Anxiety and Depression – underated

It has been rather a long time since I have blogged. Especially since it was my ‘new thing to do’. My last blog was in March! This has been mainly because of the topic of this blog, my favourite….anxiety and depression.

I really want to raise awareness of the limited resources out there for people in a similar situation. Having initially been written off from work in March 2017 I have been on endless NHS waiting lists with limited help.

I do appreciate there is much more awareness of mental health these days and living in Cambridgeshire I was perhaps lucky enough to be able to self refer myself through the CPFT (CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service). Which is all online and you then receive a phone call for an assessment. Initially I was offered an online course based around CBT, I did not find this helpful and was referred to the ‘next level’.

There was however a waiting list for this where they offered 12 sessions one to one with a therapist. 3 months after I was referred (and struggling in the meantime including harming myself) I finally got one-on-one appointments.

This again was not quite what I was expecting, it was again very CBT related and focused on overcoming your issues head on. While it is a proven method of overcoming depression and anxiety, it in effect made me worry more about going. Thus the inevitable happened and I got worse. Due to me letting the therapist know about this she referred me to yet another ‘level’.

The month is now November 2017 and I still haven’t received the help that I think I need. Thinking that being referred up again would finally make me feel better I had to wait another 2 months before seeing someone here. Even though this was meant to be for more severe cases. The doctor I saw here was very nice and approachable and they changed my medication. I became a little more optimistic.

However, this turned out to be more of a monthly catch up meeting to see how I was doing. No counselling or weekly sessions. I was offered a peer support worker to help me go out to appointments and recovery college. However, part of my issue is socialising and new people, so yet again this was not helpful.

After a few months of this, my partner began to question what it was they were actually helping me with as I still was experiencing problems. He came with me into a session where it came to light (without even my knowledge) that their ‘plan’ for me was new medication and the peer support worker. Either that or the other option was to hospitalise me, which we thought was too severe an option.

The realisation then came to me the best option will be to pay for counselling myself. I am not rich at all, which is why it took me so long to make this decision. I have now been going to counselling for the past couple of weeks and feel much more optimistic.

I wish I had done this to begin with. From my personal experience there needs to be more money available for mental health on the NHS. It’s a long-term condition that needs more than 6-12 sessions to help deal with.

I do apologise for the long blog post….I just feel the medical condition of depression and anxiety is very under-rated and under funded.

 

 

 

 

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Trying hard to cope with Depression

The past week hasn’t been the best – I have not cut myself or walked off into the street as with my previous rough weeks, but I have not managed to attend the gym or keep to my diet. I will post an update on the gym and diet next week but as this week has been so unproductive I didn’t see the point in just writing ‘I did not go’ :)!

It has been a tough week due to a change in my medication and the fact that although I am on the NHS mental health list, my next appointment is not for a few weeks. I do think I need this sooner but as its the NHS their are waiting lists – I cannot afford a private psychiatrist. They do such a good job when I have been, I just feel it’s such a shame that there is such a long waiting list/time before you get to see someone.

It has been suggested that I do a mood diary. So I brought myself a lovely notepad, pens and stickers to start. I think it is hard for people to properly understand how even the smallest thing is a great achievement for someone with depression. So some of these positive things may seem rather silly but they can be hard for people like me!

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My purchases
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My first day!

I will try my very best to do this everyday and see if it helps at all!

Gym week 1

It has been 1 week since I joined the gym and aimed to lose weight. I attended 4 classes last week; Zumba, 20:20:20, New Body Workout and Legs, Bums and Tums. Although I did attend these classes my diet has not gone so well. I did enjoy some of these classes – one of these was obviously for the older generation and I felt very young!

I had an interview for volunteering at an animal sanctuary last Friday. I had a panic attack during the night, not able to sleep at all. This set me back rather as I succumbed to a deep depression and was not able to attend the interview. Thus I turned to my usual sweets and nice food for comfort! Which at the time did make me feel better, however on weighing myself this morning it has not made me feel better!

I weigh exactly the same, I suppose at least I have not gained weight but I was aiming to have lost a little!

Oh well, new week! I have signed up for more classes and I have a gym induction tomorrow where they will hopefully draw up an exercise plan for me.

So in conclusion I have not lost any weight (yet!). But I do feel proud that I managed to attend some exercise classes. Week 2 here I come!

Gym!

Wow it’s been a week since I last wrote a post! I took the plunge yesterday and joined a gym. Mainly to help make myself feel better with endorphin’s, but also to try and tone up and lose weight a little.

As symptoms of depression include, lethargy, tiredness and little motivation this is a big step for me. I just decided to take the plunge and see if it helped in any way. I am trying a class this evening, Zumba.

When I have severe depression before, about 10 years ago, I joined a gym and regularly attended classes. It helped me a lot then and I am hoping it will now.

I thought to help me keep motivated I would share my weight and take pictures weekly to see the difference, hopefully both physically and mentally!

This is very scary for me… I have not weighed myself since before Christmas, and with being depressed and off work I am pretty sure I have put on weight and I will not enjoy this!

Below is my first picture, I do not like this picture – it makes me want to lose weight.

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Having just weight myself I am 101kg! Which is 15 stone 13 pounds….the heaviest I have ever been.

I am not going to be silly with a diet and starve myself. Along with regular exercise I am planning on eating 1,700 calories a day. I will be using my fitbit to track my exercise and My Fitness Pal to track both my exercise (linked with my fitbit) and calories.

Hopefully this is the start of a new me!

Depression (again!)

Last week was very difficult. I managed to do two stupid things. 1) I harmed myself and 2) I just left my flat, no phone, nothing, with no intention of coming back.

I just want to make it clear I do not condone harming oneself at all. If my partner started doing it it would upset me, which I know is very hypocritical. I get myself into such a state sometimes that I have almost a ‘mind fog’. The only way I have found to cope with this recently and calm myself down is cutting myself…it is almost a release and I feel better soon after. I hadn’t done it for a while, so doing it again seems like a step backward but at the time it seemed the only way to calm myself down. I haven’t harmed myself since, or intend to. I am starting to see a psychiatrist and will probably leave my job soon, which I am hoping both will help in the short and long term.

The second silly thing I did was when I was in one of these mind states and I knew my partner had hidden the razors in the flat. I just walked out, no coat, no keys, no money, no phone and started walking crying my eyes out down a road outside our flat. I had no intention at the time of coming back, I just wanted everything to end. Luckily, my partner quickly noticed I had left and managed to find me. At the time I was angry that he had found me and just wanted to be left alone. Of course, now looking back I am so glad he found me. I can’t really explain what was going on in my head at the time, most of it was ‘I can’t do anything right’, ‘I am not worthy of life’, ‘my partner would be better off without me’…and other negative thoughts.

I have also been trying to do my make up every day, something I have never done everyday before to make myself feel better and to practice as I am rubbish with make up! Today’s attempt below!

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So, overall, pretty bad week. I am getting help and I have been told about a recovery college and a charity that will help me get some more appropriate work. I also have an interview to volunteer at a local animal charity (I heard animals can help!). Don’t suffer in silence…talk to anyone or google help with depression there are some great charities and other people online to talk to, if you just google :).

 

Money Saving Ideas

As I am currently on sick leave due to my depression, I have been trying to find ways to cut back on certain expenses. These were the steps I took:

  1. Looked at all my direct debits going out each month to see if I could reduce/cancel any
    • As my phone contract was up, I found a great deal with iD mobile for only £5 per month you get 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 2.25GB of data. Thus, I reduced my £17 per month phone bill to £5.
    • I had also fallen into the ‘forgetting/not bothering’ to cancel a magazine subscription It was one of those things where I think I got 6 issues for £6 but then they carry on charging you after those six issues. Of course, you can cancel at any time, it just wasn’t high on my list of priorities before! Ok, so that’s £36 per quarter gone.
    • Gym membership! I know it’s January and I am cancelling my gym membership! One of the reasons I joined this gym was its close proximity to work, seeing as I am not in work much and I hadn’t been very often at all, this too I cancelled. I always make sure if I do join a gym that I don’t get a contract as I am so bad at going! £25 per month gone.
  2. I am sure this is on many a money saving list – but it works. Taking your own lunch to work. If you spend on average £3 a day at work just on lunch, that’s £60 every 4 weeks on lunch.
  3. When certain items are on offer in supermarkets I tend to stock up a little on long life goods, as I find if I don’t, I always need them when they are full price. These include but are not limited to:
    1. Toilet Rolls
    2. Laundry Detergent
    3. Cereal
  4. Charity shops are always good for clothes shopping. Sometimes they can be overpriced, on the other hand, you can get great deals on clothes and bric-a-brac. Some of my bargains include; a brand new Next dress for £1, books 4 for £1 and a Wedgewood cup for £1.

I would love to hear other peoples suggestions as I am always interested in saving money!

Depression – To work or not to work?

I am always in two minds about whether it is better with someone with Depression and Anxiety to be off work or not.

I have had severe depression twice, once when I first went to University, and secondly now. I struggled at University with home sickness and the pressure to make friends and go out all the time, this ended with me leaving in the second year. I moved back in with my parents, got a job part-time at Marks and Spencer’s and went to the gym 3/4 times a week. This enabled me to release endorphin’s at the gym and gave me purpose with work, resulting in me returning to re-do my second year at University.

However, my second bout of depression has been substantially worse. I  began harming myself and suffering panic attacks. This resulted in me being signed off work for long periods. I have been back sporadically, but I have been feeling that my job is not helping at the moment and the best thing for both my employer and myself is to leave and focus on getting better. I feel guilty everyday I am not in, and although they have been ever so supportive, it is like I am continually letting them down. I also feel guilty about going out to the cinema, or shopping as I feel that if I am too ill to work surely I am too ill to do things I enjoy.

I have been looking for work I can do from home to try and help limit my anxiety, however there are so many spam ‘work from home’ jobs out there, that it is hard to filter out the legitimate from the dodgy. I am trying with Avon, but so far (as seen in my other post) I have not had much luck with it, but it is flexible and does allow me to have off days.

Overall, I am not sure what the best thing is. I have felt a lot better since residing myself to the truth that I am probably going to leave my current job. However, focusing on getting better will hopefully mean that in a couple of months time I can start believing in myself.