Quack Echo

Gather the strength

Sucker Punched by Insanity

crisis_management

As I reached my early thirties I had ticked a lot of the boxes that indicated success. I was happily married, a father of an intelligent lovely little boy, my wife was expecting our second son and we were financially comfortable.

After the birth of our first child I had a crisis of confidence as I came to terms with the reality of parenthood. This was just a wobble but I soon found myself back on track. I certainly had no reason to expect what was coming down the track.

I had spent the past 4 or 5 years building a career in a blue chip organisation and was moving rapidly through management roles and taking on additional responsibilities  My bosses were continually showering praise on me and thanking me for the great contribution I made. I was known for my pragmatic, logical and uncompromising approach to any difficult professional situation.

Our 2nd son was born so I naturally took a couple of weeks off work. Shortly after my return, it hit me. I was consumed with fear and self-loathing so harsh that it manifested itself in physical pain. The weight of my responsibilities to maintain my career and support my family became all encompassing. All reason left me.

It has taken a long time to come to terms with the shame of the following month. I pushed my wife to hate me as I at first I didn’t have the guts to leave. Time and time again she reacted with support and love. Finally,  driven by a selfish determination to distance my family from my impending self-destruction I left.

Over the following two months my wife continually tried to keep in contact, to keep talking. She persuaded me to get help and accept support.

I know that the internet is full of scare stories about the impact of taking anti-depressants, I know that I was scared to start medicating but I had reached a point where there was only one outcome if I didn’t change my path.

After a lot of support from our family GP and a number of attempts to get the right medication, i returned home to my family. My recovery over the next two years was a roller coaster ride. There were times when I felt myself slipping, times when I hated how the meds made me feel, and times when I questioned if I’d done the right thing in returning. All the way through, my wife and family stuck by me.

I was wracked with guilt but so fortunate to have the support of a strong family to help me through and to make me understand that this wasn’t a choice. I made a pact with my wife, just a single rule. I agreed that if she said she saw a change I had to listen to her and change course. Six years later I’m far more aware of my condition, I’m still med free but often have a ‘wobble’. In times of constant pressure I can feel it in my chest and on my shoulders as I start to buckle. Those are the times when I force myself to pull back, take in the bigger picture and consider the help I need

If any of this seems familiar please reach out for help. Whether it’s friends, family  doctors, charities or churches please do it. Too many of us still feel that mental illness carries a stigma and you’ll be labelled or outcast. You won’t be. The support you reach out for will carry you and help you to see a way through.

Please check out my resources page for links to support.

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6 comments on “Sucker Punched by Insanity

  1. workingthroughthemadness
    January 8, 2013

    Fantastic post, the way you have felt is something I can wholeheartedly relate to. I’ve stopped taking Citalopram; too early as it turns out. Well done for you finding a way to cope med-free. And I find myself very jealous of your family – mine don’t believe depression exists. Apparently it’s all in your head.
    Sorry, bit of a rambly comment, my head is all over the place.

    • quackecho
      January 8, 2013

      Thanks for your comment.
      I’m sorry to hear that you are having a tough time at the moment.
      Take your time and dont rush to make decisions whilst you’re not at your strongest.
      There are a number of different ways that you can approach the issue with your family but they’re not the only support on hand. If your GP recommended meds please dont rush to jump off of them. At one point I tried it and it set me back.
      It just takes time but I would urge you to trust their impartial medical advice.
      I wish you all the best. Keep fighting!

  2. workingthroughthemadness
    January 9, 2013

    Thank you. I will.
    Sorry for gatecrashing on your blog.

  3. Funky Monkey
    January 19, 2013

    Hey there,

    Firstly, thanks for the honesty

    I empathise with you. I really do. I think the problem with finding help is, that mental health services have been decimated by this government. I suffer mental health problems myself. There is simply no money in the NHS for CBT or other therapies. There is a distinct lack of clinical psychologists (some 30,000 at last count) I have been waiting 6 years to see one in my area, so the easiest thing to do is to prescribe medication (I understand people’s reticence to use drugs, for me they have been life saving, and kept my marriage and family intact). As you said in your article about the media and disability (which I shall comment on separately), mental health is one disability that you cant see, even though it manifests into physical symptoms, it is not immediately visible and we are therefore an easy target to be vilified.There was an article on the BBC website yesterday by Professor Kinderman from the university of Liverpool about the new DSM-V. You only need to look at some of the comments posted to see just how stigmatized mental health problems are. Many comments of “pull yourself together” and “it’s all in your head” (just to state the fucking obvious) or ” everyone gets sad”. I think it’s this, that prevents people, especially men from discussing their anxieties and possible problems. Where I live, even mental health charities that employ volunteers to work for nothing have had their funding rescinded by this blatantly discriminatory government. You should check out the Mental Health resistance (mentalhealthresistance.org) to see how AtoS is persecuting people with mental health difficulties.

    I applaud your honesty and your blog, it needs more of us to discuss mental health, and be open about it

    • quackecho
      January 19, 2013

      Thanks for your comment and your interest in my post. I really appreciate it!

      I must say the ‘pull yourself together’ comment was all too familiar! I told myself it over and over until i came to terms with the fact that i was suffering from a mental illness rather than just being a moper.

      Thanks again for your support & good luck with your own continued progress – We need more of us to share blogs and openly share opinions.

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