It's been two years since the start of Not Just Depressed. Although I finalised the blog in April 2017 I wanted to check in with you all and do a bit of a review of where I am in my mental health journey. A quick recap: square 1, the breakdown, was the bleakest place I've ever been, the most drained and physically unwell I've ever felt and I just felt hopeless. Through my blog we saw how I began to fight back and how I learnt to cope and lead a 'normal' daily life again. I had slowly reduced and ended my anti-depressant medication and kept up with the tools I had gathered along the way to help me feel calmer and healthier. Although I still suffered with anxiety and low moods I managed to debut in burlesque, hold onto my day job and earn a promotion, achieve a better sleep pattern and build on old and new relationships. Yes there were still hurdles, some I found extremely difficult but I got through them. I got to a point where I was still anxious and worried that my mental health may take a nosedive but I was determined and had gained the tools to carry on. I felt calmer, healthier, happier and able to cope.
In truth my anxiety is not yet fully under control but it is manageable. I can struggle to leave my home without constantly checking that things are turned off and that the doors are locked. I can feel conscious doing this at home or work when I need to lock up but tell myself not to worry because I'm doing it to reassure myself. I still want to work on this and not feel as stuck with this routine I seem to have created. In general I am quite calm and relaxed, if problems arise I face them and find solutions but the odd thing can make me feel very overwhelmed. I can now calm myself a lot quicker and not feel unwell throughout the day after a moment of anxiety. I don't lay awake thinking of problems or let things get to me, once it's done then it's done, I leave it in the past and move on. I try my best not to stress about the future because it hasn't happened yet and I know that I can exaggerate things that may happen to the point they become a worry. Not anymore. I prep and make plans but if things don't turn out the way I thought I remain calm and change strategy. Sometimes things throw me but I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and it's better to stay as calm as possible or quickly get myself back to a state of calm and deal with the situation.
Life is good right now. I still feel grateful for my mental illness because I came out a new and improved version of myself with more empathy. knowledge and drive. It helps me remain focused on living as stress free a life as possible and concentrating on happiness. Anxiety is something that I control, it doesn't control me. Depression is something of the past that feels a million miles away. Sleep is restful. And as for my dream of getting to the point where I could be well enough to try for a baby?
Our little girl will be due in April, almost three years after my initial breakdown. I'm over the moon and feel very relaxed about my pregnancy. I'm really enjoying being in this moment and looking forward to what the future brings. So you see things can and do get better. Storms pass and the sun shines again. You just have to focus on getting better and want to come out of that dark place. Put yourself first and know you deserve to beat this.