World Mental Health Day

hi everyone,

i wasn’t going to post today. i wasn’t going to write. i was going to let the day pass and share this another time, perhaps when i was better. however, having seen so many of my friends (both real life and online), family and even celebrities, post about World Mental Health Day i feel like it would be insincere of me not to post.

as many of you know, mental health is something that is very close to my heart (and head). i posted before about my mental health battles, about dealing with anxiety and depression. i have been very vocal about not being ashamed of my sometimes chaotic mind. So, with that in mind, i have something to tell you.

i, michaela, am battling depression once again. third times the charm, ay.

when did I know it had come back, when did i suspect something was wrong again? that i needed help? well, it hit me like a sack of shit last week but the symptoms had been there for a while; i just ignored them, or rather blamed them on exhaustion from having worked continuously since may with no break, pulling at least 50hr work weeks.

so what finally made me admit that i wasn’t well and that i need a helping hand? it was number of things and they all came to head last week. i’ll tell you.

this next part some people may find difficult to read and so i apologise in advance if you makes you feel uncomfortable.

september 23rd. i was in montrose, ca visiting friends.  i took the following picture and uploaded it to my socials

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nothing weird about that, most people enjoy a quick selfie. the difference is, most people don’t follow posting a selfie on facebook with thoughts of “if i jumped off the balcony would it be high enough to kill me?” i pondered that for a good 5 minutes. then my friend Mark came along and distracted me enough for that thought to leave my mind. i slept more than normal on that holiday too – which is common sign of depression – but again i blamed it on exhaustion, all those long hours i’d done were catching up with me. or were they? Mark and my friends fed me up good and proper the whole holiday – i’d been going days without eating properly (eating too much/ loss of appetite – another sign of depression) before – but again i was just too busy to eat. i mean, a bag of popcorn and a breakfast bar is a normal amount of food to eat in a 48 hour period, right?

when i got home i was still exhausted, but blamed it on jetlag. getting up in the morning was harder than ever and i was extremely emotional but, hey, i had my period so it must have been that.

tuesday i was off. i shared my worries with one of my oldest friends, denise. i spent a couple of hours with her, her little one and the dog. it’ll do me good to get out the house, i thought. i thought i’d been ok but, turns out, i hadn’t. she told me on friday that she could tell i “wasn’t right”.

i was starting late on wednesday, it took me an hour to get out of bed. the negative thoughts had crept back in but again, i brushed it off. it took all the strength i had to get in the shower, i managed through and got out the shower but that’s where my energy left me. my sister had to pick me up off the floor. she had to help me get dressed. she had to dry my hair for me, all whilst i sat there in a daze. dentist happened and then i was away to work. i got to the train station and stood crying on the platform. i knew there was something wrong with me, i could barely keep my head up. my thoughts were along these lines… how long would i feel the pain if i stepped in the path of a train? do people ever survive being hit by a train? it would be over in seconds, i’m sure. the aim was not to die, the aim was to end the confusion. the aim was to clear the fog that had clouded my mind. the aim was peace.

i realise that this may seem dramatic to you. hell, it does to me. but it’s my truth and i won’t lie about it. i can’t sugar coat anything because to do that would be pointless.

clearly, as i am sat here writing this, i did not step in front of a train. i had a set of people around me that listened, that knew me well enough to make me get help. i shared that train thought with one of my best friends because, through all the fog, i had a small moment of clarity, i knew telling someone would help. and it did. once i had told her, the fog cleared slightly.

whilst this was happening my sisters had been talking, and my eldest sister called me and told me she was booking me doctors appointment – she got me one for the next day.

i went to the doctor. i’m getting help. this time around i have opted for no anti depressants, although i have some waiting for me if i change my mind. this time around i am trying counselling. i need to understand my triggers.

i had to cancel my trip to india to get better which broke my heart. my doctor deemed me too ‘high risk’ to travel so far with no treatment, so soon after diagnosis, “it’s definitely not advisable, michaela. india will always be there”.

i never thought i would be back at a point where i was having to tell people i was ill in this way again.  all i can ask at this time from those that are closest to me is their patience, please be patient with me. some days i will be ok. others i won’t. today was a good day – for the first time in 4 days i found the energy to get out of bed and shower (depression is not glamorous), it took everything out of me – my hair was knot city so that was a chore in itself. i also ask you to not edit yourselves around me – make jokes, talk to me like normal; i don’t need special treatment. i’m still me!!

i also need to say thank you. thank you to my sisters for looking out for me, my parents. thank you to diane who talked me down from that moment on the platform, who messaged me each morning and night to make sure i was safe. to denise, for checking in on me each day, for giving me an evening of distraction on friday – i felt normal for an evening, for putting food in front of me (even if i only ate half a plate), to my little sophia for being honest and saying that you didn’t know what to say but that you just wanted me better. to steph, you always know what to say, even when i don’t believe the nice things you say to me, you still say them. to the taylors, yesterday was a bad day but you took the time to find images and youtube videos of my favourite things to make me smile. it worked. rachel, for reminding me that it is all temporary, that there is no right or wrong way to live life and that i will get there eventually. byng, mark, ken, tom, rhirhi, mariana, emma, katie… anyone who has taken 5 minutes to just see how i am recently. thank you. i even have to shout out my boss because he was amazing when i told him – i’m very lucky to have a boss that doesn’t think less of me because of it – i know from other friends that this is, unfortunately, very rare.

i know you don’t all understand it, i don’t either sometimes but i am trying.

i’m learning to understand it. i’m learning how to keep trying. i’m learning to remind myself that i have survived 100% of my worse times and that no matter how many moments seem unbearable the darkness is temporary. i’m not afraid to put the work in to get better.

because that’s all i want.

to be better.

xoxo micks

 

p.s if anyone, no matter how well i know you, ever needs someone to talk to, if you ever feel this way, know you are not alone. i am here.

hope and faith.

It’s 6:30 on a Saturday. I’m sat in bed in my pants and a big wooly jumper (you’re welcome for that delightful visual). The last few days have been a bit up and down for me; quite emotional and, for whatever reason, quite paranoid. I mean, I cried at work approximately 3 times yesterday. Yes, I had to take myself to the loo on 3 separate occasions to have a cry.

 

I’ve spoken a lot about the battles within my own head, sometimes the noise is loud in there, other times it’s quiet. Recently it’s been particularly loud.

 

This week marks two key days for me in my mental health journey.

September 6, 2017 – marked a year since I took my last anti-depressant. A YEAR. 365 days. That alone is enough to make me cry I think. I remember being so so scared that I couldn’t feel happy without those little drugs – I even wrote about it at the time – but I’ve only bloody gone and done it. A YEAR.

There are things I have dealt with in that year that, looking back now, I can’t believe that I did without the help of those little pills.

September 10th, 2017 – this is World Suicide Prevention Day; a day that I always mark in my own little way. Why? I know that, had I not had people looking out for me in my darkest times I could have been a statistic. I could have been one of those 6000 people who take their own life in the UK and ROI a year. I would have been 1 of the 800,000 people that die by suicide worldwide each year. This year’s key message is “It’s OKAY to talk” – it really is. I will always have these two ears open for anyone that needs them.

My story may not be a remarkable one, but it still one of hope for anyone that is in that dark place now. I made it through the other side. I’m so glad I did. I have so much to live for, I have so much to hope for, I have so much to look forward to.

You never know what is going to happen in life but you have to learn to see the beauty in that.

“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human; you’re not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend”

The ‘Me’ last year was determined to leave the country, to go and start fresh somewhere else. To leave behind my broken heart and confused state of mind, to start fresh somewhere no one knew me. Clearly that didn’t happen, I came home. I can sit here now, and say (or type) hand on heart, it was the best decision I ever made.I know I am not perfect, and I am learning to be OK with that. I am realising that although I am independent, I still want to be looked after (and that there is no shame in that). I’m starting to be OK with who I am.  I do not know what the next six years, or even six months hold for me, but for now, yes I might be a bit down in this exact moment, but I am happy. I am happy with where my life is going, with the things I do have planned, with the people who I have around me, with the people I have in my life.

 

I. AM. HAPPY.

Hope allowed me to get to this point.

Blind faith of those around me got me to this point.

I am so glad it did.

 xoxo Micks

You’re not scared of climbing mountains, you’re scared that you can’t make them move.

“Making a big life change is scary, but you know what is scarier?

REGRET”

 

 

This quote is so applicable to my life right now it is freaky. As my family and friends know I am currently working my notice period for a company I have worked at for (on and off) 10 years. I’ve worked my way up from a 6hr Sunday girl to store manager. The company has supported me completely throughout this time, providing me with a part-time job during university, a career after. They have allowed me to take sabbaticals to go off, explore the world and live my best life whilst providing me with a safety net to return to when I’m done. It’s been my comfort blanket for the last 10 years. On August 13th 2016 that comfort blanket is gone for good.

 

A change gon’ come.

 

Now, considering I was the one who made the decision to leave you’d think I’d be more excited about the new challenges that lay ahead with my new job and I am, to an extent, but I am also shitting my pants a bit. Why? Exactly as that quote says – change is a scary thing. I know my job I have now (after 10 years I’d be worried if I didn’t), I still love the company – I believe in where it is going and its vision for the future. Whilst it is not perfect (no business is), it’s determined to be the best in its category. I adore the (majority of) customers that come through the door; in fact I properly enjoy talking with the kids more than the adults! My favourite customers I have seen through numerous children, they have come back to see me time and again – one customer even followed me from my previous store to the one I’m currently in.

To think that will be gone is both sad and scary.

Some of my close friends have had the drama of me officially making this decision – when I handed my notice in my regional manager made it VERY hard to leave – so hard in fact that when I hung up the phone to him I promptly burst into tears through both confusion and because he was very nice to me and I wasn’t expecting it. I then called Den and Michelle straight away and they spoke whilst I cried a bit more, I then crazy messaged my friend in Weymouth shouting about needing her life coach advice (She’s yet to steer me wrong) and then starting harassing two people who’s opinions I value a lot through the mediums of Whatsapp and Snapchat. Ultimately the decision was mine and I decided to go ahead with the resignation because I have bigger, long-term plans and could never live with the ‘what if’ that I know I would end up with if I stayed.

 

Over the last week I have almost called my RM and retracted my notice on a couple of occasions because change is scary. Because I worry that I’ve made the wrong choice and the grass isn’t really greener. Because I worry about the people I’m leaving behind and that I’m somehow letting them down. Especially when you’re settled, change is scary. When you constantly worry about what could go wrong, and what if you feel that you are not strong enough, independent enough or lovable enough to succeed in getting through an important change?

Change is scary.

 

Now, some people embrace change as though it is nothing (I hate and admire those people in equal amounts), a smart man said once “change is the only constant thing in life” and we need to learn to embrace it, little by little to challenge ourselves and grow. If I was to let it, my imagination could come up with a million different worse case scenarios and terrible things that could happen as a result of this change I’m making. Thinking about it, if I can imagine the worst thing, why can’t imagine the best? It can only go one of two ways, right? Things can get better, or they can get worst. 50/50 chance of both.

 “the key to change…is to let go of fear” (Roseanne Cash)

and right now that is what I am deciding to do (at least for the next 5 minutes).

 

 

Yes, the change I am making is scary. Yes, it could go wrong. Right now though, I am deciding to take a leap of faith and trust in the magic of new beginnings. I have to live my life for me, and no one else.

Besides, who knows, give it a year and I might be back where I started, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.

Xoxo

Micks

P.S to all my work favourites… you’ll never really get rid of me. Like a fly to shit I’ll always be hovering around J Love yous xxx