The Write Array by Jeanné Olivier

A personal blog about Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression and Mindfulness.

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My Mental Health Story

I was suffering from Depression for much longer than I was willing to admit.

But, I used to excuse my mood swings as part of my creative temperament.  I  told myself I was okay as long as I could brush away the bad days as just feeling a bit off, or something.   I knew my self-confidence probably wasn't where it was supposed to be, but on some days I thought that everyone struggled and that I was generally okay, and on other days I genuinely (but very secretly) believed that I really wasn’t good enough and therefore deserved to feel like shit about myself.  


As I got older and more mature it became harder to justify my extreme emotions and no matter how often I told myself to get a grip it eventually got to the point where it  became impossible to pretend that I was okay.


The Realisation


In early 2018 I finally crumbled and was forced to accept that I needed help.


Our lives still appeared pretty stable and normal from the outside, but I had completely lost my sparkle by this point. 


A few things had gone wrong in the 2 years prior to this and although it sounds pretty significant when put together in one paragraph, in reality it was scattered over many months and it felt like normal life.  Just a bit more stressful.  


I spent 18 months on a writing project, which failed.  We invested heavily in a prospective business venture, which didn't materialise.   One of our family members tried to embezzle a large portion of our funds and we endured months of legal procedures before we finally got a fair settlement. I started suffering from Chronic Migraines which made it very difficult to keep a regular work schedule, or to be motivated to exercise, or to be positive enough to just keep going.  Our business, finances and relationship was heading in a scary direction.  Our daughter started suffering from severe Separation Anxiety and was suddenly unable to go to sleep, stay asleep or even go upstairs by herself, and all of us ended up being grossly sleep deprived, for many months.


At the time, I wasn't able to understand that some of these things were related, or a result of each other.  It just felt like normal stresses, set-backs and bad phases.  Nobody was seriously ill.  We still had a house and everything we needed.  It felt like it was just part of life and I didn't really think I had any right to complain, or to ask for help. I honestly thought I just had to suck it up.  Get my shit together.  Work a bit harder.  Be a better parent.  


But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop myself from spiralling into a very dark and destructive place where I was slowly and forcefully losing my will to live.  I felt  very guilty for being so low and I knew we still had so much to be grateful for, but I just couldn't pick myself up.  


It felt like it wouldn’t matter if I stopped doing the jobs I was doing for our business.  


Taking care of my family and our house made me feel resentful and angry.  


I stopped writing and when I forced myself to pick up a book to read, it made me feel inadequate and stupid for not being able to get my own work published. 


I avoided socialising and barely stayed in touch with my friends.  It felt like some of them were judging me anyway.


It started feeling like I had no purpose.  No direction.  And no reason to be here.  


I felt tired, overwhelmed and like I was drowning.  


It felt like I was constantly trying to prove my worth as a human, but that everyone was judging me for not being as effective or successful as I should be. 


Every day I wanted to end it all.  I wanted to disappear into nothing and rid the world of my craziness.  


I blamed my husband.  I blamed my childhood.  I blamed our cats (seriously) and I blamed the weather.


But, most of all I blamed myself and hated the fact that I wasn’t strong enough to get my act together and just be a normal person.  


Why did I feel like my life didn’t matter?  


Logically I knew I had a purpose and that our family, our business, and nothing about our lives would work as well as it did if I wasn't there.  But, I just couldn’t feel it.


And then I reached rock bottom.  Quite spectacularly.  


I was busy doing the dishes one morning and I realised that nothing brought me joy anymore.  I couldn’t see a way out.  I sunk down in the corner of our kitchen, between the sink and the washing machine, and sobbed for a very long time.  I had never felt so alone in my life. 


When it became clear that my fairy godmother wasn’t going to pop out from behind the rubbish bin and wave her magic wand to fix me up, I stopped crying and realised that I had 3 options:  


Carry on as I was and live a half-life where I make myself and my family unhappy.


Kill myself and make everyone I love unhappy for the rest of their lives.


Accept that I suffer from Depression and GET HELP.


It was only by the Grace of God, that I decided to ask for help.  It was NOT because I was strong, or brave, or anything along those lines. 


I just knew I couldn’t go on as I was because it made me even more unhappy to think about where we would end up as a family if I carried on being so miserable.  


I decided that I wouldn’t kill myself, even though that was what I wanted to do the most, because I couldn’t bare the thought of my daughter growing up without a mother and potentially blaming herself for my fuck-ups. 


A part of me always clings to the belief that God has a plan with everyone’s life and that He will not give us more than we can handle.


So, I truly decided to ask for help out of desperation, but it was the first step in the right direction.