Stressed is Desserts spelt backwards…

…and that is the typical way I deal with any sort of stress, humour.  I’m a bit of a joker (practical joker according to my husband) but that’s just me keeping up appearances because I would hate to be seen as the one who never smiles, the one who is always moaning about something or other.  I’ve met people like that, needless to say I don’t see them much now!

When I first realised I suffered with depression (I’d been feeling like this for some time, I hated to admit that I was feeling sorry for myself and down in the dumps (as they say) because I was lucky and had a good life. I had the best upbringing with both loving parents and two older brothers (however I won’t let my brothers know that), but really they were great and I was spoilt.

Yeah, I was THAT teenager!

The teenage years I think is where it all began, the negativity mind set decided to show itself. I was bullied at school (like most youngsters) and rather than deal with it, I ate junk food and sometimes cried myself to sleep. My parents moved me around schools to try and make things better for me, which would’ve worked if I’d had the right attitude but I didn’t I was a teenager which made matters worse (my poor mum).

This carried on and I suffered with depression for many years (some years worse than others) and I still suffer with it a bit now, only being more mature about it I’m not going out most weekends burning the candle at both ends and drinking like a fish (I still have no idea why it’s a fish….why not a camel, they drink a lot?) and I’m glad to say those days are gone.  However, I do have the loving family and friends to support me emotionally and I am a responsible (ahem) mother now so I need to be grown up about it, but I’ve not buried it like I have done in the past.

It wasn’t till I gave birth to my baby boy and went through what I did with him did I realise how much of an impact having a baby has on one, I had read about post natal depression and had friends that had been through it she knew about it already.  I found it harder to deal with that rather than normal depression (ie. antidepressants just didn’t do it this time.) I stupidly went back to dismissing it and trying to hide it, so not dealing with it and making jokes was my way of dealing with it.  I would hide behind my little boy and put the attention on him so when people asked how I was doing my instance response was that I was just fine.

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In the last couple of years since I’ve been back at work, it’s caught up with me.  Work had a huge affect on this, I really struggled with the concept of working part time.  I never realised how hard it would be, and some days I really did struggle.  I started to self medicate last year by running two or three times a week and found that it was actually helping, but as the winter set in and it started to get dark in the evenings again I stopped.  When one of my closest friends died of cancer back in March 2019 it affected me a whole lot more than I thought it would so that black dog was back, depression on a whole other level.  My friend had also suffered with it, and I spent time with her trying to help her but never helped myself.  It wasn’t till I realised that she wouldn’t be around for much longer that I told her how I really felt, she then told me to do whatever it takes to get better, and I knew she was right.

The first time I went to the doctors after I’d accepted that I needed help I broke down and told her how I was feeling, she told me about iTalk.

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I had a couple of sessions on the telephone where I was assessed but it was more of a chat to find out more about me and why I was feeling this way, the practitioner had been completely understanding of my situation and had commented on how I’d been through a lot and not surprised that I was struggling.  I don’t have much experience with counsellors but she put my mind at ease and to be honest, it was the first time in ages I could just let go and tell a stranger what was really going on in my head and even cry because I didn’t know this woman so I didn’t have to hide anything.  The first thing I noticed was that my headache was easing every time I spoke to her, then on my second consultation she suggested going on a ‘Managing Mood Workshop’ which iTalk provided for patients.

These were four workshops held in a group with others like myself (there was about 25 of us in this particular session) with depression, stress or anxiety with two trained practitioners. The Managing Moods Workshop taught me some CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which has enabled me to mange every day stresses and using self help skills that were introduced so that we could put them into practice.  The interactive sessions were useful and helped me to stop and understand what I was feeling, why and when I had these feelings and how to deal with them when they arose.  I am back to running which has been helping and when I can’t get out to run I dance with my little boy which he loves!

The sessions were good and very helpful and I think being open minded helped.  It’s not for everyone, but I think it would help most people as long as they’re willing to give anything a go?

I’m quite creative and artistic (or I like to think I am) so I try and read us much as I can (with an almost 3 year old about) and it helps me to not only educate myself but distract me from worrying about the small stuff that I can’t do anything about.  Reading Gerard Kites Everything you need you have also helped, it was a similar theory to CBT, however this showed me to try and programme my mind into thinking ‘actually my life is ok and there are people who are a lot worse off’.

Some people say that social media has a lot to blame for anxiety and depression in life today however I’ve come to to enjoy social media, mainly because I like to keep in touch with family and friends who live further away.  But it’s also a bonus that I can promote my blog and writing, and chat to people that I cannot easily get in touch with.  My new recent purchase is a book called Depression in a digital Age by Fiona Thomas, this book I discovered whilst looking for podcasts to help me sleep at night.  I am looking forward to reading this, and will be giving it a review when I get a chance to read it!

It’s ok to feel low, having a good day followed by a bad day is what makes us all human.  I used to roll my eyes to negativity but I now realise that whomever is negative is doing it because that’s how they deal with it.  I’m going to try damn hardest not to be that person, I will use what I’ve learnt at the workshops and try to move forward with this….there’s got to be more to life.

I just have to remember that most of my stress is because of a my boy who is a typical toddler (tantrums most days), but it’s fine I have a good hairdresser that can cover my greys and the best support network a girl can dream of….

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You know who you are…

I am now looking forward to being my old (humorous) self, being happy in myself and start to enjoy life a bit more.  I will be starting a new job in September and I will enjoy the new challenges that await me, and look forward to working in a different team.  And even though my foot hurts, as soon as it feels better I will be back to running and dancing again!!

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