You’ve probably been wondering where I have disappeared to over the last couple of months.
The truth is, I’ve been battling with my mental health, and it’s been my toughest battle yet, even compared to my experience with postnatal depression. I never thought anything could be as bad or worse than my time with postnatal depression yet, here I am.
It’s been ingrained in me for a long time
I always have, since I was a teenager, experienced heightened anxiety. I can also remember having mood swings. The recent events over the past two months, including sessions with my psychologist, have dug up many experiences that I’ve simply put down to being a part of who I am, something that I’ve just had to deal with. After some sessions with my psychologist and a psychiatrist, I now know there’s something a lot bigger going on. Things are starting to make sense to me.
Something wasn’t right
In early April this year I noticed that for some reason, I was feeling more anxious than usual even though I was still taking my medication. I also noticed that I had a couple of panic attacks which was also unusual as I hadn’t had one in quite some time. I decided to see my GP about it. She suggested that because I had been on the same medication for a long time, there’s a chance that its effectiveness has worn off. She decided to put me on a new medication.
I knew it would be some weeks until I experienced the full effects of the new medication but this time, even after six weeks, it felt as though I was on no medication at all. It was scary.
What I often feel like
Although I feel really good as I write this blog post, I don’t know how long it will last. Sometimes I wake up feeling absolutely on top of the world like I can conquer absolutely anything. On the other hand, there are mornings I wake up feeling so anxious I feel physically sick, and yet there is absolutely no reason for me to feel that way.
Other times I have days where negative self-talk rules my day. The voice inside my head questions why I did certain things, it tells me that I’m not as good as I thought I was.
Depression has snuck its head in too. There have been some times I’ve wanted to give up on everything, feeling utterly worthless. But the thing that scared me most of all was the self-harm thoughts I experienced last month. I knew I’d felt this way before, the mood changes, but these moods were on steroids.
I’m feeling good as I write this blog post and the most annoying thing about this whole mental health thing is that when I’m feeling good, I feel like a drama queen, like a hypochondriac going on about absolutely nothing.
But, it’s how the cookie crumbles, I don’t know how long this ‘good’ is going to last. I could be feeling lousy tonight for all I know. That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago. I was on a romantic getaway with my husband, and we’d had a lovely day. We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner, and at a time when I should have been relaxed and enjoying myself, all I could do was stare out the window while I felt like bursting into tears. “What the fuck is wrong with me?” I remember thinking to myself.
What’s next? Well, that’s the dilemma of this ‘thing’ I’m experiencing. I’ve since changed my medication back, and it’s a waiting game to see how I react to it and ‘when’ or ‘if’ my moods will change. There could potentially be me trialling other medications and experiencing side effects. There’ll be more psychology and psychiatrist sessions, but I’m willing because I know there’s something better coming.
This recent experience has been the straw that broke the camels back; it’s been what will hopefully lead me to the right diagnosis after all these years. An informal diagnosis of bipolar has been made by my psychologist, but I still have a second psychiatrist to see before that diagnosis is firm. It freaked me out when she mentioned it at first, but after a lot of research, it does make a lot of sense and perhaps an accurate diagnosis means the right medication for me. .
So now, I’m just hanging out for answers because although I am mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted, I can see something good on the horizon, maybe a life where I can experience what ‘normal’ really is because I know for sure, it doesn’t look anything like my normal.