Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Feeling poorly with depressive illness.

Depression, bipolar, , PMDD or indeed any emotional conditional will always give rise to various illness which can often be debilitating and severe enough for the sufferer to need extra support from their medical services. So many sufferers come to me and say that they have various aches and pains, and all manner of physical afflictions which go hand in hand with their depressive condition,  whether its hormonal or otherwise.

Sometimes, when I was suffering myself, I seemed to spend so much time in the GPs office, I started to wonder if she thought I was neurotic or even delusional, even though I quite often had tonsillitis or worse, the dreaded shingles. I also suffered from excruciating lower back pain and my legs felt so heavy that I often wished I could chop them off and pop them in the corner of the room to give me a break from the pains in them!!!

It seems to be that a general cycle of ill health is part of the depression and even a symptom of it, and even though there are too many to mention in one blog, I have noticed a few that surface themselves more than others. They would include migraines, flu-like symptoms, swollen joints and burning tongue syndrome. It can also bring about food sensitivities and allergies along with a mind numbing lethargy which was one of my most disturbing symptoms. The subsequent lowered immunity can unfortunately last for some years, and quite often longer than the illness itself, as the body remains in fight-mode and desperately tries to recover.

In all honesty, I don't know why we have to be so poorly with emotional illnesses, its almost too much to bare being so physically unwell when you have so much to put up with. As if things couldn't be any worse! I remember a really nice doctor who explained that  because your body is spilling out cortisol (which is a stress hormone) it is that chemical reaction in particular that can make one feel extremely unwell. It is imperative then that when you are having an episode, to find a way to relax, stay calm and practise deep breathing.

My relaxation of choice is the sauna and steam bath which has the added bonus of regulating your hormones, boosting the immune system and detoxifying the system. Some people like yoga, whilst some people use meditation, and really it is up to you decide on your own strategy for counteracting the effects of stress hormones and what they can do to your body. Once you have found your individual way of relaxation, you need to practise it regularly to assist your body in recovery even though modern life has many time restraints.

Another thing, when I was poorly I found that some GPs were more helpful than others. Some unfortunately were very dismissive of my situation and even questioned my diagnoses which did little to help. As well as your relaxation techniques which will help your body into recovery, you will need the assistance of a kind, caring and understanding doctor who you can see on a regular basis to help you cope with this physical element to your illness. If you find your doctor is unsympathetic,or patronising even,don't try to argue the point. Do the simplest and kindest thing you can do for yourself and that is, FIND ANOTHER ONE there are many out there that can help and have possibly even suffered themselves.

Stay well. Peace and love

Suzi x

Monday, 6 October 2014

When people just dont understand.

Depression and anxiety has many causes, and as we know there are lots of different forms of emotional disturbances with many different triggers. They range from Bipolar to Post traumatic stress and as in my case, hormones. When speaking to other sufferers I've noticed how many have not been believed, and many have been labelled attention seekers, or worse, shirkers and malingerers.

The worse story so far has to be the sad case of an adolescent who had attended a mental health unit to be told that he was 'putting it on' and later went onto take his own life. How awful that those that were supposed to be helping him, and had the most experience of mental illness didn't believe and support him in his darkest hour. To me that is incomprehensible and even unforgivable when you consider the circumstances surrounding this all too familiar case.

It is extremely difficult to describe how depression can make you feel, how dark everything becomes, and how acutely ill you can be. It is also extremely difficult to look after and care for the sufferer, and requires an abundance of patience and understanding. Quite often the sufferer is misunderstood, deemed lazy or even accused of making it up, and trying to make sense of your illness and explain it to others is tiring and stressful. This is often why people hide their feelings and even the illness itself, for fear of not being believed or understood. As I have written so many times before this can only exacerbate the sense of isolation and loneliness that the sufferer will be feeling.

When you read my book, you will see how I myself wasn't believed, was accused of being a drama queen and even had to convince my own GP that I needed help. This was despite the fact that some ten years on my diagnoses was confirmed by biological blood test. (I had almost non-existent hormone levels in my blood stream). How frustrating, and what a huge waste of time and effort to get the non-sufferer to understand my condition and get the help which I so desperately needed.

If you are a non-sufferer and you encounter someone that's poorly with any condition, regardless of its origin, PLEASE bare in mind that you have to have a chronic illness to understand it, and if you don't have that illness, it doesn't mean that it isn't there. Say something kind, it really does help.
Have a great day x

S x