Lisa’s Mental Health Story

Being diagnosed and subsequently living with Depression, Anxiety, Low Self Esteem and Social Anxiety is a constant and daily battle. Things that I had always taken for granted like; going shopping, going to work, meeting my Mom at the garden centre, popping round to see my Auntie Jule, coming to football, going for a Guinness in The Mav and even walking in the club at Tividale are now some of the most difficult things to do.

Some days leaving the house is impossible, my legs shake, my heart races, I feel clammy and become so frightened at the thought of seeing anyone, I just cry. Then other days it can take all my strength, but I do manage to get on with life, and put on a brave face and smile and tell anyone who asks “I’m fine”, even though inside I am falling apart.  So if ever I don’t say hello or stop and chat please don’t be offended, I’m probably having a “wobble”, which is what we have named it.

Most of the time life ticks along and I deal with the “stuff” I have just mentioned, but when depression takes hold that’s a different matter all together. Nothing triggers it, it just decides to turn up and take over. I can sometimes feel it starting to come on and my reactions/functions can become a bit slower and I become quite hesitant and unsure of things as it slowly begins to build up. But other times I wake up and it’s just there like a heavy dark cloud over me. My head feels like it is in a vice and the pressure is intense. The joy goes out of everything and the world feels dark and gloomy. My mind goes into overdrive and plays out scenarios that I have no control over. I am exhausted but can’t sleep, irrational thoughts going through my head all night, during this time I just need to feel safe and loved, I never know how long it will last, it can be a few days or even weeks. But then, eventually the fog lifts bit by bit and I begin to feel “normal” again, just a bit mentally battered and bruised.

At my lowest there have been dark times and dark thoughts, to the point of thinking everyone would be better off without me and their lives would be so much easier without me to have to worry about.

The effect all this has on those I love is the hardest thing for me to deal with. The guilt I feel for causing them so much distress is indescribable and I can never apologise enough, my way of protecting them is to try and distance myself from them but it never works, they can always see through me!

I’m no expert by any means, but I would say to anyone who is suffering in silence or going through a tough time, try and talk to someone, whether it is a friend, family member or a health professional you soon become to realise so many others are going through the same thing, we just get very good at hiding it!  Don’t be embarrassed about having to take anti depressants either, my GP simply explained that the chemicals in my brain were unbalanced and the medication would re-balance them. My mom gave me such a great piece of advice to put it all in context she said  “If I had hurt my leg then I would need crutches until it had mended, and to think of my medication as a pair of crutches to lean on until I’m feeling better”.

I’m one of the lucky ones because with the love and constant support of my amazing family and close friends I always manage to come through my episodes, I honestly don’t know how they do it, as I know living with me and this “hidden disability” is not easy for them, I am eternally grateful and promise I’ll keep fighting with a smile on my face XX

Lisa King X