Hi guys, I hope you have had a good weekend. I want to apologise for my utter failed to get this up on Friday but better late than never right? At least I managed to get my arse in gear and write the second part of my journey to finally being diagnosed with depression.
When I left off last time, I had just turned 18 and had been discharged from the community mental health team up in Worcester having been told I had a bad case of teenage mood swings. It wasn’t just that though not at all.
For the next year, things eased off a little bit. That’s not to say I didn’t have days when I was at an utter lack of what to do with myself. The stress of exams and continued social anxiety were still an issue for me, but I tried to pass it off as just being a teenager as that is what I had been told by a professional who deemed that nothing was wrong with me.
However, when I went to uni things started to take a turn for the worse. I became increasingly isolated as I was increasingly self-aware and conscious of the fact that I didn’t have anyone I knew around me. I found it difficult to make friends which meant I rarely had anyone I felt I could talk to and confide in to help get me out of my headspace.
I didn’t feel that I was worthy of being at uni at all. I didn’t think I was intelligent or creative enough to be doing the ccourse that I was doing. I saw others around me having such a good time, what seemed like all the time. I wasn’t a part of that which made me withdraw even further into myself. I couldn’t and therefore didn’t cope with anything.
Around half way through my first year was the first time that I hit the first true low and had a moment of complete and utter lack of logical thinking. I wanted so badly to hurt myself in some way. For me the easiest way to do that was to take to much of the anti-epaleptic drug that I take.
This had the effect of making me very sick and slightly out of it. Despite this I still went to my lecture that day and tried my very hardest to carry on as if I hadn’t done anything at all. There was only one person who truely bothered to come after me and ask if I was ok. For that I was thankful. However, notheing further came of it. When I got back to my dorm I was left on my own again to be sick and try and salvage something of the day.
The next time someone noticed that I wasn’t quite right was when my flute teacher noticed that I had cut myself. A few days previously I had, completely by accident I might add, managed to smash a glass of mine in the kitchen of my flat in my second year. This was simply due to my own clumsyness as a partially sighted person who managed to forget I had set the glass on the work surface, moved my arm and knowcked the glass to the floor.
At the time I picked up one of the shards of glass I obviously wasn’t thinking straight, no pun intended of course. Mental illness has this funny way of skewing the way you think. You don’t think of throwing it away because it could hurt someone else and it’s of no use any more. You see it as a tool to hurt yourself on the outside, thus trying to aliviate the pain you are feeling inside.
Anywhno it was a hot summers eveing and the music rooms did tent to be rather stuffy. I had to take my jumper off othersie I would simply have fainted due to heat. My teacher was so helpful and unfasied by the situation. She offered to help me book an oppintment with student services to seek advice and support.
If it wasn’t for her and what she did for me I don’t know what could have happend. Luckily I managed to see the doctor and was perscribed citalipram which is an SSRI drug, a form of anti depressant. I was offered this drug becasue it was the safest option for me with the epilim, the anti-epileptic drug I take.
That along with some counceling did help to aliviate the pain I was feeling, to a certain extent. It didn’t get down to the root of the caurse though but it helped me get through the next year and a half of my degree.
During the may of my third year an event happened that I still to this day find hard to believe actually happened to me. I still have a mental block about it and have a tendancy to play it down. I was at a friends house party, a friend that I have known since I was sixteen. We were celebrating her and another friends birthday.
During the eveing we all had quite a few drinks. I wasn’t completely off my face but I wasn’t stone cold sober either. Anywho I needed to go to the loo as I felt that I MIGHT be sick but I primarily just needed to pee.
So one of the guys at the party said he would come up and help me be sick if I needed and just kinda followed me. At first, coz I had consumed alchohol I was like ‘ok sure’. So it turned out that I just needed to pee.
Anywho as I was sitting there on the loo he started to kiss me. At first I wasn’t that bothered about that. But then he started to touch me and tried to touch me down there. I said I didn’t feel comforable with him doing that. He tried to keep on doing that with me telling him that I really wasn’t into it. Luckily he did stop before it went any further.
However, he said that he wouldn’t let me out of the loo because he didn’t want people thinking that we’d had sex which was just a stupid idea because the longer we stayed in there the more people would have thought we were having sex. That in itself scared me. I didn’t want to be in there. I just wanted to get out any away from the situation.
Now people will say that that is sexual assault. In my mind’s eye it’s hard to try and explain. Intelecually and logically I know that it is but somehow I can’t actually convice myself that it really is. Does that make any sense? To me it’s almost just like an event that happened to someone else almost. It’s almost like because it wasn’t rape it wasn’t anything at all. Even writing about it now or having spoken about it in therapy in the past it’s like it happened to someone else but when I talk about it I get uncomfortable. It’s like I’ve completely detached myself from what actually happened.
I don’t know if I can give it justice really. It’s like I wasn’t that person and that I’ve never been violated like that but I know that I have. It’s a weird state of being. I never pressed charges because I didn’t think I had been done wrong by. I didn’t think that I would be taken seriously when I couldn’t even fully accept and acknowledge that it had truely happened.
So after the event I carried on my mary way and finished my degree and left uni feeling completely and utterly lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. All I really knew was that I wanted to work with people with a learning disability because I had volunteered at a theatre company for adults with a learning disability. But I didn’t know what to do, which path to go down, what there was out there to to or how to go about doing anything like that in my local area.
In the summer of 2013 I applied, through clearnce, and managed to get a place on the Learning disability nursing degree course at my local uni which was convinent because I could stay at home and didn’t have to take out another loan to carry on studying or stay in halls.
So for another academic year I was in uni and studying for something that I thought would give me a job and a career to look forward to which would mean money and security and a bit more of a clear cut plan for my future.
However at the end of my first year I was told that I was unable to carry on into my second year, effectivly I was kicked off the course. I had just completed my third and final placment for the year and concerns had been raised about my ability to read the MAR charts and labels on medication boxs. I wasn’t even given a chance to do a catch up placement to try and redeem myself. It was deemed that it would be to unsafe for me to continue. My final placement had been in an inpatient mental health ward for people with learning disabilities where behaviour can be exta challenging. In heinsight I could have utalised more equipment to help me to easily read MAR charts and med boxes and when qualified I would choose not to work in an enviroment where I would be putting myself at risk. However, the decision was taken away from me.
A year of my hard work, time and effort had been wripped from under my feet. I felt totally lost again and with no direction to head in. I’m someone who rarely gets angry about situations but this one really wrattled me. I wasn’t given a second chance to try and prove myself. I have seen and heard stories of people with my condition becoming medical practitioners. One a doctor in an ER and another, a nurse who qualifed from a different uni. Therefore it is by no means of the imagination impossible for me to have completed the course. I was angry that I wasn’t given that chance by this one uni. That they had so little faith in me and my potential ability to do something. I really made me wander if I was ever going to be able to do something worth while because of other people’s lack of awarness about visual impairment.
Within a couple of months of me leaving uni I started working in an independant living home for adults with learning disabilities. To say it was a challenge would be an understatment. The constant chaos and instability of the mental health of the people there, the long hours and the feeling that I wasn’t really making much of an impact did put a strain on me and my coping mechinisms and ability to keep my head above water.
After those two years I really did start slipping again and seriously contemplated finding a way of taking my own life. I felt as if I wasn’t able to cope with anything anymore. I didn’t want to have to cope anymore. I felt that I was a burden to those around me and that they would be better off without me as I wasn’t able to provide anything useful to anyone. What could I offer that someone else couldn’t give them?
Again the self harm started to rear its ugly head. I would cut a lot more and deeper than I ever had before hand. It was almost like the physical pain was such a relief. I didn’t have to be stuck in my own head any more. I could focus on something else and that was glorious.
It wasn’t until my mum saw the marks on my arm and urged me to go and see my GP that I finally managed to get the proper help that I needed. I was diagnosed with chronic moderate depression with symptoms of social anxiety and PTSD. I was lucky enough to have my meds uped and given a course of CBT which really did help me to understand the root causes of a lot of my problems.
Luckily it has now been two years since then and I have not had any major issues. I will admit that I still have my days when the thoughts do get to me a bit and I’m not my usual self but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. Although I have had the odd suisidal thought I have never felt the need to self harm or take things into my own hands again.
That’s not to say that I will be scott free for the rest of my life. As with any other chronic illness Depression can have a tendancy to relapce but for now things are ok and I’m muddling by in a much more stable mind set.
I hope this post wasn’t too jumpy and had some sort of cohent way about it. For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you, Until next time, have a good week. 🙂