It’s OK not to be OK
The following article on mental health issues not been written by a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist or someone taking notes from or writing a thesis for a college exam. This article is a real life experience from a life long Republican activist who has dealt with the issues written about, battled the demons and now wants to share their story with others in a bid to help those currently battling with this invisible illness.
“it’s ok not to be ok”
Depression isn’t just sadness, bipolar is not madness, there are all sorts of causes for mental illness including chemicals in the brain.
I was 12 when I had random thoughts, not wanting to face anyone, I felt sadness that I didn’t understand, I was pretending to be happy but had a longing to die. I took 70 Ponstan tablets and said goodnight to my parents and went to bed thinking they’d be better off without me. I woke in the hospital to my family smiling through tears, I was shocked that they cared for me so much. I had a fantastic upbringing and showered with love, but the irrational thoughts didn’t allow me to see this. I was discharged from hospital without seeing anyone or receiving any appointments to see anyone within any mental health team. It was like nothing had happened.
I battled daily for years with highs and lows. I had my son at 17 and at 19 I felt everything creeping up on me, so I told the doctor and she gave me 2 sessions to speak to someone which didn’t help at all, so in the following years I didn’t say anything to the doctor. I had my daughter when I was 23 and had severe post-natal depression, I was terrified I would hurt her to the extent that I would use my backside to slide my way up and down the stairs for fear of dropping her. The irrational thoughts were growing, trying to get out of bed was a challenge. My mind was full of negativity and self-hatred. I would hide if the doorbell went, feeling sick to the pit of my stomach, curtains pulled so no one could see me. When the phone rang, the same sick feeling whilst begging it to stop, no motivation, scared to take a bath in case I tried to drown myself. My then partner took me to the doctors.
I was given Prozac, within a week I literally wanted to smash my head through a window, I informed the doctor regularly, but was told to stick to the tablets. I kept pleading for help, after 3 weeks of begging, I had a visit from a community Psychiatric Nurse. Unfortunately in the meantime, I had a stay in hospital with an attempt on my life, which the Psychiatric Nurse knew about when my mum opened the door to her.
I was then referred to a psychiatrist……. ONLY took 12 years and 2 suicide attempts, I was diagnosed with acute anxiety and depression and was given tablets to take, they helped to a certain extent, life was better, but I still had highs and lows.
At 25 I lost my dad and again totally regressed, I was spiralling quickly but thankfully I was taken seriously and re referred to the psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bipolar. I was then referred to a psychologist who helped me but I had a hard time ahead finding the right medication, most made me feel like a zombie which was horrible.
I hit my last low a few years back [after events that I wont talk about here] a good friend was there for me and gave me sound advice, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be writing this. I opened up to my family and told them everything. My Mum was shocked how I hid the fact that I was having daily thoughts of suicide for most of my life. I am now open with my friends and family and know that its ok not to be ok.
Eventually I was given the right medication for me. Since then my confidence has grown by the day and I actually want to live. I have grown stronger and have better coping mechanisms. For the first time in my life I love myself, warts and all. Gladly there is more help now as opposed to 27 years ago. I turn 40 this year and thankfully I’m here to celebrate it with the most supportive family and friends I could ever have dreamed of.