Triangle Part Two – Mind (Depression)
My Personal Journey
I used to be very embarrassed and didn’t tell anyone I went to see a psychologist. In total I had sessions with her on and off for about 3 years and this is my story about battling depression…
I was in the depth of my depression when I was about 19, a year into another serious relapse, all my friends were enjoying uni, I wasn’t getting any better and I had given up I guess. As an idea I was dead against it, I didn’t want to talk to some random person about the anger, upset, hurt, frustrations I felt. They probably wouldn’t have CFS so how would they understand or help me in anyway! My parents did some research and found a recommended psychologist in Manchester city centre, she worked with people with chronic illnesses. One night I remember my thoughts had become so dark there was only one way I was going, so I decided to tell my mum to book an appointment. I was far from happy about it but I guess it was worth a shot to meet with her.
The first session I clicked with her instantly, everything I felt inside I poured out to her and I knew it was all in confidence, she by law is not allowed to mention anything I say to her outside of that room. It was very comfortable and I cried (alot) but I felt better somehow after the hour was done. I then went back the week after, and continued to go weekly for a few months until it got to every other week. She used ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy‘ which is what most psychologists will use to change our unhelpful thinking.
We put together a plan, at the time I wouldn’t leave the house due to severe depression and anxiety, my mum once took me to Tesco in the car, we both knew I wouldn’t go in but I went for the ride and to get out the house. I sat in the car and cried because I was so scared for people to see me looking so poorly. My aim with my psychologist was to walk into Tesco and buy a loaf of bread – I laughed at her, that’s never going to happen. She set me homework each week and sure enough I went into Tesco and bought that loaf of bread eventually. I continued to have sessions with her but they slowly grew further and further apart.
Right now I haven’t seen her in over 12 months because she has taught me the tools to use everyday to cope with this illness when it’s so easy to think negatively! Whatever issue pops up I can use what she taught me on a very practical level. Some simple techniques. Without that help I wouldn’t be as well as i am now and have the complete determination to beat this illness for good. I have the knowledge and confidence to move forward each day.We may never be ‘cured’ from this illness, so my view is we need to change how we view ourselves with this label. That’s exactly what CBT does, it works to change our ideas and perspectives on the illness and struggles we cannot change.
Depression has such a big stigma attached to it, but its near impossible to have a chronic illness and not suffer with some type of depression, whether it’s for a few weeks or a few years. It’s a natural response to how we feel stuck in a body which at times is a horrible place to be. Alot of people have a hard time understanding depression, anxiety and low mood, they say “Snap out of it” or “Pull yourself together” they may not realise it is the hormones within our brains not working properly. If it was so simple why would we not ‘Snap out of it’. To admit there is a problem and to seek help is a very brave thing to do and sometimes it’s the only way to move forwards with negative thinking patterns.I could be slightly controversial here, however, I was already on anti-depressants when I sought help but my personal opinion now is anti-depressants can help you deal with the depression/low mood but also they can mask the rooted reason, until the issues are dealt I knew I would always struggle.
To this day I would say I was a positive person, I aim to see the good in everyone and any situation. If I have a bad day instead of “Oh I will never get better, another bad day of feeling so fatigued. This illness stops me from doing everything, it ruins my life and people will be annoyed I couldn’t make it in today”. Instead its much more helpful and kind to just think “Yes OK a bad day, but the good days far outweighs the bad days. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to allow my body to get some good rest, stock up on nutrients and relax, feeling much better for the coming days. People will understand and if not it’s a great opportunity to educate them.” I try not to beat myself up too much, of course sometimes I do because I’m that type of personality but we need to be loving to our bodies.
The power of positive thinking is amazing, it can bring great reward.
I set you one challenge, (this helped me enormously). Write down or just think of 3 positive things a day, everyday. They don’t have to be massive or anything special, it could be “I had a great chat with a friend” or “The sun came out” or “My favourite song came on the radio”. Slowly over time I noticed there actually is good things all around us even when we don’t notice.
Two very important points to mention-
If you do think you are depressed then do visit your local GP or tell someone.
Also, I feel it is very important to find a good psychologist. Someone you gel with and someone you feel comfortable with, this may take time but persevere.
Sorry it wasn’t a very cheery post but I have said before this is a very honest blog.
It is the honest truth behind living with a chronic illness. These issues need to be highlighted and spoken about.
Hope this finds you on a good day
Lots of love Becks xoxo
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