My Mental Health Journey

Take Two

I feel like most people talk about mental health journeys like it's a linear experience—you start off with a problem and wind up "cured." My journey is far from that. This is the second time I've REALLY suffered with my mental well-being. The first time, I got some drugs and did some online therapy, and the doctors seemed to think I was better. I think I was fed up of talking about how I felt rather than feeling "better" and so I let that fizzle out. Two years later I'm back at square one, or maybe I'm about 50 steps behind that... who knows.

This time it feels more intense—the thoughts of ending it all are more extreme and I'm treating myself worse and worse. Drinking has become a daily activity rather than a weekend treat, I'm losing friends, and my career might be on the line but I'm caring less and less. This is how I knew it was time to ask for help... again. I’m no longer certain of what I think and feel, I can't tell if my thoughts are valid or way out or order. That internal sense check that we do before we open our mouths and speak has become defunct—I’m just as surprised my what comes out of my mouth as those around me.

They don't tell you how hard it is just to book an appointment at the GPS and get through the pesky receptionist who's asks if it's "urgent." Just this is enough to make you question everything and put it off. Then, when you finally do get to see a doctor it's such a surreal experience. It starts transactional with the doctors asking what they can do, and it ends with you in tears talking a complete stranger that you have no idea what's wrong with you and want them to make you better. So that's what I did. New drugs, and more of them, and a second attempt at therapy which starts on Monday—at 9:30 AM because apparently mental health only strikes during the office hours of 9-5... I’ve had to ask my manager for a hour off during my work day just to attend. I guess I’m lucky he’s almost a stranger (I’ve had a lot of managers at work, but he’s the newest—five weeks and still going strong), which made it much easier to talk to about my current situation. When I told him, his only advice was that I tell the other five people in my team (who are highly strung and think it’s their right to know the ins and outs of everyone’s private lives) and try and be as transparent as possible. Am I not allowed to have my privacy? I’m trying carve a lasting career for myself, not let them know I’m crazy!

These last few days have been hard. Usually I would talk to my boyfriend about my day to vent about how I feel. However, earlier this week when I was talking about my day he looked bored. I asked if he was getting sick and tired hearing me talk about work. He said he was, so I decided there and then that I wouldn’t talk about work ever again. This seems to be a great exercise of my ongoing care-free façade. Some people have resting bitch face, but I make sure I have resting smiley face so know once will ever know the truth about how I really feel. It seems to be working well. The boyfriend, my team and work all seem to be getting a long better, so for now I’ll keep it up.

I can't help but feel I’m heading for a breakdown, or at least my new lowest low—has anyone else been here? How did you survive?

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