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- Mental Health and a Knock at the Door - 3 February, 2014
With each tick of the clock the darkness inside my mind grew denser. This day was different and it was to change my life forever.
I sat at my desk, my textbooks present but my mind elsewhere. Every thought, a conflict; every breath, a struggle. I stood up, put on my housecoat and made what felt like the longest journey of my life. Arriving in the bathroom, I stopped and I stared at a beam attached to the walls. The cocoons of concealment within my psyche were beginning to hatch and out of my mouth flew inky black Butterflies; their wings wet with despondency. ‘I could end this today’ I murmured to myself, one hand clutching the belt of my housecoat and the other shaking in fist form.
Faintly, I could hear the doorbell. Naturally, I tried not to react. Whoever it was, they were insistent on receiving a response. I tore myself away from the situation and made my way towards the front door. I opened the door to be greeted by a delivery guy, what he said as he handed me the package will stay with me forever.
“Morning young man, here’s a parcel for yourself. What a beautiful morning it is, makes you glad to be alive to be honest. Take care.”
Naturally, my reaction was fairly delayed. I didn’t speak and simply stood staring at the man as he walked away. I walked back inside and caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror, I observed, broke down, and cried for the first time in a long while.
Feeling tears stream down my face reminded me that I was capable of feeling something. I can’t quite express what that felt like, ‘cathartic’ is a good adjective. Whatever the feeling was it got the wheels of change rolling, I was to consult my GP and ask for help.
Sitting in my GP’s waiting room I couldn’t help but think the white ambulance was outside in the car park complete with an awaiting straitjacket. I also imagined my GP would send me to an institution and that I was bound to end up like Cheswick from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
I was finally called for my appointment. Entering the room I thought about apologising for wasting the Dr’s time and running for the nearest exit, instead I stared the big black dog in the face and let my GP know all the details. I was diagnosed with Depression and General Anxiety Disorder. Apparently the two go hand-in-hand, skipping through decomposing fields of abjection together. He reassured me that Depression was an equal opportunities mongrel, in fact 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health issue per year.
I opted for medication and was prescribed 20mg of Citalopram per day, just over a year later I still haven’t looked back.
I set out writing this article to give an account of how mental health problems can affect a person’s life and equally how they can be overcome. I did not set out to dictate what you ‘should be doing’ and how you ‘should be overcoming how you feel.’ Depression doesn’t recognise the word ‘overcoming’, it is not something that can be just ‘overcome’. How we deal with it makes us the person we shall become tomorrow.
There is only one message that I wish to convey; no matter how small you may feel, how gloomy you see the world or how suppressed you are, there is help available and when you feel comfortable enough to receive it you will stand tall and taste the true essence of life, as I have.
Mental health issues matter, and help is readily available, speak up and stand proud.
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
Saneline: 0845 767 8000
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393