I’m Back!: Mental Health and Taking Breaks

Wow, it’s been about two months since I’ve posted anything on this site. For the two month period, I was also inactive on Instagram, but now I feel ready to return. This isn’t going to be a post about skincare or makeup, or anything related to the beauty industry, but instead will be a focus on mental health; in particular, my own personal relationship with mental health and why taking this break was important for me.

I’ve suffered from both depression and anxiety from a young age. It’s difficult to pinpoint when exactly I started feeling these emotions, but if I had to guess I’d probably say I was about twelve-years-old when I noticed I felt different to my peers, who were mostly neurotypical. In February of 2017 I started taking an antidepressant, Sertraline, which was prescribed by a doctor after a suspiciously quick consultation: I explained why I was there, presented the doctor with a list of symptoms I’d been experiencing (I’ve never been good at articulating myself verbally), and was handed a prescription. Whilst I was apprehensive at first and had been for a few years on the topic of antidepressants, I started taking them and haven’t regretted it. I’m still on them now, and recently my dose was actually increased, which was another good decision. Comparing my life pre- and post-antidepressants, it’s difficult and gets a bit blurry, but I can say with certainty that I am in a better place now than I was two years ago. My confidence has rapidly increased, my social anxiety is barely noticeable anymore, my self-esteem is improving, and I’m slowly but surely finding a way to create lasting relationships. My long-term goal is to feel comfortable enough to stop taking the tablets, but I’m only doing that once I have the correct support system in place, which for me involves going through some form of psychotherapy. I’ve been on a waiting list for CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) since April of this year, and I’m estimated to be at the front of the queue by February/March of 2019. It’s a long wait, but I’m hoping it will give me the tools to tackle life free from antidepressant dependency.

So, how does this relate to the past two months?

Occasionally I go through dark periods where I find it very difficult to motivate myself to do much of anything at all. This goes for things such as writing blog posts and being active on Instagram, as well as more basic things like feeding and taking care of myself. At the beginning of September, I handed in my master’s dissertation, releasing me from a load of stress. However, the sudden lack of a goal or direction in life sent me spiralling, and I quickly lost all motivation and energy. Getting up each day has been hard-work, trying to motivate me to even eat some days was a task. This slump was part of the reason the dosage of my antidepressants was increased, and I think I am now in this moment feeling the benefits. My motivation is finally coming back to me, and I really want to be more active under the banner of Queer Skincare to provide trustworthy and reliable content that helps to inform an LGBTQ+ readership, as well as to allies.

Having gone through this two month period of doing nothing but working a mind-numbing day job and spending my evenings a depressed slob, I realise that taking breaks is important. At first, I felt guilty for not being about to do what I usually did, or what I usually wanted to do. I felt guilty for not being productive and placed limits on myself that weren’t really there, which just induced stress. Taking a break when you need it for the sake of your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. It is an act of self-care and is incredibly important. Without taking breaks, you risk burning yourself out, which won’t do anything good for your mental health.

If I don’t bounce immediately back to regular posts, I’m sorry. I just need a little bit of time to warm up, but I’m trying my best to get myself into a mindset of creation instead of letting myself be dragged down by inner demons and demoralising thoughts.

If you’ve been affected by mental health in some way (which I’m sure most of us have, unfortunately), feel free to reach out to me either here or on my Instagram. I’m always here to chat.

Thank you for your support and I can’t wait to get back into making content for you.

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