With Christmas almost upon us I thought that I would take the opportunity to reflect on what has probably been the toughest year of my life.
To say that there have been challenges really is an understatement as I’ve battled with mental illness.
The year began with me experiencing high levels of anxiety meaning that it was necessary for me to take several weeks off work to get myself ‘right’ again. On returning to work I still felt fragile but hoped that the routine would aid my recovery, which to an extent it did.
In May I travelled with the Derby County Community Trust to Kenya to spend two weeks working in a school in the slums. The experience was incredible and one which will live with me for the rest of my life. It was challenging both physically and mentally and so I’m proud that I got through it.
However, on my return to the UK it was clear that my mental health was poor. I started a new role at work but lasted only three days before experiencing a ‘breakdown’. Several weeks later I was back at work on a phased return but very quickly my anxieties became unbearable. I decided that I couldn’t go on and planned to end my life.
Thankfully I didn’t and following an emergency appointment at my GP surgery I was referred to the Mental Health Crisis Team who carried out an assessment of my needs which lead them visiting me at home every day for a week and a half.
During that time, I saw a psychiatrist for a two-hour appointment during which it was agreed that I needed to stop taking one of my medications as it was probably contributing to my anxieties!
The next few weeks were a bit of a blur but very quickly I went from the depths of despair to being in an extremely manic state. I returned to see my GP who made an urgent referral for me to be seen by the Mental Health Team.
A couple of weeks passed before I had an appointment with a CPN. Whilst he was not able to give me a conclusive diagnosis, the CPN felt that I had Bi Polar Type 2. The following week this was confirmed at an appointment with a Consultant Psychiatrist. He prescribed me a low dose of an anti-psychotic to take alongside my anti depressants.
Within a few weeks I began to feel significantly better in myself and I returned to work at the beginning of November. I’ve not had a day off sick since and I’m hopeful that I’m finally on the medication I should probably have been taking for all of my adult life.
And so, Christmas is here and I plan to make it a memorable one (albeit alcohol free) with my amazingly supportive family.
Merry Christmas to one and all and I wish you a fantastic 2019.