Having just followed a link from twitter to read a blog by Paul Brook, entitled Riding the Recovery Rollercoaster, I was reminded of a post on my private blog I wrote at the beginning of March last year. This was a couple of weeks of being diagnosed with depression and the final thing that pushed me in to knowing I needed to get help.
Just over a year on, and I’ve come a long way – though I’d say I’m still in recovery. I’m still learning to live with an illness that’s been part of my life for a long time, just last year was when I lost the power to cope with it. It’s quite hard reading back on this, I feel like such a different person now. At the time I felt so alone and ashamed, but I’m now so much more aware of how common this is that I don’t feel alone… and this is not something you can deal with on your own. It’s so important to recognise that help is required; Counselling, medication (in my case both) support form friends, family colleagues, all so important, all impossible if you hide this from others and yourself.
I want others who are struggling, who can maybe recognise some things in this post, to know that I’ve been able to progress from this – but I needed help to do it and I’m so glad I went and got that.
From my personal journal – 4th March 2011 | Down
Yesterday and today have been a bit of a roller coaster. I cycled to work yesterday morning, feeling tired but generally pretty good. I felt pretty up all day, as mentioned in my post, and was feeling pretty hyper toward home time from work. Colleagues even commented on my being a bit hyper, joking that I’d maybe had too much coffee or sugar; I’d not really had much of either.
Things swung the other way when I had to get some work finished just as I was thinking I should be leaving to get most of the ride home done before dark, this made me suddenly feel a little anxious. I was worried about riding in the dark, being late home, my wife having to deal with our daughter’s bed time on her own. On leaving the office I discovered it was not only near dark, but a nasty fog had moved in making the first 6 miles of the journey on the made road really unpleasant. I got increasingly nervous and anxious on the bike, not really thinking straight, and had to stop at the side of the road for a few minutes after a wee panic attack.
I managed to calm myself, got going again and fortunately climbed up a hill and out of the fog. Once I could see and I was on a quiet road with no traffic to stress me out, things got easier. Getting home to find everything was fine was a relief, but this made me just let go of all the emotions I’d been holding in trying to get home safe, so there was a few tears and left me feeling a little nervy.
I stayed pretty calm for the rest of the evening but had a real struggle getting to sleep and the biggest dip of the day came when my daughter woke at 1.30am and refused to go back to sleep. She was only being as difficult as your average 3 year old, but that’s hard to deal with for anyone at that time of night. My wife initially went in to try and convince her to get back to sleep but, after 15 minutes of her being difficult, found she was getting angry and thought it time to leave the room. I could see she was stressed out and got up to help.
Initially I felt calm and perfectly able to deal with the situation. I took my girl to the toilet, tucked her back up in bed and asked her to go to sleep. She then kept shouting for someone to come back in the room and making up more excuses why she couldn’t go back to sleep yet. At this point I lost control, got very angry, shouted and slammed her cup of water across her table. I didn’t realise what was going on until I heard myself shouting at her, it was horrible. She burst into tears and I left the room panicking.
This was upsetting for everyone and was a final sign that I really need to get help with this. I can’t stand not feeling in control of myself or my life and I’m terrified of my wife and my daughter not wanting to be around me, or worse, being scared of me. My first telephone counselling chat was due today, but we agreed that I would try and see the doctor first thing this morning to talk about medication too. I didn’t get much more sleep.