So, at the the risk of getting serious here, I think that if I want to turn this into a proper blog/vlog, then it can’t only focus on Disney. This needs to be space where it’s okay to be me. All of me. So there’ll be posts about me and what’s going on in my life, so… Here goes… This post is about something that makes up a huge part of me.
I was diagnosed with depression almost 15 years ago, when I was a teenager.
Looking back, it’s really clear to see that me caring for a family member was the catalyst that made me go to the Doctors, but there were things wrong before that.
I’m going to try to structure this, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to flow nicely…
I was a smart kid. The one who would easily hit 100% in exams and tests, but when I hit 11-ish something started to change… I’d always been this nervous bundle of energy. This kid that was always running around, bouncing, felt things more deeply than other kids, had absolutely no control on their emotions, but managed to still make it charming. And then one day that just… changed. Anxiety started rearing its head, I couldn’t make myself go into school, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t spend time alone without just feeling worthless and overthinking absolutely everything I’d ever done that didn’t comply to this unrealisatic standard that I’d set for myself.
My parents had been incredibly young when they’d had me and separated shortly after, so my three incredible grandparents stepped in to help out. My maternal grandfather died when I was 8, and then I got super-lucky and didn’t have to think about or deal with their mortality until my paternal grandmother was diagnosed with bowel cancer when I was 19.
This absolutely turned my world upside down. I’d spent my entire life with her looking after me, protecting me (along with my other grandmother), and then suddenly I was the carer. The person responsible for making sure that the cleaning, cooking, laundry, ironing got done as well as the personal care for my grandmother until she died.
After that, I spent at least a decade cycling in and out of depression. I moved down to the South of England without really knowing anyone here, and nothing other than a job and a flat-share with a really creepy guy I’d met once. Not bad for a guy with major anxiety issues, huh?
Since 2003 I must have tried about a dozen different medications including SSRI’s, SNRI’s, Tricyclics and mood stabilisers. I’ve been referred for counselling (it didn’t help a huge amount) to CBT (it really helped as I’m an analytical person), and in my most recent trip to my GP they suggested that maybe I just needed more folic acid and a light box. It’s a relief to know that everything I needed could be picked up in a good supermarket or Amazon.com! 😐
A huge turning point happened at the beginning of the year. I spoke to my GP who, amidst pieces of stunning advice such as increasing my folic acid intake, recommended I speak to a private consultant as I had health insurance through my job.
During my first appointment with my consultant he realised that my depression had never been fully controlled to the point where my symptoms reached a ‘satisafactory’ level and picked up immediately that this was something other than just depression. After a few appointments looking at various conditions that could be contributing including bipolar, he made a diagnosis for ADHD.
We didn’t make the decision to immediately medicate. He wanted me to go away with the knowledge he’d given, do my own investigation, decide what was best for me, and then we’d reconvene.
I changed antidepressant from Dosulepin (a Tricyclic, with quite a few high health risks associated) to Duloextine (an SNRI, with less potential effects) and was started on Concerta XL a few weeks ago, starting at a dose of 18mg per day with my consultant advising me I could try between one and three a day to see where the dosage seems to sit.
Everything’s been going really well so far – my sleep pattern has settled down. I’m up and around before midday on a weekend and am able to get to the end of the day after work without falling dead asleep. My mood is more balance, I’m able to regulate my emotions more easily and I’m just generally more motivated to do things where I’d always just thought I was too lazy to actually accomplish anything.
The only hiccup is that my health insurer through work is unwilling to cover my appointments with my consultant as ADHD is on their list of exclusions, so I’m going to need to find the money for the appointments, but if it helps me stay on this road, then I’m in… and for the first time I kind of see where this road leads. And if I can find a way to keep the appointments with the consultant, it’s looking like it’ll be to a pretty awesome destination.