By Des Lawrence
I was diagnosed 8 years ago with Schizophrenic bipolar depression, at the time I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Now a few years wiser, with medication to help manage my illness I’m doing a lot better than I was back then.
When I was diagnosed I was struggling to keep a job, lost all my close relationships, was isolated -which I was doing to myself not only with my toxic behaviour but also by becoming withdrawn.
Now, I’m married, head of an international department, own a house and have a strong social network of friends and family.
The difference between who I was then and who I am now is down to two main things:
1. I take medication daily (I’m on the highest dosage possible for type I take), this helps me manage my illness, it doesn’t cure it. There are still things I need to do to ensure that I am helping the medication do it's job. Things like eat healthy food, take walks and get some exercise, talk to my wife or close friends about what I’m going through…
2. This is one of the most important ones that I find helps me - I need to give myself a break. I need a break from the world, from my job, from my friends, family and wife. There are days where I just need to recharge, often these days are times that I prefer to spend alone (as that’s where I get my energy from) creating, crafting or cycling. You see I’ve found that I’m introverted and being around people takes a lot of my energy. I can go through life eating well, talking to people and doing everything by the book. But if I don’t get some quality me alone time, then my illness starts to creep in and take time for me.
When you find out you have depression you feel like a failure. But the thing is depression is an illness, sometimes it’s curable, sometimes it’s not (like mine). No matter what type of depression you have, you will need to set some boundaries. These boundaries are there to protect you and your family and friends. They’re not there for any other reason.
What kind of boundaries you may ask? Well that is up to you. Like me you may need some “me” time once in a while, other people may need to be in social environments, some may feel they need to de-stress by going for walks. Whatever that thing is that recharges your battery. MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO IT. Otherwise, your illness will get the better of you.