A minor milestone for my Dyspraxia blog – the 100th official post! A celebratory post was in order, but with how everything has transpired these past few months that would have been an insult to me and an injustice to this blog. Over the past few months, I have worked on a project on depression and the fight that comes with it. For such a vital topic for mental health awareness, it is fitting it gets to be Post Number 100.
Before I went away I was being crushed into the ground from a high amount of anxiety and stress, with energy depleting rapidly and pushing me towards meltdown I have to say it is one of the worst spells of depression I have had in a while.
A Quick Recap
2016 isn’t what I would have called a smooth year by any means of the word, but I felt secure. I had a job and was working steadily towards a Diploma Level 3 in Business Administration, life for me was on track.
Then 2017 happened. Before I knew it my job role was being made redundant and other personal events happened. With the looming thought of having to go back on to benefits, and back to the Job Centre, it was a race against time to find employment and finish my Level 3 within 2 months. (Originally it was 1 month, but luckily I had an extension to my employment contract). To complete a whole year’s worth of work in 2 months was within my power, but it would (and did) take a lot of time and energy to achieve it.
A day after my employment ended, my course was 100% done. At the end, I was burned out, but at least it was one less thing on my mind to worry about. I didn’t have time to stop and rest though because I hadn’t been successful in getting another employment. The task of finding a job had to continue, under the scrutiny of the Jobcentre. This pushed me into a low point. To add to my troubles my blog goes offline, and I thought I had lost everything. Fortunately, I only lost some content, but it did set me back. (One reason why it has taken so long to get this project uploaded.)
It is certainly a major factor in many of our lives, mine included, whether that is directly and/or indirectly. I’ve talked briefly about my depression before, but haven’t really properly addressed it on my blog.
Depression is not the easiest subject to talk about either. One reason is how much depth to it there is. Another reason is a coping mechanism to my depression is to fight the dark times with dark humour. It is far too easy for me to tackle the dark subject with heavy sarcasm and a cynical approach. The major problem with dark humour is that it can come off as brash or even offensive.
The sarcastic side may lead people not taking what I have to say seriously or may cause offence. Even the name of this blog ‘Dyspraxic Fantastic’ has been faced with minor controversy in its early days. Therefore, I took my time to collect my thoughts and piece together my contribution to depression in a way that’s constructive. With the pressures of recent times pushing me into such a state, it gave me the inspiration to finally piece together my post about depression. Depression is indeed a vast topic and I have decided split it up into this post and a page. This post is focused on my major struggle with depression. The page I have created is about the general information.
My Depression. My Own Fight.
Over the years I can say that my depression hit me hardest growing up through school. It is quite common for pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to go through emotional struggles, and especially for those who have Dyspraxia or any disability, condition, or learning difference. I have decided to focus this post towards that period.
Students relentlessly bullied me for being different and the fact they got away with it only caused more major problems. The situation I faced caused regular anxiety, sleep deficiency, sleep paralysis attacks, and suicidal thoughts before I was 8 years old. This combination put me in a constant depressive state. I had a single strong friend by my side during these times, she kept me fairly stable, but that only slowed down the spiralling whirlpool my self-esteem was trapped in.
My parents were called into school on a weekly basis because of a problem surrounding the bullying, my emotions, and school-work. My parents would explain reasonable adjustments that could help me and ease the anxiety. The teacher would accept what was said, but then not even carry out it. Then my parents would be called in the next week to, yet again, go over the same problem and for them to discuss the same solution only for the teacher to, yet again, not do anything about it.
I was in a constant fragile state, my parents were powerless to do anything, and the school’s own neglect just made each day more difficult to handle than the last. This state made me on edge all the time and I was easily triggered into emotional outbursts; petty things like comments about my looks would easily upset me. My ears used to stick out, so the usual nicknames were thrown my way constantly. Eventually, I hit an extremely bad low from an awful school day. On that day I was defeated and came home in tears, despite my mum’s attempt at reassurance I was too emotionally destroyed at that point. I put my mother into a difficult position, that I wanted my ears fixed or I would kill myself because I couldn’t cope with the abuse anymore.
As a last-ditch lifeline to help stop the bullying I wanted plastic surgery to ‘correct’ my ears (A procedure known as ‘having your ears pinning back’.) Which eventually happened just before my 9th birthday. Afterwards, the bullying eased a fair bit. Whether that was because the trigger was eliminated, I had become stronger as a result of my ‘journey’ (it wasn’t exactly a simple one), or those that bullied felt guilty for how far they pushed me and eased off, I don’t really know. What I do know is it really did save me and I survived the rest of primary school.
During my time in the hospital my uncle gave me a couple of Pokémon card packs, this card stood out among the others and is one of my most prized cards. A reminder of how close to the abyss I was. The fact it has claws in the shape of the Grim Reaper’s Scythe is probably a mere coincidence.
I attended one of the ‘best’ secondary schools in the area. This school promised stricter rules towards bullying and they had a strong anti-bullying policy. In reality, they didn’t do much to help. The Head of Year was a great teacher and the only one who truly understood what was going on and helped the best she could. The problem was she retired after two years into my secondary school life – everything spiralled out of control from there on out.
The latter years of my primary were bearable enough as the bullying had eased allowing me to survive the last two years without incident. Secondary School was a whole new matter though. The bullying and abuse became far worse and sent me back into an emotional spiral. I was no longer suffering from regular sleep paralysis attacks, but the anxiety was still hanging around like a gloomy doom cloud and growing at an alarming rate.
I was signed up for the school’s ‘Student Support Base’ (SSB), the support group was for those with difficulties and disabilities. This was a double-edged sword. It helped a bit having a sanctuary and support, but being part of that group only added fuel to the spite and bullying.
My depressive mindset was not helped by the fact the French teacher’s way of dealing with the bullying was to isolate me – a tactic that some other teachers began to use against me as time passed. What the teacher had provided was a game, how long would it take for me to be isolated and who would cause the last act that got me removed.
Being isolated for being bullied is a story that doesn’t apply to just me, but one that keeps cropping up. It hits me hard to know that these tactics are still used.
My mental health stability was becoming very worrisome. I was certainly in a very dark place…the suicidal thoughts had returned. My doctor picked up on this and was, unsurprisingly, very concerned. He strongly advised that I see a psychologist, I was around 14 at the time.
My Emotional Meltdown
The psychologist used tactics to gain my trust and to get me to open up to her. During conversations she got me talking about my hobbies and interests. One such interest was my fascination with science-y stuff – especially glow-in-the-dark items. A few weeks later she gave me a glow-in-the-dark stegosaurus, to help gain my trust and for me to open up more.
Personally, I didn’t need her to try anything like that, I was just glad to talk to someone who would listen and try to help. It didn’t take long for them to realise how tightly wound my emotions were and how dangerously close to meltdown I was. With nearly 10 years of emotional build up, I was literally on the edge and all that repressed emotion was going to break me very soon if steps were not taken. She had concluded the major problems and had worked out a solution that would help me back on track. With the written report it was sent to the school.
The school denied her requests. This neglect and extremely stupid, and rather poor, decision sped up my decline and after only a few more weeks I was pushed into total meltdown. Emotionally wrecked, I lost all care as my depression and anxiety crashed together. Luckily I was stopped from doing anything stupid and no one, myself included, was hurt.
The Turning Point
The school had learned a very powerful lesson. While they outright failed me as a person, those who follow will have a better chance at being helped so the same mistake cannot be repeated. My meltdown caused a new change in me; I created a defensive shell to protect what was left of my crippled mental state and simply hid away. With my new shell, I had become stronger, not caring what people said anymore. The friends I once had were now distant, but on the flip side so were my enemies. I was happy with that, solitude became my close friend and ally.
The school decided to take action (better late than never…right?) and removed me from all classes to spend lessons with a 1-to-1 support teacher in the Support Base. With no stress, distractions, or bullies my predicted grades improved dramatically. It was too late to gain great GCSE results, but they turned out better than expected.
Since then I have slowly built my social skills up and have slowly crawled out of my shell (some people have taken a vital role in this process, not giving me a chance to sink back in). To help myself I’ve taken on responsibilities and projects (this blog, for example) to help keep focus and always feel I have a purpose. In recent years I have established my social skills and have gained a few close friends. I’m still a socially awkward dyspraxic, but I’ve accepted that’s who I am.
During the years of my steady improvement, I have been knocked back several times by events and people, plus the battles with my own emotions. I don’t feel the need to add these additional knock-backs here as it won’t add anything to the post and would just make it drag on longer than needed.
The Depression, the anxiety, the stress, and the Dyspraxic moments still hit me, some days more than others. Although, in recent times I can handle it better and keep pushing through.
I do get random days where my depression hits me for no reason, but it normally doesn’t last longer than a few days, a week at most. With positive thinking and other techniques, I can slowly pull myself out of my depression pit. However, the longer my depressive spell lasts the harder it is to cope with it and beat it. With so much anxiety and the events early this year, it certainly was a difficult few months. Emotionally I am still all over the place, slowly becoming more positively stable. With the supportive friends and crew around me, along with that lengthy break, I got through the majority of the low points. My blog finally ready again I certainly feel in a better frame of mind.
This post has been a long time coming and during that time I was successful in gaining a short-term contract of employment – which has greatly improved my self-esteem and helped put me back on track. Things are on back on the up. I’m still finding my feet though and finding I have regular short bursts of low points.
Depression: The Internal Fight Page
Suffering from depression, having low points and trouble with my self-esteem was one of the major factors to start this whole website in the first place. Since the beginning of Dyspraxic Fantastic, I’ve always wanted to include a page about depression – and finally, I have had the inspiration to create and upload such a page.
Not everyone with Dyspraxia suffers from Depression and not everyone with Depression has Dyspraxia. Even so, a page on Depression would be useful for anyone seeking help, regardless if the reader has Dyspraxia or not. Many people, including ones close to me, also suffer from depression and I know an informative page can be very useful.
On this post, I have really skipped over the many factors of depression, such as the symptoms and details on ways to beat it. I’ve left those details for the page so I didn’t end up doing too much overlapping.
Writing a page on depression has been the biggest challenge for me for this blog so far, as I’ve had to dive headfirst into the dark chasm to fish for information and thoughts. It has been a slow journey to build up this project while juggling the other important things in my life. I have finally completed and uploaded the page; so here’s the link:
Wrapping up this post
This post was a chance for me to voice more about my depression and introduce the page. Get a load of things off my mind and help to keep moving forward. The page focuses on the core facts on depression and holds the information I know, learned, and gathered.
I apologise for the delays in my blog’s content, not just this post but other updates and sometimes even disappearing for long periods of time. There are many times when I find it incredibly difficult to write, this is can be due to my depression hitting me, lack of inspiration or ideas, or being incredibly busy with other tasks/commitments.
I keep saying it, but I do mean it sincerely; thanks to everyone who sticks by waiting patiently. Waiting for new content or is just supportive of my current content – I really do appreciate each one of you, and it brings me a smile and a little cheer every time I get notified of a new follower, message, like or share. Thank-you all!!