NB: This is part of the blogseries, A Letter to a Supporting Person, and should be read in order.
I have been very lucky growing up, certainly in this context because of my dad. He had a very close group of friends. I grew up with them around – our families, their children, grew up together. Mike, Peter, and Alex. A family friend passed away at the beginning of the year, this was Peter, and a great devastation to myself. On my trip up north, I grew much closer with Alex, who has lived there during my lifetime. I stayed with their family and formed a permanent bond with them also. On hearing what was going on, I got texts and calls from both Alex and Mike. They were there for the long haul, like they always have been. For better or worse, to help in any – and every – way they could. Just like my parents. They treated me, and thought of me as if I was one of their own children, they always have. Such is the bond of our families. It was at this point Mike grew into becoming my support person. Having suffered with Depression most of his adult life, I could open up to him in ways I couldn’t to most. I remember one conversation with them in which I would end everything with “if that makes sense…?”, he understood. Well no, he didn’t; but what he said next, something at the time I felt only someone who had lived through this could truly understand, “It doesn’t have to make sense, not to me, not to you. That is depression.”
On my next visit to my GP, and for most other appointments hereafter, I pushed my Mum aside as much as I could, choosing to only have Mike there – he was my choosen support person. All I wanted to do was protect my Mother, hide her from the terrible things that were going on in my mind. I wanted to be strong for her, take away her worry. I had slept for only 8 hours the past week and had slumped into a near unresponsive depression. I could see the looks of worry and concern on their faces, but I could no longer fully hide my depression from anyone. I was prescribed Zopiclone (sleeping pills) and Escitalopram (an antidepressant). Zopiclone is highly addictive and was only a short term solution to my sleep disturbances. The hope was, with proper sleep I would get into a healthy cycle of sleep; and with an increasing titration of Escitalopram, my depression could be controlled and one day the Escitalopram would not be required. I still wasn’t eating. The Zopiclone gave me nights of a few hours sleep, but I refrained from taking it, it was after all not a permanent solution and I needed to try force myself into an appropriate sleep pattern. Within a few days I was feeling better, the Escitalopram must be working. It didn’t remove the suicidal thinking, nor any of the internal physical or psychological problems. I still felt down, anxious and stressed. Lost and confused, disengaged from the world and alone. It removed all my feelings when I did feel down. The more I thought about it, the more unsure I became. I didn’t have any of the negative emotions “pushing” me to want to do something, but the positive, empathetic emotions stopping me were no longer there either.
To be continued…
Where to get help in New Zealand
If you live in another country click here.
IF SOMEONE IS AT IMMINENT RISK OF HURTING THEMSELVES OR SOMEONE ELSE CALL 111 AND ASK FOR AN AMBULANCE IMMEDIATELY.
- 1737 (24/7) – Free call or txt 1737
- Lifeline (24/7) – 0800 543 354, or free txt 4357
- Depression Helpline (24/7) – 0800 111 757
- Healthline (24/7) – 0800 611 116
- Samaritans (24/7) – 0800 726 666
- Alcohol Drug Helpline (24/7) – 0800 787 797
- Suicide Crisis Helpline (24/7) – 0508 828 865
- Youthline (24/7) – 0800 376 633, or free txt 234 (8am-midnight)
- Kidsline (24/7) – 0800 543 754 (18 & under)
Mental health crisis team (for emergencies only, 111 should be your first point of call if there is imminent risk of harm):
- Wellington (24/7) – 0800 745 477
- Canterbury (24/7) – 0800 920 092
- Auckland (24/7) – 0800 800 717
If you live outside these regions, please visit https://www.health.govt.nz/…/menta…/crisis-assessment-teams… for the appropriate contact details.