I thought would do a round up of the ups and downs of my depression and anxiety throughout 2019. It would give me something to concentrate on other than shovelling chocolate and alcohol in my face at absurd times in the morning and wondering what day it is.
The year started out and I was on 150mg of Sertraline for my social anxiety. Although, as I felt I had been in a good place for a fair while I decided to ween myself off them. So I slowly lowered my daily dosage until April when I stopped completely.
Generally speaking I felt pretty good afterwards. My social anxiety was pushed but I coped well. Unfortunately 4 or 5 years of the same medication meant it would be longer before it was out of my system.
By the time it got to August I was feeling incredibly down. My depression had come back and hit me quite hard. Before, I felt I was mostly anxious with a side dish of depression, now it felt vise-versa.
I really didn’t want to go back to the doctors. I thought I had done so well in coming off my meds. It felt like one step forward and 10 back. After a couple of days off work where I just wanted to sleep, cry and not talk to anyone, I called the doctor.
The doctor put me back on Sertraline on a lower dose of 50mg. If there was one thing I had forgotten about Sertraline, it was the side effects! Holy sickness, Batman! I felt ill for a good week.
I’ve now been back on Sertraline for about 4 months and can see the difference it has made. I am fully aware now that going back on medication was 100% the right thing and in no way a failing. It just wasn’t the right time for me.
What I want to express is that it is okay to do something (or stop something) to find out it isn’t working for you and to go back to how it was. There is always something else to try and you are not a failure or letting yourself down by backtracking. You just went down a path a little too soon, don’t be afraid to try it again at a later stage.
Just because I am back on medication again, doesn’t mean I always will be. Even if I am, that’s okay too. If medication helps me maintain some balance so that I can function and get through each day then it’s a blessing I’ve got the opportunity to take it.
Comfort Zones Smashed
Some of the things I did this year which were miles out of my comfort zone:
1 – Completed Brighton Marathon
As of June 2018 I wanted to get fitter, so I did something that ended up being one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I took part in, and completed, Brighton Marathon in April 2019.
The training I undertook got me in a gym for the first time in my whole life. I had the most phenomenal personal trainer. She understood my anxiety, made me feel comfortable, made me feel like I could actually do something!
When it came to the actual big day, the weather took a serious turn for the cold and windy. I wanted to stop after about half way and from mile 16 onwards I mostly walked due to the weather and leg pains.
All that said and 7 hours 19 mins and 31 seconds after I crossed the start line, I finished!
The outfit I opted for was made up my love of cats, a new found love of Game of Thrones (the marathon was actually on the day season 8 aired!). So, a ‘mother of cats’ t-shirt and a cat riding a shark, spewing up a rainbow on my shorts seemed only logical!
I raised £700 for the Ipswich branch of Cats Protection.
2 – Travelled to London alone
As mentioned above, I was briefly off medication for a few months before realising that wasn’t right. In this time while I was battling my depression, I was actually extremely excited about something. I had a ticket to see Last podcast on the left in London with my friend. My friend lives and works in London and the plan was I’d train down and meet her after work.
I had been so excited, and so distracted with the purpose of my trip that it wasn’t until I was on the train, that I realised I hadn’t even thought about the fact I was travelling alone, let alone get anxious about it!
That really made me so happy, that even though I was not long back on meds, I was actually making progress. My social anxiety was more under control that I realised.
I will actually be doing a blog on this and my love of LPOTL in the near future!
3 – Front facing customer service
The week in the lead up to Christmas was pretty emotional – as explained in last week’s blog. One thing which was hard was having to work on the ‘shop floor’, I guess to see how front facing staff work.
This was incredibly hard for me as I have spent many years working my way out of front facing customer service. It has been detrimental to my mental health and is something I have no intention of returning to. It’s hard!
But, because its something we all had to do, I did it. I didn’t want to, but I did it. I had incredibly bad anxiety in the few days leading up to it and on the day – but, I did it! Another boundary pushed and survived.
4 – Created my first video intro
It is faarrr from exciting, interesting, appealing or smooth, (have I sold it to you yet!?) but I still did it and made it public . A few years ago I attempted to record a video of me talking about mental health. I couldn’t even look at myself in the camera. Even though I was in the house alone I couldn’t even say ‘hello’ at a normal volume.
I have come along way since then, my anxiety is still high when doing it though! I hope throughout 2020 I’ll add more to my YouTube channel.
2020 Plans and goals
1 – Weekly blogs
Regularly update this blog, every Tuesday, with new blog posts. (Don’t forget you can follow me on social media – listed below – or subscribe to email updates 😉 )
2 – Introduce more videos
I really want to build my confidence enough to post more videos which will correspond to some blog posts.
3 – Read IT by April 20th
In honour of my friend who died just before Christmas, I aim to read the whole of Stephen King’s IT by my birthday! – I have started and I am a total of about 5 pages in!
4 – Increase self confidence (even by 1 iota)
I would like to end 2020 with a post proclaiming I’m proud of myself, that I’ve done all I set out to achieve. But, if all else fails I can only hope that myself esteem and self confidence grows, even just a teeny tiny bit!
Take care of yourself
No matter how successful or unsuccessful you feel your year has been, remember you have got through it. You’re still here and you’re still fighting.
Be proud of what you’ve come through to get to this stage and look forward to 2020. Don’t set unrealistic resolutions though, just take each day as it comes.
Feel free to comment below or contact me via the below means with your 2019 round up, 2020 goals (if any), or if you’ve just anything you’d like to say 🙂
Stay strong, stay geeky, stay you