I previously wrote a blog on my (then) 7 months in the midst of a mental breakdown, where OCD, depression and anxiety fought in my head daily. I wrote of my support network, which at the time came from a fairly unusual place – my 2 tortoises.
Throughout all of my suffering, the days I just wanted to die, they were there. A reason to get up, something to look after – a responsibility I could not avoid. Someone in the house with me who demanded nothing from my time except the occasional cuddle or a bath. In my darkest, darkest days (which no one knew about) I would have to take them in the car with me, because I loved them so much I wouldn’t ever hurt them, so it was much easier to fight the urge to drive at a high speed into a wall. They travelled with me much more than I would like to admit. They laid in bed with me when I couldn’t move from the depression, sometimes they were the only things I felt I could talk to.
Now, unfortunately, that has come to an end as one of my tortoises died last week. My usual battle with my mental health will forever be made so much worse by my loss of support from my little one. He will never know how much he helped me in those darkest days. He is one of the reasons I am still alive today.
It has been hard since his passing as it was sudden. I had him cremated as my OCD would have otherwise convinced me I buried him alive. I’ve sorted out the practical aspects by surviving on a mixture of alcohol, diazepam, codiene, Prozac, propranolol and tramadol. Now I am back at work, I can’t survive like this. And it’s getting harder as very few people know about my mental health problems, so would not understand what my little man meant to me and how much I needed him.