My transformation wouldn’t be complete without talking abut my mental health, for me its not only been a physical battle but also a mental battle. So today I am opening up with my story about my mental health journey during my weight loss. I would say now, even though I don’t go into major details I will keep label this post as a trigger warning for anyone dealing with anxiety and depression.
I feel like these last two years it has started to become “okay” with talking about one’s mental health. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t open before but I definitely felt that I couldn’t really talk to anyone with how I was feeling. Since I was 17 I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, this is where I would have anxiety over any situation that I may find uneasy. For me, this was pretty much everything in my life. Starting in the gym was definitely a game changer for my anxiety, I went from having panic attacks 3-4 times a week to 1 every other month, my anxiety started to eased up the more confident I got but, that hasn’t been then end of my battle.
My Mental Health
In October 2016 I went to my GP, for two months I had been feeling this void. It’s hard to describe or explain really but as I was losing my weight and reducing my anxiety I was almost losing a sense of who I was, I wasn’t sleeping (getting around 3-4 hours a sleep a night if that) and I lost enjoyment in pretty much most things. The only time I could really do anything was when I went to the gym, or go to work and in the end even work got too much. With all this information my GP diagnosed me with depression, I was given options for therapy and or drugs but at this point I just went with the drugs. I was placed on Citalopram 10mg — the lowest dose, with my history of anxiety they wanted to make sure it wasn’t just anxiety issues.
[Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI, this is a drug that treats depression and or anxiety and is used to restore the serotonin balance in the brain.]
Being diagnosed with depression was difficult, I had been through what I thougth was a depressive episode in 2012 but never sought help for, but being diagnosed then was hard. I knew this label carried a stigma but it also made me understand that what I was feeling was natural for me. After 6 months and getting over the Christmas period I had my antidepressant dose doubled to 20mg as I ended up going through severe bad habits that I had as a teen.
November 2017 — I went offline and dropped the gym for almost 3 weeks, 5days before my 28th birthday I had a breakdown. Since my medication was doubled to 20mg I had started noticing different emotions in myself. My behaviour was up and down, every day it was rapid, one moment I was up and within the next negative emotion or comment and I’d be struck down. Unfortunately this became all too much for me to deal with.
After my breakdown and taking time to reflect with my husband and close friends and family it was obvious I needed more help. I felt there was something more going on, so in the last 5 months I had my antidepressants doubled again to 40mg (the max dose for this medication), I have also actively been finding more help. Right now I’m under assessment with a psychiatrist but I’ve also been told I need to have a blood test to rule out any physical factors that may be causing my mood changes, such as anemia, vitamin deficiencies or even Thyroid issues. This in itself I never knew could cause my moods to change.
No matter what happens, what stigmas I may have to deal with in the future, what is important is that I am doing this for me. My mental health has somewhat defined who I was for so long because it was such an issue for me, I let it into the forefront of my life and I let it run the show for so long. But it does not define me. This whole journey is about this. I may struggle from time to time but I am running the world now and how I want to run it. I may be 1 in 4 but that doesn’t define me as, Georgina Barnes, depressive, no I am…
Georgina Barnes, Photographer & Retoucher–and a bloody good one!