It’s two years ago since I hosted the first Havin’aLaugh Coffee Morning. Some of you might remember it, some of you might not so here’s a bit of background.
Around three years ago I got hit out of the blue with depression, I say hit because that’s what it felt like. It seemed like one day I was grand and the next I was in a heap. I couldn’t function, I was a bag of nerves, I was scared of everything.
I struggled on for a while not saying anything to anyone. There’d be various occasions where I sit in the car sobbing for no reason. I felt like I lost myself and it was really frightening. I plucked up the courage to go and see the doctor and it took a huge amount of courage. I was expecting to be listened to but I wasn’t. I was given a prescription and told to go for a walk.
So I started taking my ‘happy pills’ they were anything but happy pills. The first lot did nothing, the dose got upped, the second lot did nothing, the dose got upped….you see a pattern. Still nothing so the dose got changed and upped and upped. The ‘happy pills’ made me numb, I couldn’t care less about anything. I could have won the lotto and I’d have felt nothing.
I was like this zombie person, I lost loads of weight, people said I looked great – why do people only think you look great when you are thin? – a subject for another day. Apart from the numb feeling I also developed horrendous anxiety. I was absolutely terrified to go out, so there was that and the fact I didn’t have any energy or enthusiasm to do anything. The anxiety, which I always had a bit of, was magnified to an extreme level. Add panic attacks into the mix and it just about sums it all up.
I was taking sleeping tablets, yes they make you sleep but it’s not a right sleep and you still feel a bit odd the next day.
Anyway out of the darkness and me writing all about my feelings on the blog, a lady contacted me about the Havin’aLaugh charity. They give vouchers for life enhancing experiences, to people who are going through counselling for mental health. I think I was on counsellor number 3 at this stage.
I contacted them and I thought I might like a seaweed bath, so off I went to Strandhill and went for a walk along the beach before the bath. I took the camera, which hadn’t had an outing in a long time, and something reawakened in me. I saw a glimpse of the old me, the person I missed.
I was still bloody miserable though until my friend who is a nutritionist suggested I might be lacking in B12 – there’s a huge link between depression and B12 deficiency. It took a while for the doctors to test me but they did and they discovered I was very deficient in the vitamin. I had to get five injections of it over 2 weeks to get it into my system and I still have B12 injections every three months.
Anyway I’ve rambled! So back to the coffee morning. I wanted to give something back to Havin’aLaugh as they were so helpful to me. So I organised a ‘little’ coffee morning. Almost 200 people arrived! I realised I wasn’t as alone as I’d felt I was during those dark days. To say it lifted my spirits is an understatement! The coffee mornings continue on the first Monday of the month in The Blind Tiger, Sligo from 10am – 12 noon. I’m not there as much because my life took off! Teresa, Blaithin or Trisha are there so you will never be on your own. There’s always a friendly face.
On the topic of mental health awareness there is an event for World Mental Health Day in Sligo. Hosted by Sligo Replenish Tribe, it’s on October 10th in The Glasshouse, Sligo from 11am – 4pm. More details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/381537165892101/
Remember you aren’t alone even if you think you are.
Excellent article as always Val and shows that mental health issues can arrive at anytime.. truth is we are all fragile and that fragility increases with age and the sum total of life’s hardships..
It can Bert and thank you