Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness?
Were you aware that there is a positive correlation between sight loss and depression?
I’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed since 2015
Through the support of my partner Gary and my GP, I sat and talked candidly about my erratic mood swings, lack of energy, motivation and my constant exhaustion.
We talked at length about my symptoms and the options available to me.
I opted to go on antidepressants as I have previously had counseling.
Antidepressants aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. However for me they have been invaluable; they have improved all the symptoms I mentioned above, and most importantly for me it’s helped me focus on the bigger picture.
My deterioration in vision since the age of 14 has been a source of vexation and frustration for me.
I hated relinquishing control, having to ask friends and family for help, needing things like worksheets adapted and continuous hospital appointments.
I just wanted to be normal.
But I wasn’t.
I walked into people and inanimate objects, I would knock things over, not be able to read anything without a magnifying glass and so many other things.
I’ve always been a perfectionist so asking for help or embarrassing myself publicly always sent me into a spiral of stress.
Over the years this stress manifested into rage and because of this I pushed people away, or, pushed them to their breaking point.
At the time I genuinely believed my outbursts were justified and acceptable. I believed I had to fight: fight for support, fight to be heard and fight to prove myself.
There was always a reason, an excuse, a situation. I couldn’t see that my behavior, thought processes and even actions were out of control.
It wasn’t until I was at University studying psychology and having a truly fantastic network of friends around me that i recognised all of my grievances and anger were due to me losing my sight.
I still had my moments but they were few and far between..I would get riled up by the little things; dropping something on the floor and spending 5 minutes looking for it, tripping up kerbs or spilling my drink. everywhere.
I learned to laugh it off. Reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things they really weren’t such a big deal.
Yet as my sight deteriorated further and these menial things seemed to happen more frequently I realised I needed some support.
And that’s when I rang the RNIB counseling support line, and registered myself on the waiting list.
I wanted to talk through my problems, how to acknowledge my frustrations but not let it control me.
I wanted to know how I would manage with my impending sight loss and what techniques I could use to make my life and mental state healthier.
The waiting list was so long that by the time my first counseling session happened, I had already lost my remaining vision.
My counselor was fantastic,although I had lost my sight, and the worst had happened to me, she listened, emmpathised and talked through my anxieties and frustrations with me.
The counseling was invaluable to me and it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 Depression decided to rear it’s ugly head again.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I was changing and becoming angry all over again. It was always the small things: walking into doorways, pouring the kettle and missing my cup, dirty dishes and not noticing I wasn’t holding my cup straight so hot tea spilled over me and my interiors.
All those little things added up to one big thing: dealing with my sight loss.
This is why I started antidepressants,I was chemically imbalanced, so why not try chemicals to restore my balance?
I still have my down days, and that’s ok. It’s about acknowledging my stress levels and doing something about it.
Here are some ways I cope with stress:
- Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts.
- Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.
- Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts.
- Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.
- Read up on mindfulness, and try putting it into practice.
- Listen to music. Blast out one of your happy songs,
- Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something small.
- Exercise, it releases endorphins.
- Text/ call someone. you care about.
- Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂
- Watch something funny.
- Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.
- Think of something positive. What are you proud of?
- What are your passions? Find them and emerge yourself within them.
- Smile! Yes, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.
Constant stress can lead to depression so make sure self care is at the top of your priority list.
Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Establish your stressors and find a way to combat them.Only you know your triggers and only you can save yourself from stress.
Think positive, stay positive! 🙂