The longer I live with depression and PTSD, the more I understand about what drives my thoughts and actions. Two of my (many) engagements last week were mental health reviews; my usual monthly chat with my GP and a one-off appointment with a very nice psychiatrist to review my medication.
The high level outcome of these appointments was that I’m doing really well and at this moment they are happy with my medications and doses.
I don’t specifically remember how my mood was 4 weeks ago, or what I talked about with my GP then, but I am aware that this time I was very animated, enthusiastic and positive. I talked about my poetry, my running, about our recent holiday. I told him about my appointment with the psychiatrist, and how he had said (more than once) that I’m doing really well. I talked about medication and mood.
In some ways the appointment was similar to all the other appointments, as each month is a recap on anything and everything that impacts my mood. But it struck me that there’s been a significant shift recently. I seem to remember writing a blog about it, where I pondered whether the origin was the arrival of spring (I will have to look for it, to see what and when I wrote)… Morning Person published on 5th April.
Regardless of the origin, this is huge progress. Having been struggling with all the typical symptoms for what seems like an eternity, to experience life without the heaviness of depression feels like freedom.
There are a number of things that I take away from these appointments:
- that I do a lot of things to maintain my mental health, and medication plays only a small part in preventing relapse
- that the person best placed to drive my recovery forward is me
- that due to the complexity of my trauma I will have a significant wait before I can recommence therapy, in order to be assigned to the most appropriate psychologist
- that I will continue to take medication for a minimum of 3 years
- that I need to be mindful of warning signs that my mood is worsening and take action
- that I need to ease up on the goal setting/high-achiever/perfectionist part of me and nurture the compassionate/relaxed/self-care side
- that I am doing really well and recovery IS possible
When dark days fall it is all too easy to feel that things will never improve, that every day will just be a repeat of the last, over and over and over… I have been down to the darkest depths, with no glimmer of brighter days to come. I want to believe in recovery, I want to always remember the ebb and flow of mood, and to know that no matter how bleak things may seem, it will not be that way forever. Depression destroys our belief in recovery, but depression is a liar. We just need to keep fighting.
Love to all,