Mental Health and Madness
So this week I really felt I really needed to write. I often feel like this but rarely get a moment these days to ACTUALLY write something, something not that long ago I was complaining about not having. I was needing a purpose, a cause and by gosh did I get one! Before I go on, I must add a warning. This blog maybe triggering, there is talk around suicide and suicidal thoughts and I do not want anyone to feel triggered… so please don’t read on if you think it maybe overwhelming. To family and friends who don’t see me often or know me well enough, sorry you're reading this and discovering this here. I have always, always struggled with my mental health. Not always obviously, not always so consistently as now but always in some form. These days however it’s never been so apparent, so crystal clear and soo whole heartedly unbearable to live with. Ironically, at a time when I have never been doing so well in life. I am thriving at college, I am a counselling student (the irony isn’t lost on me, trust me) and I am loving being part of the forum. The forum is making waves and making unseen changes to services all over Sunderland, unseen to the public and other parent carers, to be a small part of that is amazing. I am able to go out, out-out and otherwise, something I had could only but drive about just a few years ago. Having anxiety had really taken it out of me and made me loose soo many years, after overcoming anxiety we were plunged into a pandemic where home was all I was allowed - go figure! But lately, it’s different. It is not anxiety or depression, it is PMDD. My hormones around the time of the month are off kilter and my mood plummets around that time. But imagine, two weeks of every single month your mood plummets soo low that you don’t want to be here, then the next two weeks you return to you. Good old you, organised, fun and full of life, just to be knocked on your arse again a little while later. That’s what it like, but all those down days take their toll, and a parent carer lifestyle and it can feel like a nail in a coffin some days. Which leads me to recent events… February half term holidays. Now it could be my lack of hormones, it could be having soo much overwhelming influences in our life lately such as, awaiting a diagnosis, money worries and turbulent ups and downs with our SEND daughter, the fact that the very medication designed to help me made me gain over a stone and a half - making all my clothes uncomfortable, I was uncomfortable in my own skin or maybe, just maybe I had enough.
I was exhausted. I was done. I was sick of fighting those thoughts in my head, the sheer energy it took to NOT hurt myself was exhausting to say the least. The amount of times I had stopped mid doing something and just thought I could just leave now… just go…get in my car… was terrifying. That week I must have thought it daily. I was soo tired. I was soo not me. If you think that this didn’t disturb me you’d be wrong because every time it happened I felt just that. Thankfully. That reaction was exactly what I need to be here today. I can’t say that I won’t ever feel that way again because unfortunately I know I will.
It is soo hard to speak about, although I do speak about it. Firstly, I am sick of talking about it to dan. I can’t imagine what he thinks and feels about it, after all we spend everyday together. Secondly, most people look at your weirdly, “but you look so altogether”, “sure it’s not that bad” or “I’m sure it will get better”… and instantly I clam up. “You ok?” ….how do you say no without them wondering what will happen next? So instead I say, “yea, fine” the good old carers fine. A leg could be dropping off and we’d chuck it over our shoulder and crack on wouldn’t we? So instead that week, I got a hair cut. One I particularly didn’t want to be honest. But I needed to do something, something relevantly permanent in a temporary feeling. Something I was in charge of. Seems small and insignificant doesn’t it? In that moment though, it was all I needed to do to get by, plus, I needed to ‘feel’ better.
So why aren’t I seeking counselling? As a student I should know counselling is a good option right? Because simply, this isn’t mental health and as much as I think I am going mad, I’m not. This is a condition, something that I will have to learn to manage lifelong. Between a balance of hormone led medication and SSRIs. This is it, this is life.
*I am much better now, for now and have spoke to my GP. If this blog has made you see me differently, if has made you think differently or if it has made you want to desperately google PMDD then good, you are now aware of it. You may know someone with the condition that isn't even aware of it. “Oh don’t mind her it’s just ya know, ‘the time of the month’” Also, not everything that a parent carer goes through is related to the child. Sometimes, they have their own stuff going on and we need to remember that. We need to remember the people beyond their children…
Tracey x *please seek help if you're struggling, speak to your GP for the best support for you and your circumstances.