When I set up my Twitter account nearly 18 months ago being depressed was all consuming and I felt I had no way of expressing how I was feeling. It felt like I was trying to spin lots of plates and they were all teetering on the edge of falling and smashing. I was trying to hold down a reasonably stressful job, dealing with a recent marriage break-up, trying to pay the bills (including the mortgage) alone and often with a reduced income (as I was needing to take sick leave fairly often), as well as looking after my daughter, all whilst being severely depressed, suffering with anxiety and having what I now recognise as PTSD symptoms which was causing nightmares, disrupted sleep and intrusive thoughts. I was overwhemed with life. I knew I couldn’t keep living that way, but the only way I could see a way out was suicide, and the thoughts occupied my brain every day. I felt I couldn’t fully open up to my friends, as whilst some had been fairly supportive through my marriage break-up, I felt they were losing patience, and I felt like I was losing my mind. I felt like I was constantly having to justify that I was ill (depressed) not just sad.
Twitter, and later my blog, felt like an outlet. I was anonymous so felt I could be entirely honest and I stumbled upon a whole community of people who understood that I couldn’t just “pull myself together”, and weren’t frightened by my low moods. They didn’t know me, or my ex-husband, friends, family or co-workers, so when I needed to moan and cry they supported me and it felt there was no judgement.
But 18 months later, things are different. Eventually all those plates did come crashing down…I lost my job, I had to move house, and sadly I also made an attempt to end my life, but I’m still here, and unlike 6 or 7 months ago when I couldn’t see past the end of the day, or the week, never mind see any further into the future, now I’m slowly picking up the pieces of my life.
My mental health has improved. I still have depression, anxiety and PTSD, but I am no longer suicidal. I have a CPN (care coordinator), a support worker who is helping me with money and housing issues, another support worker who is helping me into volunteering as a stepping stone back into work. I am on the waiting list (and due to have a preliminary assessment next week) at a Rape and Sexual Abuse support service to try and deal with some of the issues from my past. I also seem to have found a meds combo that has ‘taken the edge off’ and allows me to function in the day, whilst also allowing me to get a decent nights sleep at night. I’ve found out which friends were supportive through my mental health crisis and are now with me for the long haul (as well as which walked away or weren’t supportive), but I also gained some amazing friends from the online community, some of whom are now “real life” friends too.
I feel in a totally different place to a year ago, and my depression, is no longer my whole life. I don’t want to be defined my illness any more when I am working towards recovery.
So it’s time to say goodbye to @DepressedNotSad
I don’t want to say goodbye to the Twitter community, or to the people who have supported me. I still want to talk about my Mental Health, but I also want to talk about my journey of recovery. My depression and the life events of the last 2 years robbed me of everything that I used to define myself by. I can no longer define myself as a [insert previous job title]. I can no longer define myself as a wife. I no longer have the family life I thought I would. So my recovery journey will be about rediscovering what I enjoy and what makes me happy. It will be about re-discovering where my prioritoes in life lie. It will be about living more mindfully and looking after myself better. It will be about finding out who I am.
So say hello to @ProjectCath
I will continue to blog here, as it helps record my journey, but it will no longer be just about depression, it will be about recovery and finding myself. I hope you will join me for the ride.