2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Breaking down

Being a strong person

I have always considered myself to be a strong person, and fairly confident. Always being a bit of a loner, doing things my way without being too concerned about other people’s opinions.

Fast forward to when I had my breakdown, I felt anything but strong or confident. I felt mainly that I was a failure and good for nothing. Looking at it now, how on earth did it get to that point?

The job

I will always hold work accountable for this to a large extent. Obviously you can argue that I should have left and sought alternative employment before it got to that point, however I got so stuck in my thoughts that the only way was to continue working where I was. Needless to say, I had gotten to such a bad place that there simply was no alternative, and I simply did not have the energy to do anything about it. I kept thinking that it will get better, I will get there, give it time and the job will change and I will be happy at work again. Right, well it does not work that way, does it?

Banging your head against a brick wall

When you do a job where you work against your beliefs then this grinds you down. Being a police officer can be a very good job, and I did thoroughly enjoy it the first few years. It is when you cannot do the job for which you signed up for but continue to bang your head against the brick wall that this starts to wear you down. In my case it meant I went from a happy and strong person to someone good for nothing who just cried all the time. We are all different and I know a lot of very good police officers who are really good at their job and really enjoy it. For all of those, I know as many who are on a slippery slope to depression, anxiety and mental health issues, if not there already. So although there were other things that brought this on in my case, the police service as a whole has an awful lot to answer for.

A strong person

Ever since I started my journey with mental health issues, I have struggled with a lot of things. One of the big things was thinking: ”I am a strong person, how on earth did this happen to me?”. Probably also coupled with: “I can’t believe this is happening to me”. I also did not know what was happening, other than crying all the time.

Help

Going to the GP helped in some ways, with time off and getting medication. I was put on the waiting list for the community mental health team. Hearing that the waiting time was two to three months, Helen took matters into her own hands and found a private psychologist for me to contact to arrange talking therapy sessions. Within a couple of weeks, I set off for my first appointment. Needless to say, this made me even more anxious. I told the psychologist what had brought me to the session, and she told me about depressive illness. She also said this is something that happens to strong people. When I heard that, I cried again and more. I felt such a relief. I am a strong person!

The limbic system

The counsellor told me about something called the limbic system (for a fuller explanation of what this is, please read more here).
She explained the limbic system is the control centre of most processes in the body, including temperature, sleep, hormones and keeping your mood at a steady level. Imagine the limbic system as a fuse box: when it gets overloaded, the fuse blows. Stress is the most common cause of overload . Lazy people do not get depressive illness, simply because they do not do enough work. Strong people just keep on going until something breaks. When she told me all of this, it all made sense. This was crucial in my recovery.

Self loving

To all you lovely people out there whose confidence has taken a knock and you feel down in the dumps, please know that there is a way out of it. You need to start loving yourself and be as nice you yourself as you are to those around you. Start by saying no, exercise, be outside in the sun, and eat well. Also take time to do the things you love, especially if you no longer do them.

More importantly, if you cannot cope on your own then you must ask for help. There are many people and places who can help you. Know that you are not alone. Please let me know if I can help.

-Rosita

Gratitude

With all the bad stuff going on in our lives and the world, it is easy to forget that we all have a lot to be grateful for. This ties in with my reflections over the last years, and how positive I now feel about the future.

2 years ago

2 years ago I was not in a very good place. I had been signed off work with depression/low mood and we had moved from London to Scotland without any plans regarding housing or employment. At this point I was very much crying every day, getting upset for every little thing or nothing in particular. Everything became a real struggle, everything stressed me out and I found it difficult to to the simplest of things such as cooking and food shopping. Most days were spent at home, not doing anything at all apart from waiting for Helen to come home from work.

Changes made

I was lucky to be able to make 2 fundamental changes: move away from London and eventually resigning from the police. It is so clear now that this had such a negative impact on my mental health, with the job that I did being the main culprit.
What has also become a lot more important, which we have both recognised, is the need for me-time. This can be anything: reading, listening to music and drinking coffee. It simply means doing all the good things that you love to do, that makes you tick, that you’ve stopped doing because you’re too stressed or there is just not enough time in the day.

Physical health

Exercise had gone out the window completely. I went from cycling/running to work with several yoga and gym sessions in the week to doing absolutely no exercise. I am now going to the gym on a semi-regular basis, and I make sure that I get as much time outside as I can, be it gardening or walking or simply drinking coffee in the garden.

Mental health

Looking back I believe I have always been anxious but have managed it well, and as we know anxiety and depression always go hand in hand. When this all kicked off I was crying several times every day, often for no reason. I was prescribed anti-depressants which really do help, and I am now also having CBT sessions as well as seeing a counsellor every week. There is definitely a change in perspective happening which means I am now feeling a lot more hopeful, happy, energised and excited about the future.

Work and home

I enjoy the work that I do and I no longer dread going back to work after a few days off. Where we live outside Glasgow is so much nicer than where we were in London, and it also has a garden. Going from a small flat on the second floor in a house between the 2 flight paths into Heathrow (yes this means there was a plane over our head at least every 30 seconds) to our current place is magical (and quieter).

Gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for! We all do, and I believe we need to make a habit of recognising this. Rather than complaining about all the bad stuff, which brings you and everyone else down, appreciate and acknowledge what you have. If its not what you want then you need to have a serious conversation with yourself/those around you and bring about changes. Simple. But very hard.

I hope you all have a great week. Practice being grateful.

-Rosita

IVF Update

I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update as we have had our next consultant appointment for IVF. The short answer is we are currently in a delay with no time frame. All the tests have back as excellent from the first round, but the downside is that sodden BMI. The long and short of it is, until the BMI comes down to the required number there is no proceeding forwards. End of discussion.

We are annoyed!

We were annoyed at that appointment for the following reasons.

One. The consultant we saw didn’t seem to have any bedside manner and it was all black and white. Now at the end of the day the consultant can close the file over, go home for tea and report back the next day to carry on working. Us on the other hand have the news that we must wait.

Two. Their weight scales and ours at home are 1.5 kg out. Now I get that scales are different but seriously, SERIOUSLY, 1.5kg is actually quite a lot at the end of the day. Again, when I tried to tell the consultant this their response was very matter of fact.

Three. From what we have been told by the nurse at the first appointment we attended to what we have been told by the consultant are two very different scenarios. Now is it too much to ask that when dealing with such a sensitive subject that all parties are on the same page?!

After the appointment

After the appointment we were both left very disappointed. There was anger, there were tears, there was no talking to anyone and so on. That general feeling when that one dream that you had was removed from the table. I am aware it is temporarily removed but at the time it did not feel like that. I have over the last couple of weeks come to terms that it is a delay rather than a straight no, but I still feel pretty angry and upset over the situation.

Why do I feel this?

I feel this way for many different reasons. We have decided to go via the NHS as we are aware that privately it can lead you into tens of thousands of pounds of money and it can sometimes mean re-mortgaging the house. I am also aware that people have set up fundraising pages for IVF. I don’t blame them for doing this but for us it again doesn’t seem like the right way forwards. I am also annoyed as I feel we were treated more like a number than a couple trying to get pregnant. I feel that the consultant may be didn’t know how to deal with a same sex couple. It isn’t as if we can go home and “practice” (although at this point it may be quicker!!!). And finally, I feel that we have put a lot of hard work to get to this point. I get the impression that until you reach the desired criteria numbers that anything else is just not acceptable. I mean it would not cost the NHS anything to say, “fantastic work guys, now you need to keep going, have your tired a, b or c…”. I find the personal approach goes a long way in these things, but I guess that is just me. So, there you go, there are my reasonings.

When I was 20

When I was 20 years old, I had some tests done at the GP. I then had a phone call calling me into the surgery to discuss. The receptionist couldn’t tell me over the phone why but in I went to find out what was happening. I was told that I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). The likelihood of me becoming a mother was going to be tough to non-existent.

For more information on PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) click here to take you through to the NHS website.

Now that was around 15 years ago. Today there are many, many things that can be done to help people with ovary issues. However, that feeling of having a dream of becoming a mother all your life and then it being taken away from you (or delayed when you are working hard) is not a nice one to have. I personally feel that medical staff need to be aware of these matters when dealing with such sensitive situations or information. If you get a doctor with a poor bed side manner, then I feel you are on the pathway to nowhere. As I have said at the end of the day, they get to close the hospital file and go home. You get to go home with a racing head, upset and angry.

The IVF Criteria

Now I am not just saying this as I have not got my way, but I personally feel the IVF criteria is out of date. I managed to rant to Rosie in about an hour with 22 new points I would like to add or change about the current system. I am open to anyone who is in charge of the IVF system in Scotland to meet me for coffee so I can explain. I understand in Scotland we are very lucky that as part of the NHS we get a free go at the procedure but still I feel we need to think about these criteria.

Please note, in England we were turned down from moving forward with IVF as we were not in a borough which supported it. The fact we were a same sex couple was not a sufficient point for them. We were told we either had to move to a different borough or pay for it.

In the meantime

In the meantime, we are researching any other ways to go forwards and any options we may have missed. Going to any information evenings that we can to make sure we are up to speed with any latest developments. We are also making sure our weight keeps coming down and we remain active.

The conclusion

So, we are currently in a delay until our weight comes down and the BMI is the correct one for the IVF criteria. Only at this point can we begin more rounds of tests and eventually get into the service. We have estimated it could be at least another year before the actual IVF begins and possibly another 2-3 years before we can bring a child home and call it our own.

My advice to anyone else going through something similar. Speak to your friends, family, loved ones. Don’t keep it bottled up. Be active and look after yourself. As my Dad often says “what is for you will not pass you by”.

-Helen

A video about breaking down

Please be aware that this blog is covering mental health in its rawest form. There may be some words in the blog that may make you stop and think. They are not there to frighten you but are there to make you aware and ask for help if you need it. How to contact the Samaritans is at the end of the blog if you feel you need to speak to someone straight away.

We wanted to give it a featured slot

2 Spuds was approached recently by the wife (Jenny) of comedian Rory Jones. Jenny was asking if we could put a video up on our website and social media platforms. The video was of her husband, Rory, a few days after he had a breakdown while at work. 2 Spuds decided against “just putting the video up” and instead have created more of a feature of it, we felt this was a better way forward. The video highlights several elements to us. The first being that Rory is obviously male. Men tend to have a harder time coming forward with their mental health and statistically speaking they are the ones who suffer more. 2 Spuds along with Jenny and Rory Jones are trying to break the stigma around this and say to anyone (whether male or female) go to your GP and ask for help. The other element it takes into account is the fact Rory is a comedian.

Being a comedian

As Rory states in the video he is a comedian and his job is to be happy and make people laugh. This is true for a lot of comedians. Their main goal is to make the general public laugh. We just need to look at the late (and brilliant) Robin Williams. That was a man who could make anyone laugh with accents, funny stories and jokes. However, behind the funny exterior was a man who had many mental and physical health issues. He would end up taking his own life in August 2014.  

As we say Rory is there to make us laugh so when he was faced with a day from work that ended up with a break down, the funniness suddenly turned serious.

Comedy videos

The comedy videos are below. Please be aware that some of the subject material Rory uses is of a rude nature and 2 Spuds would give a word of caution. If it helps if the material was a film, it would be rated 15.

The video

2 Spuds has watched the mental health video from Rory, and we have found the account to be very honest and brave. It details his workday which started as normal as it could before turning a very interesting corner. Rory goes into a lot of detail about what happened that day. The video highlights how quickly a break down can come about and to what extremes it may take you to with your thoughts. Rory has done the correct thing by talking to both his wife and his GP. He was given a few weeks off work and is now in contact with a counsellor who will help him navigate these tricky mental health waters. He is hoping to make a fully recovery.

Thank you

2 Spuds would like to thank both Jenny and Rory Jones for coming forwards and giving us an insight into such a delicate time. We would also wish Rory well on his road to recovery.

If you have been affected

If you are affected by this video and are finding yourself in crisis please contact Samaritans, talk to a friend or family member or make an appointment to talk to your GP as soon as possible.

– Helen & Rosie

© 2020 2 Spuds in a Pod

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: