July 07, 2010

A Daily Battle.

Feeling: Brave

I have been sitting on the below blog for ages, it is something that is pretty hard to share but is something that is very close to my heart:

I am a bit of a Fruit Loop me thinks but it is okay because Fruit Loops are colourful, fruity and quite frankly delicious. They are hard and crunchy but add a little milk and they are just one big mushy mess. Me in a nutshell!

I am sure that many of you don’t know this about me but I suffer from depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and when things get too much binge eating. When I say depression it is not the I feel down or miserable feeling that most people experience on a daily basis but the actual chemical imbalance crawl into a hole and die depression.

I had following depressive symptoms for many, many years since, since the age of about 13. They were left untreated because of my pride and unfortunately became worse and worse the older I got.

I felt empty nothing gave me joy or pleasure
I had chronic fatigue- no energy
I used sleep as an escape mechanism
I lost weigh- I would either overeat (binge) or under eat.
I had constant stomach ache
Brain fog
I could not think straight and it took huge effort to concentrate.
I battled to make any decisions.
I felt like I had no value and was always guilty about things even if they were out of my control.
I was very self conscious and I basically began to hate everything about myself.

I have always been a highly strung person and am very, very hard on myself. I have a huge need in my life for control, perfection and order. I don’t care if other people do not have these characteristics/qualities. I actually adore it when people are real and are less than perfect but I had to have them in my life.

I was a person and still am to a lesser extent unable to cope with anything that is not in my control and I absolutely hated any and all change.
To keep my depression and binge eating controlled I have to follow a very strict life plan and it goes as follows:

I have to take my anti- depressants every day – even when pregnant I was on them
I need to get 8 hours sleep- this keeps my energy levels up, my mind clear and emotions even.
I need routine but I have learnt to be MUCH more flexible. This is difficult but I have had to learn that in life unexpected things happen.
I need order – clean car, clean house, and clean clear mind. I often have to set a day aside to get this all back in order. I know when I am emotionally slipping as I start to slip on the above.
If something is bothering me I need to fix it, procrastination is not an option.
I talk when I feel overwhelmed and will open up to my family who are my support system – Bless them.
I exercise: this is my good, healthy “drug” of choice; this really controls the binge eating because food is no longer my emotional “drug” – Gym is.

On the 25 May 2005 I suffered from a complete nervous breakdown, there were numerous things that happened to me. Probably mundane things to most people but because of my fragile state of mind they were too much for me to deal with. I was at a point where I was unable to pretend that I was fine anymore.
I was admitted into Crescent Clinic a Psychiatric Hospital. I did not go there happily, I went kicking and screaming. I felt like I did not need help and I was furious, defiant, totally embarrassed but in the end I gave in because I felt completely beaten and could not see any other solution
Upon arrival the nurses checked all my bags, any pills, razors or anything else that was deemed harmful was taken away. It was pretty scary but necessary fortunately I was never suicidal. I just did not want to live..... there is a difference.
During my 8 day stay there I met a lot of very interesting, colourful characters. Basically the clinic has 3 divisions the depressed, the addicted and the eating disordered – could be a title for a good comedy!

Among the depressed I met successful business men and women, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers; grandparents, high school kids the list goes on. Amazingly all these people were just ordinary, everyday people not freaks :-) It was then that I realised that I was not the only person who felt that way that I did and that there was no shame in admitting that I was not okay. We all just pretend to be fine but deep down are not! Nothing wrong with that at all!

Now the drug addicts were pretty scary lot they liked to act tough and stuck together “birds of a feather”. I will never forget my first dinner in the dining room. A big macho druggie walked up to me and rudely said ‘What’s wrong with you, you look like you don’t need to be here?” He on the other hand looked like crap.... cannot think of a better word to describe how ill he looked - Heroine abuse need I say more.
My quiet response was “I may look fine to you but I am not! My illness is all in my head so who do you think should be scared of who?”
He nodded and walked away slowly, he looked a little scared and was trying to not make any sudden movements in case I FrEakEd out!!? LOL!

I smile about my encounter with him today because he was just so typical and his attitude towards me reflected most "normal" people’s attitudes towards depression. You look fine so therefore you must be fine..just pull yourself together! That is why most people are so secretive and ashamed of this illness. They will rather suffer in silence than talk about the big D.

Many things can trigger depression genetics, personality, a traumatic event, and or an illness. I suffer from an imbalance in my brain chemistry this makes me especially prone to stress. What may seem like a small setback to someone else may be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It is an illness like cancer and trust me it is not for sissies.
Feelings of depression are caused by a chemical change that affects how the brain functions. A normally functioning brain is a giant messaging system that controls everything. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells called neurons. These neurons send and receive messages from the rest of your body, using brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
These brain chemicals—in varying amounts—are responsible for our emotional state. Depression happens when these chemical messages aren’t delivered correctly between brain cells, disrupting communication.

My stay at Crescent Clinic was not bad at all, it was actually great and was very much needed! I have never slept so well in all my life. I was put onto anti -depressant and tranquilisers and was helped to make some serious life changes through counselling. One being that I resigned from my job- best day of my life and one very important step towards my "recovery".

Chris was my rock he gave me all the time and support that I needed. His love for me never waivered, I am truly blessed to have him. My mom was amazing she helped me to get back on my feet.

All in all this experience had made me the person that I am today, a little bit softer, a little bit kinder, a hell of a lot more understanding, totally open and honest and a little bit funnier!

I hope this helps someone out there. Just remember that if you have depression you are not alone and that you can MOST definitely lead a normal, very happy life. Is does take a bit of effort and triggers needed to be identified and established. Boundaries and gut feelings must be used an followed and if you have to take tablets do it religiously, they don’t make you happy or change who you are. They just correct the imbalance in your brain so that you can actually see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel! I will probably be on medication for the rest of my life and do not care one bit!

Much Love M

P.S: I also met Rico the creator of Madam and Eve at the Clinic – can you believe it!

He gave me a signed copy of one of his books – I had no clue who he was at the time. One evening I was watching TV he came into the lounge with a stack of DvDs and forgot them in the lounge. I kept them with me and gave them to him the next day. He then to say thanks gave me one of his books with a little message in it just for me – when people come to my house and ask where I met him and how I got his signature I smile – Funny story that......


  1. Well done Mandy-I think you're amazing.

  2. Sharing is one of the best forms of therapy! Well done my friend - you have come through this stronger and you've made one hell of a mama too!!! Much love xxx