2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: help

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

The juice incident and getting help

Helen talked in a previous post about me drinking her juice which was the main catalyst into trying to find out what was going on. To read this have a look here.

Just too much

I want to talk about this from my point of view. A lot of things had happened up to that point, which is a topic for another post. To summarise, I had been left all alone in London with our flat packed in boxes, I didn’t know when I would see Helen again, Christmas was around the corner which I would spend on my own and I was also working. For those of you who don’t know me, let me just say that I LOVE Christmas so this was far from my preferred way of spending Christmas. Oh and I had also had to settle for a tiny little Christmas tree, in a pot.

Crying

I can’t remember exactly how everything happened, which I think is a way for the brain to deal with things. I know that Helen had come down to London as we were going to drive up to Glasgow the next day. We had talked on the phone before and she knew I wasn’t feeling great. Little things had gotten to me, upsetting me out of the blue, and everything felt very unrealistic.

I’ve always seen myself as a very strong and independent person, and here I was getting reduced to tears more often than not. I also could not put my finger on why. It took all my strength to keep myself together at work, and I remember crying on my way to work and also on my way home. Again for no reason. I simply could not stop the tears. This was also difficult being on the tube or a bus with a lot of people around.

The juice

We had dinner and drank some juice with it. I finished off what I thought was my glass, but this turned out to be Helen’s juice. When she asked I realised I’d finished the last of the juice, there was none left in the fridge, and I felt as if the world was coming to an end. I burst out crying again, finding it difficult to speak as I was crying so much. Helen did what she always does, held me and let me cry, telling me it would be ok. I can only imagine how she must have felt, me completely losing it because I had finished her juice.

I know this was the point where she thought that something was very wrong and that she had to fix me. To me it was just another episode of crying. Looking back, I had clearly gotten used to crying a lot for no reason at all that it almost seemed normal to me.

Going to the doctor

She managed to get us an appointment with the doctor the next day. I knew things had gotten so bad that I had to seek help, which was upsetting. But this turned out to be the best thing I could have done. Since then we have really turned things around and I am so much better now, a year and a half later.

Seek help

To those of you struggling, the one thing I cannot reiterate enough is that you need to seek help. This can be speaking to friends, calling Samaritans, or seeing the doctor. What you need to do is reach out. Do not suffer on your own. The doctor I saw was very helpful and exactly what I needed at the time. So do not suffer in silence, ask for help. Please.

-Rosita

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