The Blog Review 2013: My Mental Health

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Over the last few days of the year I’ll be selecting the high and low points of my own 2013. I made a resolution on Hogmanay 2012 that I would try to write a daily blog to help me to come to terms with the mental issues I was having at the time. It’s strange looking back nearly twelve months but at that point I didn’t have a diagnosis of any kind, just four years worth of medication to my name and a question that hung over me. Looking back the path the year has taken has been an interesting and challenging one.

I knew I had to be honest in my blog – I was writing it primarily for myself and hoped that a couple of dozen people would read it and it would help them understand me and why I was the way I was. The first time I opened up was back in January when I discussed my situation (http://wp.me/pJh58-43) It was  difficult first step but one I had to make if the blog was going to mean anything to me. I’m glad I did it and the response was quite muted initially but as the year went on and I spoke about it more I started to receive some private messages on Facebook, Twitter and here on WordPress with others talking about their own issues and problems. I felt like I was normal.

But then Normal’s Overrated! http://wp.me/pJh58-ix  I had my first diagnosis and was relieved that it wasn’t my fault or a deep dark hidden issue in my past that was stopping me from living life normally. Depressive Disorder was the call of the psychologist and I felt as if I had part of the picture at last – I knew then that this wasn’t the end of my time with Dr Oswald at Cornhill but at that point this was enough to digest initially. It was a weight lifted from me – I knew that this was chemical and not emotional and that helped me to come to terms with it. The increased medication that followed the diagnosis helped me to find a point at which I could function normally again…well almost.

As I said I knew that the whole story wasn’t over because I’d done some reading and seen articles and documentaries on bi-polar disorder and had self-diagnosed. I’m clever enough to know that doing these things yourself isn’t enough and using an online questionnaire from the Black Dog Institute both myself and Jill did it separately and both came to the same result. The next step was the GP and then back to see Dr Oswald. The diagnosis was a tough one to take and the blog I wrote is one of the most difficult I’ve written as it was still a very raw emotion http://wp.me/sJh58-me and I’d only had a day to think about all the issues. As I said in the blog it wasn’t something I wanted to happen – no-one does – but now we’re a couple of months down the road I feel that I’m in the best place I’ve been for a long time and I’m so glad that I had the courage to go and do something about this.

There have been so many posts about my mental health this year and I cannot thank people enough for the support and sharing of their own stories with me. I really appreciate the candour of those I have known a while and also people I’ve now met online who are going through similar and also vastly different experiences to my own. Whatever you find yourself facing in life it takes just one other person to share their story to open the world back out for you from the insular perspective you have hidden yourself in. While I won’t mention them by name because most were private conversations I have to acknowledge their contributions to my own mental health this year.

Some other posts that helped me “get things out of my system”, which is really what I set the blog up to do, include the following:

  • Can’t Sleep, Won’t Sleep – http://wp.me/pJh58-c5 – one major issue with these illnesses is sleep patterns
  • Dip Digging Deeper – http://wp.me/pJh58-IP – first time I’d felt he depression badly since my diagnosis and change of meds
  • Fresh Air, Stale Head – http://wp.me/pJh58-JX – the way your head is when you are in a dark patch, one i didn’t enjoy writing because I was worried about offending my friends I was with that day
  • My Face – http://wp.me/pJh58-N1 – The anger that can come out against others because of the imbalance in my head
  • But most of all, Her – http://wp.me/pJh58-MI – The blog that said a huge thank you to my best friend for all her support regardless whether she was living with Jekyll or Hyde.

Hopefully with the combination of meds working away I’ll find myself feeling more and more normal – whatever that is – and perhaps that means that the blog will not continue in the way it has over the last twelve months. I set it up for me initially to help me see if there were patterns, to look back at my own words and thoughts but for them to be out there and not hidden. From that point I’ve succeeded and because of that I don’t know if I will have to blog as often about this issue anymore. The one thing I can say is thank you to all those who have read, responded and spoken to me about these issues – you have helped me so much in coming to terms with it all. So here’s to the next 12 months of good mental health.

JD

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