It's been about a year since I took myself to the Doctors and waited for what seemed like forever to see someone who might be able to help me. I've been trying to write a post about that for a while. I tried various approaches - I tried positive and I tried helpful to others who are suffering from depression (which I'm still happy to do if people want to hear what I've been doing). But the words didn't come naturally.
I've been struggling with blogging this year - being constant, wanting to do it, wanting to read other blogs. And don't get me wrong, I read some great blogs - happy blogs, encouraging blogs, supportive blogs, yoga blogs, healthy eating blogs, creative blogs - all the blogs of people who I want to be like I guess.
But, even after 5 years of blogging - I fell into the allure of the 'happy blog' trap. The believe that I had to do more to feel better, be more like someone else, eat better, do more exercise and blog happy, to be happy.
I've always known that blogging was a choice of presentation rather than an accurate reflection but sometimes we forget and the unreal seems real for a little while.
Then this morning I came upon a blog called Edenland - and I read what I actually really needed to read rather than what I thought I needed, an honest blog. A brutally honest blog, with swearing, depression and general struggling with life with no distractions, no selective omissions, no pretty pictures - just words sharing how life was for that person, as it comes, swearing, depression, truly crappy situations and all.
And I felt relieved that there was someone else out there struggling with their own patch of the world yet sharing it so honestly and unapologetically - it could be done. And that was when the words started to come. The honest words of my own... and the fear of not seeming happy, creative, perfect, sunny (all the blog buzz words you know) ... fell away and was replaced by a desire to be real, to be honest, to stop hiding behind the photos, to stop not coming here because I didn't want to show the real me.
So how am I, really?
Well, after all that - I'm mostly pretty good right now compared to where I was a year ago. Which doesn't sound that bad does it? But its still pretty rough going over here. I'm mostly operating on 'one day at a time' (as my bestie always reminds me). I'm choosing to get out of bed every morning (something that hasn't really gotten easier, even with the pills and CBT, urgh), I'm following a pretty steady routine and I'm working hard on keeping my thoughts in check. But these to me are still all the hard options - the really hard options - you have to be vigilant, constantly aware and determined. And most mornings I don't wake up feeling any of those things - mostly I just feel tired.
I've been going to cognitive therapy for the last 3 months and that has helped me so much, more than anything else in fact. To look at my own thought cycles and realise how they were actually working and the impact they were having on my behaviour, emotions and physicality was a huge eye opener for me.
My CBT counsellor also shared a great resource with me - which I'll share here - a website called Get Self Help - all the sheets I used are here. They are available and free - all you need to do is open the website and start looking - and that isn't too hard or scary. If you've been struggling and you don't know where to turn or you're too scared to approach a real person (I was too scared. I got given a lot of phone numbers that I never rang...) then please have a look here and if you have no idea where to start still - I would recommend the problems page or the introduction page.
Even sharing that resource - It feels so hard to sit here and write about how I've been coping whilst trying to help others - because I know that everyone's experience with depression or any other mental health problem is totally different, what works for me might work for you too - or it might not. The one thing I have learnt in the past year that I'll share though is that I don't need to do more to be happy, I need to do less.
I need to stop the negative reinforcing behaviour, I need to stop eating foods that make me feel worse, I need to stop giving the negative thoughts that niggle away validity, I need to stop hiding away and distancing myself from people and I definitely need to stop believing in the unreal - because that will always be unreal, even if I (and enough people) believe the opposite.
So, now is the time for me to ask... how are you really? Leave a comment (or send me an email) and let's be honest for a bit - I promise its not as scary as you might think...
(Though it is still pretty scary haha, all I actually need to do now is hit that publish button and I've reread this about a hundred times and stared at that button for at least ten minutes... if you're reading this then I actually did it. Eep)
p.s. If anyone has any other honest, gutsy, heart wrenching blogs that they'd love to share with me - I'd really appreciate it.