I have decided to go to see my GP about my anxiety and depression, so thought it best I pull together a history of medication I have been prescribed over the past 9 years. Here is the medication I have been prescribed for anxiety and a link to a description on the Mind website:
I had been receiving DLA and then PIP for the past 5 years or so, because of my mental health and Ulcerative Colitis. Following a mid award review which started in August 2017 and a medical assessment by Capita in November 2017, my PIP award ended on the 11th December 2017.
I have been reflecting on this a lot over the past 6 months. Financially the impact was significant, as it meant I also lost my Tax Credits award from the 11th December, and any day I expect a bill for £500 over payment following the year end tax credit review.
I used the opportunity of not being able to sleep last night, to consider what helps me live with my Generalised Anxiety and Ulcerative Colitis conditions.
So here is my menu of options in no particular order that help me:
Below is a great info-graphic from MyTherapy
They have produced it for World Health Day on the 7th April 2017, which this year is all about Depression. Lack of knowledge of where to find help and social stigma are the prevalent reasons for insufficient and late treatment, so there is a need to spread the word. Therefore, we designed an info-graphic on depression in the UK. It contains facts and figures as well as helpful resources such as crisis lines.
Thanks to MyTherapy App for producing this
I just wanted to share with you my current mantra which is helping. My counsellor has kindly credited me with the thinking, but I can’t help but think it is already well and truly out there.
When I am down, overwhelmed and struggling with my mental health, I am ‘now’ able to focus on and believe that the next day CAN be different and better. This enables me to get through the current day and focus on the opportunity for a new, fresh start the next day. Most importantly the thinking and belief has worked for me, so I can now build on this experience by telling myself that the next day has been better in the past so it will be better again in the future.
During times of anxiety, I can use a number of different tools to ease the anxiety and try and focus on the now.
These can include music, reading (although it can often be difficult to concentrate during intense periods of anxiety), writing in my journal, going for a walk (again sometimes tricky), talking to someone, mediation and now I have added option of colouring sheets for mindfulness and stress.
Well the start of a new year (2016) deserves a blog post. The evidence is here to show that I had over done it towards the end of last year – I have had flu for the past 10 days and currently have a bad chest, don’t want to say chest infection. So if I didn’t already know it , the flu confirmed that I had done to much for me, which triggered my dark thoughts and difficult period in November and early December.
I have managed to make an appointment with my GP for this afternoon and it is the doctor that we usually see for my wife, so she has a good idea of what Is going on.
I think it is time to review my medication, so I have been going through my old MyAnxiety blog posts to see what I have been prescribed over the past 5 years. From what I can piece together I started on Citalopram, followed by Seroquel, then Duloxtine, being increased to 90mg a day, then Pregablin and Trazadone. But I found the side effects of Trazodone difficult, so ended up on 150mg Pregabalin twice a day. Which must have been for the past 2 years now. From my posts I read that I found the Trazadone good for my mind but not my body (aches) so came off it. Interestingly enough I would now say I would rather risk the aches to see how I get on with the medication as I seemed to find it helpful for my mental health.
So, what am I going to say, that I am finding things very difficult, increasing periods of not being able to do anything, was a struggle maybe 1 or 2 days a week, now majority of week, I am short tempered, snappy, don’t want to see or talk to anyone, upsetting family when I do, panic attacks back, sick of not being able to go anywhere without getting anxious, bowels triggered etc, exhausted after doing one thing/trip out, retreating to my bedroom all the time, increased and more difficult to manage suicidal and self-harm thoughts . I am very angry, frustrated and difficult to be with. This has been building up for the last 4 to 6 months.
I am taking 150mg of Pregabalin twice a day and attending Person Centred Therapy counselling with Rushden Mind once a week.
I am reluctant to get referred back to Mental Health Team, so hopefully the GP can suggest a medication change for me.
It has been a week - I am feeling better than I was. The beginning of the week didn’t go well, although I am not sure what I expected. I talked to my wife about my suicidal thoughts, her response was ‘yes, but you wont do anything will you’. Now at the time I heard this as ‘ yes but it doesn’t matter because it is not as though you will act on those thoughts and this isn’t very serious’. But now, following counselling - which I will come back to later, I acknowledge she could also, and probably did say ‘Oh, ok, but you wont act on those thoughts will you? I am really worried by what you say’. She then saw the damage to my arm from self harming and said something along the lines of ‘how could you do that, you know how much it upsets me’, which again I could only find the negative interpretation off.
Anyway, got to Friday, and had my counselling session at my local Mind. I was determined to talk about my suicidal thoughts and we did. It has helped, verbalising my thoughts and trying to summarise them in some kind of cohesive way. I confessed to myself that I had done some reckless driving, which I had really thought about the implications of on the drive to therapy. Anyway, I am not going to go into the detail, but we talked about the change in my suicidal thoughts, the fact that my safety net of the impact on others was not feeling as strong and that I had self harmed again. I think in part I was looking for reassurance about what I was doing to try and manage my thoughts. I wasn’t contradicted, so guess I am doing all I can.
So my strategy for managing my suicidal thoughts (god it is hard evening typing that, let alone talking about it) is
I also have better clarity on my triggers, which are:
But I think the key point is to be more realistic about my abilities, and don’t take on to many which is (2-3 items/appointments/activities max) in a day and reduce that if I am having sleep issues.
Continuing to struggle, so in a quest to help myself, I have returned to my new coping strategy of writing down my thoughts (blogging).
I have started self-harming again and I thought I was keeping it hidden, but my son (20) spotted the marks on my arm today. This has made me feel guiltier, but he has said he is available to talk if I want to - #amazing.
My thoughts of suicide are possibly the highest I have ever experienced today and in past week or so - constantly reoccurring and on my mind. I have tried to speak to to my counsellor about it, but having not achieved that yet, i.e. I haven’t, managed to blurt it out. Considering seeing the GP. Just read Mind’s leaflet ‘How to cope with suicidal feelings’ I Was just thinking I needed to talk to my wife about it. But she is still really fed up with me because I have been such hard work today, so she has just gone to bed. So I think I will have to try and find a time to talk to her tomorrow.
I think what scares me most is that I used to worry about the impact on my family if I did it. But now I find myself thinking more they will be better off without me here, all I do is upset them, nag and say the wrong thing anyway. I think these thoughts have been made worse because of Christmas coming, I really dislike Christmas which upsets my wife and therefore adds to my guilt. At counselling we were talking, obviously, and I was asked “do I like myself?” Having dwelled on that I realise I hate myself, I hate my brain and body for what they do to me and I hate myself for the person I have been and am now.
Sorry, just paused to berate myself, for such self-pity, I know I shouldn’t (berate myself).
Anyway going back to triggers, so Christmas, realisation I hate myself, also I have been signed up to stop smoking clinic by my wife and the date looms on 1st December. I don’t smoke a lot maybe 5 a day, but if you asked me my favourite time of day, I would say my first smoke and first cup of coffee in the morning outside in the garden on my own, usually with the dog , as a reward for me getting up, having a shower and getting dressed. My wife has COPD so has to stop smoking, I want to support her by stopping too, but was happy retaining control and stopping myself, now I have texts and weekly meetings. If you are thinking about ending it, then the damage and shortening of one’s life from a couple of roll ups a day seems irrelevant to me. I suspect the fourth trigger is seasonal (4), I don’t like the loss of day light and that seems to add to my problems.
So, I have written it down, a good step.
I haven’t done any major harm to myself, just a deep fingernail scratch / dig - Tuesday night and a small cut today with a clean blade. I have started driving more recklessly and had better think about that. I have two plans for how to do it, so need to talk about this with someone.
I AM ok, got Samaritans and Sane if it gets worse, otherwise I will talk to my wife, make an appointment with GP and talk to Counsellor next week.
Hello, gosh it has been a while. I am doing okay, still on medication and suffering with anxiety, but I consider it to be more managed now. I don't go out a lot, but can attend local supermarket, when I know it will be quiet and on a good day, and local store in High street. I am doing part time work on a self employed basis at home, in the form of website design and internet marketing for a few hours each day.
The interesting (and sad) point is that I am now caring for my poor wife, who having managed to look after me and her mum for many years, is now suffering with anxiety & depression herself. She is under the care of the local psychiatric team, on various mediation and seeing a counsellor weekly at our local Mind, But does seem ironic that she is now ill, but I suspect not that unusual. The recent pressures mounted on historic issues and brought the whole to a head for her.
I continue to use my key tools to manage my anxiety & depression which are:
Matthew Johnstone has written three books that I have found useful, the first is I HAD A BLACK DOG which with illustrations takes you through the feelings and expereinces you might have with depression. I found this useful particulalrly in terms of knowing that there are other people out there expereincing the same feelings. His second book LIVING with a BLACK DOG is a great book for family members to help understand what is going on and specfically what is helpful and what is not helpful to a sufferer of depression. His third book QUIET THE MIND starts you on the subject of meditation which is an area I have found very usueful and continues to help me greatly. Below are links to each book and if you buy any of the books using this link will earn me a few pennies.
I hope you find Matthews books as useful as I do.
I last posted about my experience of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the replacement for DLA in June 2014, so I am well overdue to update you on my experience. My last post got me to the stage of the process of having completed the anxiety inducing medical assessment on the 22nd May 2014
So I received a letter from the DWP dated the 10th June, which helpfully told me that they now had all the information they needed and would be in touch again soon.
On the 7th July 2014, 6 months after I returned the application paperwork I had a decision from the DWP on my PIP application. Thankfully they agreed to Personal Independence Payment to help support me financially.
Having finally got the process completed, I have extremely mixed emotions:
8th November 2014
Well, things are different, better, yes better and good, still traveling on the path to recovery, but better.
I had a break with dad in France in October (2013) and again he was telling me about this hypno-therapist that had worked 'magic' with people suffering anxiety and depression. Dad has been encouraging me to go see him, the therapist for some time, by that I mean for at least a year. So at the end of our break, I agreed I would make contact with the therapist and go see him.
A week after my return home, dad called and in passing asked if I had contacted the therapist. I replied am feeling better at the moment, so ‘no’, his reply was well if you are feeling better, then it is a good time to contact him - good point pops.
So after a brief telephone conversation I went to see my hypno-therapist. I had a two hour session, where we talked about my problems, focusing on my anxiety and IBS, which I knew were (note past tense) directly linked.
I am now going to attempt to describe my understanding of hypnotherapy, this being slanted by ignorance, scepticism and the unknown. The brain is in two halves, left and right. The left controls most day to day activities and the right works in the background keeping a check on things. His two examples which helped me were:
A bird pecks at the ground and finds food and seeds to eat, whilst he is concentrating on finding and eating the seed, he is also monitoring his surroundings to ensure he is not in danger; the left side of his brain is working on the food finding, whilst the right side is monitoring his surroundings in the background.
Second example, is whilst I am at a party talking intently to one person, I am still able to 'hear' if someone else in one of the many conversations going on in the room says something like: 'oh Adrian would be able to help you with that' I.e. left side having conversation and right hand side monitoring what is going on in background.
Now, my high anxiety means that the right hand side brain doing the monitoring role has gone into overdrive and is constantly sending alarm or warning signals because of previous experiences.
So what does solution hypnotherapy do, my interpretation as a client, don’t forget. The therapist talks to the right hand side of the brain changing the learnt or programmed thinking that keeps me in a high anxiety state. Because I don’t need to 'hear' this directly (remember background monitoring and thinking), I relax in a hypnosis state or as I decided to accept/call it a meditative state, whilst the therapist talks to your right hand side brain.
So sessions comprised a brief discussion of the problems and then what changes I had experienced or noticed. Then a gentle relax into a meditative state, whilst the therapist talked to my right hand side brain, and I listened (directly) or not. That was it! - from a patients, oops sorry- client perspective it was easy and not a great deal of effort needed on my part - to say the least.
So I had four double sessions, between each session I noticed I was less anxious and the constant worry was reducing, first week for a day after session and a day before next session. Following week few days each end of week. Now was very difficult times to, I had two periods of dark depressed mood during the therapy.
But overall, I have now lifted the overwhelming, constant high anxious state that I was in for the past few years. I am taking small steps; I go out on my own for small activities, like taking the dog for a walk, buying a paper, and getting the bread rolls from Lidl. Also, my bowels are significantly improved; I am not going to dwell on this in this post, but massively better.
You may have noticed my reference to scepticism earlier, I was massively unsure about this therapy, partly because dad presented it as a 'magic wand' solution and because of the reference to hypnotism. But my anxious state is lifted, no that coincides with new medication that I have been on for 3 months and the hypnotherapy sessions, whether it was all down to hypnotherapy or helped by medication, I don’t know and I suppose it doesn’t matter.
So I have lifted the anxiety, what is now clear is that I am still of the path or journey to recovery, because I am now struggling with new, other, hidden, revealed issues which i will talk about in a different Blog.
If you are thinking about hypnotherapy, are drawn to mediation, mindfulness then I think you should give it a go as PART of your recover journey.
4th January 2014
I have had a renewed effort to tackle my anxiety. I have been to a few group depression and anxiety meetings at Rushden Mind. I enrolled on a self esteem course too at Mind; sadly there were not enough attendees, so the course is postponed to November. I am also fast approaching the top of the list for a therapist.
In the meantime I am reading a Self Help book: The Complete CBT Guide for Anxiety and read How Not to Worry by Caroline Carr. The key message I am taking from the books is that I am now in numerous habits of avoidance to minimalise my anxiety. But as this is preventing me from doing things I wish to do. I have started tackling the issues and reversing my habits.
One of the key anxiety problems I have is that I worry about my bowels, I have IBS and have changed my diet and started using Regucol, which is helping. Obviously getting anxious triggers bowel movements, so the IBS and Anxiety are aggravating each other more. So as I want to be able to go for walks, exercise helps IBS and Anxiety and losing weight will help my self esteem, I have bitten the bullet and started walking.
I have started walking by: taking small steps (excuse the pun); I went for a walk around the block with Eddie, our Parsons Terrier. Then I walked into our town, a little further and more people, then I went into the town and bought a paper, some days I wore my incontinent pants for insurance, the rest I took a jumper so if I had an accident I could tie it round my waist. I had my mobile and my wife was on standby to collect me if anything went wrong. I wanted to walk in the morning as that is when my IBS is at its peak.
So, I am a few weeks in now, and today I walked my old favourite walk with Eddie, down to Irthlingborough lakes and Meadows and the River Nene. I then walked my old circuit around the lakes with minimal thoughts about my bowels. On the way home I even took a detour to walk down some back streets I hadn't been down before. Got home safely, relaxed and pleased with my self. So much so that I have used a Google map to mark out my route around Irthlingborough lakes, and Irthlingborough Greenway
So ready for my next walk tomorrow, how about you Eddie?
Well, I put it off last week, but today I made another step forward.
Following my assessment at Mind a few weeks ago, we agreed that I would try counseling and attend the Anxiety & Depression Group.
I attended my first Mind 'Anxiety and Depression Group'. This was the first of any group session for me and I was, not surprisingly, anxious, but whilst it had been on my mind leading up to today, it was not all consuming worrying thankfully. I managed to do a few things this morning rather than just obsessing about the session.
My wife dropped me off and I went in on my own to Mind's office in Rushden and to the group session. It was good, there was around 7 of us and a facilitator. We took it in turns to talk about our week and I used the opportunity to explain a little about my background.
Overall it was a good session, I particularly liked meeting other sufferers and hearing their experiences and each of us relating to others experiences and feeling. The group felt safe and relaxed. I find the whole Mind office environment feels very safe - which is very important to me.
So I have come away pleased, slightly worried about how I put things about the kids, but they will get to know me better over time and I them.
So that is a date in my diary for each Monday and a big thanks to @rushdenmind
22nd July 2013
Hi, moneys getting tight for us as well as many many other households. I must admit I am a keen fan of Lidl's and my distrust and hate of Tesco's grows every day, but lots not go there today.
Many purpose of this blog is that I wanted to check my own benefits entitlement as we have had a few changes. I used the government one - Benefits Adviser which i found poor as it didn't touch on DLA or CA. But then found via my trusty pal, Martin Lewis entitledto, which i found was great to use and you could enter different scenerios and see what the effect was on most benefits. So if you need a to check your benefit entitlement, I suggest entitledto
By the way, having worked solidly for 30 years and paid a fortune in tax, 'entitled to' is what I and the majority of others are, when it comes to the benefit system.
6th June 2013
Martin Lewis (Money Savings Expert) & Mind have released their 2013 Guide to Mental Health and Debt. Well worth a read if you are struggling. Click Anxiety and Debt for pdf version.
I can also recommended My Money Steps which is part of National Debtline. This is all truly independent and no fees! I have used them for a senior family member and sorted out her credit card and loan problems very easily.
6th June 2013
My Anxiety was asked: 'My friends have a middle aged son with mental health illnesses who can no longer work, what financial help & support is available for him? He is struggling more and we are getting older and are worried about him now and when we are gone'
The first step is for him to acknowledge that he is ill and go to his GP for help.
For mental illnesses the GP may treat the illness in terms of medication and/or therapy at the primary care level, or they may refer the person to secondary care and the mental health team for medication and therapy. He will need a medical certificate if he wants to claim sickness benefits.
Once you have a medical certificate and there is medical evidence/records of an illness he could submit a claim for Employment Support Allowance , which is managed by the Department of Work and Pensions, like Jobsseekers Allowance.
If the initial application satisfies the DWP they will make payments whilst they investigate and you attend a medical. If the person does not fully acknowledge their illness and discuss it openly they will NOT pass the medical. See my recent blog on Atos Medical
Following the medical the DWP will write to advise whether their application has been accepted and how long before a review is required (6 to 24 months)
Link to ESA claim details: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/overview
If someone is successful with an ESA application they may want to consider a Disabled Living Allowance which comprises of a care element and a support element.
Link to DLA Claim: https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit
Details of the benefits available for people who are ill can be found at my benefits post, click on each of the tittles to access more information from government websites.
To help matters the government is changing both the ESA and DLA benefits at the moment.
To be blunt if the person is not able to acknowledge their illness and seek and engage in medication and therapy treatment - then the benefits system is likely to fail them completely.
More help can also be found at http://www.mind.org.uk/ and http://www.sane.org.uk/
18th March 2013
I am an individual diagnosed with anxiety & depression in 2009 following a mental breakdown; I was also diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2000.
My privacy is important to me, as when I have bad mental health periods I can destroy everything I have created online, then have to rebuild it again from scratch. I am therefore trying to prevent my name being associated to the site, so if I have another bad period I might not destroy this version of My Anxiety.
I have worked in the property field my entire life; reaching senior level at a London based Organisation. I think a combination of work stress, an element of bullying, financial problems, not telling my employer I had Ulcerative Colitis and serious problems within my immediate family all contributed to my mental breakdown in 2009.
We now live in the East Midlands and to be honest I am a lot happier, even with my continuing mental health problems.
In 2009 I had no experience of website build, other than as a client to creative agencies. I have taught myself and learnt my website design and build skills by using resources from the internet and reading.
Managing and developing this website gives me pride & purpose and a safe area to spend my time.
14th January 2013
I have been taking 150mg of Trazodone at night for a week now, the good news is my head / mental health seems to be a lot better, I feel less anxious and depressed.
BUT I am suffering with aching joints, particularly my knees and back, find it difficult to physically get out of bed because I ache and feel so 'heavy', to the point I am close to calling my wife to help me out of bed.
I have found a number of discussions and acknowledgments of the problem of joint ache whilst taking Trazodone, but no one seems to be talking about what they or the doctor did about it. I would be reluctant to stop taking Trazodone because I feel so much better mentally. Anyone else got any experience of how they dealt with the pain?
14th January 2013
The medication I take of Trazodone, Pregabalin and Asacol Mesalazine tablets are working for me so I will continue with them
I am attending Solution Focused Brief Therapy every two weeks and find that very helpful; I always come away feeling more positive, happy and motivated.
I am spending a lot of time developing My Anxiety website, which is giving me focus and purpose. I am now considering establishing it as a charity so watch this space
I have had my bicycle repaired and want to start using it more. Physical activity helps both Ulcerative Colitis and depression and anxiety.
I am getting things done in our home, many things have been left like fitting the skirting board to the lounge and dining area and repairing the shower. I am not doing it myself I hasten to add, but have had builders into quote and one of them starts next week on the skirting board.
2013 has started well, I feel I have a purpose and a plan, which accommodates my mental health as it is, so I don’t have to think if only…. All of this is helped by knowing I have not got to prove that I am ill by attending a DWP ESA Medical until March 2014. I feel that they are leaving me alone for a bit.
11th January 2013
I have been on Trazodone 150mg for a week now.
Firstly Trazodone has stopped the awful side effects I was getting from Duloxetine withdrawal – which is great because the nightmares, dizziness, brain zaps and sleep problems where getting to much. So lesson learnt is always do what the doctor tells you...............
Secondly the Trazodone seems to be alleviating my anxiety and depressive moods. I sleep 8 hours a night and have no recollection of any nightmares in the morning.
Thirdly, whilst my head is better the physical effect on my body is significant, getting up is hard work and my whole body aches and is difficult to get started. During the day my joints ache and are slightly ceased, I suspect I am walking like an older man and have to be careful on the stairs. Hopefully this will pass once my body is used to the Trazodone
Trazodone is an older drug and part of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) group. I assume from the fact it stopped my withdrawal from Duloxetine that it is managing my serotonin levels, but in a slightly different way
So other than the fact my body aches and getting out of bed is so hard, the Trazodone is working. Given the choice between how my head was mentally before and the current physical difficulties, I would opt for taking the Trazodone any day.
Another benefit to me is I have a sense of purpose again, hence all the activity on My Anxiety website and establishing all the social media accounts
11th January 2013
I don’t know whether I am making a big mistake but I am trying to come off Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I have not taken Duloxetine for 5 days now, having slowly reduced my dosage over three weeks.............
I tried out a main stream mental health charity’s forum over three or four days...........
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