We need to talk.

So. Yesterday was “Time to Talk” Day and while there are millions of thoughts racing through my head I can’t seem to get the words out.

So much so that I started this post yesterday and intended to post it then. 

I’ve been putting off writing this for way too long. But as I sit here, I don’t know what to say. Where do I start? I’m just letting my fingers fly across the keyboard and hope my broken brain and subconscious can say what I’m not able to. 

As most of you are aware I suffer with anxiety and depression.

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For a lot of my life I muddled on the best I could; not even realising that I was suffering. When I had Callie my GP prescribed me with the antidepressant Citalopram to help with PMS. 

After a few weeks on it I noticed that my anxious thoughts were nothing more than a whisper in my head, it was at that moment I realised exactly what I had been putting up with for 25 years and that not everyone felt the way I did. Citalopram worked, until it didn’t. I increased my tablets 3 times, over almost as many years, and last year we had nowhere else to go. I maxed out the dose and was left with no option but to wean off those and try a new antidepressant, Venlafaxine. It started off great, or so I thought. I was no longer a zombie, I was starting to feel actual, real emotions again. This felt like a blessing after being numb for so many years but honestly, the way I’m feeling right now? I’d take Zombie life back in a heartbeat. 

About a month ago I realised things were not good. Not at all. I went to my GP who increased my dose from 75mg to 150mg of Venlafaxine and two days later I ended up in A&E with suicidal ideation. 

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Suicide.

One of the biggest killers in the world, especially locally and yet one of the least talked about. People are scared of mental health, and terrified of the S word. You’ve broken your leg? Here let me sign your cast! But tell someone you’re depressed, anxious or HEAVEN FORBID having suicidal thoughts. Watch as they avoid eye contact with you, turn the other way when they see you coming or change the conversation faster than Lewis Hamilton on his last lap. 

When someone dies from suicide its a great tragedy, people say “They should have asked for help” … “I wish I could have done more” … “its so sad”

But when someone opens up about having intrusive suicidal thoughts they are branded as an attention seeker and weak.

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 We need to end the stigma now. Too many lives have been lost already because of our backwards views as a society. These have been drilled into us from the day and hour we were born. No more. No more lives lost to the Foyle. No more families destroyed by this black dog. 

This needs to change. I need it to change. I don’t want to die, it is the last thing I want. I want to make sense of the chaos in my head. I want to start living; to feel like I’m making a difference. To enjoy my gorgeous baby girl that I wished so hard for. 

She needs me, but she needs a better version of me. Not this shell of a person I am now. 

So when someone you know expresses how they are feeling. Reach out. Let them know you are there. Don’t avoid eye contact with them. Don’t turn and walk the other direction when you see them. Don’t read that message and not reply. And for the love of everything that is good in this world. DONT BLAME THEM. 

I’ll say it once more.

DONT…BLAME…THE…VICTIM. 

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I get it. Depression and Mental Health (especially suicidal thoughts) can be terrifying, especially if you have never dealt with it before. But if someone reaches out to you, believe me when I tell you that will be the most difficult thing they have ever done. Far harder than it is for you to hear. If you struggle with what they say and it takes a toll on your own mental health, please seek help. But don’t let that person know how it’s made you feel. It won’t help. Assigning blame to someone who is struggling and already feels like a burden may just be the final straw. 

Things haven’t been great the last few days, I realised that the Venlafaxine isn’t helping me so here I am, weaning off them and waiting to attempt a brand new drug. Hey, three is the magic number right? 

I was warned that weaning off antidepressants could make things worse before they get better but I wasn’t prepared. 

I’ve had 3 breakdowns in the last week and two panic attacks. I’m exhausted. It shouldn’t be this hard just to get through the day. At the start of the week I felt really good, too good. I should have known the low was coming.

When I get hyper a few things tend to happen. Im really bouncy and excited, my brain has all these great, grand ideas and goes 1 million miles a minute and I have so many plans of all these things I NEED to do. I told myself confidently that this was going to be a great week.

And then I crashed. no more good mood. No excitement. Just a big black ball of darkness sitting on my chest, squeezing the life out of me. It’s hard to get out of bed on those days, especially as sleep hasn’t been my friend lately. My anxiety has been awful these last few days. My heart is racing, the intrusive thoughts are back and I’m such a mess I keep dropping things. After holding in a panic attack in the drs today I was prescribed diazepam to help settle me. I hope it works.

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I also have an urgent referral to the mental health team but I’m told that can take weeks. 

Funny that isn’t it? An urgent referral. A few weeks. When every day feels like a struggle. A service that is literally life saving and yet it’s dying itself.

While those MPs of ours sat back and cashed their wages for doing absolutely FUCK ALL, there are Drs, Mental Health Nurses and health care workers who are working themselves to the bone purely for the love and dedication they have to their patients. 

Thank you. Thank you to those in this world who genuinely make a difference. Those who I know genuinely care. Those who without them, I don’t know where I would be today.

You know who you are. 


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