Is This Really Me? – Understanding Your Own Mental Health

I have always been a massive advocate for saying what you think or feel. The problem is I will give everyone the advice but never take it myself.  For the last two years I have been an emergency call taker for the police. I take calls every day from people experiencing hard times and thinking about ending their life and asking for help. You build up a wall after a time and you just hear people who are upset and give them the advice you are told and then pass them over to the ambulance service. They are no longer my responsibility. 

Then one day at work I became the person on the other end of the phone. Over the last year or so I was struggling with things at work and due to an incident that occurred at my workplace.  I became withdrawn and my friends and colleagues started to notice. I went from chatty to silent. I snapped at people, I stopped eating lunch and even wouldn’t go to the toilet on my own. 

The incident at work was being dealt with by the correct department but after being the girl who was strong, loving life and always having a laugh for my whole life, I Crashed. I didn’t realise what was happening to me, I was not going to work, I was having odd nightmares, feeling like I was alone and that everyone was better off without me. I didn’t enjoy going to work anymore, it scared me and I was constantly watching my back. My team leader told me she thought I should speak to my doctor and see if they can give me medication to help. 

I refused to speak to my doctor as I did not want medication. I wanted to battle whatever was wrong with me, my way. I agreed to refer myself to counseling and I spoke to someone once a week, I am still doing this now as it helps me clear my head. 

My councillor really made me understand what was going on in my head and made me work out what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. Early on in the sessions we talked about my past but focused on the reason I was there. She helped me to understand how I had made it to the point I had and how I had managed to get as far as I did without breaking. 

Then the lockdown happened. I don’t like doing nothing and I certainly don’t like being alone. I am a massive people person. I was still working as I was a key worker but they changed where we were placed so I was no longer with all my friends, calls were not as constant but the calls we were getting were getting more violent or even just stupid. The whole thing was getting me anxious and upset. I would stare out the window and ignore people talking to me. Then one morning I just didn’t go back to work. 

I had two weeks off, scared and nervous. Unsure of who I was and what was going on. I was constantly questioning why me and what did I do wrong. I questioned why I took my walls down when I did and for that person. Why did I think I could make a change and the worst question of them all; would everyone be better off without me if I just didn’t exist?

This is a question I never thought I would ask myself. I never thought this would come in to my mind, let alone come out of my mouth. I was constantly crying and emotional. The smallest thing such as a song or even a Facebook post would make me burst in to tears, 

In that two weeks away from work I spoke to my doctor as I didn’t know what else to do. She spoke to me for a period of time asking lots of questions and diagnosed me with depression, Anxiety and PTSD. I was in shock, I didn’t know why I had been given this diagnosis. I understood lots of people get depression and even more get anxiety. It is now as common as the flu. What I didn’t understand is why I had been given the diagnosis of PTSD. 

PTSD formally known as post-traumatic stress disorder in my head was something a close friend had and suffered with after being in the army for many years of his life. This to me was a condition that soldiers get after war and normally goes alongside being shot or losing a limb. To me everything I had gone through did not equate to the same level as this. My very close friend explained to me that what I had gone through was similar trauma on the brain but obviously not the same situation. It was not a normal situation for me to have gone through on a daily basis and my brain had worked that out and was now trying to deal with it, 

I spoke to my councillor about this and she agreed with me and him. She explained to me that all the things that had happened to me were not normal and everything I did was out of goodwill and I was not to blame for this situation. I didn’t agree originally with this as I blamed myself for everything that happened.  She stated that what was happening to me was that my head was trying to process what had happened and due to my background of being an army brat I processed things differently and had lots of different coping mechanisms that not everyone else has. This is why my brain was acting in a different way to other peoples. She also explained everyone dealt with these things differently and I could not compare myself to anyone else.

 

I have been working very hard to understand everything that is going on in my head. I tried antidepressants and they made me violently sick. My doctor is trying to keep me off the medication as I don’t respond well to them.  I do have to take sleeping tablets as I am struggling to sleep normally due to night terrors which have been a side effect of coming off this medication. This is something I am still working on and I would like to come off my sleeping tablets asap. It has been very hard experiencing medication like this. I don’t normally take medication for anything so I knew what I was feeling taking this medication was not right. I lost the ability to feel any emotions, I was sick, I was not eating and it gave me really bad dreams. I am now working with my councillor on different coping mechanisms for me and my head instead of falling back on medications and losing all control of myself.

During this whole incident I have noticed how scared people are of mental health and talking about it. Only a few people have contacted me to see if I am ok. I understand lockdown has been very hard for everyone but it is a subject that not everyone is comfortable to talk about properly. People are very worried about saying what they are feeling and thinking in case they hurt someone.  Another thing I realised during this whole thing is that even I cannot be there for everyone. I have friends who have suffered badly that I was not aware of and that for me hurts. The friend explained to me that they didn’t understand what was going on with them so they didn’t know how to explain it to anyone else, so they didn’t say a thing. I found this information out today and this hurt so much that I haven’t really stopped crying, even while writing this. 

The main thing I am trying to remember while this whole thing is going on is something that someone who I care about deeply once said to me, “I am a fighter”. I know this deep down and I know that I will get through this. I know me being this way has hurt some people and hurt me. I know I can fix both those things because those people still care about me. 

What we all need to remember is we are allowed to feel bad, we are allowed to cry and we are allowed to think bad things. This is the one thing that is the same with everyone. If you have got someone to talk to great, talk to them, cry at them or just ask for a hug, if you don’t them please reach out. There are many amazing services out there which are free to everyone to use. 

I know I can talk about myself now, I blog / Instagram posts or just write poems. This is how I share and I also hope that even if one person connects with my post then I am happy.

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3 Comments
  1. I can totally relate to this as I have a similar job, keep strong! X

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this great post ❤️

    Reply
  3. You’re so strong and brave – thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

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