I realised things were going wrong for me when I could not be bothered to do anything. I would sit or lay in bed all day, eating and repeating over and over the same things I did every day. A better future seemed out of reach.
When I had to go to work I was grumpy and irritable, prone to snap over the smallest bit of criticism even though my forgetfulness and low energy meant there was a lot to be critical of. My work put me onto a plan which meant that if I did not improve I would be sacked.
Faced with this I became more confrontational, feeling I would soon lose the one motivator that stood between me and the abyss of depression. I drew into myself. Luckily for me the one piece of help I did accept was therapy.
I accepted therapy
Initially 3 sessions, then 6 and then 9 all paid for by my employer. When my mood dipped again they even agreed to give me 3 more, making 12 total, the most they had funded for any employee.
I did not have my sessions weekly or in any routine or regulated order. I had them as I felt like it, as I wanted to. Sometimes this meant they were months apart – especially when session 12 of 12 rolled round and I was scared that I would be “wasting” the last of this precious resource.
A downward turn
That was in September. Since then my mental health has again taken a downward turn and I have struggled with both my anxiety and depression as well as the insomnia that accompanies them like an unwanted parasite.
The peak of this was Christmas Day, which I spent unexpectedly alone for the first time. I wrestled internally with thoughts that this meant I was alone, was not loved, was not wanted. These thoughts led to a distressing dream 10 days later. This ultimately pushed me to reach back out to my therapist. I booked another session even though I would have to self-fund this one.
Listing the things I’ve achieved
Before I went into the session I was scared and nervous I would be dismissed, so I wrote a list. A list of all the things I have achieved since she last saw me. I was shocked when things came pouring out because I had been convinced that I was stuck repeating the same old patterns of behaviour and would be stuck repeating them indefinitely.
In the end there were 16 things on that list. 16 things that I had fought for, cried over and ultimately embraced and incorporated into my life. When I read them back to my therapist I saw her genuinely cry with pride.
Proof of a better future
Her emotions meant that I could see objectively for the first time just how far I have come.
In my professional life I tell people all the time to believe in a better future but never have I had such objective proof that this is true.
The power of the pride I feel and the hope cannot be underestimated. After months of even procrastinating submitting an article to 1 in 4 I feel able to move forward.
So I would say to others who have been where I was: it’s so hard to see through the fog. You think it has always been this way and that it always will be. You might think this is your fault, that you are weak or have not made progress while in the depths of your despair.
Give yourself some credit!
But I hope one day you will sit down as I have and give yourselves some credit for everything you have achieved. I hope you get the chance to make your list and feel the return of your pride and your hope.
It feels amazing.