Thursday, 3 February 2011

I'm back!

After a really rough weekend I started feeling more like myself yesterday and woke up smiling this morning. I has been about 10 days since a started transitioning back to my original SSRI and I had forgotten how much better they make me feel. It really shows me that the ones I tried just weren't working well enough for me to enjoy life and cope with pressure.

I think antidepressants can get a really bad rap due to fears they are overprescribed and the views of people such a Tom Cruise (come on, do we really take advice from celebrities about living well?) who believe you should use other methods to get well. Unfortunately the reality for many people is they are unable to help themselves when suffering from depression and so medication can lift the cloud so that you can take the steps to help yourself. For some people in the long term they no longer need medication as their self care steps mean they are able to stave off the depression. However, for me I can see they may be part of my future for the longterm.

But I am grateful that this recent scare has awoken me from my complacency and I am committed to continuing to take steps to be well. I am trying to eat better, get some exercise, see a therapist and make sure I get enough sleep. I am also trying to make time for me each day.

Two particular things have been helpful this week. One is a book my beauty therapist lent me - see I am taking care of me! I am reading John Kirwan's book All Blacks Don't Cry. It tells the story of his decent into depression and his road to recovery. If you can get past the constant rugby analogies, the book is full of insights into one person's journey but also some really useful ideas for getting well.

Kirwan is well known for his television advertisements which help to destigmatise depression. He has also been a key figure in the development of an online programme aimed at helping people who struggle with depression to take steps to get better. It is in the form of a journal and you complete it lesson by lesson. There are tasks set and you can elect to receive texts messages to remind you to complete the tasks. The first lesson focusses on the importance of excercise and doing things you enjoy. My tasks were to go for a walk and to a movie. I managed the walk but the movie will have to wait till funds become available. I have only just started but I think it would be a really good start for someone who suspects they have depression and wants to do something to take back control of how they are feeling.

Another great source of information and support is Postpartum Progress. It is a blog written by a Mum who has lived through postnatal depression and anxiety. It is full of research, stories and advice a place where recovery is a reality. Being so stuck inside my own head when I feel down can be very isolating and terrifying. Reading this blog is like someone can see inside my own craziness and gets it and suddenly I don't feel so crazy.

When I first got sick I just needed to take the drugs and survive so I could care for Ella. 19 months I have the space to do something more than cope.

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