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Yes, I know I write a lot about depression. Strange really, but it does consume quite a large chunk of my life in fairness. But this time it is a different perspective.
In the past I have recorded the lows of my days, expressing the loss of control, the uncontrollable feeling of nothingness, and the pointless battle of trying to get out from the slump. Then there have been the fight backs, the recovery, and the jubilation of once again rising from the pit of despair.
Not forgetting my attempts to explain the inexplicable to those who want to, or think they do understand the true depth of depression.

But like I say, this is different. A recent consultation offered me a unique new perspective on the whole matter, and made me realise there is more I could do, should the opportunities arise. To date, I have not sought such a thing. Although have recently set out on a vlogging mission, thanks to another chance encounter with another medical professional.

Back when I did my CBT course, I became aware that I grew in strength and self understanding, while talking to others about my journey. Not counsellors, but a group who were too suffering from anxiety and depression. As the course went on, so I realised that telling your stories, as you understand them, to others, helps them see patterns, and routines in their own lives. Once aware, you are slightly more able to take control. Spurred on by the confidence gained from realising you are not alone, and you are indeed understood by someone at least.
By the end of the course, I was overwhelmed by the number of people from the group who felt I had played a positive part in their improvements, and that my openness was key to that.

On speaking to my GP yesterday, I was very surprised when she expressed an interest in me helping educate a group of medical students. As we discussed it, the idea grew. On agreeing to the the seminar , I realised it is something that really interests me. When my mind is clear, I love trying to put things together and help others understand depression, from my perspective at least. Both medical professionals, and sufferers have something to gain from such discussions.
I am not saying I am the Messiah, and the key to depression. I am not for one second suggesting I understand depression in all its guises, I really don't. However I do believe I have built an understanding of what you might call standard depression and anxiety can drive you to.

Seeing others speaking out on a larger platform about how they have battled with mental health makes me almost feel like I could do more. Be it making myself available to speak to others, getting going on the vlogging, or writing more, I'm not sure. But I do know one thing without a modicum of doubt, I feel compelled to make a difference, and I am truly passionate about helping with depression and anxiety. Maybe sharing my stories with medical students is just the beginning. Maybe I can do this more often?Who knows, but I will be sure to speak to the GP about this.

When I am low, I don't look for help, but occasionally will reach out to someone I know I can trust. I am truly blessed to have a small group of friends who understand this, and are amazing at what they offer at these times. However I am so very aware of how long it takes to build the trust to speak to someone you know about it, or even find someone in your circles who you can talk to. Believe me when I say, that alone is one of the toughest parts of recovery.
For some people, they will either never gain such confidence in their friends, or simply not have the network there to embrace them. This is where it becomes problematic.

When you finally reach out for help, you speak to a GP. The standard assessment will be made, the score will be taken, and if necessary, medication will be prescribed. Sadly for some this is the start of the end. With a health service under pressure, and quite frankly such little understanding of depression from the majority of GP's , you take the pills, feel a bit more balanced, and on you continue. No big attempt to solve the cause of the issue. Being such a vast condition, to a degree I totally understand why this happens.

However, if you fall and bend your leg awkwardly, you are not given painkillers and crutches and sent on your way. Investigations are possible to see the cause of the pain, and treatment given accordingly. Unfortunately the physical body is far easier to make sense of than the brain. And we are full circle on why most cases of depression or anxiety are left unexplained.

If you are lucky like me, and you get an amazing and passionate GP, like Dr Paul, your hopes are better. Along with Dr Mason (my work doctor) they supported me to the point where I could carry on without support. Like the leg injury, they were my crutches which carried me until I could manage alone. From simple sit downs to express where I was mentally, to dosing changes. And of course shoving me in the right direction to get CBT, and stick at it.

Of the tens of thousands of people in the UK on Citalopram and other such medications, I would be curious to know what percentage have ever had any further interventions than being medicated.
I am not saying medication is a bad thing, or evil and addictive. Far from it in fact. But as in my early blog, for me the medication is only there for me to rise back up from the depths of depression, and regain control over the matters which influence my mental state.

Debts, relationships, work and so much more can influence our state of mind.We can get down about it for a while, or we can fall further, lose control and begin to curl up to hide away from it all. That is the point where intervention is needed, and not always just in the medication way. Meds are not the solution for all. In fact I would bet most could be back off them, and balanced of their own accord within a year or so. Depending of course on the changes in their lives, and the root causes of their initial downward spiral.

Sitting here tapping away, I would love to learn more about the subject, and write something meaningful about it, something helpful. A first hand account of what some are going through, and a look through window into the future of hope. I am not the solution, I am not the cure, but I am experienced, and open enough to discuss it with others. Knowing my blog has been read by strangers and impacted them positively just increases my drive to help more.
Speaking to the students could just be the beginning. For the rest of the journey, I need to find my way.

Ok so today is "I give up" day, mum not me.
Since the other day with the change of colour of one of her meds she has become more and more determined to do things her way. Refusing to take the yellow pill now, so I have changed it with the few remaining ones of the other colour until I can see the GP about it, and now eating less and less.

Needless to say it is frustrating as hell to sit back and watch someone slowly starve themselves, as well as have such a low intake of fluids.

To me, another stay in hospital is on the cards, but if course she can refuse that too.

She said in short to my sister today that she is fed up of it all now and just wants to give up. Which is fine if that's what she really wants. But there is a right and wrong way to do it, and right now, it's the wrong way of doing it.

On top of all this, her interest towards her sleeping tablets is a worry too. Complaining that I won't let her keep the entire pack of 28 in her room. My reasoning to her for this is the kids. All she has to do is drop one, or the pack, and one of the little ones could be enticed by their pretty blue colour and down some.
Obviously I have a dual agenda, and my other concern is, with no one about, on a bad night she could decide to take more than she should. For obvious reasons I want to minimise this risk.

One way or the other I am going to have to speak to the GP and the hospice in the morning and try and get some advice and some hands on help with all this, as it is rapidly becoming more than I can deal with.

I can't imagine how it feels to be going down hill, knowing you are terminally ill, and at any time there may be a droip off point. But at the same time I can't imagine not trying everything possible to stay on to of my game too. Maybe its because I am not in that position, maybe we have different mindsets or something, but I can't figure it out.

There have been numerous "false alarms" along the way with her getting ill over something totally unrelated, and we go to the hospital, she stays in, gets hydrated and comes home much better. But this time the train of thought is on another route. Fighting help, refusing to discuss, and turning away almost anything offered to make life a little easier.

Needless to say, that just makes my life harder. I know, I know, poor me, but I'm not the one dying right. Nope, you are of course right. Instead I'm the one feeling shitty about being off work for so long, wondering what is being said about me, on medication so I can think straight and life a "normal" life, and be there for my mum while she wastes away right under my nose. What would I know, right!

Ok rant over. Here's to hoping that I can get some help from the GP and hospice with this tomorrow.
Tomorrow, my 38th birthday, and 3 years to the day that I ran around like a crazy man trying to get a doctor to see my mum who had just admitted to me she thought she had breast cancer.

Birthdays are great eh!

Tense times ahead I fear, but time will tell.


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