What on earth has happened to me? I have never felt so ‘invisible’ in all my 36 years on this planet. I used to feel confident, I was able to flirt with both men and women, I could talk to anyone and make them laugh and feel good about about themselves… so why have I now reached a point where I feel like I walk in to a room and no-one even notices I’m there?
The last 4 years have been rather tough, if you’ve read some of my other articles, you will know that I have been through bankruptcy, divorce and battled with my weight. Nearly 2 years ago I went to the doctor about my increasing weight gain, she diagnosed me with depression… I remember ringing a friend of mine and saying “Me? Depressed? I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve been through a lot I know, but hey it’s all good now, I love my life”. So on leaving the doctors that day, I rolled my eyes and continued with my life… gaining more weight in the process.
Last June I went on holiday with my family. Business was going well, holiday to Ibiza booked, weird relationship with a guy I’d been seeing on and off… I felt my usual confident self, until my 2 and a 1/2 year old nephew asked “is there a baby in your tummy?”… This was a massive trigger in my brain! Children have no filter, they say exactly what is on their mind. My weight gain had been bothering me, but now it felt like an epic challenge, I had to do something about it.
I discussed it with my parents and brother who all offered advice and support for the challenge I was about to face. I got back from the holiday and signed up with a personal trainer who specialises in women’s health and fitness. I thought that if I did have depression, then by changing my lifestyle, eating habits and starting an exercise programme, I could beat it in to submission! I was so excited to begin my programme of clean eating and interval training, I stuck to the programme to the letter for months, I kept thinking that at some point the weight will just fall off me… but it didn’t. My trainer adjusted my programme and off I went again, so determined to lose weight and be a better version of me. I became such a bore around my friends as I lectured them on clean eating and exercise, I was so in to it. Six months in, it was now Christmas, I wanted to be at least a dress size if not 2 dress sizes smaller… but no. All the effort I was putting in was not paying off. My brother who is a trained physio approached the subject of depression with me. I laughed it off and assured him that if my healthy eating programme still showed no signs of shifting weight in the new year I would go back to the doctors.
In the first few months of this year, I started to have very strange symptoms – I felt really full after eating a small plate of food, I coughed up phlegm after most meals, I was exhausted (not just my usual tiredness), I had pains under my rib cage after eating… I now know to NEVER Google your symptoms as by this stage I had convinced myself there was something drastically wrong with me.
I wrote a letter to my GP outlining how I felt, my symptoms, family history, my recent life events etc and she agreed to have a review with me following blood tests and urine samples… The results came in showing that I was deficient in B12 and Vitamin D. So nothing drastic was wrong with me and some simple supplements and B12 tablets could improve my health and wellbeing.
I still continued with my interval training but my eating habits slipped and I found myself eating sugary sweets, chocolate and indulging in all the things that I shouldn’t. My weight crept up a bit more and my training sessions started to slip due to both work commitments and how I felt in myself.
Following my review with my GP, she offered for me to have an ultra-sound done of my abdomen to investigate my symptoms further and check how healthy my organs are. Good news! All was fine and my body was working as it should… so what was wrong with me?
I have been feeling invisible for some time now, when I think back to nights out with girlfriends or meeting new people, I can see I was less open than I used to be, less cheeky and have become slightly introvert. May be I have subconsciously been protecting myself from rejection? On a recent holiday to Ibiza with a fab bunch of girls, I found myself crying over the most trivial things. One of my close friends had a one-to-one with me and told me that I seem to under-appreciate my self worth and may be all of my physical efforts weren’t working because my brain was not in tune with my body. May be after all this time, I should go back to the doctors and agree with her original ‘depression’ diagnosis.
I am not ashamed to say I have depression (now), but at first I struggled with the idea of taking the tablets as I thought it might affect the way I run my business, it might frighten off potential partners if they knew I was on ‘happy pills’ and my friends and family would all say “I told you so”.
I have come to learn that stress is a choice, depression is not. And so if I need tablets to balance the hormones in my body so that I can feel better I am willing to give it a shot. I still feel invisible – but I accept that this may be part of the depression and it is something I will be working on to improve this year… watch this space!
Don’t suffer in silence and don’t ‘self diagnose’, speak to your GP about how you feel. There are support groups, charities and counsellors that can help also. To find out more about depression you can visit the websites below: