Laughter and tears

I must be honest with you there are more tears than laughter at the moment but the battle continues and I will get through this. As a mental health professional I know the signs and symptoms of depression and when it might be necessary to seek further help. It is very important to me not to hide this away, as if it was some embarrasing secret. Mental illness is often surrounded with stigma and looked upon as a weakness, but as the statics state, one in four of us will experience mental ill health that requires medical help, and the rest of us will get pretty close to it at sometime in our lives. If you look at the triggers that are likely to contribute to a mental illness, I am up there with quite a lot of them. Physical illness, loss of role, financial instability for starters, (throw in the menopause and hot flushes!). Luckily I have got plenty of resilience factors to tip the balance towards good mental health. A brilliant support network is high up there and has contributed to me staying as well as I have for this long. But continuos pain, although somewhat reduced, makes every day living difficult and for someone like myself it is particularly frustrating. It is without shame that I have had my Amitriptyline increased to manage my mental health state. Depression can be disabling in itself, but together with the help of the medication, I will manage it as well as I manage the ongoing physical symptoms. Much of yesterday was spent sleeping but I was delighted to see a friend and colleague of mine, not because of the armful of ironing she had done, but because she had bothered and wanted to share some time with me, even though I can’t imagine my company is very stimulating at the moment. The drugs cause confusion and play tricks with my memory. As I have previously mentioned, it looks unlikely that I will return to my role in the NHS. I therefore need to apply for early retirement due to ill health. They, whoever ‘they’ are do not make this task easy. The forms I need to complete require me to list, together with dates, all the jobs I have done and the training I have attended over the last 20 odd years, I have had in service. Despite this almost appearing like an impossible task, as I don’t have all that data at my finger tips, it brings back all the feelings I have of sadness of it having to come to this. Why is it, that to get anything in this country seems to be such an exhausting trial, its not after all as if I will be getting much for the hours I have put in during my career. Colin witnessing my distress tried to get some comfort from Occupational Health but was not met with any kindness or help, who just informed him that I had to fill the forms in, she will however get someone else to phone me today. i just want to know how detailed do I need to be. Today my secretary, as was, will deliver me piles of portfolio folders so that I can trawl through all my years of hard work and again cause myself much sadness as I reminisce over what I have lost and the uncertainty of what is to come.

At least there are somethings to look forward to today. David is coming to sing to my sister and I as he wants a practice audience and thought it may help cheer me up. (which it will) Then much later two health colleagues will visit and I will try not to cry, but enjoy and appreciate the time they have taken to visit.

Depression can feel like falling down a dark black hole with no bottom to crash land on to, so its very important for me to keep the light on. Sunshine and exercise will play there part, as I have said before, I can beat this, after all it should be simple after managing to smash the life out of my cancerous cells. And I have all of you out there helping.

Party plans are continuing as the time draws nearer, it gives me something to look forward to. I still need to find the perfect outfit although I am getting there and have a good idea of what I fancy wearing. We all need to keep in mind that even if we have a glorious summers day, it will get pretty chilly in the evening, unless of course we are up there on the dance floor.

Today I received a lovely card from my best friends who are on a cruise to Norway. How thoughtful of them to bother when they are so far away. It was sent to the Hospice who kindly redirected it to me and made me smile.

Having the best of friends and the support from my family is what will make the difference and stop me from falling too far.

Thank you to you all.

Deborah x

Scores on the board

Physical health = 4
Mental health = 5/6 No need for the white coats yet