Louise: Coping through escape
During my blue periods my actress side has to kick in.
I’m involved in this project because of the stigma attached to mental health. I want people to know that all different walks of life can be affected. I want to hear other people’s stories and understand myself…what do I do when depressed to lift myself out of it?
My last breakdown was in August 2012, I was almost sectioned and am still kind of going through it. David [my husband] had no idea that it was coming. David is fantastic, he sits next to me, not touching but so I know he is there. He is a source of joy for me – laughter, security and love.
Preventative measures? It sounds pathetic but talking about it is good. I’ve started to go into why I’m feeling depressed. My body is a pressure cooker. It builds up inside of me, and letting out little bits of steam helps. I’ve only recently learnt how to cry. I was scared that if I started, I wouldn’t know how to stop. I saw it as a weakness. So many people have been through things and don’t experience depression, they are fine. Why can’t I? I have no coping mechanisms, I suppose that’s the problem.
I find escapism helps. I can read four books in a week easily. Anything – chicklit, Phillipa Gregory, CJ Sampson. I’m in a James Patterson phase right now. It’s somebody else’s world, so I don’t have to think about my own. It also activates my brain; I find that murder mysteries help with that too. I also enjoy puzzles, do you remember Sudoku? I do a lot of codeword puzzles right now.
People think that they’re experts because of things like Holby City. The main problem is that I’m usually so bubbly, so when I’m low they don’t think I’m depressed, they think I’m just being a moody bitch! I’ve had two major breakdowns and when people find out you can see they don’t believe me. Those who do think I’m bipolar because of my normal bubbliness, but I’m not. Obviously at work I have my work persona; during my blue periods my actress side has to kick in. I have to smile and be all “Hello!”, when 10 minutes earlier I could have been daydreaming about killing myself.
My mum lives across the road from us and will drag me out for a walk. Being physical helps. I hate it but mum thinks it’s good – annoyingly it works!