A breakthrough

So on Tuesday night I broke down. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, tired and incredibly low. I ended up uttering the sentence, “I hate my life” to Dave. I’ve never said anything like this out loud to anyone. I’ve never wanted to voice these thoughts. I don’t want people worrying about me, especially Dave. We had a long chat. Dave is such a level headed person and he helped me calm down eventually. Dave and I decided that I have waited long enough for NHS counselling. We decided to try getting counselling via my Dad’s work. 

My GP appointment on Wednesday afternoon was actually quite productive. The doctor I saw was very good. She was really supportive and took what I said seriously. She asked me to fill in a questionnaire of some sort. I can’t remember the name of it but I got a score of 22 which is high. 

I was honest about my insomnia, how run down I am and how I am avoiding being around people. The doctor suggested upping my dosage of Citalopram from 30mg to 20mg. I am now taking it when I get up rather then before bed. She also gave me sleeping tablets for the next month. I have an annoying rattle sounding cough and as I am asthmatic the doctor listened to my chest. Thankfully, my chest is clear. I have to go for blood tests because of how ill I am getting. She mentioned something about my thyroid and how that might be impacting my low mood. Luckily, my GP surgery can do the blood tests on Wednesdays so I have an appointment on Wednesday morning before the gym. I explained how I want to be more settled before going to Australia. She wants to see me again before I go. I am seeing her again the week before Dave and I fly out. 

The sleeping tablets are slowly having a positive impact. My usual lying awake for hours on end has decreased dramatically. The past two nights I haven’t woken up during the night. Although I am still not getting enough sleep right now, I woke up at 8.30am on Thursday and 9am this morning. This makes a pleasant change to 7am!

I experienced high levels of anxiety at the gym last night. I am not sure if this is due to the increased medication dosage, switching to taking it when I wake up or something else entirely. I was on the verge of tears before the start of bodypump. The anxiety did subside gradually during the classes. My appetite is virtually non existant since increasing the dosage. 

On Wednesday afternoon I have my first counselling session. I am entitled to six sessions which my Dad’s work are paying for. I feel like I will be able to get a handle on my depression and anxiety and actually start recovering. I am going to ask this counsellor for my notes at the end of my last session with her so that when I actually get to see an NHS counsellor I can continue making progress. For the first time in I don’t know how long I haven’t felt anxious today. 


Getting a good night’s sleep has been something I have struggled with for a number of months now. Initially, the issue I had was falling asleep. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I was able to fall asleep as soon as I got into bed even when I have felt like I was dropping on my feet. After hours of tossing and turning I would eventually fall asleep but wake up tired. 

Since switching to Citalopram my insomnia has become noticeably worse. As well as the struggle to fall asleep, I now wake up frequently throughout the night and I am waking up much earlier in the morning. Before taking Citalopram, I wouldn’t even know Dave had got up for work. At present, I am waking up when Dave is getting ready for work. Once I am awake I can’t fall back asleep. Even at weekends when Dave and I have a lie in at least one morning, I am waking up at around 7.30am. 

I only made the link between Citalopram and insomnia when I was driving home from the gym last night. I was being overly harsh on myself as I found the classes at the gym really hard. Yesterday afternoon I felt overwhelmingly tired. I made a conscious effort to eat enough and drink enough water. I ended up with a tired headache. This did go after I had a snack before the gym. Even before bodycombat, my favourite class, I felt spaced out and not totally with it. As the class went on I kept making mistakes that I don’t normally make. 

I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. I say my GP, but I am yet again seeing a random GP as the one I actually like isn’t working this week. This is the third time since being diagnosed that I have had to see a random GP. It is not helpful as I am already worried about what this doctor will be like. I have seen some extremely unsympathetic doctors. I am tired of going over the same things with different doctors. I am definitely mentioning the insomnia. I am open to suggestions as I am trying everything. I do not eat really late at night and I have tried getting baths at night. But, I am reluctant to start on sleeping tablets. 

My anxiety is bad at the moment which I think is linked to lack of sleep. The gym was busy at times last night. I felt on the verge of a panic attack as more people came into the studio. It felt like the walls were coming in on me. Dave and I have been invited to a 30th birthday party for someone from Dave’s work on Saturday. I have met the girl who’s party it is but I have told Dave that I am getting too worked up about it and don’t think it is a good idea that I go. I have told Dave that he should go without me but he is insisting he would rather spend time with me. 

Dave and I had a good time round at our friends on Saturday. We had a lovely Indian takeaway and watched the Lego Movie in 3D which we love. We had intended to watch Gravity as well but we were all too busy talking and catching up. Unfortunately when we got home I got upset. I have noticed that I feel extremely guilty whenever I have a good time. It’s like a part of me feels that I don’t deserve to have positive experiences. I didn’t let this guilt spill over into Sunday. I have recently started watching Pretty Little Liars and I continued with this on Sunday as well as playing some of The Wolf Among Us on the xbox.

This weekend Dave and I are planning on blitzing season 3 of House of Cards which comes out on Netflix. We are still making sure that we see our friends but we’ve agreed that this needs to be one set of friends per weekend. I am still finding it draining if we do too much. 

Avoiding people

Being around people is too much for me right now. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep the all is well with me mask on. The sense of dread I have about going round to our friends tomorrow evening is overwhelming. My friend’s daughter who is 4 will be there. This will probably be a good distraction. It will mean we can’t talk about anything too serious. These friends don’t know about my depression and anxiety. 

The worries about going out or seeing people run through my head a lot. I worry about making a fool of myself or people laughing at me. My self image is still bad. I constantly feel fat and guilty whenever I eat. When I was ill it was even worse as I couldn’t go the gym. It was like I didn’t deserve to eat as I was sat in the house. 

My cold has finally gone. I went back to the gym last night. My knee had been alright until yesterday. I took my respite kid out for the day. I guess my knee didn’t like me being on my feet all day. It feels like the muscles in the back of my knee are tight. I didn’t use any weights during the leg track in pump. I opted for the low impact variations during attack. As much as it annoyed me, my knee would probably hate me if I started doing tuck jumps and burpees. 

I got my hair cut today. I have had a lot  cut off the length. I worry I look stupid and don’t suit it. It’s making me anxious about going the gym and to see our friends tomorrow. 

So I have to wait 7 weeks for my counselling. Really helpful that when I will be in Australia in 7 weeks time. Dave phoning up the counselling service was a waste of time. They phoned me and told me exactly what they told Dave. 

I know that talking about everything in my head will help. I’m in my head a lot and find it hard to snap out of it. I wish I hadn’t told my gym trainer friend about my depression and anxiety. She hasn’t rescheduled lunch with me. It doesn’t make me feel valued as a person. It’s like I am not worthy of her time. 

I’m not going to just moan about how bad I am feeling. I am going to make a conscious to mention something positive each time I blog.

Dave’s birthday is in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to spending some extra time together. Dave hates his birthday and being made a fuss of. He is going to decide if we go out for tea. Knowing him, we’ll probably get pizza in. I have his birthday presents sorted. 

In 6 weeks time we go to Australia for the easter holidays. I cannot wait to get away from here. Some sunshine will do me a world of good. It is actually our honeymoon which we intentionally booked for 6 months after the wedding. I can’t believe how quickly it’s come around. We are staying with family in Brisbane and also hopefully getting to go to Sydney. Dave and I need to go through all our summer clothes so we can see if we need to buy anything else. I am hoping that I don’t need to buy much more. I had to buy loads of summer clothes because of the weight I lost. But I definitely need more bikinis as I only have one. 

And now I am ill :(

So I reluctantly rested all weekend. I felt so lazy for not being at the gym. Dave and I chilled out all Saturday. I read my kindle loads. My knee was elevated and iced regularly. 

Yesterday I started feeling rough. My throat was really scratchy and my nose was sniffly. We went to my parents for Sunday roast. I felt really shitty last night. I struggled to fall asleep (as per usual) and then woke up at 4am. My head was banging, my face felt like it had been kicked, my ears and nose were blocked and my throat was raw. I ended up getting up to take some cold and flu tablets as I felt so rough. I am not one to take painkillers at the drop of a hat. From 4am at least 6am I tried to sleep. I did manage to get some sleep as my alarm woke me up. 

Today I took out my respite kid. I had to have one of those horrible hot lemon lemsip drinks beforehand. He was as good as gold as he always is. But I couldn’t wait to get home. I felt so sluggish and out if it towards the end of the day. 

So my plans to go the gym have again been disrupted. Currently I am sat in my pyjamas catching up on last night’s The Casual Vacancy. Fingers crossed I am well enough to go on Wednesday morning. 

My appetite is still bad. Food isn’t appealing when you’re full of cold. I have managed to lose half a stone in two weeks. The lack of eating is now catching up with me. I just can’t force myself to eat. Dave is having to make me things to eat as I can easily go hours without eating. 

Dave finally managed to speak to our local health authority. It turns out there is a 12 week wait for counselling! It would have been nice to be told this at my assessment appointment. Dave is furious though as he was told that someone would phone me today to speak to me. This hasn’t happened. It really isn’t good enough especially when Dave explained how bad I currently am and that I have deteriorated. 

My knee is feeling a lot better. The extra rest days are probably a good thing given how sore my knees have been at times recently. My friend messaged me to ask how my knee has been. She said it was so odd not seeing me in my usual space in the studio. 

Down and out

I am currently sat with my left leg raised on cushions on the couch with ice on my left knee 😦

I did bodypump class last night. During the warm up in bodyattack I got this awful burning pain throughout my left knee when I lunged. I went to put my foot on the floor and the pain was even worse. I managed to move to the side of the studio and sat against the wall. My friend who teaches the classes came running over and stopped the class. At this point I was mortified. A first aider came in and helped me out of the studio. 

It took half an hour for them to check me over and to fill in the accident form. They needed loads of information. My knee was noticeably swollen. My friend offered me to drive home. But I didn’t want to leave my car at the gym. I couldn’t bear weight on my foot due to the pain in my knee. I managed to drive home. My knee crunched every time I changed gear which knocked me sick. 

My friend said to rest all weekend with my leg elevated with ice on it to reduce the swelling. Fridays I don’t go the gym anyway. But I am annoyed I can’t go tomorrow. When the option of being able to go the gym is taken away it makes me anxious. It probably sounds ridiculous but I can’t cope with putting weight on. I have this huge fear of putting all the weight back on that I have lost. So much so that I don’t eat much. The worrying thing is that I am rarely hungry or want to eat. I am hoping I can go the gym on Monday night. 

I have been on Citalopram for nearly two weeks now. It’s hard to know at times if it is working as I have had some real lows these past two weeks. The suicidal thoughts are occuring more. It doesn’t help that I still haven’t got a counselling appointment. Dave tried phoning up about it and couldn’t get through. It is really frustrating. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety two and a half months ago and  the only support I have is medication. It is evident that this is not working. 

Dave and I are having a weekend in now due to my dodgy knee. We don’t celebrate valentine’s day and haven’t done in years. Valentine’s day has no bearing on our relationship. To us, it is just a random day. We celebrate the day Dave asked me out and we will obviously celebrate our wedding anniversary. Dave will randomly buy me flowers and little gifts throughout the year which I much prefer to him doing it once a year. 

Speaking of gifts, it’s Dave’s birthday in a few weeks. He is so awkward to buy for! He has one present so far which is some Breaking Bad pyjama bottoms. If anyone knows what to buy a 28 year old bloke who is into gaming then let me know! We have enough DVDs and he is so fussy with his clothes. I might have to go on a shopping trip. I will be leaving it until after next week though as it is half term. I don’t like going in shops though so I might need to do a proper look online instead. 

Gym rant 

So I nearly walked out of a class at the gym on Saturday morning. 

Going the gym was a big deal yet again on Saturday. Yet another crap night’s sleep on Friday and my poor appetite didn’t exactly have me motivated to get up at 8am. But I did. I forced some porridge down. 

The gym is busy at the moment. I have no issue with new people joining gyms. It takes courage to go in the gym or at a group exercise class when you are new to it. However, the amount of people who are then rude or inconsiderate give ammunition to those gym members who moan about new people. 

I stand at the back of the studio, near enough to the door. This helps me keep my anxiety in check. I make sure to arrive with enough time so that I get to work out where I am comfortable.

People are frequently coming late to classes. Instead of looking for a space in the studio they end up standing right near me. It happened in BodyAttack on Saturday but I was able to deal with it. As we move around the studio during this class I ended up with enough space around me. 

During BodyPump a number of people came in late. It is extremely distracting when you are trying to squat with a barbell. I ended up with two people practically on top of me. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. After the warm up I threw my barbell down in frustration and went and sat outside the studio in an attempt to calm myself down. I know that I would have gone straight home if it wasn’t for the fact that I refuse to be one of those people at the gym who leave equipment out. I managed to go back in and finish the class. 

My friend who runs the classes apologised to me at the end. As a result of what happened on Saturday it is making me dread going the gym even more so tonight. If it happens again tonight I will walk out. It’s a health and safety issue. I would have been the world’s worst if god forbid I hit somebody with a weight. Part of me is angry it got to this point on Saturday. My friend could have told these people to move to somewhere else in the studio. 

On a more positive note, Dave and I went out for lunch and for a drink in Starbucks on Saturday. I found I was full for the rest of the day. Looking back, we probably shouldn’t have gone to Starbucks. I became anxious quite quickly and I had to leave before finishing my drink. I tried to push myself too much. The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on Gotham, rewatching some more of House of Cards and we also watched the first episode of Fortitude. 

My sleep is terrible again. I had to have a nap yesterday afternoon. I am having horrible nightmares now. One woke me up last night and I struggled to fall back asleep. I have awful black bags under my eyes and my face is so pale. My appetite is still bad. I have yet to eat today. I lost 3lb this week. Probably why Dave made sure we went out for lunch on Saturday. 

Dave and I talked a lot over the weekend about my depression and anxiety. He is extremely concerned that I have still yet to see a counsellor. He is going to phone our local NHS services to find out what is going on. I hate speaking to people on the phone at the moment, as pathetic as it sounds. I don’t like speaking to people full stop right now though. 


I went the gym last night. I managed to eat before. I really didn’t want to go. But a part of me thought that why should I not go when I have done nothing wrong. My friend was in the changing rooms when I went to put my bag in a locker. But the layout of the changing rooms meant that I got away with making out I hadn’t seen her. She then saw me when I went to get water. She was really apologetic and chatty. 

I didn’t talk to her at the end of the classes. I have decided that unless she initiates a conversation with me I won’t be waiting round to talk. I wasn’t so angry by the end of the classes. But the gym hadn’t helped improve my mood. 

I was worn out after yesterday. Yet I have had a terrible night’s sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep for ages. I just lay there in the dark crying feeling completely helpless. Suicidal thoughts run through my head and they have been there on and off for days now. I woke up this morning with a headache. My appetite is still bad. The idea of eating makes me feel sick. 

Is this going to be my life now? Full of despair, fighting a constant battle in my head and not wanting to leave the house or see people? When my family phone I pretend I’m fine. I can’t bring myself to tell them how bad I am. It won’t achieve anything except make them worry more. They live 15 miles away from Dave and I and they are all busy with their own lives. I am still waiting for my first counselling appointment. I do want to make a recovery. I need help in changing my negative thinking patterns and dealing with situations that upset me.

Dave and I have no plans this weekend. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. Dave doesn’t want to push me too much right now. Yet, I know he is concerned that I am so reluctant to leave the house. 

Crashing down

I had been doing really well. I had some minor side effects coming off Mirtazapine. I halved my dosage for six days then started on Citalopram as advised by my GP. I experienced some headaches and nausea but I could deal with it. I had actually started sleeping better. 

My knee pain is subsiding. I have been doing leg strengthening exercises and they have been helping. This had been making the gym more enjoyable. I felt stronger and able to push myself. 

I was supposed to go for lunch with my friend today. She ended up cancelling. I was sceptical it was going to happen when she wouldn’t commit to a time and place to meet when we had spoke at the gym earlier in the week. I then got a message saying she had forgot about a hairdresser appointment and thought it was next Thursday. She said she was really sorry and could we swap and do lunch another Thursday. 

It was incredibly hard to put myself out there and suggest meeting up with someone. I have a constant voice in my head telling me that no one cares or wants to spend time with me. I am not a fun person to be around. It probably sounds ridiculous to those who have not experienced depression or anxiety but even something planned well in advance brings about a lot of anxiety and worry on my part. I stress about everything. Things that other people would probably not even think about. It’s like a constant voice in my head. 

I had battled with all of this and told myself I was determined to go for lunch. I am on such a downer now. I haven’t eaten in nearly 24 hours as I have no appetite what so ever. At this rate I will not be going the gym tonight. I can’t face my friend after she cancelled lunch today. I don’t have the energy to pretend I am fine with people at the gym. I wish I hadn’t bothered getting out of bed today. I sat in tears earlier until I couldn’t cry anymore.

I am gonna leave my friend to initiate contact with me about rearranging lunch. I’m not holding out though. I wish I could say that part of me is glad that I didn’t have to go out and face the world. But the truth is, it’s just made me feel even more inadequate and useless as a person. I refuse to put myself in a potential situation like this again. I will leave it to my friends to get in touch with me to arrange meeting up. That way, I am not left feeling at rock bottom again. I have been trying to recover and it seems like there are so many obstacles being put in my way. 

Although I am really not in a good place right now, I feel I have made the right choice by switching to Citalopram. I have only been on it for a matter of days and I know that my body will be getting used to it. I think this might be playing a part in my current mood. I just don’t know how to get out of this rut. 

The power of music

When I was about 14 I discovered the amazing world of rock and metal music. The band that drew me in was Linkin Park. Their album, Hybrid Theory, is still one of my favourite albums even though I don’t like their more recent releases. 

I became a fan of live music around the same time. I am fortunate enough to have seen so many amazing bands live on a number of occasions including a few festivals. I have made friends at gigs and festivals including one of my now closest friends. I have met a number of my favourite bands/singers including Slash, Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Disturbed, Lacuna Coil and Shinedown. 

Music helps motivate me. I listen to it a lot – when doing household jobs, driving etc. It keeps me going when I am having a bad day. Music is an amazing distraction at times. I love discovering new bands and when my favourite bands release new albums. 

Papa Roach have a new album out. They are a band I have always liked. Fantastic live and were lovely when I met them. I mention them as one of the tracks on their new album, F.E.A.R, is called, ‘War Over Me’. It sounds cheesy but it was like this song spoke so much to me. If I could actually write, this would be the song. It definitely reflects what I am going through at the moment. 

Papa Roach – War Over Me

My depression and anxiety has had an impact on me seeing bands live. Before Christmas I should have gone to see Volbeat and Slash. I had forced myself to go and see The Gaslight Anthem. I didn’t want to let my brother down who I was going with. I struggled the entire time with the experience. I felt trapped in the venue and I didn’t get any enjoyment from it. I spent the entire time texting Dave as a way to deal with the overwhelming sense of panic and fear I felt. After The Gaslight Anthem, I decided that I couldn’t go to see Volbeat and Slash. At the time I told my Dad and brother that I was too ill with the chest infection I had. The truth was I didn’t want to go. It would have been detrimental to put myself in a situation that would no doubt cause me added stress. 

Until I am in a better place I am not going to bother buying tickets to any gigs. It is frustrating as loads of my favourites are going to be touring this year. But, the worry and dread become more apparent as the date of a gig creeps up. It’s not worth putting this pressure on myself. A friend has bought me a ticket to see Nickelback (a not so guilty pleasure :P) for November. We have seen them together before and she insisted on buying the ticket when I expressed an interest in them but explaining that I can’t afford to go as I am not currently working. I was overwhelmed when she told me that she was happy to get me a ticket and it wouldn’t be the same seeing Nickelback without me. I would also like to think that as the gig isn’t until November I will be in a better place. It also gives me something to aim for in a way. 


On 5th February, it is Time To Talk Day – a campaign by Time To Change to encourage people to talk about mental illness for five minutes. As part of the campaign, Time to Change want people to share why they are taking part in the movement using five sentences. Here’s mine:

My name is Gemma and I have experienced depression and anxiety. 

My mental illness has affected my life massively. I have had to give up work. Being out of the house is stressful – I have to force myself to go out and I don’t like being in loud and busy places. I am constantly on edge and paranoid when I am out. I have lost friends because of their lack of understanding of my depression and anxiety. I struggle to be around people and so I have become quite isolated from friends. My confidence is at an all time low. I feel useless, worthless and guilty as a result of my depression and anxiety. 

My greatest source of support has been my husband, parents, siblings and two friends who I have felt able to talk to about my depression and anxiety. 

My hope for the future is that I can make a recovery and learn to accept that I have nothing to feel guilty about. 

I’m taking 5 on Time to Talk Day because I want other people to realise the impact mental illness has on people. It is very real and can affect anyone. In talking about mental illness I hope to reduce the stigma surrounding it.