Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

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Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby G UK » Tue 08.08.2017, 21:12

Apologies for dropping off the radar over the last couple of years and being more than a bit "off" in person. I have been dealing with personal problems but ran into Enright at work today which prompted me to let you all know that I am still alive, hopefully I can start to become more active again. The following I posted for work recently on our internal social network which should explain all albeit a little work biased:

So where to start…..

I suffer from Depression, it wasn’t always so and I cannot say when it started. In fact it was a slow slide over a matter of years, so slow that I didn’t even realise it was happening. Looking back now the signs were obvious, friends and family saw the changes in me and towards the end commented that I should see my doctor, but I didn’t. Then one day for seemingly no reason it hit me like a train.

I suddenly broke down in tears in the middle of the office and had to leave, to find somewhere safe, to curl up and never come out.

The Dam had broken.

At that point it dawned on me that yes there was something wrong, I needed help.

Initially I was signed off for a couple of weeks and attempted to return to work like nothing had happened, this was a mistake and something that I didn’t understand at the time but do now.

Before too long I had another breakdown and had to return to my doctor, after a lengthy discussion I finally accepted that I needed more help, this wasn’t something that I would just shake off. So I was prescribed Citalopram and was advised to stay off work for the next few months for my medication and my mood to stabilise.

I would love to say that by this point I was all back to normal, unfortunately Mental Health is not that simple and the interactions of medication and our brains is not well understood. Over the course of the next few months my mood did indeed improve, I felt more relaxed, less frustrated, less angry. However the side effects of the medication left me exhausted all the time and I was sleeping 12 hours plus every day, I could operate somewhat normally at work but then I would have no life outside of work. Eventually, I said, “enough is enough, I cannot live like this”. So with agreement from my doctor my medication was changed to 150mg of Sertraline, which is a rather high dose.

Now changing medication at first felt like it had put me back to step 1, this confused my manager and some of my colleagues. I was even asked to get a second opinion as it was seen that as I had appeared fine at work, why would I change, my manager could not understand my decision.

Since that point I have gradually improved, the troughs have turned into dips and happen much less often, even when I am down I can operate somewhat normally. I have taken time off when I have needed it and these occurrences have dramatically reduced to nothing over the last year.

Unfortunately, this has also led to frictions with my manager and for me to be investigated by HR for absence. Now, I have been cleared of any wrongdoing but it is not a comfortable experience even with those involved being understanding. Still I have been informed that one more absence will trigger another investigation, something nice to sit in the back of my mind.

I have also had to fight tooth and nail to get my hours adjusted. Whilst Sertraline is much better than Citalopram for me, it does still massively disrupt my sleep. I can neither easily get to sleep or wake up making it near impossible to arrive at work in the morning at a regular time. I have eventually managed to secure changed hours to work 12:00 to 20:00 which I am finding very helpful.

Many of my colleagues have been supportive and have even understood what I have been through. For some though it has felt as though real understanding has been lacking. When my mood is right I am open about my illness, and the talking has helped. But if I am not mentally in the right place and do not feel in control of the conversation, these “discussions” and “updates” can cause more harm than good, this is not understood.

This is my story. The dog is still there, I feel him watching and waiting.
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Rambo » Tue 08.08.2017, 21:21

Sorry to heard your story Graham but glad your on the road to recovery

Now to get JPS back on the road. That should put a smile on your face :burnout:
Last edited by Rambo on Tue 08.08.2017, 21:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby muley » Tue 08.08.2017, 21:32

Graham,

Really good to hear from you again. I'll never forget your kindness in ferrying me around Brittany when I cycled down.

Being open about your challenge is a big step forward. Hope you continue on the road to recovery.

Kind regards

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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Steve A » Tue 08.08.2017, 21:43

Hi Graham,
Sorry to hear that you've had such a bad time of it.
Despite what we hear in the news the NHS is not very good at dealing with mental health.
Your in the hands of a GP who just wants to push some pills in your hands and move on to the next patient (although I could be doing your's a disservice ).
I wish I knew the answer, it's a complex problem that so many suffer from but so few know how to treat.
I hope you start getting out and about in your Elan again, maybe even an event or two it can only help.
All the best mate :wink:
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby G UK » Tue 08.08.2017, 21:44

In fact, just looked at my join date for LEC.

Has it really been nearly 10 Years!?! :shock:
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby G UK » Tue 08.08.2017, 22:11

I'm placing this reply to a PM here in the public as it may help others:

I've been offered counceling from more than one place but it didn't feel right talking to strangers about something so personal, instead I had great support from friends and family who have been through similar problems and who have been a great help.

The tablets have been a help as well but they certainly are not for everyone and affect everyone differently, different tablets can affect people differently as well so it is very much hit and miss. I am glad that I tried with them though as after finding the right combination for me they have been a great help.

It's probably a different mix of support for different people so if something doesn't work try something else, support is out there in several forms.

Now I feel I am well on the road to recovery and I am helping others manage like people helped me, it will probably always be with me but I have learnt cope.

I have found that when my mood is good I can be very vocal and be a bit of an advocate about these problems now.
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Tue 08.08.2017, 22:11

Almost enough to depress anyone (Sorry, just sick humor).
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Dave Eds » Tue 08.08.2017, 22:53

G

Mate I've been in that place too and could write an almost parallel account. Happy to listen, help or just have a beer with you again sometime. You're right, it's far been too long!
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby rip » Tue 08.08.2017, 23:31

Hi Graham,

I knew you had not been yourself.
As Spudders mentioned, if you've not been there, you really won't understand, so I won't pretend to & I didn't know of I should leave you alone or head round there & drag you out to the pub. Good to hear that you are on the mend though.
I think the last time I saw you was at Barrow Hill last year before Enright & I had the journey home from hell (but it was mainly by train so I enjoyed it :-D ).
There is an event in W Yorks on Sep 3rd. I am sure N, K & I will be glad to see you. I can stop off to pick you up in an Elan if yours is not running?
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby G UK » Tue 08.08.2017, 23:52

rip wrote:Hi Graham,

I knew you had not been yourself.
As Spudders mentioned, if you've not been there, you really won't understand, so I won't pretend to & I didn't know of I should leave you alone or head round there & drag you out to the pub. Good to hear that you are on the mend though.
I think the last time I saw you was at Barrow Hill last year before Enright & I had the journey home from hell (but it was mainly by train so I enjoyed it :-D ).
There is an event in W Yorks on Sep 3rd. I am sure N, K & I will be glad to see you. I can stop off to pick you up in an Elan if yours is not running?


Do you have any details? It may give me the kick I need to get the MOT done. Currently I've got four cars and only one is MOT'd.

Barrow, if I remember correctly was when I'd been on Citalopram for the best part of a year and my moods had stabilised as you may have noticed but I was still knackered most of the time. Since then I changed meds and now feel much better but it has once again taken the best part of a year.
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby par » Wed 09.08.2017, 00:02

G

Thanks for your kind words on my Project Black thread.

Your account above sounds very similar to a situation I had with one of my team in a previous role who suffered with depression over a prolonged period of time and had many absences. There were many ups and downs along the way with a few false dawns, drugs prescribed which made him feel better so he stopped taking them and then a few days later he would take an almighty dip. Other drugs precribed which stopped him feeling low but he just felt empty and numb.

The HR department were all for sacking the individual for not following the proper absence process, missing appointments with the Occupational Health Doctor and not having unfit to work cerificates from his GP for all the absence periods. I had to fight tooth and nail to prevent this and physically go to his house and drive him to his doctors to get the appropriate certificates backdated. The lack of empathy from individuals in HR was startling especially as that year my company had a big mental health campaign and even had Ruby Wax at the annual Health & Safety conference speaking about her experiences.

I am proud to have played a small part in helping the individual getting back to a high level of contribution in the workplace and wish you every success with managing your health and applaud your openness :clap:

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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Saltire » Wed 09.08.2017, 07:44

Well said, Par. I've had a couple of similar situations in my teams too over the years. I'm afraid my somewhat jaundiced view is that HR departments aren't interested in people, only process. They don't like people being ill, and they especially don't like 'invisible' illnesses. The good news is that the people involved went on to return to normal life, once they'd found a sympathetic doctor.

All good wishes G. I'm sure the Elan will lift the mood once you get it up and running again.
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby theelanman » Wed 09.08.2017, 08:24

Graham
glad youre getting better.......and sorry to hear about your journey.......
and as others have said Im sure a trip in the Elan and a good meet with friend for a catch up will cheer us all up
cheers
G
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby dapinky » Wed 09.08.2017, 09:41

Graham,

As Ripo alludes to, the event in Yorks on the 3rd will be attended by a few of us..... but it does clash with the Brands Hatch event (Poor planning by the tall ginger bloke, I reckon).

I'm not in a possition to say "I know where you've been", and can't comment from that perspective - but I've seen it from the outside, far too often. It appears from your post that not only have we come a fair way to be open and accepting of mental health conditions, but more importantly, we still have a looooong way to go. Posts such as yours (whilst they need to be written ONLY when you are ready) help enormously.

As you say, there are no 2 identical cases, and for the outsider, it is easy to either ignore or miss (sometimes deliberately, but more often, through ignorance).

It would be good to grab a catch-up and a beer - and rest assured, whilst i am more than happy to lend an ear and chat about it - I will not instigate any such conversation as it can only do any good on YOUR timescale (and they are very fluid).
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby simonbuk » Wed 09.08.2017, 10:32

Good on you for opening up in the hope that it might help others. Have suffered similarly in the past for prolonged periods, two return to work failures and I managed to stop the third from happening. I was on the highest citalorpam dosage at the time and wondered If it was right for me, never offered anything else.
Eventually I got released on health grounds which to be honest was the best thing that happened to me - wish it had happened earlier.
I found the thought of going back to the same environment and the same work made me feel incredibly anxious.
I kept it all in, never told close friends or family, still don't know now. It's not the right way to deal with it, easy to talk now as I've never met any of you yet.

Good luck with your continued improvement. As you have found out there will be the odd step back but more steps forward.

Hope you get out and about and catch up with some of your old aquaitences on here who clearly remember the old you !!

Chin 'up fella !!
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby Dave Eds » Wed 09.08.2017, 10:39

simonbuk wrote:..... as I've never met any of you yet.



Chin 'up fella !!


Clearly you haven't met Graham yet Simon!

Which f**king chin? :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby simonbuk » Wed 09.08.2017, 11:03

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby dapinky » Wed 09.08.2017, 14:37

Dave Eds wrote:Clearly you haven't met Graham yet Simon!

Which f**king chin? :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D



Savage! (but it did cause a bit of a chuckle and if I'd had a mouthful of coffee, no doubt it would now be onthe keyboard) :lol:
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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby G UK » Wed 09.08.2017, 19:40

Dave Eds wrote:
simonbuk wrote:..... as I've never met any of you yet.



Chin 'up fella !!


Clearly you haven't met Graham yet Simon!

Which f**king chin? :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D


Oi!! :chair: I resemble that remark! :censored:

At least I can still do the Lotus Position.

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Re: Dropped off the Radar. The Black Dog

Postby nicowalker1 » Wed 09.08.2017, 21:48

:-D Graham, I'm so pleased to see the name G UK back on the forum, I wonder if you were just waiting for me to pull my finger out and get the orange one back on the road!
As you know, me and Kim think about you and are pleased you are 'getting there'. Depression is such a bloody horrible dibilitating illness that runs through my family. As already stated it is such a different experience for everyone that nobody can ever fully understand what or how you feel. The thing to remind yourself at the lowest points are that people do care and are here for you when you need us! I cant wait to get the old gang back together after a few years break due to so many different reasons. I'll give you a bell next week to catch up.

Take care buddy! :clap: :gathering:
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