It’s been much longer than I’d care to admit since my last post.
I’ve spend months wondering how to say what I’ve want to say, and here I am, finally finding the words!
Over the last year I have not been Okay, and that is OKAY.
As usual I can hear you say “Sophie, what the *bleep* are you on about?” and as usual I ask you to hang in there and hear me out!
This post is about my mental health, something I never really believed I would have issues with let alone write about but as I’ve said time and time again, mental illness doesn’t discriminate!
I have had a journey, this past year and a bit, with Anxiety.
A number of thing contributed to triggering this but ultimately it was the implant I had that slowly deteriorated my state of mind. My anxiety is closely linked to my PMS and got worse and worse. I gave the implant a year as often it takes time for your body to settle. Now for some people this works great, however for me I had daily panic attacks, low mood, isolated myself and lost myself completely. Fortunately for me, I was never taken to an extremely dark place in which I wanted to hurt myself but I didn’t feel like me. With the help of my amazing partner, I decided to have the implant out to see it if was the cause and get back on track. A large portion of how I felt was indeed down to the implant and I quickly felt some of the cloud lifting. Despite this, my time of month continued to cause me problems, and constantly set me back. Having seen family members and friends fight mental illness I knew what I needed to do, exercise, eat better, practice self-care and so on, but I could not shake the feeling long enough to succeed. Mental Illness had robbed me of my motivation completely and It was time to accept that to get to back to being ‘Me’ I needed some extra help. Which I did, and after nearly 3 months off work, with the help of some tablets and hard work, I am Pleased to say, “SOPHIE IS BACK!” I feel like me again, finally! I’m getting back into work and constantly relearning to cope with the harder days!
“But Soph, Why are you telling us this?”
I am sharing my experience for the same reason I share that of losing my dad to mental illness; If my story helps remove any of the stigma, or makes even one person feel less alone in their own situation then I am achieving my goals of switching the light on mental health.
Now, here are 3 important things I have found out on my journey so far ;
1. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion from another Doctor or reach out to another person.
I know this is easier said than done, especially after you’ve made the HUGE step to seek help, but the way I see it is that mental illness isn’t ‘one fits all’ and you need to find a doctor that works for your needs. The first doctor I saw, barely spoke to me, gave me tablets that I cannot take and merely told me to google anxiety. This exchange left me feeling deflated and defeated. However I decided to go to a different doctor and PRAISE THE LORD he is one of the best doctors I have ever seen. He helped me formulate a plan to get better, he listened and supported me and I cannot thank him enough. So please, don’t be deflated if the doctor, or anybody for that matter, doesn’t give you the reception or help you think you need. Not everyone understands mental health, and you have made a HUGE step to reach out, so please don’t let a negative reaction deter you from fighting to get ‘you‘ back!
2. Give yourself credit, and I mean for everything and anything.
Most days I write a ‘ to do’ list and I start by writing at least 3 things I have already done, like ‘ get up’ ‘have breakfast’ ‘write a to do list’. A bit silly sounding I know but straight away I’ve nailed 3 things in my day and actually some days even those 3 things feel like the hardest things to do. Also don’t put a million things on your list straight away. If all you did today was move from the bed to the sofa, then WELL DONE, you got out of the comfort of your bed. If all you did was the washing up out of all the house chores you should have done, then WELL DONE, that’s one less on the things that need doing. If you are a friend/ family member/ partner of someone that is having a hard time, get on board!! Focus on what has been done, not what hasn’t been done. I started small in my recovery, my boyfriend took this idea on board as well, and slowly I was doing more and more each day. Mental illness can rob you of your motivation and make the smallest task feel impossible so take back your power one step at a time.
3. Its okay to not be okay.
I have supported a lot of people regarding mental health and other situations and through it all I felt like I had to be strong and strong meant okay. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been pretty open about my emotions but I never wanted to appear weak or let my emotions show, even when I spoke about emotional topics, like my dad. I would always say,‘I’m OK’ ‘I’m fine . When I met my boyfriend I finally started to let that guard down and I’ve learnt on my more recent journey that not being OK doesn’t make you weak, having mental illness doesn’t make you weak. Actually its quite the opposite, By being more open and in control of my own mental state, I can be a better aid to those around me and I am growing stronger every day.
This blog has been a long time coming and it is a bit of a word-vomit but thank you for taking the time to read this. I have revamped the website, and I have more blogs and fundraising in the pipeline now that I am on the road to recovery. I can’t thank my family and boyfriend enough in their continuous support and I am lucky to have the support network that I do. I will keep you all updated on my journey and will blog again soon!
And to end on one of my all time fave quotes from Harry potter:
‘Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, If one only remember to turn on the light’