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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

#MHAW16: Dear Gareth

This is one of my favourite quotes regarding mental health. One that i believe is very true and one which i think personally reflects me. 

I know Mental Health Awareness week has passed this year. While dealing with the issue of real
life, this was one post that i tried daily to post up. I have never made the fact that i am a long term sufferer of depression and anxiety a secret but i found this one of the hardest things i have ever had to write. While studying and trying to deal with issues at home, i found myself writing this and then rewriting it, scheduling this and then deleting it until deciding that this would be the final time! 

The theme this year was relationships. We all know that good stable relationships are good for mental health but the last few months has been the first time i have realised just how much. My ever suffering hubby, makes a world of difference when i have `one of those days' and is probably the only person barring the kids who can snap me out of it. 

I made a #RelationshipsResolution pledging to devote more time into my relationship with both my hubby and my kids, by making more of an effort to spend more time with them instead of shutting myself away and by setting aside one day a week where i would be available to help them with homework, or just to have fun. 

A more important part of my pledge was to be more open, not keep things bottled up and to both ask for and accept help when needed. As my first step to being more open, i wrote letters to each of my family. It was my way of releasing some of the emotional baggage and attempting to move on. Seen as the theme this year is relationships i thought it important to share my letter to my hubby as his was the hardest to write. 

When we first met i told you that i was a bitch to live with. I know you believed it was the issues i was facing which made me feel that way but it was my way of warning you that there was more behind the smile and the "i'm fine's". I appreciated your honesty when you opened up about your battle with depression, it persuaded me to tell you about mine. I was comfortable telling you bits about my battle with depression and anxiety but i still found myself unable to trust you enough to open up fully. 7 years later you have remained one of the most stable people i have in my life, taking every bit of crap i throw at you without ever asking me why. The truth is, i do not know. I can not explain why my moods change so quick or why you are my first port of call when i need to vent. But i do know hat i love you and i hate myself every time i do it. 

Having suffered with depression and severe anxiety for over 15 years i can usually tell when one of `those days' are coming. I try to prepare things to make it easier for you while you hold the family together and leave me to work through it in my own way. When those days happen i know i should face them, i should be ignoring that voice of self doubt and focus on the good. That dark room i sit in becomes too friendly and feels safe even though i'm terrified. I compare those days to falling into a deep black hole with no way out. The sides slowly closing in is the first stage to my down days. I know it is coming and i panic before thinking logically and preparing a plan of action. Cleaning, preparing meal plans and making to do lists is my way of scrambling at the sides trying to get my footing before the sides close in and i have to face the hard part - Digging my way out. As selfish as it sounds, when i am sitting alone in that hole, it does not cross my mind that the kids have no food, or that the house is clean. It is the one thing i feel ok about and that little bit of positivity helps. I know i should be downstairs with you, but the range of emotions i feel at the same time just makes me confused and temperamental. I have no control over my reactions and i am better off left to work through them. When i need to cry i will cry, when i need to scream i will scream. Think of it as levels. As i work through one emotion i will move up a level. By the time i have dug myself out of the closed up hole the hard work is done, i am calm and i have released whatever it is which has made me feel that down. 

I would love to say it is only every so often but i have no clue whether it will be for a hour or a day or even a week. I have had periods where this has gone on for months. I hope one day i will be able to control those moods so i do not upset you or the kids but until that day comes, just leave me to deal with it. I will talk to you at some point and i will let you help me when i realise what is wrong. With any luck the bad days will not just be random and we will be able to work through it as a couple, knocking it on the head before it even begins, rather than me shut myself away and leaving you feeling helpless. I know it seems that i do not trust you but i want you to know i do, i really do and the way i react during those down days is no reflection on you as a person. 

Love always 

Michelle x

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