June 21, 2013

NiamhI describe my depression as a black monster of fog. It snuck up on me over a long period and it wasn’t until it was completely embedded in my core that I realised it was there.

I was living a “normal” life. I was a nurse, a carer, a daughter, a girlfriend, a sister and a friend. I had what most people would wish for. I went into work with the biggest smile on my face and was known for being the bubbly smiling nurse.

Inside though, I was slowly sinking further and further into a dark hole. I was unhappy most of the time, and my days off were spent on the couch with a duvet and the curtains closed. I cried myself to sleep. I had no idea why I felt this way, but I felt so ashamed and ungrateful to be feeling sad when others were so much worse off. I was a healthcare professional, I should have known better. . .

I told nobody

I told nobody. I kept up a facade and told nobody of the dark thoughts that were slowly filling my every waking and sleeping thought. Dreams haunted me, I barely slept and I lost 3 stone in weight. I felt so out of control of my mind that I controlled my eating to try to compensate. Little did I know how this began a cycle of physical illness, which in turn made me feel worse and worse mentally.

Things came to a head when I was lying in bed awake at 5am on Christmas Eve morning 2011. The pain I was feeling was unbearable and I felt so alone, in a house full of people. I took an overdose and luckily woke up 30 hours later in a hospital bed. My family were surrounding me, and I realised how much I was loved and cared for.

I spent 12 weeks in a mental health hospital

I spent 12 weeks of 2012 in a mental health hospital, getting the essential therapy I needed. I learnt how to cope with anxiety, how to eat healthy nutritious meals that help both my physical and mental health, how to challenge the negative thoughts and how to include exercise and creativity in my recovery. Most importantly though, I learnt how to ask for help.

Over a year later and I am so grateful for the people who saved my life. As I opened up to my friends and family, I realised how much they cared and how much their support can help me to heal. I still have my bad days, but I know now not to be too hard on myself, to be proud of myself for every achievement of the day- some days this will be a lot, some days it might be just having a shower and going for a short walk.

I am healing but it takes time

I am healing, but it takes time and its not always straightforward. But I am so much happier than I have been for a long time. I have a brilliant counsellor, and an amazing support system. And now I can see the positive effects that this journey has had in my life. It has taught me about being mindfull, to take time to get to know myself, to listen more and to be sensitive to my own and others needs. I know I can do this now. And I am proud.

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