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I’m back….with my happy pills!!

I haven’t put pen to paper/fingers to the keyboard to post a blog in a loooooong time; I genuinely haven’t had the time or motivation to share.

Today however my thoughts and feelings and general outlook has altered immensely. My life, my Husband’s life and my children’s lives have been turned inside out and upside down.

Me – I am back on my “happy pills” and have been for the last few months. Yes the need for the antidepressants came back to bite me in a HUGE way. For a long time, maybe longer than I care to admit I had been suffering with depression. Hiding behind the mask, putting on a front and not being honest with myself.

Image result for depression

I hit rock bottom earlier this year; I have never been quite so bad. It was as if I had been in a trance. I found myself sitting on a bench looking out to sea, contemplating very morbid, upsetting and sad things. Things that to this day still make me shudder. Depression can make you feel extraordinarily alone, disposable, invisible, weak and broken all at the same time. You can’t simply snap out of it. You can’t just smile and feel the joy. And usually you do not recognise the symptoms until you are at your worst. You are haunted daily by the dread you feel the nanosecond you open your eyes, the enthusiasm you once had becomes so false and so meaningless, but it also becomes a way of life. You live in a constant denial that “you’re fine“, that you’re “just tired“, “nothing is wrong, honestly“…..

Like anything you have to come down, sometimes a long way down before you come back up. I realised I was ill again, but I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone, my Husband, My mum, anyone, for fear of being thought of as an attention-seeker, someone who is overreacting. I carried on, playing the game, keeping my mask securely up, working in auto-pilot. It was exhausting. Get up, get kids to school, avoid those who made me feel invisible, do housework, pick kids up, do dinner, go to bed.

The penny must have dropped with my Husband, he must have realised, because I remember him saying to the me “Please go to the Doctors“. I cannot however, remember much more than that. Everything seems muffled and jumbled up when I look back.

I know I sat in my car on the phone to my Mum in tears, worried that the Doctor would not believe me and wouldn’t help. (He did by the way)

I know I sat in the Doctors room feeling like a little child with no voice. Speaking a language that was complete gibberish. I know I felt immeasurable relief when the Doctor listened, gave me tissues and talked to me, not at me but to me. We talked about what causes depression, coping techniques, how the medication works. He gave me the tool to help me be me again.

Image result for depression

Long story cut short; a few months down the line, I am ME once more. The ME I used to like, the ME who enjoys socialising, the ME who likes people and who doesn’t shy away. I am no longer the person who backs away from others, scared to look people in the eye, scared to be in a crowd.

I can very happily say that the dark cloud, the rainstorm, the shadow which clouded my mind and the dread I carried with me have now been replaced with sunshine, love, smiles, laughing and all thanks to some wonderful man-made drugs.

Depression is not a laughing matter. I may refer to my medication as “happy pills”, but they are still medication prescribed to me to help me deal with and live a mental illness. It is a medication which allows/helps me to be live as myself again. A medication which has stopped my children loosing their mum and has stopped my Husband’s marital status being changed to Widower.

Mental illness is a disease. A disease which is very lonely, debilitating, and carries such a stigma, because it is widely misunderstood. I guarantee that there are many many people who live with it, suffer because of it, who receive treatment for it and who hide it, and you wouldn’t even know it.

I am not here writing this for sympathy or to lecture. I use this blog as a tool, as a coping mechanism. If I can help others while I am doing it, that is epic.

If you know someone who is suffering with/living with depression; I implore you just listen if they want to talk, just offer a shoulder to lean on, sometimes just having company and not being on their own will be all they need.

Please don’t lecture. Don’t brush off their feelings. Don’t put words in their mouth.

Offer support and listen.

And to all those amazing people out there who like me deal with/live with/suffer from depression or a mental illness; remember you are absolutely not alone. You are amazing and I send you a hug from behind my computer screen.

 

Big love

S xx

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The 12 week campaign – Week ONE

Varenicline (Champix® tm) is my new best friend, for the next 11 weeks and counting anyway.

Champix

Champix

Champix

Champix

One week ago today, Thursday 9th April 2015, I took my first little white pill with a glass of water after I had eaten, and waited….I had the day before been to see the Nurse at my GP’s and spoken about my desire to want to stop smoking and that I had tried by myself in the past and have never been successful; I always start smoking again. Stupid isn’t it.

  • I have tried patches on the arms; they made my arm red and itchy
  • I have used E-cigarettes; they just made me want a real cigarette
  • I have tried plain old-fashioned will-power……I am not that strong
  • I have stopped smoking following an bout of illness, whether it be chest infection/flu/sickness…..eventually I always started again.

I need help in doing this. I WANT to stop and stay stopped. I have three children and I would hate myself if they started smoking because Mummy did it. I am burning money, which I don’t have and actually need; I cannot justify the cost anymore. I have seen members of my family be very ill through smoking; I don’t want this for myself in later years.

Twenty years, yes I started smoking at the stupid, young and impressionable ago of 14 (!), I have had this “friend” and now is the time to let go. I’m making it sound like something I am going to be sad to say goodbye to; well I am actually but pleased that I am doing it. If you have had a habit, of any kind, good or bad, for a long period of time, suddenly losing that and not having it there is difficult. Like giving up your driving licence and relying on another form of transport, like changing a job, changing your diet, losing a friend or pet….suddenly that thing which has been an almost constant in your life is no longer there and you have be strong and carry on. I will carry on. I will be a non-smoker.

The Nurse I see, Jo, is absolutely completely fantastic. She isn’t patronising, but welcoming and understanding. I feel as if she really wants to help me, not just because she is paid to, but because she genuinely wants to see me stop. She explained how Champix works, and called the 12 week course “a 12 week commitment“. This made me think; it IS a commitment, to myself to improve and extend my life, health and bank balance. I am aware of the possible side-effects, which lets face it you get with EVERYTHING nowadays…..feeling sick – Yep I can deal with that, difficulty sleeping – please?! I have had three children I know what sleep deprivation is, abnormal dreams – yep I can handle these too. BRING IT ON!

So how have I found my first week? I hate to say it but relatively easy. Sorry. Actually with Champix you can continue to smoke for the first week , with a view to cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke within by the end of the first week and then stopping completely by the end of the second week. Obviously when I returned home and told the Husband this I emphasised “I can still smoke” bit, like I was clinging on to the very last point.

I did continue to smoke. For the first 3 days I continued smoking but I also cut down how many I smoked…then Saturday night, fortunately (I say fortunately as I think in hindsight it was a silver lining) I picked up the sickness and diarrhoea bug that had been going around my house. Obviously the last thing I wanted to do was smoke, so I didn’t; and I haven’t since…..Well…I did fancy a cigarette on Monday morning, not because I wanted it, but because I always had one mid-morning in the past. I lit it and immediately I hated it. It tasted vile and I felt dirty.

I continued to not smoke, and I can honestly say I haven’t had any craving for nicotine; it’s the routine I’m missing. I miss having a cigarette with my morning coffee; when I get back from doing the school run; once the kids are in bed, to have a break from housework, after dinner, before bed…..

My first follow up appointment with Nurse Jo was booked for Tuesday, and I was excited to go and tell her how I well I feel I have been doing. I told her about the stomach bug, etc and she was thrilled with how I was doing. The real test was the breathalyser thing-me-bob (I don’t know what it’s called!) It is like a breathalyser you see the police doing on drivers they suspect have been drinking, but this measures the level of carbon monoxide (I think) in my lungs. During my first appointment my levels were at 18mms, on Tuesday (5 days later 3 of which I had not smoked for) my levels had reduced to 2mms!!!! Whoop Whoop!! I felt like dancing, and that gave me what I needed to carry on with the determination I have got.

Don’t get me wrong I know that the next 11 weeks may not be as easy, and I will have tests thrown at me, however this time I feel differently about it.

So, please think good thoughts for me, and keep things crossed that this time I WILL stop smoking and beat this horrible habit once and for all. I will let you know how things are next week…..

Much love

S

xx