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

Suicide Prevention Month

I am going to start this post by sharing some very news… I HAVE JUST TAKEN MY LAST CRAZY PILL (or as normal people call them ,anti-depressant).

 

Yep, after 2 and a half years I am finally in a good enough place to feel confident enough to come off of them. It is a bit scary because, you know, part of me feels that they are the only reason I got over my depression this time, but mostly I’m proud. I’m proud I’ve got to a place that I feel strong enough to come off them and try life on my own for a while.

 

Depression can be a debilitating illness and it can be a hard thing for those that haven’t experienced to understand. When I went on to my anti-depressants a couple of years ago I was very lucky that my boss (wassup, Dennis) was someone I could be completely truthful with and we had a very honest conversation about how I was feeling after my diagnosis. In that conversation Den was also honest in that, having never suffered herself, it wasn’t something she understood and she did (and does) her best to ask questions to try and at least sympathise with what I was going through even if she couldn’t empathise. I was very lucky to have such an understanding boss and friend in her. I know friends that have not been so lucky with their line managers.

 

One of the more known commonly known symptoms of depression is having suicidal feelings / thoughts. Suicidal thoughts can completely consume you and it can feel like you have no control over anything. You get into the black hole and it can be hard to climb back out, especially without the right help. Suicide is something that has affected my family and my friends so Suicide Prevention is something that has always been close to my heart.

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

 

The latest statistics from The Samaritans show that suicide is still a very big problem in the UK. Female suicides are at their highest rate in the UK since 2011, in England since 2005. Female suicides have increased (by 8.3%) whilst Male suicides have decreased (by 5.6%). Having said that the highest suicide rate was still found in Men – those aged between 45 and 49.

 

These latest figures published are figures from 2014. It shows that, in the UK alone, 6581 people committed suicide. In my opinion, that is 6581 too many.

 

There is no overnight cure for depression and suicidal thoughts will not disappear overnight. It is important for anyone suffering to get help, there are various places you can get help, it can be anonymously too if that is what you’d rather.

 

There are various factors that will contribute to someone having these types of thoughts and, as I say, they won’t disappear overnight but we can all make small differences to people without realising, often through the little things.

This month I have pledged to actively do one ‘nice’ thing a day, to make a strangers day a little brighter and my contribution to the world a little better.

I would like to suggest you do the same, below are my suggestions for a doily dose of niceness. One thing for each day of September.

 

  1. Smile at a stranger
  2. Hold the door open for someone
  3. Help someone carrying a lot of things
  4. Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru
  5. Buy a suspended coffee
  6. Pay someone a compliment
  7. Give away clothes that you don’t need
  8. Donate items to a homeless shelter
  9. Tell someone why you love them
  10. Take some treats into work for your colleagues to share
  11. Let someone go in front of you in a queue
  12. Let someone overtake you in traffic
  13. Offer someone your seat on the tube/bus/train
  14. Leave an encouraging note for a stranger to find
  15. Call your best friend/ family member just to chat
  16. Buy someone flowers, just ‘cause
  17. Leave a used book in a café for someone else to enjoy
  18. Put £1 in the next charity pot you see
  19. Make someone a tea / coffee
  20. Feedback when you receive GOOD customer service
  21. Mail someone a letter – we all like post that isn’t bills, don’t we?
  22. Share an inspiring ‘thought of the day’
  23. Listen to someone going through a hard time
  24. Exercise patience
  25. Buy a homeless person lunch
  26. Leave behind a coupon that you are not going to use next to the product that it is for
  27. Donate your time/ money to a local cause
  28. Pick up some litter – it can just be one piece!
  29. Give someone a hug.
  30. Be the first to apologise

 

 

I am going to try to do these! One a day for September – as it is now the 6th clearly I have some catching up to do!

 

You can also show your support for Suicide Prevention by wearing something orange on 10th September and/or donate to a charity that works to provide support to those suffering suicidal thoughts and to survivors too. The work they do is so important in making sure that these people get well again.

 

Let me know your suggestions for your acts of niceness!

 

#ANDSOIKEPTLIVING

 

xoxo

 

Micks

 

 

UK charities

www.mind.org.uk

www.samaritans.org

 

These two charities provide support in the UK if you need it, or if you want to donate you can do so by clicking the links and following the instructions.

 

Other useful websites

 

www.twloha.com (featured image from their WSD campaign)

https://www.iasp.info/wspd

www.suicidepreventionapp.com

 

A lesson to learn from Robin Williams’ passing

This post originally appeared on my old site micksmusings.tumblr.com

http://shitleesays.tumblr.com/post/94527359918/what-did-he-have-to-be-depressed-about

I was planning on writing something around Robin’s passing and depression but I think this blog says it all and takes the words out of my mouth. I urge you to read the blog on the link.

I am currently fighting depression for the 2nd time in 5 years. The first time I had it I was 20, going on 21. I refused to take drugs because I thought it was the ‘easy way out’ and I constantly asked myself “what do I have to be depressed about?”.

Only when I was better did I see that, like it says here, that it wasn’t a case of feeling sorry for myself, or having a bad day. I couldn’t just shake it off and crack on. Depression isn’t that nice. On those days when I couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to wash, eat, talk to anyone I wasn’t able to just ‘get over it’. Because I couldn’t, depression is that nice.

It took me almost 9 months to get better, I hid my diagnosis from everyone. Only one friend knew, and my doctor. Not even my mum knew. I was at uni, living away from home, and it’s easy to hide it when you are not around people who know you 100%. If depression has taught me one thing it is that it’s amazing what you can hide behind a smile. After I was better I told my close family. My mum, it turns out, had suspected all along but hadn’t wanted to push it because she knew it would make me run in the other direction and shut everyone out even more. She was just glad I’d got my ‘spark’ back.

Depression is isolating, it is lonely and, on the worse days, it makes you question the point of being alive anymore. Yes that might sound dramatic to you, but to a depressed mind it isn’t. It is a real question.

Depression defies sense. There is no logic with depression. This is what I, as a very logical person, struggled with, and still struggle to understand about my illness. If I stubbed my toe and then cried, I would know I was crying because I’d hurt my toe. When you’re depressed you wake up and burst into tears for no reason. It doesn’t make sense.

This time around I was able to catch my depression earlier, with the help of Audrey and Val at work (living angels, those two). They had noticed behaviours in me, and knowing I had suffered before, they urged me to visit my doctor, “fine, if it’ll shut you up” is what I replied. Turns out they were right, after bursting into tears at the doctors, we had a conversation about my options. This time she convinced me to try tablets, I told her my feelings about it being the ‘easy way out’. Her response was “if you had a chest infection, would taking antibiotics be the easy way out? No, it wouldn’t. All you’re doing is taking medicine to fix an illness, but this time the illness is in your brain”

She’s right. The tablets have worked wonders and I’m feeling back to myself. And I’m not ashamed to say that I take them, and that I suffer from depression. It is not something to be ashamed of.
Over 350 million people ( according to WHO) suffer from depression worldwide. Robin Williams was one of them.

If anything good can come from his passing, I hope it is that more people become educated about depression. That more people realise those that suffer from depression aren’t all ‘weirdos’ ‘attention seekers’ ‘nut jobs’. We are just unwell. And we can be fixed even if we think we are un fixable, it doesn’t have to end like it did for Robin.

Let’s break the stigma. Let’s talk about depression. Let’s help those who suffer get better.

Robin, thank you for bringing so much joy to so many people. You may not have been able to see your light but we all can, and always will. You will be remembered as one of the greatest comedic actors of all time. You will be missed.
Xoxo Micks