Where have I been? My personal battle with mental health.

Where have I been?

Why have I not written anything in ages? 

In truth, I really don’t know. The last few weeks and months, I have been in one hell of a pain spike followed by a big black hole of depression, lethargy, unhappiness and just a whole lot of darkness. The cloud of chronic and constant pain is a difficult one to describe and when the pain is fairly well managed and you feel relatively ok, depression seems to be something that happens to other people and not to you, but when it’s not managed or your pain levels suddenly increase for whatever reason, it suddenly becomes a deep well of darkness and there seems to be no rope or ladder with which to climb out. 

Trying to get the balance of your prescription medication when the pain is there constantly, every day, every hour, every second is a very tricky one. It only takes taking one or two extra painkillers every day to eventually become completely overmedicated. This then leaves you jittery, snappy and miserable but with the same pain levels. 

You also get a fog around your brain through which you cannot see, think or move.  It clouds your thoughts, it exhausts your body and it depresses your moods. It’s so hard to ‘pull yourself together’ as people say; I try and pull my mood up but my body overwhelms me and I have to admit I’m defeated. 

How am I now? Why do I say “I’m fine!” to that question whenever it’s asked?

I’m doing ok-ish. I’m taking time to rest, to restore and to reduce my pain levels. I’m using a plethora of techniques; mindfulness, meditation and taking support from people instead of saying I’m ok and trying to cope on my own.

One thing that’s helping is I’ve started receiving counselling at the pain clinic. My therapist is a gently spoken young lady who seems genuinely interested in me and my case. When I described my injuries to her through the gulps of my tears, she handed me the tissues and said “you have every right to feel heartbroken, you have suffered a terrible blow, your life has been turned upside down, you are entitled to feel upset” to which (obviously) I blubbed even harder. 

Talking to her , I’ve admitted that since my fracture and subsequent disability, I feel I should be ‘better’, that I should have ‘gotten over it’ and I should be ‘adjusted to my new life’ and how I feel a failure because I haven’t come to terms with this pain being there for the rest of my life.

We’ve spoken about many things and after a few sessions, we’re starting to work on some other things, deeper things and whilst it’s hard emotionally, I really do think that it’s helping. 

I spent a lot of time in my teaching career counselling pupils and trying to help them but being on the ‘other side of the desk‘ is a new experience for me. I happily admit that I’m finding it a bit strange but I can see that it’s helping me change my thinking and the way in which I speak to myself. And hopefully it will help me deal with my ‘new life’ in a better way. 

Mental health is highlighted so often these day in the news, the papers and social media and I’m so glad that it’s being seen in such a positive light. We know now that it is as essential as good physical health and there should be no stigma or shame attached to it. 

Am I a nutcase? Hell no, I’m just a normal person dealing with an extraordinarily unlucky hand of fate. I didn’t ask for a spinal fracture, I didn’t ask for the constant nerve pain that came with it and I certainly didn’t ask for the disability that I now have to deal with. 

(Mind you, if you asked P the same question, he’d definitely say I was, or as he so sweetly puts it, apparently I’m “as mad as a box of frogs”!) 😆