My Transformation, Part 2

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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.]

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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.

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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!

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