelings with a professional.

Helping your child
If you are concerned your child may be feeling suicidal or is self-harming, the following advice may help:
Notice when they seem upset, withdrawn or irritable.
Encourage them to talk about their worries, listen to them and help them find their own solutions.
Keep all medicines locked away, including painkillers such as paracetamol
suggest your child talks to their GP or a counsellor about how they feel.

 

Reference: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/getting-help/

 

Why I am not a huge fan of video calls

 

That feeling you get when you hear your doorbell ring as you just sit down to have dinner or to watch your favourite TV show,  when you are not expecting anyone, is exactly how I feel when my phone rings and it’s a video call from someone who I wasn’t expecting to talk to or just do not want to see.

I am not what you can call a shy person, actually I am a talkative, bubbly woman who loves to laugh and be around people but I do not like unplanned video calls as I find them so intrusive and I do not like them for the following reasons;

  • I have to be dressed appropriately

I don’t want you to see me while I am dressed in my pyjamas, in my lingerie or even in my birthday suit.

I don’t want you to see me wrapped in my towel coming out of the shower or getting dressed.

Sure, you say you don’t mind, but I do.

  • I don’t want to see you

There are days when I do not want to see anyone, honestly – I have ugly days or grumpy days and I am just happy to talk on the phone.

There are days when I could be having guests, and I cannot be on a video call.

I could be driving or out out and about,  FaceTime calls automatically activate the loudspeaker, I don’t want people hearing my conversations.

Please do not call me while you are doing your errands and you just want someone online to keep you company while you unpick your braids or doing your ironing.

Oh, and please hang up when you go to the bathroom! What is it that you want to say that can’t wait?

  • I can’t multi task

I like to cook or bake or generally do stuff in my house, I don’t want to be on a video call while I do those things.

Seriously, if I want company, I will invite you over or arrange time mutual for us to meet.

Please don’t say it’s OK to chat while I am having my dinner. It’s not good manners, and I don’t want you to watch me eating.

  • I love meeting face to face

My experience with video calling is that the more people I video chat with, the less we make time to catch up, have a meal or just a coffee. There is no point in visiting each other as you can sit under a blanket and talk about how cold it is outside or how unfair it was that so and so has been knocked out of Strictly Come dancing.

If you video call me when I am washing my dishes – you are in my house, you are in my bedroom when I am packing my shelves and  tidying up and when I am just having down time. There are people I can not allow in my private space and video calling make it quite intrusive.

I know video calls are here to stay. The vast majority of the general population has a smart phone.  FaceTime, WhatsApp, Line, Viber, Tango, Facebook, Skype and Hangouts, to name a few are the popular video calling apps of the moment.

It has made life relatively easy. People in long distance relationships, people with relatives abroad that they can’t get to see as often as they like, people deployed away for work and long distance business meetings all thrive because video calling allows the continuity of the relationship.

That being said, I do not think I am the only one that is not a big fan of them.

Please comment and share your thoughts .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome

Please join me on my journey of self discovery.

This is my blog where i write about things close to my heart.

I am not a person that focuses on one thing, I like to do different things and have different experiences.

My attention span would not allow me to do that, and I would get bored. Now, who wants a bored writer.

There are a few things close to my heart that I wil write about, especially the stigma attached to black people and mental health, mainly depression and anxiety that I have first hand experience with.

I hope to help other people and impart in their lives positivity, leading to fulfillment.