It’s been a quiet contemplative week. Long term health issues can result in depression and anxiety when your self worth is challenged. This is especially true for those of us who have previously been active. Physical pain is one thing, the mental anguish of no longer being action man is much harder.
Activity levels are known to raise serotonin in the brain leading to feelings of euphoria. Exercise can become addictive, though the reasons vary from person to person. Of course its not just organised exercise but manual work can also raise the heart rate. When that work adds in adrenalin and the unknown, the rush is even higher.
What happens when health brings a sudden stop to activity? When exercise levels drop, serotonin levels fall, and with it the highs. When work stops it’s not just finances that become an issue, it also reflects on your whole identity.
We all react differently to challenges and see ourselves in different ways. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect different reactions. Four years into semi retirement has seen a surge of complicated health conditions hit home. A change in lifestyle has been forced rather than chosen. In 2015 an NHS report highlighted findings from The Guardian newspaper that 45,000 people worldwide commit suicide due to unemployment.
In my case it was a slow mental decline. From 2014 when I was forced into early retirement from Policing, to early 2018, I noticed a marked difference an my overall attitude. I am taking Citalopram and Trazodone with the effect of stabilising my moods. However these types of drugs do not take away the underlying causes. So last week I went for a psychological assessment. I spent an hour talking about my issues and deciding if I wanted or was suitable for treatment. At the end I elected to take a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT.
I took CBT way back in 2004 with some success. 13 years later it is time to take another course. Actually this last week has been the most relaxed I have been in the last 4 years. Sometimes just saying your problems out loud can kick start the process and that certainly seems to have been the case. The NHS offers “Talking Therapies” to certain categories of people and covers depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias and addiction.
My immediate plans are to follow through with my CBT my course. Fingers crossed the future is looking brighter.