Four years on…

I had a bit of an epiphany recently, yesterday in fact. This was brought about by the fact that I filed for divorce 4 years previously. The night (and day) before last I was not in a great mood, grumpy, miserable with a dollop of useless thrown in for good measure. I had put this down at first to a bad night’s sleep and an early morning SERV call.

When I realised it wasn’t just that, I told myself off, quite forcefully too. I have achieved much more in the last 4 years than I ever thought possible and even more than I had in the previous 4 years. I wrote a list of how I am now worse off than when I was married, there is only 1 item on it, money. I am financially worse off, but that is it!

The list of things I have achieved and am proud of is huge, way bigger than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had a lot of support on this bit of my journey but there is much I have done on my own and I am insanely proud of that.

So, today is a real new start, I am going to be kinder to myself, push myself were necessary and properly build myself back up to the person I once was. I’m under no illusions, it’ll take time and I may wobble but I will get there.

My mental health is still tricky and I am still on medication but, I asked for that help so that makes me strong, doesn’t it?

Watch out world, Sarah IS free! 🙂

Time to change and time to talk

Some of you who know me well will know that I am being treated for depression and anxiety, both mental health issues. I also have a slipped disc in my neck but that’s less of an issue to some point. Before you stop reading, this is not a pity post, far from it. 

My mental health problems started around the time I separated from my (now ex) husband, not that it was all because of that, I was also having a tough time at work. The combination of these two events took their toll on me and when I went to the GP after a few weeks of having a cold/virus I broke down in tears and gabbled my problems at him prompting him to sign me off work and prescribe anti depressants. Fast forward a year, I am divorced, living in a small but cosy flat, fostering a cat via a charity and studying Criminal Justice Studies part time at the University of Kent. Life is pretty good, I am in a new relationship with a previous partner however, I am still being treated for depression and beginning to struggle again. It takes me ages to recognise it this time and I eventually admit defeat and hide at home rather than going into University. Weeks become months and I miss a whole term. I eventually go to my GP who increases my medication and I am now on an even keel. This does take a bit of time but I do manage to sit the only exam I had for the year (and I pass!) and I start looking forward to the new academic year. Around this time, I also receive confirmation of my disabled students allowance which you can read about here. This helped shift my mood a lot and I started enjoying life a lot more. It seems a bit wrong to say that as someone who is depressed I shouldn’t be enjoying life, right? Wrong, just because my brain is a little bonkers at the moment doesn’t mean that I can’t have fun or even laugh at a great (or terrible) joke. 

For the last few months, I have been following Time to Change on twitter and they have a campaign called Time to talk. The campaign is all about encouraging people to talk about mental health. I was born in the 70s when this was a hugely taboo subject and, having seen the looks of pity in some people’s eyes, I struggle to talk about it at times too. It is not easy to tell even your closest friends or family that your head is messed up, you’re starting to struggle again or you are just plain exhausted, fed up and worried you’ll never be yourself again. Luckily, I can talk to my mum and friends but try not to do that too much after all, who wants to hear me whinge all the time? 

Does a conversation with someone who has depression have to be about depression? Nope, call me and tell me what you had for breakfast or what you watched on telly last night. Send me a text or post a joke on my facebook wall, I will probably laugh and repost it or, if you follow me on twitter, tweet a cute kitten picture, I love those! 

As important as it is to start a conversation about your mental health issues, it is just as important to start a conversation with someone who has a mental health issue. In addition to this, look at the time to talk campaign and mention it to 1 other person and ask them to do the same. The further we get the word out there, the better.