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Sunday, 5 April 2009

Depression (1)

Most people have suffered from depression at some point in their lives. Fortunately for many it's just a mild dose...a reaction to some difficult or tragic event in their lives. But for others it's something that is with them for life. Oh it disappears from time to time, but then rears it's ugly head when you are least expecting it.

It's been with me for as long as I can remember..certainly most of my adult life but it usually gets pushed into taking a back seat while I get on with dealing with the task of living. In many cases, certainly in mine, I think it's genetic. My father was a depressive, and my two brothers have also had their moments of melancholy.

Mine was so severe at one time...about 14 years ago..that I spent a year in and out of hospital. It's almost amusing to note that I was working in a private psychiatric hospital at the time...although I thought it highly inappropriate to be admitted to this hospital...just a bit embarrassing!

My colleagues were all psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and psychiatric nurses, so I did get a great deal of support. One of them, an eminent psychiatrist, called John, took me on as a patient, and had me admitted to another private hospital in the area. Thank goodness for the private health insurance I had at the time, as state psychiatric wards did (and still do) leave a lot to be desired.

It was a good hospital, with excellent therapy groups, but my real lifesaver was John. It was normal for patients to attend groups and individual therapy and see their consultant once a week. Because John was also my friend he made a point of seeing me every day. Even when he was moving house one weekend, he popped in to see me.

I continued to see him as an outpatient when I left hospital and at the same time decided to give up my job for a while. This meant that my private health insurance ceased, but John insisted on seeing me for a further year free of charge.

You can't completely get rid of depression if it's part of you. But the one thing that John did was made me search my past to establish the cause. Once I recognised this, it was easier to put it into perspective and therefore easier to deal with it. He taught me to recognise the signs of depression occurring and how to handle it.

I'm in a depressive phase at the moment. I have been for several months. I'm not pleasant company when I'm like this, and the last thing I want is to be setting off to the UK in a week's time for the birth of my grandson with this cloud of gloom hanging over me. So a few weeks ago I put myself back on medication for the first time in 12 years, because I know it works for me. And I will also know when it's the right time to stop taking them. Such is the insight that I have into my illness.

Starting this blog has also been extremly therapeutic. I'd recommend it to anyone going through the same thing.

There is still such a stigma attached to any form of mental illness. I have learned through being a sufferer myself, and also from working in the mental health field for many years, that it's important to be entirely open about it. If you aren't, then people don't really understand where you're coming from. Of course..those who still don't understand or can't be bothered to try..aren't in my opinion worth bothering about anyway.

7 comments:

  1. What a brave post to make and you are right - there is a lot of stigma still attached to it. Well, in view of your words, I will just add that I have also been in a state psychiatric unit due to over indulgence with amphetamines that I used to take to keep my weight down.

    Maybe we'll get to swap experiences one day in person - I'd like to think so.

    Re the trip to the UK - you were wise to take control of the situation and self-med. I really hope that the joy on seeing your grandchild will tip the seesaw into a level place.

    x

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  2. Dearest Ayak

    Not only has your blog grown in leaps and bounds, but your writing has too. I can only echo what FF says, and remind you to lean on your friends in need.

    x

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  3. FF: I just knew you would understand..instinct! And yes I too hope we can swap experiences face to face one day.

    TAF: Thankyou...You've made my day xx

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  4. Dear Ayak, I saw your blog on FF's page and as soon as I saw "Depression", I was fascinated. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I think that we all suffer from depression from time to time. Depression is like the sand in the desert - it's so difficult to walk on it! It seems to be draggin you down no matter how hard you try. But there is a way out. Writing for me is a form of therapy. It does help a great deal! Even better that the blogs now have a very good community who would keep an eye out for you. Both Ms FF and TAF are on my reading list too. I know I'm in good hands!!

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  5. Hi Super Dilettante..welcome to my blog. Thank you for your kind words..you are clearly someone who understands!

    I'm very new to this blogging community but I am beginning to realise that there are some lovely people here and it's very comforting.

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  6. Brave post Ayak. I have not suffered from depression but I did have severe anxiety some years back and ended up on anti-depressants for 18 months so I understand a little. Like you I recognise the signs and am glad to say I have not been in such a bad way since. I hope that your meds kick in and you go to the UK ready to enjoy the birth of your grandson.

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  7. Thanks for your kind words Jazzy. I am already feeling much more in control, and am really looking forward to meeting my grandson as soon as he arrives!

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