Mental Health & Wellbeing

Hope

This is about hope and happiness and good things. It might seem like this isn’t a happy story in places, but I promise it is.

Tomorrow, it will be a whole year since I was admitted to hospital. I’d been in a severe depressive episode for six months and didn’t see a way back from where I was. People said to me that what I was feeling was temporary. Six months didn’t feel temporary, and to me it didn’t matter if it was temporary: I thought the pain I was in at that moment wasn’t worth hanging onto for something good to come, no matter how good and no matter how soon it came.

I overdosed on sedatives, which landed me in A&E. I had made plans to end my life, but the overdose was an attempt to keep myself safe at that point. I didn’t anticipate repercussions greater than being out cold for a long time, but I ended up in the CDU for two days and in a psychiatric ward for seven, where I started my road to recovery. Being in hospital was the best thing that could have happened to me. It was the furthest thing from easy and nothing changed overnight. It took weeks and months to find my way to knowing what stable could feel like.

It’s been a long journey with hiccups, relapses and episodes along the way. I’ve been supported in every single step I’ve taken. Thanks to my time in hospital, my mental health team, the right medication, my family, my friends, my work – I’m not only stable, but I’m happy. I can’t tell you how good it feels to write that down and to share it.

In the past year I’ve done so many mundane, everyday things I’d thought about doing and hadn’t, but hoped to. A year ago, in my mind, I knew I’d never do them.

I went on holiday on my own.
I tried Oreos dipped in peanut butter.
I went to a pottery making class.
I started working as a community support worker.
I ate pizza at Purezza.
I went with friends to a Christmas market in Switzerland.
I cut open an avocado.
I saw Bon Iver live.
I performed at a spoken word night.
I ate a slice of a giant watermelon.
I ran my first organised 10K race.
I visited Jane Austen’s house.
I bought a pair of dungarees.
I made my brother’s wedding cake.

I didn’t think I’d do those things. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with happiness I am that I have done those things, and that I get to do more things, and more things. I get to be a part of and to witness some amazing things, and some unbelievably mundane things that bring me so much joy. I get to sing All The Small Things in my car at the top of my lungs with the windows down. I get to skip through the woods, climb on logs and jump in puddles. I get to soak in the bath for an hour with a Lush bath bomb and the best Spotify playlist ever. I get to learn new things, try new things, and meet new people. I get to spend such precious time with incredible people in my life, and I get to have conversations with them about happy things, and sad things, and the weather.

It makes me so sad to think about the girl last year, but the happiness I feel is so much more. I’m her and I am so, so glad that this is where I’ve arrived.
If you’re feeling anything like what I felt then, please reach out. Call someone, text someone and tell them that you’re having a tough time – you don’t need to be specific, just reach out. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 – I’d really recommend speaking to them, there are no expectations, they are purely there to listen. Talk to someone.

SAMARITANS
Call 116 123
https://www.samaritans.org/

4 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about this in such an open and honest way hun! I am always here to listen if you ever need a random person to rant at!! It took a long time for me to realise that opening up and talking would open doors wider not slam them in my face!! I have also learnt that little( or big) hiccups/relapses aren’t something to be ashamed of!! So thank you again for sharing your story and keeping the conversation going xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I sure do a lot of ranting! I think honesty is such a powerful and amazing thing, and exactly, it opens doors because having the space to be open means you don’t have to hide behind the pretend “I am normal” masks. Thanks for such a lovely, encouraging message x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this Sophie. I think it’s so important to talk about our mental health and so brave of you to share your story. I’m really glad you got the help you needed and that you are in a better place now. It’s lovely to see you so happy and you deserve to be so.
    There *are* so many things to be thankful for and they are usually the mundane things. Just being around people who can lift you up or taking the time to be in the moment and appreciate the beauty in the world around us can really make a world of difference. It’s hard to see that when we’re in such a dark place though.
    I struggled with my mental health last year due to a variety of things that ultimately became one too many and something in me broke. I had been so self assured before and all of a sudden I felt so vulnerable. Mental illness runs in my family but that didn’t mean I was any better equipped to deal with it myself.
    I was in a very dark place and terrified of my own thoughts when I self-referred to the local mental health services. They were admittedly slow to respond though I can’t fault them beyond that. But what set me on the path to recovery was being able to talk to one really good friend without whom I wouldn’t be here. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve been in a good place these past few months and, like you, things are looking up.
    Thank you for sharing your story. There will be good days and bad days but celebrate the small victories and go easy on yourself when you’re struggling. Surround yourself with a good network of people who are prepared to listen – hello! – and who are aware enough to check on you when you can’t reach out to them. I was my own worst enemy in that respect and I’m trying to be more mindful of how I sabotage my own mental health at times x

    Like

    1. Dan, thank you so much for your message. Your honesty is amazing. It can take a lot to share experiences but it’s so important to keep on talking, so make sure everyone else keeps talking.

      Openness encourages openness. I think most of us can relate to having people instrumental in us recovering because being able to say “actually, I’m having a really tough time” when they ask if you’re okay takes some of the weight away from facing our demons alone.

      All the countless battles I’ve won have never been on my own. Keeping up the conversation is so important.

      I’m really pleased to hear you’re doing well. We’ll all ride the ups and downs together and muddle through. Take care x

      Liked by 1 person

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