Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My recovery from depression.

It has been a while since I sat down and put fingers to keyboard about my depression, so with yesterday marking the end of my 12 week CBT course, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at where I was 5 months ago, and where I have reached in my recovery.

Along the way there have been many revelations, from who I now see at my support network, to how I perceive life in general and my interactions with people.

Back in Nov 2015 I started to see signs that I recognised as the start of depression. Low moods, withdrawing from interactions, trouble sleeping then staying in bed, avoiding doing things. All classic signs for me that something is not right, and an early warning that things are about to go badly wrong. Sadly by the time you realise what is happening, it is almost impossible to maintain control. You are along for the ride, however long it may take.

Once I was sure I was spiralling out of control, I reached out as quickly as possible to people I know and trust to try and give me the boost I needed, and the support I knew they would offer to try and see me through this bout of depression I knew was upon me.

It all started when I had a bit of a moment with a friend in a local cafe. Chatting to Sarah I realised all was clearly not well, and subsequently took a couple of hours off work to try and collect myself a bit. Telling my then manager how I was feeling, I felt that I was now safe if anything further were to happen.
The following week I was scheduled off work on annual leave, and as the week progressed, I realised things were just getting worse. The day I was meant to return to work I went to see my GP. At the time she was new to me, having never seen or spoken to Dr Paul, I was really anxious about who I was going to face, and even writing myself a script of how to explain what I was feeling and going through to this new person. To my surprise, Dr Paul turned out to be amazing, and set me up for a good recovery.

Anyway, the previous entries in the blog probably explain what I went through during my lowest points better than I can recall these days, but this is about what happened next, and where I am now.
I have put off writing this for a number of weeks as things have continued to change, so didn't want to get ahead of myself.

By the end of the CBT course, I felt truly on top of things, and was attending more for the rest of the group than myself. Or at least that is my perception of it. Reaching the stage where I felt I could help others was very rewarding, and gave me a lot of confidence back. So with hindsight I am really glad I stuck the course out. At the beginning I really didn't get it, and thought I was wasting my time being there, but as the course went on, and the group started to form a friendship, it all started to work.

Released back into the free world, I was not fully engaged in my fitness. Running, cycling, entering group events etc, and really enjoying myself. As confidence built, so did curiosity, as did self confidence, leading me to explore matter which were closer to my heart, literally. Sadly for one reason or another, I started to revert back to my submissive, "must please others"way of thinking , and I slipped.

A slip which has been rather expensive to me, and set me back some way. Backing away from what kept me occupied, allowing my brain its freedom to wander, really didn't work well for me at all, and still to this very moment I am paying the price. I guess I am not as "all new" as I thought I was, and old habits die hard! The one hiccup and break from fitness has continued far longer than planned, and I dearly need to get back into my stride, literally. I have a 5km event at the weekend, which I hope will kickstart me.

As the weeks have gone on, I have sunk back into deep thought, too much time in bed, and not enough activity. Telling myself each evening, early to bed, and out for a run in the morning, it is yet to happen. The closest I got the other day was going for a 46 mile ride, and that in itself was only inspired by making plans for the day ahead, and being proactive in case they didn't happen. (which they subsequently didn't)
It's a horrible feeling. Nowhere near depression, but a real downturn in my moods and energy, and I hate it!

That said, I know my symptoms are not THAT bad, as I proved at the weekend.
Saturday was a busy and interesting day, with a little bit of fun with the kids mixed in. So Sunday I thought I would probably take it easier. I had made lunch plans, but was mildly confident that something would come up and they would not happen. So I got up early, rode into town and met a friend for breakfast, then carried on riding til a good distance was done.
Lunch plans cancelled, I set out to the shops to buy lunch for one. Mid-way to the shops I received a DM on Twitter from a friend. All very strange. She said we had a mutual friend, and that they were both heading for to Wembley for a Bruce Springsteen concert, with a spare ticket, and would I care to join them. Seeing who my company would be, I didn't think twice. OK I did, but very quickly.

Rushed home, let the dogs out quickly and headed for the train.
Meeting them at Canada Water I was excited, in great like minded company with Gemma and Edel, off we went to see The Boss!
My greeting from Edel was very nice indeed, and a much needed huge hug. Everyone loves a hug, right! I know I do, and don't get anywhere near enough of them. Doggy cuddles don't count.

A great evening was had by all, and while we waited for the queues for the station to subside a little, we got into some very deep conversations. It was enlightening and relieving to realise how alike the three of us are, and right on each others doorsteps too. That knowledge alone has made me feel a lot better, so thank you Edel for mentioning me to Gemma, and getting the ball rolling. Strange how things work out isn't it.

While my mind was put to rest by this event, other areas of my mind are still all over the place. Falling into my famous old traps of getting involved and engrossed far too deeply with things. Rushing in eyes wide shut, then opening them once deep inside, and realising I'm out of my depth. A place I find myself right now, on a number of different planes. One day I will learn how to avoid such situations. But until then, I need to master getting my head out of the situations, without backing away from it entirely. That is what usually leads me to being a recluse. An existence I do not enjoy.

I am fed up of battling my mind. Reading too much into things, over thinking other things. But most of all I am pissed off with myself for this slip up from healthy eating and training. Yes, I am having a lot of physical discomfort recently, something I need to address, and maybe even see my GP about. But in the meantime, I need to start getting up earlier, not being afraid of quiet time (that my mind will run away with me) and just get on with being me.

So am I recovered?
Tough one really. I don't feel anywhere near as bad as I did. Maybe I am just over doing it, and getting run down? That's a possibility for sure. Maybe I will go with that, and just set myself some goals again. Get motivated, and get off my arse.

5km Olympic Park run at the weekend.
London to Brighton ride the weekend after
Pru 100 a few weeks later.

I have a lot to get ready for, as well as some other pending events too, to add to the list.

Surely the above listing is more than enough motivation? We shall see.

Thanks for reading as ever. I shall post something more inspiring soon, I hope.

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