Good morning and happy new week. Today is officially known as Blue Monday – apparently the most depressing day of the year.
Chronic Illness and Depression/Anxiety
Many people don’t realise that along with being diagnosed with a chronic illness, people are usually also struggling with their mental health. Having a condition which can mean you struggle to complete everyday tasks and have a ‘normal’ life can be very demoralising. Chronic illness may also affect you socially, leaving you isolated and lonely while feeling unwell at home or in the hospital.
The Mental Health Tag
I saw this in a post over on Happy Mentality and thought it would be a good one to do for today. Supporting people with chronic illnesses with their mental health is something I am passionate about. It can so often be overlooked by the NHS, due to low funding and a focus on fixing physical problems and symptoms. My inbox is always open to those needing support or help, so please feel free to message me anytime.
1. What is your mental health issue?
I have anxiety and depression. Both started around three and a half years ago when I was having a rough time with my health, as well as in my marriage.
2. Do you have medication and/or therapy?
I use both and I think that works best, particularly with anxiety. I take Citalopram daily which is an antidepressant and also good for anxiety. I also have CBT sessions.
What is CBT? Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression
3. What therapy/medication have you tried and has any worked for you?
I started on Citalopram taking 20mg a day, which was then increased to 30mg. This seems to suit me with minimal side effects and I feel my anxiety and depression is well controlled.
4. How long have you had problems for?
I would say that I have been suffering with anxiety for a little longer but I realised I was depressed in September 2015.
5. Do your family/friends know?
Yes. I am very open about it and many of them read my blog so see things like this! My partner Ste, Mum, Dad and brothers have always been really supportive.
6. Does this affect your work and daily living?
I cannot currently work due to my physical health. I wouldn’t say that depression and anxiety affects my daily life, some days and weeks I can be perfectly fine. It sort of comes in waves. Sometimes when certain things happen or my health is particularly bad, there is an explanation, but sometimes life is fine and the feelings I have are pretty inexpiable. This has been a lot beater since I started taking medication and attending CBT though,.
7. What makes you feel calm?
Reading, sleeping, being with my kids and dogs. A relaxing bath and a bit of a pamper. My blog helps me by giving me a focus and other people to help and support. I enjoy writing, planning and also putting make up and getting dressed every day makes me feel more together.
8. What do you do in crisis?
I made a post about Coping With Anxiety – Grounding Techniques last year. My go to technique is the square breathing one. I find it easy to remember and simple to do, and it works! I am also getting better about speaking to people when things are happening. After the boys went to live with their Dad I was really struggling and not in a good place. Luckily, at two of my lowest points I was able to open up to Ste and a couple of close friends who helped pull me through.
9. What advice would you give to others suffering?
It sounds cliche but my best advice is to open up to someone. Whether that is your partner, doctor, a blogger who writes about this stuff, a friend or your rheumatology nurse who is there to mainly see how your joints are doing (yes, that was my choice although I hadn’t planned it), you will be amazed at how people will want to hep. The sense of relief that came from just telling someone about how I felt was so immense.
Saying that, some people will be supportive butt not know how to help you, so pick your chosen person with care. This can often mean it is easier to speak to a medical professional or someone who is open about their own mental health problems. If you try once and don’t get the answers you need, try again. You did the hardest but once, now you are ready to receive the help you need and deserve.
10. What makes you smile?
The kids, Ste, our dogs and extended family. Reading will always make me smile. I also enjoy going to the cinema, watching Netflix with Ste snuggled up in bed, exploring and visiting new places, fresh air, shopping, cross stitch, learning and cooking (as well as eating ha ha).
11. Describe your mental health issue in 5 words –
Confusing, upsetting, strengthening, eye-opening and tiring
12. Insert a picture to make people smile –
Hungover, hair half in still, the morning after my friends masquerade ball. Maybe I should have kept my mask on ha ha!
I hope that today is actually as positive as can be for everyone. Please feel free to use these questions and continue the tag on your blog. I am not going to tag anyone specifically but hoping some of you will carry this on!