When I stopped working ten months ago because of my PTSD, I had no idea how long I would be too unwell to work. Finally with medication, therapy and self-care I'm finally ready to look for work, but how? Here's a few things I've learnt on my journey to find work after mental health absence.
Writing has become an essential self-help tool in my recovery from PTSD and depression. It came about at the lowest point and has helped me process things I cannot explain with words or other expression. When inspiration vanishes and I can't write I really panic about how I will manage my PTSD.
After spending a week back home alone catching up with DIY projects and gardening, I would like to share some of my hurdles and how I overcame them.
My mental health has kept me away from my home for ten months, some of which was as an inpatient on a psychiatric ward. Readjusting and coping with more responsibility on top of relentless anxiety, being away for so long has really made its mark.
I've always struggled with maintaining balance - to a point where I was admitted to hospital. I've been trying hard to follow direction and turn that into balancing out physical and mental activities to improve my health. Wish me luck.
I have always loved my job, even the rough bits but when my PTSD finally stopped me working, I have yet to find the nerve to return to my nursing career.
Since engaging with mental health services this year, I have been asked so many times about how I was before complex PTSD but I find it almost impossible to answer that question, I struggle to remember myself or reconnect with memories already made.
I have always been very independent, even as a small child so coming to rely on people for the sake of my mental and physical health has been so tough on me but we're managing, which is all I can ask for.
Not doing things 'by halves' is something I have always been known for. Also getting very deeply into things as a way to avoid and burning out by overdoing it for another.
I hate writer's block just as much as the next writer but how much of my creative failing is related to my anxiety and depression?
Motivation was not a problem of mine until was diagnosed with PTSD but it has hit me hard since then, like moving in an inflatable sumo suit filled with sand but I've learnt a few tricks in battling it.
Football has always been a helpful presence in my life, playing loads as a child and watching it as often as possible as an adult. I love my favourite team and how well it distracts me from the horrors in my mind called PTSD.
I decided to go vegan for the first time when I was mentally and physically run down after starting out as a newly qualified nurse. Eventually I was forced to have time off - the perfect time to sort my physical and mental health, starting with diet. Since then, I have developed a healthy balance.
Anxiety has stopped me doing so many things; then I noticed that those things might have helped me cope with my anxiety, and therefore I'm trapped in an endless cycle. But recently I decided to push through the initial 'I can't' to determine if that is really true.
I started writing as a way to express some of the awful things in my head that just kept going around and around when I was unable to do so verbal. Writing is still the only way I can say somethings. Poetry allows you to speak honestly and say things you couldn't any other way.
Writing played a part in saving my life. It came around right on time too. I began writing when I was no longer able to work, a short poem that summarised the noise in my mind at the time which was followed by another and another. Writing is therapy.
Music has always been a strong part of my life, even from a very young age. But when symptoms of PTSD and depression have emerged in my life, it feels like I disconnect of the music I have always loved. Which is precisely when music is most needed for self-soothing.
When I was child, I believed I was a curse. It seemed that everything I did made things worse, including being born and the abuse I was subject to. I worried relentlessly about my mum and younger siblings and couldn't do enough to keep them safe. Hence, the little curse.
During my time as a psychiatric patient, I was subject to all levels of prescribed safety measures put in place to reduce my risk of being successful in suicide. Here, I try to explain how these felt more like punishments and how unjust this felt when I had committed no crime.
This is about my journey in a psychiatric hospital and who I managed with the rapidly fluctuating energies I shared the ward with.
Here is my experience of being in a psychiatric ward as I recover from PTSD and depression.
Learning that recovery is going to be neither easy or straight forward is difficult when you're really struggling just to exist. Learning to hear 'recovery is not linear' is harder.
I have struggled my whole life as a result of experiencing and witnessing abuse and violence at the hands of my father but never told a soul. Being a parent for my younger siblings made me tough and independent so I kept my worries and poor mental health to myself until I unravelled last year.