Hi, and thank you for checking out my Blog. This is a brand new venture on my part where I hope to combine my life long passion for writing with my experiences of living with depression and anxiety. Ironically my depression and anxiety are the things that have stopped me from pursuing my interest in writing so it seems fitting that I use writing to help me on my recovery from it.
Why do this?
I have a lot of experience of what has and has not worked for me when dealing with depression and anxiety. Often I have taken some unconventional approaches to tackling this illness and so hope some of what I have learned may be beneficial to others and could prevent them from making some of the mistakes I did along the way.
I have been off work and finally feel like I am on the road to recovery, bumpy though it may be. I have never admitted to having a mental illness easily to anyone, least of all to myself, but admitting it and talking about it takes power away from the stigmatic shame I feel about it.
The people I have met on my journey have inspired me to speak out and share my experiences. Even if it only ends up helping one person then I am comfortable with that, the work I put in to this will be worth it. I am passionate about trying to help people and feel that men are often more in need than most since societal ideals and imagery for men are still leaning very much toward the macho. Emotions are for pussies and we must be strong and blah blah blah. It’s total BS unfortunately. I became a master over the years of masking my true self to fit in and to hide my illness. The end result, I came very close to burning myself out and needed to be taken off work for several months in order to try and tackle this properly.
Last week I was honoured to have been part of “Story Camp”, an event run by the UK Charity Organisation, Time to Change where people are invited to come along who are interested in using Blogs or Vlogs as a way to tell their stories and help combat the negative stigma around mental health in society. This was exactly the right shove I needed in order to finally put fingers to keys on this blog. I originally set this up back in July and then procrastinated for 2 months following a bit of a back slide in recovery and an attack of fear about putting things out in to the world.
I am still not sure what I am more scared of, people not ever reading this or the idea that people might actually read this.
What will it be about?
I have taken somewhat of a holistic approach to recovery this time around and have spurned the use of anti-depressants as I have always reacted badly to them in the past and I have lost count of the different ones I have tried over the years. I must stress, the ONLY reason I considered doing this against the advice of medical professionals is because at no time during this cycle of illness have I felt anything like suicidal. I believe that anti-depressants have their place in treatment but I wanted to find a way to do it without them as long as I could stay safe. I will cover what treatments and supplements I have tried, why I tried them and whether they were found to be beneficial or not in this blog.
I am also back in to my fitness training as this is something I chose early on as a key part of my future resilience once I was back at work. Here I will delve in to what I have been doing and how I found it to begin with.
Returning to work
I am returning to work in the next couple of weeks so I will definitely cover my experiences of that and how my anxiety levels are before, during and after!
I have fallen in love with a great many podcasts over the past few months and a lot of them have had a profound effect on me and my journey. I will post information about these in my blog and give my views on why they were particularly helpful to me.
One of the issues I will refer to frequently in this blog is stigma and the good and bad experiences I have (and have had) when opening up about mental health.
I have learned a great deal about how to be kinder to myself over the past few months and I am still learning. I will share new things and tricks I use to break the self deprecating habits that are so deeply ingrained in me.
Finally I will continually reference back to my story and as I gain confidence will probably unpack some of the tougher aspects of what lead me here in the first place. There is a ton of stuff I want to share and will attempt to do so in a coherent and enjoyable way.
Thank you for reading this introductory blog and please leave feedback or contact me directly. I look forward to sharing my journey with you all and hope it is helpful.
Look after yourselves,