Crying Over Nothing – When Does A Low Mood become More?

I’m a cryer, always have been, I cry at Call The Midwife and One Born Every Minute (basically anything with babies in it), I cry at Casablanca (every time), I cried reading The Girl In The Red Coat last week, I even cried when Rubens Barrichello won his first Grand Prix (though I think I may have been pregnant and therefore excused excess emotions at the time.)

cry

Today however I cried for seemingly no reason and this worries me. I’d had a lovely day off, been into town, had my nails done and met my mum for coffee. I’d done what I had to do, come home, had some lunch and then gone to look on my computer for something Easter related (for here), instead I came across a selection of old photos and videos I didn’t realise were on my computer. They were lovely reminders of a time when I still lived with the kids dad, ok maybe there was a reason for the tears, a little nostalgia? A little sadness that my kids don’t live with both parents?

So the tears weren’t totally unwarranted but the quantity and intensity was, I’m talking proper sobbing out loud, followed by curling up in a ball on my bed, with tears streaming down my face. Now here’s the thing, my life is good, I am healthy, in work, with a wonderful partner, my kids are happy, we have no money or other worries and my relationship with the kids dad is probably the best it has been since we split, so what was my problem?

There is a reason this scares me, twice now in my life I have suffered bouts of “anxiety” or “depression”. The first time was back before I had children, when I had not long moved out of my parents home and in with my then husband to be, I had a fairly stressful job, we had taken on our first mortgage on a house that needed massive amounts of work done, and I began to suffer fainting attacks and stomach pains (so much so that eventually my appendix was removed and later found to be fine).

Woman in doctor's surgery

I had no idea I was suffering from what was eventually classed as nervous anxiety, because I didn’t want to accept there was anything wrong, my body was expressing itself with physical symptoms. I had private healthcare at the time and was referred to neurologists and gynecologists to try and establish what was wrong, eventually I broke down in tears in front of my GP and confessed I panicked at the thought of trying to get round the local supermarket and a diagnosis was made. I was prescribed anti-depressants and signed off work. It was a difficult time for my family, who couldn’t understand what was wrong, myself and my ex who bore the brunt of my illness, all I knew was I didn’t want to speak to people, my moods were erratic and my tears were almost constant.

Luckily the prescription helped me back to work and eventually a change of job which eased the pressure, and slowly life returned to normal. The worry stayed with me though that the same thing could happen again, after all there was no actual cause for my anxiety which is what a lot of people find hard to understand, most people think to be depressed you must have something to be depressed about, sadly that is not always the case.

dep

Five years ago when I split from my childrens father I was terrified the same thing would happen, it didn’t (well not straight away), there was of course tears and upset but nothing I felt I couldn’t lift myself out of. It wasn’t till 3 years later when things should have been easier, I realised things weren’t quite right. Bouts of unexplained tears had become regular and a general feeling of being lethargic and of low mood (sorry that’s a doctors term) had overcome me. This time though (and with the help of a good friend who had experienced similar) I recognised quickly I needed help.

The GP prescribed a short course of a prozac based drug, I took no time off work and within 3 months I was back off the prescription and feeling far more upbeat. No-one (until now) knew about this episode apart from my closest friend, a sign that unfortunately at least in my head the stigma surrounding mental health is still alive and kicking.

So the moral of the story? Listen to your body, know yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Depression and anxiety are an illness like any other, if you have a headache you take a paracetamol, so why not do the same? It doesn’t have to be drugs, it can be counselling, talking to others, improving your mood through exercise is also great or just finding your own coping mechanism. I know I may always be at risk of slipping back into a depression but I also know when to seek help and when I may just be a little low and how to help myself.

housework

So what about today? Today I think was a mixture of nostalgia and lack of sleep (I was woken in the middle of the night by a violent cat fight outside my window), so I reapplied my mascara, turned up my music and blitzed the housework, this is my coping mechanism, so if you ever come to my house and find the place a tip, don’t worry it’s just because I’m happy.

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5 thoughts on “Crying Over Nothing – When Does A Low Mood become More?

  1. Bravo friend! Yes, the stigma attached to mental health is real but posts like this go such a long way to dispelling the myths and shame! Such an important topic and you handled that beautifully xx

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  2. I copied and pasted my post from fb as it said the comment was no longer there!

    Pamela Henderson Heather – it’s brave of you to put this up! And I say that because in the last 6 months or so I have headed, unawares initially, to depression and anxiety. I’ve always been a worrier and felt guilty about almost everything – hubby says if I didn’t have something to worry about, I’d worry about having nothing to worry about! But between losing a very close friend and dad having his MND diagnosis, that was the trigger. And despite knowing friends who struggled with depression and trying to support them, it can never be the same trying to empathise until you’re there yourself. You can so easily put that smile on and say everything’s fine when it’s anything but. You can panic at the thought of socialising and just want to retreat and the fatigue – it’s completely overwhelming. So I get your story. Bravo my dear. It’s why I started a closed group on FB either for those struggling with anxiety/depression or who have had it in the past but who can offer words of support. So Black Holes and Spinning Plates was formed! We meet for the first time to chat face to face this Sunday at Dunfermline East Church café. I think the hardest parts are admitting it and then helping others deal with the fact you have it! xx

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    1. Thank you Pamela, it’s not normally something I talk about and I agree until you are there yourself it’s so hard to understand. Well done on you for doing something positive and starting the group. Can related to so much you have said I have also been told I worry about having nothing to worry about, I over immerse myself in things and feel I always have to be the cheery one, I think it is our type who get hit hardest with these things, hope it goes well on Sunsay will be thinking of you xx

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