Taking control of my mental health

Guest Post: Hev Bailey at http://www.crosswordsnotwires.wordpress.com

There’s nothing quite like feeling at the mercy of your mind. We’re all used to getting sick when we don’t want to. We never want that cold and we didn’t mean to get that stomach bug, but things that are out of our control happened and all we could do was concentrate on getting better. So, why don’t we have the same attitude to our mental health?

The thing about depression is that you don’t need to have an overly obvious reason to be depressed. You can have a good job, a home and a family you love and still have that dark cloud hanging over you.

That’s exactly what is was like for me. I’d just moved into my dream home with my wife and landed a great job at a tech company. I had more space at home and more money in the bank to spend on whatever I wanted. I could go out to dinner, I could travel, I could lounge at home watching Netflix on my big screen TV or spend time with my loving friends and family.

And yet it was one of the darkest times in my life. I was so low that I didn’t want to do anything or see anyone. Life felt so completely overwhelming and at times I would just get home at the end of the day and cry. I couldn’t do the things I loved. It took so much energy to try and be a human being 9-5, Monday to Friday that for the rest of the time I could barely function.

The main thing people wanted to know was why? Why did I feel like my body was covered in heavy weights stopping me from doing all these wonderful things I could now finally do? I didn’t have an answer that made sense, and that in turn made me feel even worse. I felt like I didn’t have any right to be struggling.

Depression is so much more than an environmental effect. It’s taken me years to learn that and countless doctors appointments. The brain is just like any other organ in your body and sometimes things go wrong. That’s the stigma that’s hard to break through. There’s no shame in depression just like there’s no shame in something going wrong with your kidneys or heart.

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that and it has cost me. I currently don’t work as my mental health issues grew to the point I completely broke down and couldn’t keep hold of my job. But, in the end, I’ve realised this is for the better.

I’m now in weekly therapy and taking the right medication (after a few trial and errors and many doctor’s appointments) and with this break I now have I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The key to getting a hold on my mental health has without a doubt been talking and seeking help and advice. Just like I know I couldn’t fix a broken leg alone I can’t get myself better without the help of others, both professionals and those close to me. Everyone doesn’t always understand, but all I can do is explain the best I can, turn up to therapy and take my medication in the knowledge that I’m working towards recovery and a future I deserve.   

Sam GlassComment