Hi Julie, thank you for telling your story, how are you today?
I’m much better now than what I was when I had depression, not fully recovered, but I’m getting there.
How did you first know you had depression?
It was back in 2018, and I had a lot of pressure going on at work, but one day I just couldn’t get out of bed. I literally could not get out. I had no energy, and the thought of getting up filled me with dread. I’d felt like it for several weeks, but that day, I just couldn’t get up.
What happened that day?
I just lay there, not sure how long, but I eventually text a friend who I worked with and told her to tell my boss I was sick with diarrhoea. It was the only thing I could think of. I stayed in bed until the next morning, I mean I got up to go to the loo, dragging myself there.
Did you cry at all?
Yes, but not how I would have expected. It was more screwing up my face trying to cry but nothing happened.
Did you feel hopeless?
Yes, all I could think of was escaping from myself. I couldn’t see how I could change, it was overwhelming. I knew I had been getting worse and I blamed myself for not getting help, but I thought I could manage, but lying in bed that day, the world came crashing in.
Did you feel suicidal?
It did cross my mind that it would be better to end it than have these overwhelming feelings. It’s weird but it was all overwhelming but at the same time I was numb like nothing mattered but everything mattered…the thoughts did pass though but I’m not sure how, I didn’t plan anything, I just thought it would better if I weren’t here.
I’m so glad you are here. The next morning what did you do?
I can remember texting my friend that I felt like shit still and wouldn’t be at work. She said she’s come round in her lunch-break, I said no but she insisted. When she arrived I didn’t open the door. I couldn’t face her, I felt so guilty.
Were you still in bed?
Yes, but she didn’t give up. I haven’t got any family and she’s the sort who would do anything for anyone. She shouted through the letterbox saying “I know you haven’t got the shits, open up the door.” I think I shouted out go away, but I can’t remember, but she refused. She’s very stubborn.
What happened then?
I got up and looked out my bedroom window and saw her looking up at me, she pointed to the door and I let her in. She gave me a big hug, sat me down on the sofa and made me a coffee.
She’s a good friend indeed, did you tell her everything?
Yes, that’s when actual tears came out. Once they started they wouldn’t stop. I told her how I was feeling and how I couldn’t face work or even talking to the doctor.
What happened next?
She took over. She phoned my doctors and made an appointment and took me to it. She even helped me get dressed. I can’t remember much of the conversation with the doctor but I ended up being given Citalopram, an anti-depressant. She stayed with me for a week after, not all the time but she took time off work and went home in the evening as she has a family. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know what would have happened, I dread to think.
She sounds wonderful, and how did you react to the medication?
I didn’t notice anything for the first week, but by the second, I felt a little better, not by much, but I had a bit of an appetite. For weeks I hadn’t been eating properly, just snacky food, here and there and I’d lost about a stone and a half in weight.
Did you have any side effects from the medication?
I noticed a head rushy feeling and I started grinding my teeth in my sleep. I know this because I have a sleep recording app, you know the ones for dreams or talking in your sleep. And there was this squeaking sound. My friend told me, that when I had slept on the couch, I was grinding my teeth.
How long did the side effects last?
About 4 weeks
How long until the depression lifted fully?
It probably took about 8 months until I felt as though I was nearly back to normal, but then I stopped taking the tablets and I did it too quickly and my mood started dropping again and I got really bad side effects from it. Like these zappy feelings in my head.
Yes, I’ve had those. Did you go back on the medication again?
Yes, I did but it didn’t work as well as the first time, so I went back to the doctor and he said he wanted to put me on Sertraline. I agreed.
Did you have any therapy during your illness?
Yes, I paid for CBT, (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) it helped me manage the stressful thoughts I was having about work and how to work around the negative thought process going on in my mind. It’s weird as I always thought I was a positive person but I had developed this illness, I’m still not sure if it was work that caused it or if it was the pressure I was putting on myself. Oh, I’ve also had counselling to try and work this out, but I haven’t yet.
You said your doctor put you on Sertraline, how did you fair on that?
It suited me really well, my teeth grinding stopped but it did stop my appetite and I had to force myself to eat.
It’s now 2021 and your first experience was back in 2018 are you still on medication?
No, I haven’t been for about 4 or 5 months and I managed to come off during lockdown. Working from home helped as the side effects were easier to handle, or rather withdrawal effects. I’m still working from home.
I’m so pleased you are recovering, what is the biggest thing you have learned from your illness?
That it can happen to anyone and a good friend can save your life.
Thank you Julie
If you have a story you would like to share and help others understand they are not alone, then please contact me. If like Julie, you wish to remain anonymous, you can. Or you can use your real name and have a link to your website or book or social media page.