When I started this blog I was unsure whether I would blog about depression.

It has been a big part of my life for the last ten years. Having said that, I don’t define myself as a depressed person. If I did, I’m not sure I would be able to enjoy the bits in between. These are the times when I am a confident, happy person with a good sense of humour.

The first time I understood that the feelings washing over me had a name, I was around 22. That said I think I’ve had depression since I was a young teenager. I just didn’t recognise its face.

At that time I was grieving. My dad had died, it was extremely painful. Months went by and I couldn’t lift myself out of the hole I was residing in. I went to see a doctor. He prescribed antidepressants which I decided to try. They made me feel drugged/high. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, my pupils where huge and I talked way too much.

I was then referred to community mental health services. I was lucky I got a good phychiatrist She didn’t rush into diagnosis or drug treatment. Eventually she diagnosed me with Cylothymia (a mild, rapid cycling version of Bipolar Disorder) and prescribed mood stabilisers.

I am now in my early thirties. I have endured over ten years of unstable mood. I have suffered Post Natal Depression twice (here is a guest post I wrote about PND). I have had ‘talking’ therapies and have tried two different mood stabilisers.

It is a huge challenge to live life like this. To never know what version of myself I will wake up with each morning. Whether I will be down in the dumps, hating myself in the mirror and paranoid about other people’s opinions of me. When I’m well I like myself. I’m sociable and happy, I love to laugh.

I (and my husband), have become much better at coping with my mood swings. I no longer take medication. I’ve recently been discharged from mental health services, pronounced well enough to be dependent on my GP for any help I need.

I think I will probably always struggle with my cyclothymia. That said I will never define myself by it, or live a small life in fear of it.

I am apprehensive about posting this. I am embarrassed by my condition, worried I will be judged as an unbalanced person, I am not. I will post this though because I shouldn’t feel this way. The only way mental health problems are going to lose stigma is if people like me put their hands up and admit “I’ve struggled too”.

So yes “I’ve struggled too” but it’s only a small part of the person I am now.