Today Was a Big Day!

By Natalie

Anyone who knows me will know that today was a big day. It doesn’t sound like much but here goes – I went into town by myself.

Like I say, it really doesn’t sound like a big deal but given that I haven’t been able to do that for months now it is pretty impressive. I live with depression, I have done for many years and sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll get an unhealthy dose of anxiety alongside it.

Right now I am experiencing a bad patch, I’m signed off work because I can’t function well enough to be there and the monotony of being at home doesn’t encourage recovery.

Most days I can’t face dressing so I don’t bother, I don’t need to, I haven’t got anywhere that I need to go. At the start of this episode I felt more hopeful and determined. I would dress and make myself go out every day like a good soldier, fighting the depression on every front. But slowly I became more and more tired, more alone.

People try to begin with but it is hard for them to engage with someone who is so negative all the time I suppose. The contact becomes seemingly less and less often, less genuine and more general until there’s only a handful of people left. So as I need them more, the fewer of them there are.

One of life’s ironies perhaps.

Then there was the point that I tried to get professional help for my depression before reaching the point that suicidal thoughts became powerful and oh so tempting. And because those thoughts were fleeting I was “too well” to receive help through my local services.

I work in psychiatry, I know the words to use to get immediate help but I also know the labels that accompany them if you use being unable to maintain your safety strategically.

I just wanted to be worth helping, worth talking to and worth support.

1in4 mental health anthology

What my dwindling friendship group and mental health services failed to realise is that by reinforcing the fact I’m not worthy of recovery hastened and introduced my suicidal thinking this time. However THIS caused me to reach out for help from a different avenue.

It made me be more open and honest about the importance and value of my own feelings – I currently recognise that my feelings are as valuable as those of the next person so what gives them the right to trample on mine?

I am hopeful that private counselling will help me through some difficult issues and I accept that it might feel worse before it feels better. I am trying to go back to achieving something each day and not just stay in my safe bed.

Hey, I went into town by myself today!


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