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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Why can't you see when I am ill...(part one)

Clearly, one of the biggest chapters in my life is that I have had to live with the mental state of anxiety and depression. Not only in me but also in my wife as well, because she has endured everything that I have gone through, supported me, cared for me, coped and put up with me and on some occasions walked out in anger because of this.

This is not something that can be cured…you can’t just wave it away and it’s gone like a pesky fly…this is something you have to learn to live with and when you become aware it is creeping up on you then one should do something about…otherwise it becomes too late and you become ill, really ill.  

It is hard to say when this actually started but it is likely to have emanated from when we entered into a debt management programme (DMP). This was back in 2009 and it just happened that a past friend of mine died, news I did not want to deal with but somehow had to show that I cared enough to grieve, and also at the time there were some major changes happening at work. Gosh, work! This was to be the one biggest contributory factor of all and I just did not know it or too scared to face up to it I suppose.

So, in trying to deal with our personal problems, and my annoyance with work, things began to take their toll, not only on me but on my wife as well. The biggest shock to my system were the words of the debt counsellor, we had all our banking with one high street bank, account, credit cards, loans, mortgage, and her words were blunt, “Michael, you need to change your bank if you want to stay in your house. Do that tomorrow without fail…”

Her words kept ringing in my head as she explained that your bank doesn’t care if money in your account is for the mortgage payment, if you owe towards the credit card and that bill is due, your bank has power to just take it without notice, “…change your bank!”

From then on things changed, I changed, in my attitude, mood, relationships, at work, at home. I took my anger out on material things at work and at the same time took on more hours, because a colleague was off ill! Outside of work, yes I went to my friend’s funeral, a sad affair to say; yet going into debt, and constant calls from creditors, brought me and my wife closer. Consequence of it all, my sleep patterns changed, took less time on my personal hygiene, changed my clothes less often and what I didn’t notice or wanted to ignore was the fear of work. A fear of work, fear, fear, fear!

I was like a pressure cooker, so built up with steam, trying to push the lid off just wanting, not to explode, but waiting for the chef to come along and relieve the pressure. This I knew was not going to happen and blindly I carried on a downward path. So by the time of the summer, and having finished an exhausting week of toil at work my wife took one look at me, “Michael, you’re not going to work today. Look at you! You’re going to the doctor’s…” I was sat down and shaking, I was tired, I was moody, I was tearful, I was hating everything around me, I was hating all my thoughts. I was ill!

My wife wouldn’t let me drive the short journey to the surgery; she booked a taxi as I was in no fit state to drive. She had phoned my work to tell them I would not be there, which clearly they did not like…I could tell from the way she had spoken to them…and so to the doctor we went, and through the shaking and tears told him of how I felt. It really didn’t need explaining, he sort of reached for the sick notes and prescription pad and signed me off work and put me on meds that would help me cope. He knew! Signed me off indefinitely! I was in a world of disbelief…I had anxiety, I had depression!
(to be continued...)