For someone who had therapy for years and is quite in tune with her moods and anxiety triggers you would think by now I’d be able to spot a mental health wobble from a mile off. Spot it creeping forward in the distance and be able to get out my weapons and strike it down in its prime? Most of the time I can do that too. When I’m paying attention , when I’m concentrating. It seems though that when I take my eye off the ball I don’t sense it creeping up until it’s there on top of me suffocating me.
Last week I woke during the night which is unusual for me anyway but as I lay in the dark all that was passing through my mind was bleak. Dark thoughts that are really out of character for me . I pushed them out of my mind to sleep and when I woke up the next day I felt the biggest sense of relief. Like the weight of the world had lifted. Then I realised how awful I’ve been feeling the past couple of months. You know when you don’t realise how down you’ve been until you’re feeling better??
The thing is the signs were there . My ‘Kelly you’re not quite yourself ‘ red flags had all shown themselves in bright vivid colour only I’d not paid attention to them , thinking I could just plough through and really the self aware part of me that does exists knows this isn’t possible.
Red flag number one – I’ve lost weight unintentionally
I know this sounds like living the dream , couple pounds off just in time for summer-brilliant. People have commented have I lost weight and I’ve been saying not on purpose because I haven’t. Only when I’ve gotten to thinking I realised I’ve not been eating,not properly. I’ve been feeding the kids thinking I’ll eat later then not. When I’m suffering from low mood my appetite disappears. Now as someone who classes eating as a hobby and a favourite thing to do in the whole world this should have alerted me.
Red flag number two – lack of enthusiasm
I’m someone who gets an idea in her head , no matter how nuts and runs with it. I’m forever hatching plans and plotting futures. Only I haven’t been. I haven’t been doing much at all actually. I’ve not blogged in ages and my blog does bring my joy and satisfaction but no part of me could get motivated to write recently. There are theatre shows coming up that have my name written all over them but I’ve not planned to see them . I’ve lots of summer holiday plans with and without the kids that I should be enjoying making plans for but haven’t. As someone who can get giddy over the tiniest thing this again should have alerted me to the fact all is not well in the head of Kelly.
Red flag number three
This one isn’t just a red flag. It’s a whole army of people dressed in neon with a red flag each performing show tunes so attention grabbing it is.
The absolute absence of energy.
There’s a certain kind of tiredness like no other that washes over me during a down period. Totally knocks me off my feet. Sleep becomes the holy grail that’s all I need and want . Even in the absence of all the little pointers I’ve now come to realise were present (touch of self loathing with a side of numbness anyone?!!) The tiredness alone should have had me triggering emergency crazy alert protocol and bringing out my best weapons in the fight against the dark.
I’m not saying noticing all the signs would have made a huge difference. I always say my mental health on the whole is pretty predictable and often even when I am hyper vigilant there’s little to do but ride it out. However because my mental health IS predictable I do know what actions I can take to ease it slightly. To make the down periods bearable and make the ride back to full health comfy as possible.
So after a rough couple of months I’m feeling a bit battle scarred but so much better and I have certainly learnt to not ignore the warning signs in future. Especially when they are so glaringly obvious! I think because I’m generally better these days and that the blips are few and far between I’ve become a bit cocky thinking I can just power through when actually I just need to take care when things are rough.
You live and learn so they say !!
Onwards and upwards!!