It’s a Saturday evening and I’m chilling on my sofa, waiting for 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (I flippin’ love it when I get the conundrum) so I thought I’d do a bit of a life update regarding my mental health and what’s been happening lately. Really I’m just procrastinating because I can’t be bothered finishing the other post I’ve half written (it should be up by the time you read this!)
I would be lying if I said the last few weeks have been plain sailing. It’s been roughly 8 weeks since I was diagnosed with depression and given medication to start whilst waiting for my therapy referral. On Tuesday past I started that medication.
I’ve spent the last 8 weeks hmming and hahing as to whether I should take them. I had issues around side effects, becoming reliant on them and having them interact with my OCD (which I’m largely in control of at the moment). I was and am seeing a counsellor and so all the signs, for me, pointed to leaving them in their bag in the cupboard. In hindsight, whilst I feel it was wise to take time to think about it, I should have started taking them sooner.
The past two weeks have probably been the most unstable weeks I’ve had, mood wise. The bad days I have had have outweighed the number of good ones. Good days are still tinged with either numbness, sadness or intrusive suidical thoughts. I found getting out of bed in the mornings more difficult than usual and the thought of socialising with anyone was unbearable. Tears would arrive at unexpected moments; in the car on the way home from work, sitting at the dinner table or when I’m at the supermarket.
The suidical thoughts I experienced became more intense and scary, more realistic than they had been. It seemed like a viable option to me. The thing that stopped me was being able to be totally open and honest with my family. As soon as I have those kind of thoughts, I tell one of them. Of course, I feel awful burdening my family with that kind of conversation but they have assured me that they would rather know than be in the dark.
Anywho, after a very difficult weekend, the idea of taking the medication I had been described became a more positive one. I began to think through the worries I had about them and talked to my sister/brother-in-law about it. They helped me to rationalise things and see medication as just another step in the road to recovery. You take medication to treat a physical illness so what’s the difference with taking it for a mental illness? None at all.
I was prescribed Sertraline 50mg to begin with. After a quick chat with my doctor, she agreed that it was fine for me to start on 25mg and work my way up as my OCD/emetophobia gets triggered very easily by nausea which is a main side effect of the drug. Tonight is Day 5 of the meds. I take them before I go to bed to try and sleep through any side effects. I do wake up with a bit of a headache, slight nausea and an achy stomach which tends to fade in and out throughout the day but so far so good.
Obviously it can take up to 6 weeks to feel the effects of the meds but I do already feel a bit better about it all, I think it’s because I’m trying my hardest to be proactive in my recovery and this is just a helping hand along the way. The #TalkMH chat on Thursday evening (created by the lovely Hannah Rainey, check her blog out) was about taking meds and it honestly reassured me that I had made a good decision.
Of course everyone is affected by meds in different ways and we all have different experiences but just knowing I wasn’t alone in taking them, or even having worries about taking them, meant a lot to me. I feel really privileged being part of such an amazing community.
Anyway this was a bit of a ramble but thought I’d just update a little bit about what’s been happening. This week has been a better week for sure, my counselling is going well and I’m beginning to learn to love myself a little bit more.