LIFESTYLE and PERSONAL : Mental Health Awareness Week
I hope today has been as blissful and sunny for you as it has been for me.
We went out for breakfast, went for a walk in the park and then I've been napping and watching catch up tv!
I'm happy to say that my skin is no longer red (like in the thumbnail below) , but its going a nice tanned colour.
I also published a video this morning, which is a catch up of the last couple of weeks.
A WARNING : The below is extremely personal and honest. I
t touches upon Self Harm and other unpleasant subjects so please consider this before reading.
I thought that I would write a post about something that I feel passionate about, Mental Health Awareness.
Its the end of the awareness week today in the UK and its something that sadly I know all too well about.
I'm going to take you back to exactly a year ago and recount my own story as well as I can remember it.
Some of it is fuzzy and possibly repressed from my memory....
This time last year, I knew that something wasn't right.
It started at work, I would be overcome with worry about my job and I would feel overwhelmed. I struggled to walk away and I wouldn't accept help even though I was drowning.
It would show itself in me becoming shakey and also through becoming angry very quickly and then I would find myself crying in the work toilets.
I would be irritated by little sounds around me and not trust anyone with anything.
I remember one day in particular in which I sat with my team leader and I sobbed my heart out. I felt like a failure, even though I was doing really well.
Nothing she could say would reassure me otherwise.
I became paranoid and disconnected from the people that I worked with and I think they really were not sure of how to read me. Making the situation worse. I have no doubt that this time has damaged relationships that I could have had.
I would go home and overthink every decision I had made throughout the day and also I would replay every conversation. I wouldn't sleep and when I did, I had night terrors. My chest would pound, I would wake up as if I hadn't taken breathes.
I'd be tired and the whole thing would repeat.
There was one night in particular, when I was at rock bottom, that I took myself off into the bathroom and I sobbed rather loudly into a towel.
I was desperate for Luke not to hear me.
I contemplated self harming, something to take the pain away. I'm proud to say that when it came to it, I couldn't apply the pressure needed and I just left superficial marks on my arm.
I'm not proud of it and its something that I only have been able to recently admit.
My health started to take a major downpoint on my 26th birthday. I was triggered by the fear that my life wasn't going anywhere.
I was mid 20s, I had finished uni, I hated my job, I felt like I was in crippling debt and there was no way out. I felt isolated from my friends and family.
I stopped going out, I stopped taking care of myself and I felt like a real burden to everyone around me. My skin literally shut down. I had horrible skin, crusty eyes and my eyes looked yellow. I had no self worth or pride. I truly was dead inside.
I have pictures from this time and honestly, I don't recognise myself.
I struggled to talk to my parents, even though they were ready to listen. I couldn't in fact speak to anyone. I had a massive weight on my chest. It got worse every single day.
Enough became enough and I went to see my local GP, after liaising with my work's Medical help. I sobbed down the phone as they asked me honestly how I was feeling. I could talk to them. I was safe.
I was diagnosed with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, Severe Anxiety and Moderate depression and OCD. So I was a jumbled mess and these are things that apparently never leave but can ease with time.
The PTSD was something that I was unaware of, I now know that it goes back to Childhood bullying and also buried grief from my childhood.
Looking back, it makes absolute sense, at the time I felt ashamed.
PTSD is something I thought only soldiers could have.....
My treatment consisted of counselling and sleeping tablets.
The doctor explained that I needed to reset my brain, he described it as a computer that had downloaded too many files and it needed time for the hard drive to catch up.
Going onto pills was something that I was convinced that I never wanted to do, but I knew if I didn't... well I don't think I'd be writing this now.
The tablets made me so sleepy... all the time.
I was zoned out and my speech was slurred. People began to notice now that there was a problem... at least I could just say it was the meds.
But I soon began to realise that I needed to take control in other ways... the pills could only help so much.....
I knew that I needed time to switch off and get back to feeling human.
So over the past year... here is what I did.....
1) I started a journal...
In the winter I relied on it heavily. Every detail from work, every negative thought. Every goal.... every thing I felt I couldn't say out loud was in there. I still use it to this day.... its certainly helps to clear the hard drive.
2) I continued with the Goals
Setting these every month help to focus my mind when I find my mind too manic. Also it helps to make me feel as though I'm moving forward, which was one of the original problems
3) I talked and I listen.
For years, I kept everything to myself. The darkest stuff.
But now I truly am an open book.
Even the pointless worries.... I share everything.
I also talk to other people that are currently going through their own troubles. I want to give back. People were so kind to me and literally picked me up when I was on the floor.
I also find that it keeps my own head in check.
4) Blogging and Vlogging continued.
I stopped my favourite hobbies because .... well I couldn't hide it anymore.
But I'm back and so is Luke.
Here was the first ever video I filmed about depression:
Hideaway literally was named after the idea of me having a safe place on the internet and I hope in time, I can create one for other people.
5) I switch off for an hour a day.
I generally read, listen to music, cook or game in this time.
I make sure that I 100% get this time everyday, I also try to focus on the task I'm doing. I'm
a multi taker and a multi panicker. But not in this hour!
Finally, I would like to do a one year on report.
So the biggest change is that Luke and I are engaged.
We went to Rome and Luke proposed.
It was honestly the biggest surprise and the best day of my life.
It was quite funny because The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex got engaged on the same day!
When we got back - We were told that we now had enough money to put down as a deposit for a mortgage. We just need to clear some overdrafts and we will finally be able to move into our own home!
I've gone vegan!
This has helped with my allergies and also with my body image.
So far I've lost 20 pounds and also reduced my waist line a fair bit. I've also returned to the gym with the intention of getting stronger.
I'm at peace with my job.
I'm starting to enjoy it again... its not my end game but for now it will do while we get a mortgage!
I'm off the tablets!
I managed to sleep without them, I think the new focus has helped asleep Becky.
So the main thing to take away.
If you feel low and identify with my story, please talk to someone. No matter how much it hurts.
It could save your life. There are so many different charities that you can talk to that are open 24/7. A phone line helped to save me, one that was step up through my work.
If it wasn't for them listening and referring to my doctor, who know where I would be now.
You'll look back in a year and you'll feel like a whole new person
Thanks for reading my story.
Twitter : @BeckyRussell
Instagram : @beckydoodah
Tumblr : Hideawayblogging