At times, you don’t even know what it is like to feel normal. GROW Mental Health Series

“I spent 35 years of my life taking different amounts and types of mental health medications. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in my early twenties and back then they would just prescribe tablets. It felt like a hit and miss thing from them. If I still felt bad or began to feel bad again a few weeks later, they would up my dose or give me stronger tablets.  Before you know it, your head is in the clouds and it stayed there for years on end. At times, you don’t even know what it is like to feel normal. There was a time when I was taking ungodly amounts of tablets. I was taking antidepressants, mood stabilisers, anti-anxiety medications, sleeping tablets. On bad days, I was taking the stronger ones of everything. Then one day to another, I’d feel better and go cold turkey. I learned the hard way that that’s not the right way. There were times when I tried to quit life itself; I felt so helpless. I’m not saying that the medications never helped, they certainly did, but the fact that there were no counselling or recovery groups around back then is just unbelievable. My depression was treated like a sore back. No questions asked about personal life, nutrition, exercise or the state of my mind in general. I suppose it was not their thing to ask – but for that reason, I reckon every GP should have a Grow poster and a leaflet in their waiting area. Nobody should have to do this alone. Meds are only a small part of your treatment and you can get out of mental health issues with community programmes like Grow Mental Health and Suicide Survive. I think their programmes should be next to the GP on the initial treatment list for people suffering with mental health issues.”

Lorraine joined her Grow group in September 2020 and she loves her group. In particular the way, the group members encourage her to “resume quickly and move on”, if she has had a setback or a bad week. They make sure she doesn’t dwell! She then does this for others in the group on the weeks she is doing well and they may not be.

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This piece has been highlighted by Grow Mental Health, through funding provided by ‘The Healthy Ireland Fund supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth”