Today I am very pleased to have Chris Hack on my blog today. He’s going to be talking about his mental health journey.
Trigger warnings: graphic description of suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when my mental illness first became a part of my life. The first recollection I have of a specific episode was when I was 23 and it followed a particularly difficult few years for me. I had spent a long time drifting between dead end jobs, education and lengthily unemployment. Something had to give, and that something was my mental health.
If truth be told I had probably been suffering for most of my life with some form of mental illness, all the way back to my days at secondary school where I was subjected to 4 years of unrelenting bullying. Both physical and psychological. I tended not to react much back then and just kind of took everything that was thrown at me. But I think all of the hurt and frustration that I had felt during that time had been lying inside my mind festering throughout. So by the time I had my first recognisable breakdown, it all came pouring out in a torrent of anger, despair and emotion. I had tired of being a victim, of being the sort of person that people always dismissed as not relevant or not worthy of their attention. I was frustrated with my run of dead end jobs, of having no real purpose in life. I was tired of failing. I was tired of living. I just wanted everything that had ever come before to disappear once and for all. I wanted the noise of my past to stop.
I wanted to die.
I distinctly remember picking up a pair of sharp scissors from the desk at work and holding them towards my chest. The blades pointing directly to where my heart was. It would be a bit of a messy way to go of course. But then I was fed up of always fading into the background. I wanted to make a statement that wouldn’t just be swept under the carpet like always.
I closed my eyes, counted down from 10 to 1 and… chickened out.
That was my first attempt at suicide, and one that prompted me to seek some form of medical help.
My first port of call was of course my GP. This was back in 2003 so anything relating to mental health was still very much a minor issue that didn’t really get discussed. I can remember sitting in this particular doctor’s room, pouring my heart out, crying and explaining what had happened. During which he didn’t once look up from tapping away at his computer.
When I’d finished he handed me a prescription for Prozac and sent me on my way. No offer of a follow up appointment or counselling, just a box of pills and a flea in my ear.
I’m now at the ripe old age of 38 and still suffer with severe depression and anxiety. So much so that I haven’t been able to work for the past 9 months. I am thankfully on the road to recovery now, albeit slowly. I now have a wonderful GP who has been nothing but supportive with getting my balance of medication right, referring me to my local mental health team and helping to organise various therapies for me. It seems now that mental health is something that is no longer a taboo subject and actually gets taken seriously, providing of course that you have a decent GP on your side.
I know that I am more than likely going to be battling with my mental health issues for the rest of my life. But I wonder, could that have been prevented if the Prozac happy GP I saw all those years ago had taken me seriously?