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The start of recovery

A little over three years ago, I made an appointment with my doctor after years of thinking I could work it out on my own. In the previous years I had come close to suicide a number of times, including three days or so before my appointment. I didn't expect much from the doctor and thought if it didn't work out I could carry out my plans. So there I was in reception close to tears, looking at the young girl opposite with her mum, clearly ill and in need of attention. I was eventually called though. Having put this moment out of mind. I was finally sat in front of the doctor, my life about to change forever. "I am feeling suicidal". I was in tears but I had said it. It was real and couldn't be undone. The consultation did not go as I'd hoped, not that I knew what I was hoping for. I was told to look up Anxiety UK, was given a prescription for anti-depressants and a list of suggested psychologists to contact. And I was also given an appointment to see the doctor in two weeks, the only thing that stopped my plan. After getting back home I picked up my prescription so nervous, sure everyone knew what I was, whilst also knowing they couldn't possibly know. I knew the chemist would think me weak but I thanked her. I got back home, thoroughly drained. I left the prescription in the kitchen and flopped on the sofa staring into nothing.

My wife got back to work, instantly in tears on seeing I had been to the doctor, and joined me in the living room. She had been hoping I would see a doctor for years. That was the start and the next day although reluctant Lisa went back to work. I got up, still incredibly low but with no idea what to do next. I had been signed off work, I'd picked up my prescription but now I was alone - again.

No one ever advises of what to do or how to cope and I wonder if others who have been in that position feel similar. I couldn't concentrate to read, I had little energy to even go to the kitchen and there was a strange guilt thinking I should be at work, that there wasn't anything really wrong with me. I eventually contacted a psychologist, I ate the meals my wife cooked, I took my pills and started watching a Netflix series on money laundering (still not able to let go of work). I also searched the internet and read an awful lot on depression, anxiety and page after page from Psychology Today.

From those early days, I think staying in a routine of getting up, cleaning my teeth, showering and dressing helped. We keep fish and feeding them also helped. I made and ate breakfast out of habit but it got me going, even if I never strayed further than the sofa.

The point is, I was not prepared for any of it and there is no manual saying what to do or how to cope. I made that appointment with a psychologist and returned to see the doctor. I slowly started to recover but I also suffered many setbacks. I am still on that road and I understand myself so much better. There are still days when I feel I can't go on, but I have learned to deal with them better and they no longer last for weeks or more. There is hope, there is improvement, but it takes time. Don't put yourself under pressure. Let it happen in time. Getting into a routine helps, but if you can't get out of bed, stay there. You are in charge of your own recovery. If you can, read stories of how others cope and recover. But take everything at your own pace. I felt awful seeing the doctor. I don't want others to feel that way. I want them to have hope to receive the care they deserve. I want them to have access to services they need, even if not through Manx Care. Our website has a directory of services available and a wealth of information; through our Facebook group you will meet others who have been through what you are experiencing. We meet up for coffee in a safe environment to talk about whatever you want. Take care and remember we care.

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