Update to feeling super mentally ill – 1 year(ish) on

I’m nearing the end of this magazine and I’ve come crawling back to my instagram to try and show it some love and learn how to post before I start posting on the magazine instagram. Which has drawn more attention to this blog…

So, I’m sitting with Olaplex in my hair and clingfilm wrapped around my head, having a cuddle party with a giant stuffed elephant and my dog, watching Below Deck whilst he sweetly snores away. And I am about to update you on my mental thoughts.

The past year was “difficult”. There were points where I would wake up each morning with the thought “I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this” spinning around my head. I couldn’t sleep alone, I cried a lot and I opened my eyes every day to a horrible constant fizz in my chest.

Anxiety and panic attacks are exhausting and unless you’ve been there yourself, it’s impossible to describe how scary and alien it feels to suddenly be locked in a fight between your mind and body all day every day. As time went on sometimes I felt really dark, like “if this is how every day will be from now on I’m not sure I want to do it”. I did try CBT and I graduated from lessons/meetings/zooms pretty early but I still didn’t feel right.

I’d had a bad experience with anti-depressants/SSRI’s before and it seemed like people I knew had similar experiences – bad dreams, insane nightsweats and complete apathy towards everything. Truly I didn’t care about anything at all, I socially ruined my life.

To say I was unwilling to go down that route again was an understatement. Plus, I wasn’t depressed. At least I don’t think I was. But all of the other treatments weren’t working and time was nearing a full year of panic attacks. I very reluctantly agreed to try a different SSRI and lo and behold, the panic attacks went away.

I felt happy all the time. I wasn’t getting hung up on the Little Things like before. I virtually stopped crying unless it was at a movie. It turns out I was one of those goons who didn’t realise I had to try a couple of different types of medication before swearing them off altogether.

I spent so much time at the beginning of lockdown paranoid that I couldn’t breathe. My mum was constantly having to come to my house in the middle of the night and hug me to calm me down. At one point I had to go live with her and even just being in a room myself would have tears spilling out of my eyes.

Even when I knew I was being ridiculous, I was so convinced I was going to die every moment of every day. I knew that wasn’t true and yet… tears. At twenty-five.

When restrictions were first loosened a little I was a maniac about sterilising. I played cards with rubber gloves on. I had a tape measure and you could not come within 2 feet of me or I would lose my mind.

I think I started taking citalopram in July and by December 31st, I had confirmed covid19 and I didn’t freak out once. At points where I genuinely felt like I couldn’t get a deep breath, I didn’t panic, I accepted it, took three big tummy breaths and continued on with whatever I had been doing. In April I was attached to my inhaler for dear life, in December I couldn’t even find it and it wasn’t the end of the world.

At this point, I’m slowly reducing the dosage to stop taking it (just because you can’t suddenly stop taking SSRI’s not because it’s like crack or anything), and I still feel probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, in the middle of a pandemic. I think I didn’t realise how bad I’d let things get and I’m proud of myself for seeing that now.

I’m proud of myself for getting through the first part of uni, for trudging on with this magazine, for making new friends (some of who have read this blog and had no idea I used to feel like I did in the last couple of posts – which should speak volumes for what a happy-go-lucky bitch I am now).

Anyway, I just wanted to update anyone who reads this blog and thinks I’m still circling the drain. Or anyone who was like me this time last year and was sick of watching relaxing Youtube videos with fucking watercolour dolphins. It gets better.

Keep an eye out for more updates about the magazine. It’s full of amazing people and I don’t think there’s ever been anything like it before. I’m excited about it finally being finished and people seeing themselves in it.

If you see my Instagram posts please take pity on me and engage with them so Instagram is nicer to me and more people can see my upcoming posts about Growing Pains (the magazine). I will love you forever. Even if you comment a toilet.

One Comment

  1. Scribblemark's mental health blog

    Glad to hear you didn’t go down the drain. You had some formative years affected by a pandemic but you got through it. I’m just writing a blog post on the social aspects of mental illness and I think it would help a lot of people to understand that their feelings are not purely about imbalanced brain chemicals. If we can recognise that with each adverse event that happens around us, if we can get through it we get wiser and stronger. Then when we look back we see there is hope. Keep growing, get wiser and stronger. Good luck with the magazine btw.


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