I have had a very diffucult week coping with my battle against depression. Certain events this week which i will not go into detail here as i will give the people respect which they have certaintly not shown me have only excerbated things and tip me into a very low state. Today i took the very difficult and painful step of comming out about my depression at work to my team colleagues. I was very close to breaking down in tears as i did so as it was a very difficult thing for me to do, especially as i consider myself to be a very private person in many respects. So why have i made this LJ entry public. Well for a number of reasons really. One is to show that depression is a thing that can be overcome. Being honest and open about one's mental state is a first step on the road to recovery. What has led me to my comming out today? Well three things really. I know i have been getting worse and enough was enough, so i took the first big step and sought help. I have seen my GP, he has had a long chat with me me and has put me on 20mg Citalopram. That was a bloody difficult thing for me to do. I felt dirty, i felt like i had sold my soul by telling my GP i was depressed. God that was such a diffciult thing to do. But i did it. At the same time i have been seeing a counsellor since the beginning of September basically and that is ongoing. Another difficult step, but i did it and am continuing to do it. So what prompted me to get help? Well these two videos basically. It was not an overnight decison. i have been going back to watch them on a regular basis over the past year and i have Jeremy's Manic Depression Awareness appeal on my ipod as well. Both videos had a very profound impact on me as i thought to myself particulary on the first one, My God that is me ! Very much so
. And i knew then i had to confront hidden secrets and demons within me. It was the start of my own journey and i hope recovery. Indeed in September when i came close to considering suicide, i watched this over and over again. I did actually leave a comment on that video on the anniversary of my Mother's death, but it was only half the story. I was not ready at that point to declare to the world about my depression. Butr it was the start of my journey.
Jeremy's Manic Awareness video/and audio on my ipod was a process of many months, I know it was Jeremy guiding me, encouraging me, being my compass and shinging the light to the stage i have reached today which was to come out to my colleagues about my depression. They were shocked and stunned, but very supportive. Tonight on Facebook i got a message from a team colleague that left me in tears.
"Hey Charl, hope you got on ok at Dr Watsons (!) you did a very brave thing today - don't think many people would have had the balls to do that. We are all there if you ever need anything. Chin up!!! C u monday xx"
But then i got a text message from someone, again i will give the person dignity and respect by not naming the indiviual which included the following statement:
"You dont need pills you just need to learn how to live ...!"
Given the difficult day and week i have had that floored me completely and tonight whilst making tea i just broke down in tears and banged my fists against the wall and bath that i later had. The last time i did that was early July last year when i was depressed. That statement appalled me. It is like saying to anyone with depression and mental health issues you dont need medication. Jeremy i know woould have been appalled by such a remark. I dont think i need to explain why. Breaking down tonight, i knew exactly how he felt when he banged his own fists which he alluded to in his Manic Depression Awareness Video.
I know Jeremy has been instrumental in bringing me to where i am today. Despite such a difficult summer when i have been accused of faking my depression and now this horrendous text statement, i know he has been my Compass, My Guide, my Shining Light helping me down the path of me really getting to grips with this. I know he will continue to walk with me and support me. I know he will never ever abandon me. At least i was able to at least repay what he has done for me in the past year in particular by doing the Jeremy Brett Memorial Walk. That was for you Jeremy. And i would do it for noone else.
I have friends both at home and at work who i know will support me. The message left on Facebook tonight is proof of that. Comming out today was a huge huge step for me. I have still not told them yet about my eyesight and my cataract which will cause me to go blind as i have no sight in my left eye. That is a prospect that scares the hell out of me. I am to be honest terrified by the battle i face over that. It is too soon yet to drop THAT bombshell on them. But i know i will have to sooner rather than later, as since Easter i have noticed increased blurriness in my good eye where the cataract is. I get good and bad days. But it has really been and still is a very frightening thing for me to deal with. I had hoped for a ten year time scale. Now i think i am looking at five. It is something that can be treated as they can zap this thing, but to do so now would mean permanent blindness, which of course i dont want !!! So in order to beat this it will get worse before it gets better.
But i am a very strong person. Christ i have to be. And have been. I watched my Mother die. I have seen friends die of cancer, heart failure and in one case suicide. (That really affected me very badly) I had to be strong when i took charge of a situation on a train once when someone collapsed and apart from a first aider who gave medical help, i had to take command and issue orders to complete strangers to stop the train and get help.
So i will fight this and my blindess. I will not let this depression which is like a snake which coils itself round my heart and grips it and never lets go. I will beat this snake, this fucking awfuil illness. I would not wish it on anyone. But it has controlled me for so much of my life. Now i am goign to fight back. I will overcome this. And i know Jeremy, my Eternal Compass, my friends and family will help me overcome this. I will beat this. I will win what has been a very private war. By comming out and bringing it into the open i am now tackling this head on. As Jeremy said, Onwards and Upwards. How very true those words are. Onwards and Upwards indeed. I will get back on the bycyle. I will win this war. It wont be easy, but i know today was another milestone in winning this war. Thank you Jeremy for guiding me home. Thank you to all my friends, you know who you are !! who have been so kind and supportive sharing my journey.