A bolt out of the blue or brewing for a while?….

I haven’t blogged for absolutely ages and hope this will be cathartic to me and maybe useful to someone else who might be reading this who is hoping the pain will improve. I am slowly seeing some glimpses of light in what has been a very difficult few weeks so feel able to write about parts of this episode.

For the last eight weeks or so I have experienced horrendous anxiety and a heightened emotional state which I probably firstly correctly linked with the 1st anniversary of the death of my Nanna. In the weeks leading up to this anniversary I was really struggling but as I often tell myself it is perfectly ok to feel emotions surrounding the loss of loved ones and that I mustn’t panic about these feelings. Many other people who are grieving, I am sure feel similarly and sometimes I need to acknowledge and take time to remember this.

However nearly 4 weeks ago I woke one morning with a very heavy black cloud of depression. I cried silently as I tried to muster enough energy to get out of bed to work and fight through the pain that this depression had so hastily engulfed me. For a few days I did my absolute best to hide this. I am always firstly overcome with a huge sense of guilt and often spend ages racking my brains for something I might of done to contribute to an episode.

At the back of my mind was a GP appointment that I had with my regular GP on the following Monday so therefore I had less than a week to get through before I could form a plan with her but sadly not even that could reassure me and it was becoming harder and harder to hide how I was feeling and the desperation just kept building. When the Monday morning came so did a phone call from the doctors surgery cancelling the appointment. I was absolutely terrified as even though I was booked in for the Thursday I wasn’t sure how to get through until then. I did though have a lifesaver in the form of a week of Accompanied Prayer which I had signed up to for that week which proved an enormous comfort and a positive focus and guide during an absolutely awful time.

By the Wednesday of that week I went from needing a doctors appointment to dreading it as my thoughts were becoming more and more horrendous, I was experiencing mild psychosis and I just wanted to run from the feelings but sadly my head always came with me!

I did make my doctors appointment the following day with the support of a friend and she signed me off work for the following week and also prescribed extra medication to help with some of my symptoms. She also urgently referred me to the community mental health team. I am always very reluctant for this as since discharge from the team have always struggled with the uncertainty of having to get back into a health system again and also after many very difficult and unsuitable experiences in accident and emergency this was also not an option.

People often ask me why this is but when you are asked to stand fairly alone without the medical support that might help someone with a long term mental health problem, it would be a risk to put myself in a situation where based on previous experiences could actually make me worse. At that point I thought I had hit rock bottom so therefore turning up at the hospital (which I am sure many people would agree isn’t the right place for a mental health crisis) I would be putting myself at risk. I often wrestle with this as professionals get exasperated with me regarding it but in my view they can’t have it both ways – they can’t want me to take more responsibility for my care but then criticise my decision to keep myself safe.

Since the doctors appointment it hasn’t been a straight road to feeling better. At times I have been even worse and during my time off work we remembered my Nanna a year on which was hugely painful but something I needed to do in my own way and not try and forget it happened. Yesterday I also received a telephone appointment with the mental health team which whilst supportive was sadly two weeks too late and therefore existing more as an additional anxiety rather than something which could contribute towards me feeling better.

So as this blog title suggests I often am asked whether there was a trigger to this episode and yes the anniversary of my Nanna certainly contributed to this, as did the mounting anxiety but the depression was a bolt out of the blue and I suppose this is part of the illness which might be hard for people to understand but as people often say to me, it is harder for me living with it! The other difficult part of this episode is that whilst there was no other obvious triggers it has been like every difficult, challenging and upsetting part of my life’s events has come back to haunt me during this time and manifest itself in flashbacks, bad dreams and anxiety amongst other things which has also been exceptionally difficult especially when you think you have laid that particular ghost to rest.

So now 4 weeks on from the initial depression I am starting to see glimmers of light and I am beginning to hope that things are improving. I am always hugely grateful to those that stand by me, support me, love me and do those small simple things which may seem that way to them but are massive for me. Depression for me in a bipolar episode is a very lonely place and these small but important contacts literally save me. Thank you all.