Monday, June 06, 2016

Warning Signs

You have depression, you have medication, you stop your medication, you're back to normal? The End?!

It would be nice if that was the case but no, not for me anyway. Yes I am no longer having medication and yes I am a lot better than I was, almost back to the old me in fact but it's not plain sailing. Things have changed and I have accepted them. I can get a little anxious over smaller things, I can have mood swings, I struggle to get going on a morning and sometimes I'm quite shut off from people and their emotions but I have learn't how to deal with these. These are the aftermath of a mental illness and they're ok. They mean I'm a lot better than I was. They mean I WAS mentally ill not that I AM mentally ill, and that is the lesser of two evils. But I do worry about things going backwards and having another breakdown. Going back to square one and knowing what's to come is a scary thought.

But maybe it might never happen. I have changed but I can now manage myself and these changes. Maybe I never will get to that low point again. There's nothing to say whether depression is a lifelong illness or a one off for me. Maybe it may happen a few more times. Maybe it will be constantly recurring and never quite gone. Time will tell. I'm ok with these maybes. I'll deal with depression if and when it comes again BUT there is something that does worry me. The warning signs. The things I notice every now and again that I believe played a big part in the start of my mental breakdown. Things like...

  • not liking how I look/ not wanting to look in mirrors/ not fully recognising myself in the mirror
  • getting upset over things that I can easily change yet doing nothing about them, such as a lot of housework needs doing but rather than begin it I just let it get me down
  • pains in my head that aren't like a headache- 'rewiring' pains
  • feeling very angry over nothing much
  • getting so overly happy that I become excited, talk quicker, get out of breathe and become a little hyper even when I don't feel that happy inside
These may be personal warning signs to myself or you may relate to them but everyone is different in this. For me these cause negative spirals that I've talked about before. There's a day where I'm low on energy, stressed out about the small tasks I need to do that day and I get irritable. Here's how the negative spiral begins...

I recognise this and worry that it is how I felt just before my breakdown ---> I worry it's going to start all over again ----> rather than talk to someone I shut myself off and push loved ones away ----> I feel unwell ----> I worry even more and become physically unwell ---> this doesn't last very long and I start to feel ok again ---> it was just an off day and not the start of a break down afterall.

Although it was nothing to worry about it puts me on hold until it passes. It affects my daily life but for a short period of time. So I start to feel better again and back to normal..... but then I have another off day and it starts all over again. Maybe this will be lifelong for me. There may always be the worry that it will happen again whether it does or it doesn't. So do I spend my life worrying or in fear? NO!

I recognise what is happening and think about how I feel. I tell my husband and mum that I'm struggling that day so that they can help me and monitor how long it lasts with me. I try my best to pick myself up that day. I put little jobs on hold and concentrate on myself and how to boost my mood. I do something to make me smile. I cuddle. I eat healthily. I stay hydrated. I scream if I have to! I try to get a good night sleep and in the morning I review how I'm feeling again. And 9/10 times everything is a lot better in the morning. Life has ups and downs but I'm not going to let every bump in the road throw me and I'll deal with the bad if it comes not worry about when it comes. Because worrying about it before it happens is a waste of a good day.

Much love,
Becky xx


Steven Williams said...

You sound like you're doing great. It's great that you know the warning signs and can recognize them

I have not noticed any warning signs for me. It seems to come out of nowhere. I'm sure there are warning signs that I just haven't noticed. I think I'm going to start a daily mental health journal so I can look for a common link. I think I could be a great help for me.

Becky said...

That's sounds a good idea for you to track and monitor. It might be therapeutic to be writing down how you feel each day too. Good luck with it

kaye mclaren said...

Well done you for getting to where you have. It's not easy, I know,recovering from an episode of depression. I've been there - many times! It took me a long time to work out my warning signs. I would just get pole axed by a relapse, never seeing it coming. Here are mine:
- increased use of antacids due to gastric reflux
- thoughts that life is too hard and I'd be better off dead
- starting to plan a suicide attempt rather than think vaguely about it
- thoughts that everything has always gone wrong and always will
- THIS IS THE BIGGIE - any kind of conflict, especially with people I'm close to.
- sleeping poorly.

There are probably more but those are the main ones. I had to almost die from depression to learn how important it was to monitor these things and take action quickly. I've told my personal story at (I'm not here to push my blog, but I mention it in case you're interested.)

i admire you for telling your story. It's scary and hard. I'm still freaking out! I'll follow your blog so I see how you go. Good luck! I love to keep in touch with other mental health bloggers and see that I'm not the only one having these experiences.

Becky said...

thank you for that Kaye. I can definitely relate to conflict and sleeping poorly. Apart from the first couple of weeks on my antidepressants I haven't had suicidal thoughts but I do start thinking things along the lines of "if I could be ill I could be in hospital a bit and have a rest" and wanting it to happen to escape from things or thinking of driving off to a campsite somewhere alone, without telling anyone. It's like a want/need to run away and be lost. Thank you for sharing your link. You're very welcome to have a guest post on here and link it to your website if you'd like?

I relied heavily on youtube at first for people's personal stories. It made me feel part of a group rather than being so alone. Thank you for sharing your story. I've been reading through and it's very inspirational. My twitter is if you'd like to connect on there.