I've been away from the board for a fair few weeks now. The reason is, in case anyone was wondering is that I had a mental health episode. This has been building for a number of years, and came to a head when a friend of mine took his own life last year. I decided that whilst I was far away from there right now, I didn't want to ever get close to that position.
I've suffered from depression and anxiety for over half my life, and aside from a brief period in my late teens, I've gone untreated, trying to cope on my own. This was frankly a terrible decision, and it's impacted on me quite heavily over the last 10 years or so. Over the last few years I've started having panic attacks, which are really not fun.
Having decided to seek help, I'm now on anti-depressants (Sertraline), which after an awful couple of weeks of side affects have made a dramatic difference to me. I'm not cured by any stretch, but I'm making huge strides to getting there that I didn't think possible a year ago. I'm waiting for a referral to the mental health services at the moment, but there is apparantly quite the backlog, so it could be a while.
I'm going back to work tomorrow after a month off, hoping that I can start getting things back to normal. I've not had a panic attack for a couple of weeks, and I'm hoping that by easing back in to work this can continue. One thing I've found that helps is just talking to people about my problems, and listening to others. If any of you are struggling in silence, please, don't be like me. Go and talk to someone. It doesn't have to be your doctor, even if it's a partner, a friend, or family member, taking that first step is a big weight off your shoulders.
I'll put some links in the OP, and some videos that I've found helpful. If anyone has any questions, I'm more than willing to talk, be it on the board, PM, or the various social medias if you don't feel comfortable discussing in public.
- campaign for dispelling the stigma around men's mental health. Web chat options available.
UK: 0800 58 58 58
London: 0808 802 58 58
Calm zone twitter
- what's good, what's bad, what's interesting, and what's plain weird and funny about the medications used to treat depression.
- a general resource on health issues. Link takes you to the section on mental health specifically. Covers a wide range of things, from anxiety to dealing with insomnia.
- social platform for peer support.
- a website (and book) about mindfulness, what it is, and how it can help you.
(mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) - an introduction to non-religious meditation and the benefits of mindfulness.
- a paid-for online guided meditation course. There is a free trial.
The NHS on returning to work after absence due to mental health issues
. The NHS have a short online test
that'll help you figure out if you're suffering from depression, and advise on what steps to take next.
's section on meditation. Written from a Buddhist perspective, but should be useful to anyone trying meditation.
Therapy work sheets
that are free to download (they're even under a Creative Commons license so you can pass them on, too). Covers a wide range of topics.
In a similar vein, here's a notebook you can use to keep track of things that help and hinder your recovery: Wellness Recovery Action Plan (pdf)
October 10th is World Mental Health Day
on his experiences with depression. Stephen Fry on his attempted
suicide in 2012, and Alastair Campbell's response
. Original tweet here
Hints, tips, and resources for dealing with insomnia
- Sleeping tablets can help kick start your sleep cycle, but you'll probably find your doctor's reluctant to prescribe them as they're pretty addictive (though they may be happy to give you a few days worth).
- Avoid anything that stimulates your brain before bed (TV, reading, gaming, etc).
- Try to keep your bedroom exclusively for sleeping (no TV, phones, etc), and try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night. Speaking of phones - unless you're using a sleep-aid app (see below), turn your phone off, or better still, don't have it in your room.
- Try to do stuff that will relax you (hot baths, warm non-caffeinated drinks, all that stuff.)
- Exercise before bed is unhelpful, with the exception of sex/masturbation which actively encourages sleep.
- Music can help, but obviously needs to be relaxing stuff.
- You can get sleep meditation apps for your phone which some people find really helpful (and others find deeply annoying).
- If you tend to lie in bed thinking about stuff, some people find it useful to write out a plan for the next day before they go to bed (do this in a different room).
- Finally, if you absolutely can't get to sleep, get up and doing something else for a bit.
Sleep-aid websites, apps, etc:
Llinks on autism, Aspergers, and that general area in adults
Autism diagnosis in adults
Adults living with autism spectrum disorder "I was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 45"
The National Autistic Society
And remember, you didn't get it from vaccines
(TSFW - too sweary for work)
Doctor Of Mind
, a YouTube channel about psychology, mental health, and medication.
Jeff Ragsdale, the man who gave the world his number
. A lovely story about a lonely man who reached out to everyone, and got the most wonderful response.
Why I Didn't Kill Myself Today
. A great piece in The Independent. In a similar vein, here's a book that people might find helpful: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
The 'big boys don't cry' myth - mental health and men
. Fellas, it's OK to ask for help.
Ten lies your depression tells you
. You're not thinking straight when in the clutches of the black dog. Don't believe what it tells you.
Four games about depression
, designed to help those suffering and educate those who aren't. The Average Everyday Adventures of Samantha Browne
, a game about social anxiety.
New Zealand and Australian resources that'll probably be useful to everyone:
The book "All Blacks Don't Cry
" by John Kirwan
Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand
Beyond Blue (Australia)
A site set up by Ruby Wax for those struggling to help each other: Black Dog Tribe
. (The name refers to how Winston Churchill described his depression
And some Australian numbers:
Mates in Construction
: 1300 642 111
Lifeline: 13 11 14
The 'You are Not Alone, It can Happen to Anyone' List
Robin Williams (1951 - 2014) - YouTube tribute
Jean-Claude Van Damme
... and the rest
, totaling approximately 350 million people worldwide
And last, but not least... Am I Awesome?
. Try refreshing the page a few times.