I’m sitting here in the “Upperdeck” restaurant in Falmouth, on a sunny Saturday morning, looking out over the marina. I’ve just passed my Yachtmaster Offshore Assessment. Koala is off the water and work on her should start soon. This year, I sailed in the UK Wayfarer Nationals, did the Ballyholme Icebreaker Series and am looking forward to the F18 Nationals in Galway Bay SC in a couple of weeks. Life couldn’t be better! Well, I sort of agree. This is a post that I have needed to write for a while, but never did.
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with depression. I was ashamed, embarrassed and confused. I ticked all the boxes – I had no motivation, I couldn’t sleep, I was irritable, very low and had really scary thoughts about my life and what was going on with it. Was it all worth it? Work related stress and pressures tipped me over the edge and I went to my GP. I was prescribed different drugs at different doses and advised to take some time off work. I didn’t. I was sure I could continue and the drugs would “sort me out”. I told very few friends, some work colleagues and my immediate family. Nobody needed to know. I was convinced that all was good and I could continue with everything.
In April this year, everything came to a head. I had a “bit of a meltdown”. I was a mess. It’d seen the signs but didn’t want to believe them. I was (and still am!) massively overweight. I ended up back at my GP on a Monday morning, thankful for a cancellation. I broke down. Eventually, he asked me if I was going to listen to him this time and take time off work. I did. The next few weeks were tough. I changed medication. That took almost two months. I go to an outpatients mental health unit every fortnight. I speak to my GP pretty regularly. I have my family. I have a couple of friends in work who are great – Steve, Ian and Jen in particular – and friends in Greystones that I have known all my life. Emily and Heather. People I trust.
So it is the 26th of August. I am still off work. I have ups and downs. Big highs. Family, friends, sailing, wildlife, walking, bird ringing, learning to paraglide. It can all change at the flick of a switch. Every now and again it happens. I don’t know why but I am starting to recognise it happening. I need to be alone. Sometimes I am scared. I don’t talk. Maybe I will walk. Or sleep. Or sit and look down into the depths. I have driven to hospital if it feels particularly scary. But it’s getting better. It may last a day. Or a week. Or two weeks. And then it ends. I won’t know when it will turn. A day? I hope not. I know it will and hope I can deal with it. The more I do, the easier it gets.
So what’s next? I want (and need) to get back to work. The F18 nationals. Two hulls. 20+ knots. Family, the garden and unfinished projects. And of course Koala!
I’ll write a separate post on the Yachtmaster assessment – an interesting experience!