Mental Health Monday; PandoraPip

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hey cats!

I’m Pandora, I’m 25, a part-time student and I run Pandora’s Jar of Curiosities in my spare time. I have suffered with chronic illness since the age of 12, struggled with depression & anxiety since I was 18 and was diagnosed with moderate/severe depression when I was 22. I wanted to share with you all some of my experience with depression and also the breaking point which pushed me to seek professional help by way of counselling.

I’ve always been a worrier and over thinker, but when I started experiencing overwhelming feelings of fear and sadness without a trigger, connecting the dots between how I always felt much worse in the darker, Winter months, I started to understand I wasn’t like everyone else.
An awful university experience was the trigger to push me over the edge into a deeper depression, my health continuously let me down and on top of that the teaching style did not suit me at all. I felt stupid, I felt like a failure, I felt guilty for all of these things even though they were out of my control. I woke up each day feeling like I had no purpose in the world, wondering what good it would do to even leave my bed. I felt like a pointless waste of organs, simply breathing to pass the time, to waste my existence. What made things so much worse is that I chose to suffer in silence, and bottle up all of my fear, rage, hatred, bitterness and pain; at times I would write in order to ease the smallest amount of pressure, like letting air hiss out of a balloon. Keeping all of this emotion and confusion inside of me started to cause me physical pain, my chest would ache and I’d feel the urge to scream or I’d burst, but I simply wrapped my arms around myself and literally held myself together, fearing that if I let go I would fall apart.

Unfortunately I let it all drown me and drag me under in a single moment. A moment which I later sat down to write about, the moment that changed my life.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

“Having that moment where you are completely and utterly wrung out and exhausted with life as it is. A moment that caught you completely off guard and you had no time to control it. You let loose the ache. An unavoidable mistake, like curiosity leading to opening Pandora's box. You had to fight to try and put it away again. But it wasn't easy. No one could hear you because you were in the shower. You were free to let out some of the hurt that has been eating away at you and bubbling up to the surface like white hot lava. It broke free like you wish you could. Collapsed, the water lashing down on you at the same rate your tears pour out. Being washed away, wishing it would drown your hunched up body like it was drowning out the noise of your weeping. You feel so alone. Fragile. It lurches out of you, in broken, choked sobs ricocheting through from the pit of your stomach past your aching chest and shattered heart, coursing through your veins and screeching out of your throat. You can finally scream. You feel like you could shatter at any moment, but you can't stop. Maybe you don't want to. It's almost pleasant to let go of all the pain and start to wish that somebody could either pay for it or hold you until it all disappears. I am broken, that much is clear. I am out of control. I feel upset, helpless, small and weak. Still my crumpled form heaves out these unbearable howls of angst filled to the brim with pessimism. There is nothing to look forward to. I have no purpose.”

From this point onwards I knew I needed to seek help in order to make some drastic changes to my life, this moment was the catalyst in helping me realise that how I was feeling wasn’t healthy. They always say that admitting and accepting you have a problem is the first step, it’s also one of the hardest. To break that bubble and realise the reality you created isn’t all its cracked up to be, it sure is a shock to the system. Sometimes we fear the unknown and refuse to step out of our own downward spiral purely because it’s familiar…and familiarity is safer than something we don't know. From my experience, the unknown has benefited me endlessly and I’m thankful I somehow sourced the strength to break out of my claustrophobic bubble of negativity into a world full of potential happiness.

I made an appointment at the doctors as soon as I could and I was terrified, but everything went by in a blur and I surprised myself with the strength I found. Naturally the doctor immediately tried to push pills upon me, I knew this was something I definitely didn’t want for myself. I’m not broken and I sure as hell wasn’t going to be ‘fixed’ by chemicals. I found myself barking that I absolutely did NOT want to be medicated and that I felt better after talking about my problems except I rarely found an outlet to do so, then came the offer of talking therapy which I hastily agreed to. A few weeks later I had an assessment over the phone which helps to find out which therapy you are best suited to/which would be most beneficial, then you go onto a waiting list. I was told that I was best suited to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), that the waiting period was about 12 weeks and that I’d be contacted at a later time with a date which would be confirmed before my appointment. It seems like a long time but just having something in my future to look towards gave me a focus and a reason to get out of bed each day.

There’s always hiccups though and in my experience the NHS sometimes seem to struggle with the concept of fragility in people with mental health issues. Long story short? I was messed around, given an appointment date, which was later confirmed a week before, only to be cancelled the very day before my appointment. I was then told that something had messed up in the system and I had to wait another 6 weeks.
Please don’t let this discourage you, it was all worth the wait but at the time I felt like ending everything. I just want to be realistic that even after you seek help it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but you’ll get there. The 12 sessions I had with a wonderful counsellor changed my life and I’ve never looked back; yes I’m not ‘cured’ and I doubt I ever will be, but this gave me another chance at a life I was about to throw away. I gained a new perspective and outlook, I found the strength to fight, counselling broke the cycle of negative thoughts that rolled around in my brain every second of every day and made me the person I am today. Life had made me bitter, judgemental, close-minded and apathetic; counselling completely turned that around, to the point where I can barely even relate to the person I used to be.

So that’s my story I guess! Life isn’t perfect but it’s certainly much better than if I’d stayed the person I was when I wrote that diary entry. All I can say is that if you’ve felt the same as me, you don’t deserve to feel that awful and something can be done to change it. If you don’t want pills, make it known to your GP and let them know what sort of help you want, know that the first therapy you try may not suit, nor may the counsellor but don’t be discouraged. Also sometimes in therapy you can feel worse before you feel better but that’s a normal part of the process. Also if you want to bypass doctors and the NHS you can cut out the middle man by approaching charity based counselling services such as Mind; there are still waiting lists and assessments but they’re not as invasive or intimidating. And lastly, it’s completely normal to feel scared asking for help, but know that it doesn’t make you weak or a failure, in my eyes I think you’re the strongest person ever for realising there’s something you’re not happy with and you want to take steps to change that.

If it all starts to feel too much for you please don’t be afraid to seek help & put yourself first, this is your journey after all and no one else can live that for you

Stay curious.

You can find me in all these places:

Thank you for having me Kimberley, it’s a real honour to take part in this series x

Thank you for reading Pandora's post on why she sought counselling! We'd love to know if this has helped you in any way too!

Make sure to follow Pandora on all of her social media links, and follow myself on Bloglovin and Facebook to stay up too date!

I'll see you soon

Kimberley Jessica

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  1. What a lovely idea for a series. Such a great way for people to tell and share their story with others. It's lovely to hear how Pandora's life has turned around. This was the same for me after I'd sought counselling!


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