Just because depression isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Depression is something that the majority of us will suffer with at some point in our lives. Whether we realize it or not. It comes in different ways for all of us. Some of us just think we’re feeling a little low. Some of us feel like life isn’t worth living anymore.

My experience.

When I first went in about my mental health, the Doctor wasn’t sure whether I was confusing depression with anxiety. Now I look back on it, maybe at the time I was, but I’ve definitely had an element of depression.

I battled for a very long time with my mental health, and I was stubborn enough to not accept the help and let the Doctor prescribe me medication. I was scared I’d be on it for life and become addicted.

A colleague of mine at the time managed to convince me to try it because I’d got to the point where I was nervous about even answering the phone. I was pushing everyone that cares about me away by not talking about my feelings because I felt like it’d just be a burden on them. They did everything I did, worked hard, looked after the children etc. So why couldn’t I do that?

My plan of action.

I finally took the plunge and went to the Doctor asking for medication. I was already on propranolol for my anxiety but that didn’t touch my mood. When I finally gave in I just sat there and sobbed, rambling onto the Doctor about everything that’s built up for me. I felt stupid. So many people in the world are going through so much worse than I am.

I did, however, feel better for just letting it out. The Doctor prescribed me a low dose of sertraline, as what I was feeling clearly wasn’t just my anxiety.

I went back after 2 weeks for a review of my mood. To be honest, in that short space of time I didn’t really see an improvement, apart from the fact that it had helped my anxiety issues slightly!

Within a month of that, I felt like a totally new person. I was no longer crying every day or breaking down over the smallest of things. My patience had improved when it comes to Dinky and his challenging behaviors. Most importantly, I was actually able to smile again.

How do I get a diagnosis for depression?

It’s not something that the Doctor will just diagnose straight away, especially if you’ve not had any past history of mental health. The Doctor will likely prescribe you some antidepressants and ask you come back after a few weeks to check your mood. The Doctor may even refer you to see a mental health worker if you really don’t want to take medication for your depression.

I’m not saying medication is the way forward to cure depression because it isn’t the case for some people. I’m just saying it helped me and still is. I hope to come off of my medication soon.

If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, please go and see your Doctor. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it means the opposite. You’ve got the strength to go and tell someone that actually, you’re really not doing okay and need some help. There is nothing wrong with that. Just because depression isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Useful links

Here are some links to find out more about depression, take a mood test, and how you can get the best help for you.

Moodzone

NHS Choices

How To Cope With Anxiety

Please remember that you’re never alone in this. I believe that you can get through this.

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To the poor woman I witnessed get hit by a car today..

Let me just start by saying I truly hope you’re okay. You’re being treated by an incredible team and I can’t wait to see your face again at the surgery.

Let me explain. I was sat outside work today having a cigarette and I was enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air when I happened to glance over at you on your familiar red moped. I saw you take off from the junction to cross the roundabout and I saw that car speed into you. I heard the crash and I heard your scream. I saw your moped skid across the floor. I instantly and dialled for help, I shouted at a colleague to get a Doctor and I rushed over to you.

People crowded around and the Doctor arrived and I let them do their assessments on you. I went and grabbed something to cover you with and to keep you warm. I called the Police to come and section off the road that you were lying in. Cars were building up and impatient drivers were angrily feeding through the space other passers-by had created to keep you safe. We moved your moped to a safe place and by then the Police had turned up and so had the ambulance. Someone called your Husband and gave him the awful news that you’d been in an accident. It felt like forever but it all happened so quickly at the same time. You were are incredible. You kept calm and answered the floods of questions and then I watched you be taken away in the ambulance. The Doctors were amazing, the pedestrians were too, not one person walked past without asking how you were and who you were so they could send their best.

I, of course know who you are, we work in the same building. I’m actually one of your patients for my anxiety. Little did I know that one day I’d have to see someone who has bought me great strength and got me past a really difficult time in my life, lying in the road after being hit by a car. A woman who I see daily documents from, and see how much you help people turn their lives around, help them overcome their fears and anxieties.

This is something I won’t ever forget, and tonight I’ve lit a candle to send all of my best wishes and thoughts your way.

Sending positive vibes your way,

A patient who thinks you’re an amazing person xx

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Fighting Fit: How To Use Regular Exercise As A Way To Banish Mental Health Problems

Mental health issues are increasingly common in today’s climate. The growing number of diagnosis can be attributed to many sources. These include a greater understanding of various conditions as well as the huge stress of modern life.  Many of those problems do require professional support and medication. But there’s no doubt that it’s possible to reduce the damage through daily activities. Physical exercise is easily one of the leading contributions.

So what are the best ways to use regular exercise to aid your mental health? Here’s all you need to know.

 

 

Increase Self-Confidence

First and foremost, regular exercise can be a great way to improve your self-confidence and general positivity. Whether it’s losing weight, toning up, or increasing physical performance doesn’t matter. Any upgrade to your personal fitness and image will send your positivity through the roof.

In addition to your personal improvements, you’ll often see positive changes to the way you are perceived by others. Those reactions are sure to have a big influence on your confidence too, which can help fight various sources of depression.

 

Gain An Extra Goal

Many mental health issues are worsened by the fact that you’re thinking about them too often. Therefore, finding a goal to keep your mind occupied should go a long way to keeping those emotional demons at bay. Exercise can be the perfect solution.

One option is to transform your body by getting fitter than ever. This instantly gives your life more structure and can actively fight various mental health issues. Meanwhile, signing up for an event and raising money for charity gives you that motivation to avoid those common pitfalls.

 

 

Reduce Stress

The release of endorphins throughout your exercise routines will always leave your mind in a positive position. This in itself should reduce the stress levels. However, you can take this one step further by using yoga and other activities. Use guides at www.piyoreviews.com/ to help you find a winning solution for a relaxed atmosphere. As a form of meditation, you couldn’t ask for anything better.

 Apart from anything else, regular exercise helps fight a series of physical health issues. Whether it’s avoiding diabetes, joint problems or any other problem isn’t important. The key factor is that the removal of those troubles will give you the best chance of staying relaxed and free from those emotional anxieties.   

 

Aid Sleep

If you don’t already know about the links between sleep and mental health, read up on those details at www.mentalhealth.org.uk/. Once you have made yourself aware of those rewards, you’ll be even more eager to get your 40 winks. Quite frankly, exercise is one of the best solutions.

Complete an evening workout to tire your body out, and follow this with a shower to prepare your body for rest. Firstly, this will enable you to get off to sleep with greater ease. Secondly, the results of a great night’s rest should bring huge rewards throughout those waking hours. It might not be the first benefits you think about when taking up increased exercise, but it might be one of the best.

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How To Cope With Anxiety

I’m just going to put it bluntly, anxiety is shit. I have dealt with it daily for over 10 years. Most of the time it isn’t bad enough to rule over my day, but those days/nights where my anxiety is so intense that I can barely catch my breath are awful. I had my first one of those creep up on me after months of nothing last night. I got through it in an unusual way, so I’ve decided to compile a list of quick fixes and long term treatments you can do if you’re struggling with your anxiety!
Quick Fixes

  • Distraction

I always find that the first trick I turn to when I feel anxious is to distract myself, whether that be on my phone, a game, putting the TV on or simply going for a walk. Sometimes that is literally all you will need. A distraction long enough to make you forget about what you were anxious about in the first place. Often I’m not even sure why I feel anxious or what thought triggered my feelings, so I find doing something different will change my train of thought.

  • Shout it out

Sometimes I find that I mistake frustration for anxiety, or even that my frustration and stresses create the anxiety. If this is something you feel happens to you then my suggestion is to just let it out.

– Go and find a quiet place and shout out your frustration. 

– Maybe nominate a friend that you can call and just rant to (offer the same back to them for if they ever need it, of course)

– Crying always helps. Don’t be ashamed or too proud to cry. Of course if you feel like crying or you do cry very often, then what you’re feeling may not just be anxiety, so please visit your doctor (see long term treatment for more information)

Basically any way to let out some emotion will help. This is a tip I have picked up very recently and it works very quickly for me. It releases pent up stress that’s boiling inside and you will feel better and fast.

  • Talk it out with someone you trust

I know it may feel hard to talk about how you’re feeling, and it’s difficult to even know where to begin but talking it out with someone I trust helps me feel like I’m not so alone. Even if the person I have told doesn’t have anxiety themself, at least they understand why I’m acting a little strange or why I’m more fidgety than normal. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised how understanding most people are.

So if you feel like you can talk to someone about it then do it, it will help!

  • Deep breathing

This trick is probably the oldest one in the book, but it’s a tried, tested and true way of alleviating anxiety symptoms. Simply sit up straight and breathe 8 seconds in through your nose and 5 seconds out through your mouth. Carry this on until you feel calm again.

  • Keep your feet on the ground.

I often find that when I’m feeling anxious my head spins and I almost feel like I’m not in my own body any more. Putting at least one foot on the ground helps your body regain balance and work out where you are. This technique is called “grounding” and is also used for people who are suffering with symptoms of vertigo.

  • Ride it out.

A few years ago a therapist told me something that I’ve always tried to remember when I’m feeling anxious. What goes up must come down. This means that your anxiety will only get so high and then it will slowly drop and go away. If you’re able to ride it out, then ride it out because I promise you, every time after that it will get easier.
Long term treatments

  • Change what you put in your body

    In every way possible, look after yourself! Eat as healthily as you can. Being overweight and eating the wrong food can often give you symptoms that mimic anxiety, which would in turn make you worse. Cut out alcohol (or cut down at least). Quit smoking, not just for your anxiety but for your general health too.

    • Exercise

    As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a walk can distract you from a panic attack. Not only that, exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Also, of course exercising will keep you fit and healthy.

    • Talk to your GP

    For a very long time I’d avoid speaking to my GP about my anxiety because I was worried that they would just shove me onto medication and I didn’t want to take anything. After now working in a GP surgery and seeing and speaking to my colleagues about anxiety I have learnt that there are so many different ways of treating/dealing with it. You can:

    – Get your Doctor to refer you for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)

    – Your GP can also help advise and monitor your lifestyle, ask what help is available.

    – Your GP can also recommend self help websites.

    – Medication. I used to have this massive stigma in my mind about taking medication for my anxiety. I was convinced I didn’t need it and that they just cover up the problem rather than solving it and I didn’t want that. I do now fully support medication for anxiety because once I had heard and seen how it helps people, I knew I needed to try it. 

    It was hand on heart the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. The Doctor explained that it resets the chemical levels in your brain that cause you to feel the way you do. I’ve now been on medication for 6 months and I’m happier than I’ve been in years. My anxiety still creeps up on me, but nothing like it used to.

    There are many different types that the Doctor can prescribe you, so go and speak to your GP.

    Also, don’t forget to…

    I really hope that my tips can help someone. I know only too well how horrible it is crawling through the internet trying to find help. Do you have anything else that you do when you’re anxious? I’d love to know!

    Much love xxx

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    #YoudNeverBelieve

    I am so excited and proud to announce that I have taken part in #YoudNeverBelieve.

    What is #YoudNeverBelieve I hear you say?
    Well, I do have some super informative links to share with you but I will tell you a little bit right now.

    #YoudNeverBelieve is a campaign to show teenagers that you are never truly alone. Feeling low and helpless is one of the worst things anyone can experience and I’m super proud to be backing this cause to encourage young girls to speak out if they are feeling anything but happy. In this video, myself and a bunch of awesome bloggers confessed some of the things we felt when we were teenagers, and possibly some of us may still feel this way.

    We want to create a support network for anyone struggling and the amazing Ella Stearn is the brainbox we all need to thank for this! Please please pleeeeease back this cause because #mentalhealth is SO important.
    #YoudNeverBelieve that I used to be scared to go to school.

    Watch the video here:


    Anyone who knows me will know I am really passionate about mental health. Having an autistic son and battling anxiety, depression and panic disorder myself really fuels me to help others. As soon as I read about this campaign I knew I had to get involved.

    Here is where the magic is happening, please donate to this amazing cause – #YoudNeverBelieve

    Oh, and one last thing. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. There is always someone out there. Don’t suffer alone.

    Much love xxx
    Photo credit to the beautiful Amy Thompson xx

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    Ouchies & Lots of Tears

    Part 1.

    Zak had to go for his preschool jabs yesterday.

    He normally gets way over excited about going to the Doctors, so I prepared for tears, by buying some smarties for after, and being ready for a clingy child.

    We were waiting to go in and he was zooming around where I was sat, buzzing to see the Doctor. We were called in, to a different room than normal, and he was still in high spirits.

    The nurse then sat him down and explained that he was going to have some “magic medicine” to make him big and strong, but we had to give it to him a little differently, one in each arm rather than the usual magic medicine he is used to.

    -He then got nervous, oh crap.

    She gave him his first injection and he let out a huge wail and clung onto me. He started sobbing and holding tighter and tighter. He’s generally not the type to properly cry, he will cry when he strops but this was different, he was frightened and in pain, which then led to me crying. The second one was even worse, Zak crying louder, me fighting back the tears and also fighting to keep him still. At least it was over. Poor Zak just cried into me whilst the nurse explained any side effects he might experience, then, she offered him a chocolate button and POOF! It was like there was a different child on my lap! He shoved it in his mouth and then got down, it was like nothing had ever happened!

    Part 2.

    My turn to see the Doctor. I’ve been wanting this appointment for a long time now, but as I was sat there, I felt like all of my problems were so minor, and I couldn’t think of what I needed to say. After seeing Zak like that just before, I suddenly didn’t care about me.

    I was still teary when I was called into my appointment. I just went for it and explained that I have been suffering quite badly with my depression and anxiety recently. I also mentioned that I think one of the main factors is because I have such low self esteem, and that I’ve been trying to lose weight, but not really got very far. Throughout all of this I was struggling to hold back the tears, I’m not sure if it was because I was still upset from seeing Zak cry and then unloading like that set me off again, or if it would have happened even if Zak hadn’t have had any jabs. We talked for a while, she gave me loads of booklets on healthy eating, all of these I already knew, but maybe hearing it and having information from my Doctor will help. Either way, she has booked me in for next month to re-weigh, and if there is no improvement, she spoke about the possibility of using weight loss tablets.

    As for my anxiety and depression, I explained that I’d rather not medicate, as I don’t like the way I feel on them, and I feel like they are just covering up the problem, rather than solving it. So she has signed me up to a refresher course for cognitive behavioural therapy, which is what I had just after having Zak, and it really helped. The only downside is the waiting list, but I think it will be worth it.
    In the meantime I’ve got to try my best to sort out my weight, and self esteem issues. So, like I have been trying to do all year, I’m going to work on myself, not just eat healthily to lose weight and look good, but to change my lifestyle and feel good.

    So now, at least for now, I’m going to try and name something that I like about myself each day, and try to name something new as often as I can. Mr Pie is constantly telling me how beautiful I am, and for those few seconds I believe it, so I’m going to try and get to a point where I believe it all of the time (or at least most of the tim, we all have fat and ugly days right?!). Here’s my first quote I’ve read today, to lift myself up.

    Much love xx



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    Feeling low and sorry for myself.

    I’ve been a bit quiet these last few weeks, to be honest I’ve not really had the will to do much, it was Zak’s birthday on the 9th, which was wonderful, he loved all of his presents and was so happy all day.

    But since then things just seem to have gone a bit downhill, for me at least and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s because its the lead up to Christmas, maybe it’s just the weather and the time of the year just getting me down but I’m feeling like at the moment, I don’t have a lot to look forward to.

    Christmas is going to be the worst one for me. Zak is with his Dad in the morning. It’s breaking my heart knowing that he wont be with me in the morning to open his presents, Mr Pie is working all day and wont get to see him either, not until close to bed time, so I guess I’m feeling rather emotional about it all. I feel like when I do see him later on in the day, he’s going to be exhausted from all the excitement so far, and he’s not going to want to know. I’m also going to be at my parent’s this year, which as much as I love them and appreciate the hospitality, I want Christmas at my own home, with my own little family. Am I being a bit over emotional?
    Also, you may or may not have read my post on my psoriasis, but this time of year is always gets me down, it flares up really badly in the winter, I’m constantly itchy, more appears and in odd places, and quite frankly, I’m sick of having to suffer with it. I’ve given up on asking with the doctors because they fob me off with the same things every time. I’m actually sat here now trying to resist scratching my legs to bits. I’m avoiding showing any sort of skin from the neck down, because I’m so embarrassed.
    Mr Pander and I went out Saturday night for a friend’s birthday, and one of his friends even commented on the patches on my hands, he said he thought they might be mosquito bites or even self harm, which as I’m sure you’ve guessed, has brought me down at lot.

    I think I’ll actually be glad once Christmas is out of the way, try and pick myself out of this low mood, I’m finding myself tearing up over really pathetic things at the moment. Almost everyone that knows me well enough will tell you I’m an emotional person normally, but even I’m thinking to myself as I’m crying “what the hell is wrong with you?!”.

    Right now, I’m ashamed to go anywhere because I’m being looked at or people comment on my skin or I’m thinking about how much I really want Zak with me this Christmas morning, or even how badly I want a lot of things to change in my life at the moment. I don’t know how to pull myself out of this and I feel so helpless.

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    Coping (or not) with Psoriasis.

    As a child, I never suffered with bad skin, apart from the usual small outbreaks of teenage acne, I had really lovely skin. My Dad and Brother have both suffered with eczema all of their lives, and I’d always hated seeing them so uncomfortable and in pain from accidentally scratching.

    Then, when I turned 16 I moved out of my parents home and in with Zak’s Dad, I was working in a bakery at the time, nothing stressful, in fact I loved my job, and I loved my life. One day at work one of my colleagues pointed out a few scales on my elbows, I’d never seen anything like that before and she said she thought it was psoriasis, but it didn’t really bother me as it wasn’t painful or itchy, and to be honest I forgot it was there for a while.

    For anyone that doesn’t know, psoriasis is, it’s a skin disease that causes red itchy patches usually on your knees, elbows and scalp. It can appear anywhere on the body but those are the normal places. The patches are covered in skin patches, they’re a white-silver colour. Psoriasis can occur in anyone, but usually in adults under 35, it effects men and women equally, but only around 2% of the UK suffer with it. It occurs when the body produces too many skin cells. Everyone’s skin renews, but people who have psoriasis, renew much faster and the skin forms in the patches mentioned before. It is said that it’s a problem with the immune system, but for some reason the body attacks the healthy skin cells. The reason is unknown.

    When I was around 17, the condition had got worse, my elbows were now completely covered, and they were very itchy and sore, they’d crack when I bent my arm and bleed, causing it to become thicker and worse. I went to the doctor and he confirmed the diagnosis, giving me moisturising creams and bath lotions. It improved the dryness, but did nothing else for me.

    Since then it has got progressively worse, it’s now on my knees (with patches all up and down my legs), even worse on my elbows, in fact it’s made it’s way up my arm in patches and to my hands and knuckles. it’s on my scalp, which sometimes creeps down my forehead and behind my ears, I also have patches all over my stomach, back, and even breasts. I’ve been loaded up with pretty much every type of lotion and potion out there, but they don’t work.

    It’s gotten to a point now where I can’t wear anything that reveals my arms or legs, and I can’t wear my hair up because it will reveal the awful plaques in my hairline. Every time I go to the doctors I get sent away with the same stuff that doesn’t work, so how am I meant to treat this? It’s not fair that I feel truly embarrassed to go anywhere some days, it’s not fair that when I touch the areas affected, loads of skin falls off. Why do I have to suffer with this, why should anyone?
    I’d really love to hear from someone that has had or still suffers with psoriasis, and what they do to keep it at bay or anything they have done to get rid of it. I read somewhere that vitamin D tablets may help, so I’m giving them a go at the moment to see how it goes, but I’m not really expecting anything. The problem is, I’m so low about it all of the time, and when I feel low, it flares up more, and in places that most of the time are clear (like my face, most of the time). I feel like if I go back to the doctors, I’m just going to be sent away again, but I can’t live the rest of my life embarrassed like this.
    Much love xxx

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    My Anxiety – Let’s get honest

    Anxiety kicks in at the completely wrong time!! It’s taking me a lot of bravery to post this, as it is a very personal matter of mine. I find it embarrassing, and most of all, I feel like it shows I am weak, but I have had enough of feeling like this now and I need to get it out there! Maybe some of you will relate to this!

    I’ve suffered with anxiety for years now, but it’s getting progressively worse. It all started off with my emetephobia (fear of vomiting). My anxiety would only flare up if I felt sick. Then when I’d not long had dinky, we moved to a house, and it got really bad, I don’t know whether it was the fact motherhood and the fact I now had a tiny precious being to look after had finally sunk in, or whether it was something else, all I know is, I dreaded being alone, especially at night.

    After me and Dinky’s Dad split, I was referred by my doctor to cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy) to work past it. The therapist identified the key behaviours I was displaying when I felt anxious which were:

    -Chewing gum
    -Sipping ice cold water
    -Excessively deep breathing
    -Getting away from the situation I was in (for example, if I was out and I had an anxiety attack, I’d go home, because it felt safer)

      She then suggested that every week I try and cut out each of these methods, to challenge myself, using those techniques may have temporarily got rid of my anxiety, but the next time I had an attack it felt worse. She explained to me that anxiety will only get so bad, and then you will calm down, and if you could ride out the worst of it, you will feel better in the long run, and as time goes on the length of the attack would become shorter. She also told me to ask myself every time I felt anxious “what’s the worst that could happen?”. When I thought about it that way I couldn’t give an answer, all I could say was something bad, so I used that technique every time I felt anxious. The first week I decided to stop myself escaping the situation, which, if I’m honest I found quite easy as that was always my last resort. The next week I cut out the water and the deep breathing, which I found a challenge because that week I had one of the worst attacks I’ve ever had, I spent the whole night trying to ride it out, and my therapist was right, it did go, and in the end I was fine. So the next week I confidently stopped chewing gum altogether, and every week from there on I felt stronger and more able to deal with it. I can honestly say after the 6 sessions I felt like a new person. She also recommended I use self help sites and the best place to start is www.nhs.uk

      It never went away but I knew how to deal with it, and now, nearly 2 years on its back, and with a vengeance. It mostly occurs at night, and the slightest thing sets me off. I still use the calming techniques, but they don’t really help anymore, I can’t help but feel like something terrible is going to happen, my heart races, I feel sick (which is awful especially when dealing with emetephobia), I shake, I feel faint and I sob my heart out. Mr pie is amazing at dealing with me, he tries to take my mind off it and most of the time it subsides pretty quickly, but there’s the odd times where I feel like I need to just get out, go somewhere, anywhere. I’ve started feeling like I’m pushing the closest people to me away, because I hate being seen that vulnerable, I like to show that I’m a strong person, and I loathe the thought of people pitying me.

      So on a Thursday my boy goes to his Dad’s and me and Mr pie go to the pub in the evening and chill (everyone deserves a break right?!). Normally I’m absolutely fine and I relax easily, but tonight for some reason I’m struggling to be here, I’m trying to fight it and keep my mind off it. Weirdly writing this post has calmed me down. I’m sure you’re all thinking “why not do what you did before?” – my answer is, I don’t know, it somehow feels harder this time.

      Even though I know anxiety is a common illness to suffer with, I feel like I’m the only one who ever feels this way. Am I being crazy? They say it’s a battle that can’t be won, but I’m determined to because I’m so sick of being like this.

      I’m really interested to hear from anyone who suffers with anxiety like I do, I’d love to hear any tips because honestly, I feel so alone.

      Much love xxx

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