Tuesday, 30 July 2013

getting over the hill

After I was signed off work I was determined to get well as soon as possible. I researched the condition reading endless books and searching for possible ways out of my depression.
As I found the NHS so unsupportive I decided to see a private psychatrist. This assesment would be my first step on the road to recovery. We both discussed my symptoms and he decided that the best course of action was to combine a sedative anti-depressant ( Mirtazapine) with some group CBT sessions.

I remember taking that first tablet that evening, and wow I could sleep again, still nothing great but over the course of the next few weeks, my sleep started to normalise. My general mood increased, and noticed that my motivation for things had improved. It gets me when people say anti depressents are no better then placebo. These things work but as my psychartrist told me, its about getting the right drug in combination with the correct side effects.
I attended the group theapy and was shocked at the amount of others with similer problems. Depression is indescriminate in its attack and can affect everyone. Group theapy is hard it can be great but to tell your innermost thoughts to a group of strangers can also be difficult. With the correct Medication and the CBT sessions I had started to make some real progress......

Monday, 29 July 2013

The acute stage

My aim with these blogs are to share my experiences with Depression and Anxiety, as well as creating a space in which to explore coping skills and pass on any useful information around mental health issues.

I was 31 when I was first diagnosed with Mixed anxiety and Depression. As anyone who has experienced it will know it can deeply effect all aspects of your life. My story starts back in September 2010. I am a Cameraman and had recently returned from a very stressful overseas trip. I was enjoying two weeks recuperating at home, then one night I went to bed at my usual time around 10pm. This night was unique, I didn't drift off. This night felt the longest I had ever had. Around 4am I still hadn't slept, so I decided to get up and read for a while, crawling back to bed at 5am I was still awake until 7am. I got up feeling extremely out of sorts, with thoughts racing in my mind as to why I didn't sleep last night. I managed the day ok considering, but noticed that I wasn't listening or taking in conversations with people. My mind was elsewhere. I thought to myself don't worry, you will sleep soundly tonight. I didn't. This night if anything felt worse than the previous. The sleepless nights continued night after night, until I felt scared and anxious to go to bed, thinking of the next long night I was going to have, and the awful fatigue I will experience the following day. I remember my job was becoming more of a struggle, with the lack of sleep and constant anxiety I was beginning to feel. I was worried that I would make mistakes at work and I noticed how my self-confidence had all but diminished.

My sleep became so bad that I began to feel wired at night and I would get a jolt of anxiety run through my head which would make me leap from my bed. After a month of little sleep I made an appointment to see my GP. I was desperate to get an answer as to why I may be feeling this way. I explained to the GP what I had been experiencing, he asked me some questions that were on his computer and then diagnosed me with depression. He gave me a prescription for an SSRI anti-depressant and said that you will remain on it for 6 months.

I got home to my Wife and cried. I could not believe that I was clinically depressed. I was hopeful that this anti-depressant will solve my insomnia, I was wrong. I later found out that SSRIs can cause insomnia as a side effect. I thought to myself why has my GP prescribed me a medicine that can cause insomnia, when i explained to him that i find my lack of sleep so distressing. I went back to the GP begging that I would like to switch to another Anti-depressant and all he said was to persevere. Hardly encouraging for somebody who hasn't slept for over a month I thought. I stopped taking the anti-depressants and continued to cope with all the symptoms of depression for the next two months.

It finally came to a head when I got on the train to work one morning. After yet another sleepless night, I thought I can't do this anymore, I got off at the next station crying and called in sick.........

To be continued

Tip of the week

29th July
BBC 3 and Iplayer.21.00
Failed by the NHS

Documentary looking at why young people with mental illness are failing to get the right treatment on the NHS.