I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has contributed stories and experiences for this weeks posts. It was interesting and educational, and I admire each of you your bravery for opening up.
This is something I have fretted about writing about, seeing as how I haven’t kept my blog particularly anonymous for myself. But if I can’t be honest, than why should anyone else? The whole idea of this blog was to get people to open up, so that dementia could become less of a taboo. It has been great to see this in effect, with all the supportive messages I have received, as well as the messages of gratitude from those I have helped. This in turn has prompted me to speak out about other issues. Namely, the other “big D” in my life. “Depression”.
When I was younger it was something I admit I struggled with, but I guess in recent years I put it down to teenage moodswings (as did the people around me) because I had started coping so well. Recently though I had felt the old feelings creeping back (as I mentioned in a previous post-feeling like I’m in a dark pit, spinning and spinning with no way to escape). To elaborate, I feel like a failure. Nothing I can do seems to help nan, and she still feels like a prisoner. I can’t seem to get a job, despite having a degree so I must be pretty useless on that front. My thoughts become more and more negative, to the point where I don’t want to see my friends (sorry guys), it’s just too much effort to smile and laugh. I don’t want to leave the house because I feel like a failure on the outside (I need to lose weight, my skin is awful, my hair is greasy etc etc) as well as emotionally.
Thankfully this time I recognised that what I was feeling wasn’t healthy, so I took myself off to the doctor and voiced my concerns. I most certainly do not want to get to the stage I was at before. (To be honest I don’t think I’d have gone to the doctor had my lovely AN not recommended it). I have also found I am more willing to open up to my family about it. But opening up to the world is a different matter. It is so frustrating to be told to “just get over it” “think positive” “get out more” etc etc. If only it was that easy, do you think I enjoy wallowing in my deepest darkest thoughts!?
The doctor put me forward for some counselling, and the office rang me a week later to organise it. After doing quite a simple number test (on a scale of 1-10 how frequently have you felt….) she analysed what sort of counselling I would need. She then informed me it will take up to SIX MONTHS to actually get me into counselling. Six months!?!?! Well thank goodness I have a good support network. Imagine the people who don’t! Six months of spiraling further into depression with no help!
This led me to talk to others about their experiences and I found so many had similar problems. Frequently doctors are prescribing anti-depressants, when the problem that needs to be addressed could be done so through other methods. For example a friend let me know about “The Linden Method”. It is the method she used to overcome her own issues. I have checked out the website, and although it seems expensive it tackles the way the mind works, rather than blocking it off like the medications, which I personally believe can be more beneficial to long term recovery.
The section on anxiety and depression can be found here http://www.thelindenmethod.co.uk/articles/anxiety-depression/
That is not to say I don’t think people should take anti-depressants, it is of course down to the individual and what they find works. I have friends who find the counselling works better while using the anti depressants, and I can see why. Sometimes you need to suppress the extreme feelings of negativity in order to tackle what is causing them. But personally I prefer not to rely on medication as I worry about becoming dependent. I have seen people who cannot function one day without anti-depressants, and it is not something I would want for my life.
To be fair to the NHS, I am still supportive of the GP’s, nurses, paramedics and other staff members. I just find it unacceptable that people with life threatening (depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, which I think could be considered as life threatening) illnessess are being left for 6 months. The lady did inform me that there are changes being implemented in hopes to tackling the waiting list, but could not make promises.
Apologies if I have offended anyone. Thankyou for reading and sharing and talking.
***Forgot to say: Depression, as well as other mental illnesses, is not a weakness. It is not something we should feel ashamed to say we have coped/struggled with, are coping/struggling with. I feel ashamed that even in this day and age, people are made to feel weak if they have a mental illness. I am proud of myself, and others for tackling this massive obstacle in my/their lives, and I would not change anything about my past/present struggles with depression as it would make a different person to the one I am today. And I’m kind of beginning to like her.