Welcome to the Respite Room!
The Respite Room is a project run by 4 Glasgow based women, aiming to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues, including anxiety and panic disorder, as well as offering a space of understanding and informal support. We’re not experts or professionals, but we do have lived experiences – this is a space of understanding, for us to get honest and realistic about what it’s like to live with mental illness. We’re sharing the challenges we face, our experiences and mistakes, and how we manage our conditions in the hope that this will help others to further understand their own situations – maybe even find new techniques for dealing, but at the very least make some people realise they are not alone in dealing with these things.
The first episode of the podcast will be online soon, which gives an overview of the challenges we all face but some information about my personal situation:
I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I’m in the process of getting an official diagnosis for PTSD(or potentially C-PTSD…I’m waiting for a medical professional to give me the specifics but it’s safe to say I’ve survived some trauma and that’s had real consequences). I’ve been receiving support with this from the amazing Glasgow Rape Crisis for over a year, but mental illness was also a huge part of my life even before the emotionally and sexually abusive relationship which caused the PTSD.
I can’t remember a time where I didn’t get tired more easily than my peers, where I wasn’t afraid of some normal things to such a degree that I was unable to function normally, where I didn’t get easily overwhelmed and overstimulated, or struggle with intrusive thoughts about suicide. I went through a fairly severe period of depression in my teenage years which left me detached, self-destructive and deeply unhappy. I was first prescribed antidepressants when I was 18 and would be on them on and off for the next 2 years or so. This also happened to be the time the abusive relationship started, so as you can imagine from then on things got pretty bad for a while.
I’ve come a long way since then in many ways, but I won’t ever forget what it’s like to be in that dark place, it still finds me sometimes, and I’m still finding a way to live my life while dealing with anxiety and PTSD symptoms.
I’ve begun by listing these issues because I want to make it clear what I’m up against, it’s certainly not unique, nor is it something I am ashamed of. Talking about mental illness is not easy, it won’t fix you overnight either - but it can ease the burden and encourage others to be more open about their struggles too. Getting treatment can also be pretty challenging, but both of those things are an important part of finding a way to live with what you’ve got. I don’t like to think in terms of recovery, my particular circumstances feel pretty static at the moment, that might change (never say never!) but I’ve found that instead of wishing to wake up all ‘better’, it’s more useful to find ways to live within my limitations and once I’ve found that balance, then I can push myself further with the things that I find hard because of my mental illness (but know are good for me really).
Everyone’s mental health situation is unique, what works for me in managing these issues might be really bad, or just not possible, for you. The Respite Room isn’t here to tell you that ‘you just need to get out more and it’ll be fine’ (something the first doctor I went to about my mental health told me), but we are going to be shedding a bit of light on a dark place, encouraging discussion, sharing and debate in a safe environment.
The internet can be a real catalyst for mental health issues – on my worst days you can usually find me in bed in the dark constantly refreshing Instagram in a boring, self-destructive spiral - all while still posting pictures from the previous weekend to maintain the façade that I’m fine and my life is fun and exciting. The Respite Room is a virtual space for you to find a bit of rest from this (which may even be physical at some point in the near future…). On all the social media we’ll be sharing links to relevant, interesting pieces on mental health, practical advice and techniques, lived experiences from ourselves and others, as well as regular blog posts, as well as regular podcasts from us four.
Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the website, I hope you’ll find a bit of respite and companionship. Mental illness can make you feel incredibly alone, The Respite Room is here to prove that’s not the case.
@melreeve on Instagram and Twitter