I recently put out a call for Guest Bloggers to come and write for Found Astray, one response I got was from the brains and beauty behind Yummy Scrummy Tummy ‘A Londoner’s Journey towards health and wellbeing’.
In a new short series of posts, she is here to share some of her story and hopefully give you an understanding of what it can be like to struggle with managing your health and wellbeing.
A nice wee cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits may help with this (uh, I mean a healthy glass of infused water and a fruit salad I should say?)
Now…where to begin?! With all stories, I feel that it is best to start at the beginning. My journey with depression began when I was in High School. I was bullied regularly and struggling to keep up with work due to what I now know as undiagnosed dyslexia. I was also dealing with a lot of negative self talk which was fueled by teachers and “so-called” friends.
Labels constantly flooded my mind telling me that I was “no good,” that I would “never amount to anything” and that I was “fat and ugly.” It is a sad fact that these are pretty standard thought processes for most teenage girls and in fact many children are sadly plagued by low self esteem and Depression. For me, my coping strategies were centred mainly around misuse of alcohol, listening to grunge music and generally being a moody teenager. Sadly there were several occasions when the pain became too much and I tried to take my own life by the only means I knew which involved Vodka and lots of pills. Fortunately I was unsuccessful and instead woke up the next day with the worst hangover that even an ulster fry could not cure.
I don’t think the depression ever really went away though, I suppose living life became a distraction and I focused on busying myself trying to find some sort of purpose. I did engage in some counselling but that never really helped much. By the time I got to my final year of university, things had become absolutely unbearable again to the point where I was regularly calling my mum in the early hours of the morning crying down the phone for her to move me back home because I just couldn’t cope with life.
Eventually, following much persuasion from my counsellor to go to my GP, I asked for antidepressants. The GP carried out an assessment where she asked me how often I had felt tired, low, lack of appetite and feelings of ending my life inside the past two weeks and my scores apparently warranted a prescription for Proxac at the grand old age of 22.
I remember at the time thinking ‘SERIOUSLY, I thought that this stuff was just for middle-aged women whose husbands had left them’ Clearly not!
I had been warned by the GP that the pills took up to a month to kick in so I should keep taking them even though I didn’t feel well. It also worried me to read the list of side effects that included “suicidal ideations” What a nice added bonus when you are already feeling so low that you can barely be bothered to get out of bed never mind managing to do the most basic stuff like having a shower or eating.
Those first 6 weeks fell over the Christmas holidays and were absolute hell. I have never had a more horrific time. On NYE, my sister found me at the back of my cupboard attempting to stab myself with a compass. Up until that point, I had never ever attempted self harm in my life so this was a really new thing for me. The only way that I could describe it was the need to cause physical pain so I could focus on that instead of all the emotional pain that I was so struggling to deal with. I don’t think I had ever felt so miserable up until that point in my whole life.
By the second week of classes in the new year, I began to feel a bit better and again the distraction of essays, graduate job applications and interviews seemed to drown out all the emotional mess for the time being to the point where I quit my meds around the end of March.
That wasn’t one of my better ideas. I was back to square one again, however fortunately it didn’t take the full 6 weeks for them to kick in again.
Since then, there have been many ups and downs for me which is obviously something that one has got to accept in life. I just got busy and chose to ignore all the emotional stuff though. I moved to London, started a full time job linked to my degree and started to get to know new people.
My focus and I guess you could say purpose has always been about “mothering people” and this is something that I am only just really discovering now. That in a way was my outlet for all the emotional baggage. Ignore it, sweep it all under the carpet and focus on helping other people who really need the help.
What I am now slowly beginning to learn is how much of a bad idea that actually was for me and if anything, it made my situation a whole lot worse…
There will be more from Yummy Scrummy Tummy next week, in the meantime, follow her journey to better health.
With Found Astray, I aim to welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds and wellbeing stories. If you have a interesting story, or need an outlet to tell it on, Contact FA with your idea.