I wanted to write this post for several reasons – to empty out the mess that’s in my head, to hopefully help someone else and to explain the year I’ve had to anyone who is interested. Right now, mentally, I’m a mess. I’m a functioning mess though – look at my Instagram feed or listen to me on the radio – and you wouldn’t know anything was wrong.
This is the lowest I’ve ever been and the first time I’ve ever felt real, true Depression. 2017 has been a f**ker of a year. I’ve had OCD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder for a long time now and have been through some extremely tough times with it, but I’ve never had to deal with all three together before. The story of my year, especially the early months, was never one that I intended to tell, but I think it’s time to do some explaining.
For the past 7 years, I had the most beautiful little girl in my life – she was the most precious little dog ever to walk the face of the earth, and to me, she was my baby. The only baby (human or animal) that I could ever need. I kept her a secret from the internet, as I felt she was too special and I wanted to keep her all to myself. I dedicated my life to her and was with her 24 hours a day. She slept with me in my bed, she followed me even to the toilet, and for the last 3 or 4 years of her life, I didn’t leave Glasgow/Edinburgh as I was terrified something would happen to her and I wouldn’t be able to get back to her in time. I didn’t stay away from home overnight – even fleeing Glasgow review hotels at 1AM to get back to her as my anxiety was too bad or she wasn’t feeling well. When I had to go to a meeting or an event, I made sure someone was with her. That little girl was never left alone, ever. I was a Mummy and she was my baby. The love I had for her knew no bounds and I worshipped the ground she walked on. For years I cried myself to sleep worrying about the time that she would die and it was on my mind every time I stepped out of the front door. I did a very good job of hiding the restrictions I had placed on my life from social media and my writing, and I became well-versed in my excuses for not being able to go on press trips or to events. In March this year though, my beautiful little doggie baby died, and my world collapsed. I lived for her and now she was gone.
I coped by running away to Los Angeles for couple of weeks, then followed this with back-to-back press trips to the likes of Stratford-upon-Avon and Monte Carlo. I got my dream gigs appearing on radio and TV too and this kept me going. I made sure I was busy every minute of the day, and I ate a week’s worth of calories every day too, to try to fill the void in my stomach and my heart. I was dealing with her death better than I thought I would, until I returned from a trip away, fell down some stairs and broke my knee in two places. I ended up bed-bound in hospital for 4 days, with all the time in the world to think about my loss; and I was faced with a 12 week, more or less house-bound recovery process once I was discharged. I have OCD, and whilst it’s managed very well with medication, my brain can’t be left unstimulated for periods of this length or my thoughts start to go in directions I don’t want them to.
Being stuck at home, having to use a wheelchair and being hopeless at hopping about on crutches, meant that my life was very still. Some websites and newspapers that I wrote for also had their budgets slashed and my contracts with them ended. I still had my blog and some other freelance writing to keep my mind occupied, but by this time, now this month in-fact, my depression has taken such a hold that I’m so very tired and often just can’t be bothered. I’m feeling worthless about the jobs I’ve lost, extremely gut-renchingly sad about the loss of my little doggie baby and the loss of my constant role as her Mummy looking after her, and despairing about not being able to go outside when I want or travel anywhere. There are no holidays for me this summer as I am not mobile enough to travel, and there’s nothing to really keep me going – I loved some of the writing jobs etc that I’ve lost. If this is you too, a therapist near you might be able to help. I had a fantastic NHS psychiatrist and psychologist through all of this. If you can’t get out, a lovely psychotherapist Haley shares some great online therapy resources on her website. It’s amazing what can be achieved virtually!
I know that I have a lot of good things in my life – my blog is successful, I have strong social media accounts, I have great friends, I get to go on the radio and chat about what I think of all sorts of things, and I’ve just started doing some videos for the BBC. With my current depression though, all I can focus on are the jobs I’ve lost and the things I can’t do at the moment, and I struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can walk again now, with the help of crutches, so I need to start getting my arse in gear to prepare for my comeback when I’m 100% recovered. I know I’m a bad-ass bitch who can conquer the world, and I just think I needed to write this to remind myself of that. I still talk to my little princess every day, and I will until the day I die and I can snuggle with her again, Mummy and baby.
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