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28

November


Losing the Plot. Tuesday November 28, 2017

How did your mental illness first make it's presence felt? By which I mean, was there a point when you realised that you were not just a bit down, stressed, overworked, hormonal- whatever? A good night's sleep or a few drinks could no longer be counted on to lift your mood.

Did you struggle to cope a long time before seeking help, or were you dragged protesting to a doctor by a family member at the end of their tether?

I came into a life of chaos from birth, but for a long time I still felt that I had survived reasonably unscathed.

Looking back, the first changes were largely physical. "Yuppie Flu" was hitting the headlines, and although I did not fit the lifestyle profile, the symptoms were spot-on.

I found myself ruminating endlessly about the most absurdly trivial decisions - should I cook broccoli or cabbage for instance. Buying things became a misery-far too much choice. I embraced online and mail order shopping. I don't drive, I could never get the hang of it. Now however, I found myself becoming terrified as a passenger. Lorries in particular seemed thuggish and threatening.

Worse was the running commentary in my head. I was not hearing voices as such, it was the sound of my own thoughts. A non-stop monologue of scorn, self-hatred, derision.

I made a decision to shake myself out of it. Did I feel scared in cars because I had no control? Well, learning to drive could be the answer. I explained my situation to some extent to the instructor. He assured me that he had indeed got many middle-aged ladies through their test.

He turned out to be a horrible man, shouting in exasperation, telling me to shut up and do as I was told. He made me drive to a notorious accident spot near the city, and do a right-hand turn. When I froze, with cars honking all round me, made me change places, and drove home at breakneck speeds hands off the wheel, shouting "Speed is good". Princess Diana had been killed the day before.

I was too traumatised to lodge a complaint. He actually did me a favour as it turned out. The next day I washed and polished the floor. I stood back, at least I could do something well. I opened a cupboard and a bottle of ketchup smashed to the ground. The voice – "You can't even do that properly" over and over. I went to the wall, and started banging my head, hard. I wanted to lose consciousness, I wanted to punish myself.

I went to my G.P and begged for Prozac - very much the in thing at the time. I did not realise how deeply depressed I had been until the illness started to lift. To me, depressed people lay in bed, not eating, not participating. I was not like that. I was just a worrier by nature, wasn't I? No, I was very ill according to my G.P, who questioned me about suicidal thoughts. "I don't want to die" I said "I just take no pleasure in being alive".

So,that's my story. I am still in love with my little green and white saviours, my Vitamin P.

So, over to you.

Valerie
A moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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