Posted in Life, Mental Health

Returning to Work following sick leave

TW : This post can be triggering.

I do not really know how I am feeling at the moment.

I have gone back to work after being off for the entire period of 2018. (Literally!!)

Was I ready?….No

Was it necessary?….YES!!

Thoughts I have had since being back at work;

  • Wanting to self harm.
  • Thinking I would be better off dead.
  • That I am useless, weak and stupid.
  • That I am making work for people.
  • That I do not deserve this job.

And so many mixed feelings of anger, frustration and sadness.

Being off work is difficult, if your partner works then you cannot get financial support because “your partner earns too much” and when you finally get told to apply for Universal Credit to help they tell you sorry “too much money” – after weeks of waiting, meetings and appointments!! PIP takes months and I hear more about them rejecting claims than anything and ESA you cannot get if you get SSP (although mine ended in June so I could have applied for this during my time off but didn’t as I was told I had SSP until August.)

Money is a b*tch!! We all have bills to pay but I find it a real shame that people who struggle and are going through a hard time get very limited support. Yet I know plenty of people that cheat the system and get more money than my annual income from working. (I am not judging people who do not work and that receive benefits, I am talking about several people I know that receive benefits and do not work when they could work but choose not to)

Now that rant is over. I am back at work part-time and should be building things slowly. We shall see, hopefully things improve.

To be continued….

 

 

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Posted in About Me, Mental Health

I am only 27….

I am only 27 years old (or young!) and I have lived through

  • Emotional Abuse and Bullying

  • Physical Abuse and Bullying

  • Self Harm

  • Anorexia

  • Bulimia

  • Binge Eating Disorders

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Loss of a Parent

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

And you know what? I am still here!! Mental Illness is a difficult, harsh and life changing problem.

But

You can do it!! We are here for each other, if you are having a bad time, speak to someone – You can do it!!

Posted in About Me, Life, Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 2nd May 2018 – TW

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 2 – To my old colleagues and your opinions on mental health conditions.

TW – This post discusses negative attitudes to Suicide/suicide attempts.

I have worked in several different areas but one thing stands out across all of my work places (in the UK) – is people’s attitude towards mental health.

I have heard colleagues in previous roles laugh about mental health, I have had to be present when these colleagues laugh and say that they ‘obviously hadn’t done the job properly’ and ask why “these people are ringing for help” and saying “if they want to kill themselves then just do it” or that they hadn’t “done the job properly and should do it properly next time instead of wasting time and ringing for help that, according to you is ‘not deserved’ “.

Some of these people laughing even rang in sick to work due to ‘stress and anxiety’ – then continued to ‘make fun and bully’ complete strangers.

Two colleagues in my role were supportive – I won’t put their names here but E and S were very supportive. S took time from his schedule and was so supportive, I appreciate him telling me his story and being so genuine when I asked for support. I wasn’t scared to be me and I was not made to feel like a liar, small or stupid.

S – You saved my life in a way you will never know. Thank You so much xx

  • To my other colleagues, I have sat behind you while you have talked about me.
  • I have been sat on the opposite table working whilst you have talked about me- I use to set my desk high and chair low, so to you it looked like an empty desk but I was there- whilst you mocked my colleagues and me!!
  • You have mocked my size, my mental health, my physical health and conditions, my marriage and LGBTQ issues.
  • You continue to this day to ban, block and ignore me on social media.

You are lucky!! Continuing to be lucky to this day that I did not take formal action and even criminal action against you.

I hope one day you bullies get treated as bad as the treatment you have given. Whilst I try not to ‘hate’ or treat people badly- I will not go out of my way to support bullies and hypocrites.

You contributed to me hating myself – but you will not win!!

Posted in About Me, Mental Health

One of the worst questions you can ask me….

Well there are several ways to word this question but the basic question that is really one of the worst you can ask me is;

“What has caused your anxiety/depression?”

At this point my head is saying

While there are several incidents, issues, triggers and events that have led to my current situation, the simple answer is ‘I DO NOT KNOW!!’

Quite frankly if I understood it myself I would have a better handle on my situation.

I am studying Mental Health and aim to have a career in the field, but even with my years of studying, assignments and exams – you can know about all the theorists, professors and professionals along with all the knowledge, practices and policies, but that does not mean you know everything. I still do not understand me.

It really distresses me and upsets me when people start to question me, I get embarrassed because I like having knowledge and when I cannot explain or justify myself it is embarrassing. Especially if there is a person looking at you or smirking, it is intimidating!!

sarcastic season 3 GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead

I am slowly losing the little level of trust I had in people. The way things are said, words being twisted and me being at fault.

I am struggling, not stupid!!

Maybe this journey is something I need to go through, I can already see it leading me towards certain goals. Maybe everything does happen for a reason. Only time will tell.

Posted in Mental Health

Self Care Developments of the week

I have been forcing myself into certain situations this week. Scary times but this week my accomplishments include;

  • Going to the Doctors,
  • Meeting up with my Sister who I haven’t seen in about a year,
  • Going to the Dentist for the first time in 5-8 years,
  • Gone to the shop during the day,
  • Rang for some support from a local service.

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I sit here on my bed writing this, I am tired, worn out and know there is a lot I should be doing, my days over the last few months have been getting darker and darker but I have made some progress into looking after myself.

I have also been making an effort to fill in my journal, it is a 365-day book I bought before Christmas and I said I will put feelings/drawings/events or whatever I want every day, although I am missing some days, but I am making progress with that too. I had a yummy Easter egg, that is only half eaten at the moment!! Salted Caramel. I love Cadbury eggs but restrained from getting them this year as I end up eating way too much, although I did buy two little bunnies in Lidl and I am proud to say they have not yet been eaten. Although I do need to confess I am drinking way too much fizzy soft drinks (I do not drink hot drinks so I use soft drinks as an excuse to get caffeine).

I have 3 assignments left for University, well until the new academic year starts in October but I am looking forward to getting them completed and sent off (not looking forward to weeks of waiting to hear if assignments are passed, if I do not get certain marks for them I fail the whole year). Whilst I am nowhere near 100% with my health, I need to use the time well to care for myself and get better. I am looking forward to developing this site and things to come.

 

Posted in Mental Health

Sertraline oh Sertraline….

So having spent the last two days in the bed I have got myself up and retreated to the sofa to watch tv with my pooch and wife.

So I have not left the house but it is cold and the effort to get dressed is too much.

I have been thinking about my Sertraline, whilst there have been several days or events I have attended and I am less anxious or OCD symptoms have subsided- I find myself having more bad days and a cycle or really happy days where the world is my oyster, I can sign up for races and challenges and do loads of Uni work along with extra courses and enquiring about new courses to do. But then everything comes crashing down, sometimes for no reason at all and a couple of times something has triggered a downward spiral.

I saw the CMHT and have been discharged from their service after the assessment for re-referral from the GP if I need them. Although they have suggested some treatment but no point referring until I have moved as it is different health trusts. They have also suggested my medication is changed- saw a GP but not my usual Doctor as she wasn’t working but my dose has been increased to the max dose of 200mg to try and if then there is no improvement then we will need to switch medications. I had over two months worth of tablets here so I would rather try the high dose rather than waste the tablets by returning them to be destroyed by the pharmacy.

I am really weary and nervous about switching do a different medication because I don’t know what to expect. I am scared to side effects like my hair breaking and falling out that Citalopram caused. I’m scared it will affect my work, relationship or driving, along with fertility and weight. I am just scared.

I am positive about the work I am doing to secure a future in Mental Health for myself but I feel my own mental health is an unsolved mystery and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want to be happy and I want to teach; stand up in a room and present, attend parties without heart palpitations and sweating like I have had a bucket of water thrown over me. I want to get up and get out and not hide in the house and do nothing, or think about ways to hurt myself or force weight off or even give up and pile weight on.

Although on a positive note I start bereavement counselling this month. After so many losses in the past 14 years and not grieving or speaking about them I think it is the right time to start healing those wounds. But only time will tell.

Posted in Mental Health

Today is a bad mental health day….

After a few months of silence here I am, although I have been slapped in the face with a ‘bad mental health day’.

Now I cannot go into the reasons for this but I woke up this morning after a night of tossing, turning and very strange dreams. Anxiety and depression have come and hit me right in the face-meaning no work for me today.

My anxiety is being made worse also by the fact that I feel like I am letting people down because I’m not in work, when I should be.

I don’t really know what to do, I am a bit lost if I am honest. I work and I study ( which I have always done so the added work from Uni keeps my brain active and benefits me) but my health both physically and mentally is taking its toll on me.

I know I will get there but maybe a bad mental health day is the minds way of saying stop- take some time to yourself.

These are todays plans (apart from switching to tea as I don’t drink tea or coffee) ;

Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s see how it goes.

S xx

Posted in Mental Health

8 Pieces of Advice for Anyone Starting College With a Mental Illness

Find my Published Article on The Mighty @

https://themighty.com/2017/08/advice-tips-starting-college-university-mental-illness-depression-anxiety/

“What’s that? Anxiety? Depression? Oh, I had that and I know loads of people that have it too — you’ll be fine!”

Ugh.

Yes, anxiety and depression is becoming more commonplace, perhaps because they are being talked about more, better diagnosed and less stigmatized. Although, stigma still exists in my opinion. We are all different and anxiety and depression affect us in similar yet different ways. But mental illness shouldn’t stop anyone from going to college; whether online or on campus.

Here are my top eight pieces of advice for anyone starting college with anxiety or depression:

1. Take baby steps.

You might feel pressured as a freshman by others drinking, joining clubs and being outspoken in class. This does not mean you have to be the same or do the same things. Your study is your journey and you need to take it in small, manageable steps. Set goals one step at a time.

2. Don’t be a hermit.

No matter how hard it is, even if you aren’t taking part in the “traditional college experience” (whatever that is), do not lock yourself away. This doesn’t mean I’m telling you to go out and talk to everyone, but perhaps, take a walk, go to the shop, gym or library — just get out of the house. And remember to be vigilant and be safe.

3. Take advantage of student support.

Most colleges will have student services. Make use of them because that is what they are there for. Ask about well-being courses, counseling, assessments, support or third parties that can help you or offer support when or if you’re struggling.

4. Undertake a learning difficulty assessment.

This obviously is not relevant to everyone, but I would definitely recommend it, even if it is of the slightest interest to you. These assessments are long and involve a one on one discussion with an assessor, but they are not just there to diagnose dyslexia, they assess for other things too. And school can help you apply for the funding to cover the cost.

5. It can be scary, but that’s OK.

College can be scary. New rooms, new teachers, new lecturers, new materials and everything is different. But it will get easier, take a deep breath and walk into that room.

6. It is OK to cry.

There will be days you don’t want to get up, go to a class or an activity, and you just want to fall apart. It is OK to cry. It may be embarrassing at first, but once you start, you will let go of so much built up emotion and things will probably seem better.

7. Talk.

Talk to someone; whether that is a friend, teacher, student support or a stranger, have someone to talk to. Or things might build up. It is so hard to share and talk about, but there is always someone willing to listen. Sometimes it takes a while to find them, but they are there.

8. You are number one.

This is the most obvious — but it is the first thing we forget. Look after yourself. Go for walks, take a moment to breathe, meditate, read or whatever takes your fancy. And of course, remember the basics: wash, eat and do your work. You are number one and need to keep yourself as healthy as you can.

You are worthy and you can do it!