Depression Part 1……..

I started puberty early and was the only girl to start my periods at primary school. Puberty also came with clinical depression. I was a diligent student and sought happiness by achieving good grades. This also meant that when I didn’t get the grades I thought I was capable of, I would berate myself for being stupid and go into extreme lows that I couldn’t get myself out of. I felt that I had no connection to the outside world, that my thoughts were out of my control. I now know that in psychiatric terms, this is known as depersonalisation.

I was lucky enough to have a loving family and felt safe at home but I sought additional comfort in food. This would lead to weight gain followed by panicked dieting. Throughout my teenage years I was either bingeing or dieting. Fortunately I was unable to make myself sick after bingeing so I was spared the horrors of bulimia but it wasn’t through lack of trying.

It took a couple of upheavals for my clinical depression to become so severe that my mother took me to the doctor. The first of these was losing the friendship of someone I had come to value greatly (this will be covered more when I come to talk about my autism). The second was the change of pace in my studies going from GCSEs to A-Levels. I was prescribed the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline. It had the immediate effect of making me so sleepy that I couldn’t function at all. I managed to get through my first year of sixth form effectively. In my final school year I managed to get my head together enough to not only succeed in my A-Levels and get a place at my top choice university but also to get my eating under control and finally reach a healthy weight. However I found going to university and leaving home very traumatic which caused my depressive symptoms to return with a vengeance.

My time at university was confusing. On the second day I met David who was to become my soul mate and life long partner. I think we both knew within a few days that we were kindred spirits. Our experiences growing up were very similar; both of us were misfits. I fell in love hard. Being clinically depressed and experiencing love for the first time I suspect would be difficult for anyone. I would go from being deliriously happy when I was with David to being almost suicidal when I wasn’t. We became engaged 4 months later and shortly afterward I discovered that I was pregnant. I left university and returned home. My depression wasn’t too bad during the pregnancy but returned six months after Charlotte was born.

I returned to a university nearer home when Charlotte was eleven months old. Studying for a science degree and being a new mum was tough. With the help of my family I was able to cope with the workload and actually enjoyed it. However during the second year my depression worsened. I started to self harm by repeatedly cutting myself with a scalpel and I didn’t really understand why I was doing it.

David and I bought our first home together in the spring of 1995 and married in the September. I graduated from university with a 2:1 honours degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1996. I then began what I consider to be my adult life.



Why I am doing this……..

It suddenly dawned on me today that almost all of the struggles I have faced over the 45 years of living on this planet have purely been the result of my brain not working in a way that would be considered ‘normal’. I placed the word normal in quotes because I don’t really think that there is an objective sense of a normal brain. I just know that a lot of my issues would be solved if my brain worked the way that it seems to in other people. It has taken years for me to accept that it is okay to be different, but at the same time realising that I needed to change the behaviours that were self destructive and those that negatively affected the people around me.

Over the years I have officially been diagnosed with the following conditions:

  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Autism Spectrum Condition (specifically Asperger’s Syndrome)

There is some debate about the nature of fibromyalgia. Currently there is no known physiological cause for fibromyalgia; all known medical tests show that there are no abnormalities in the body. A study published in 2014 ( suggests that ‘fibromyalgia is linked to abnormal activity in parts of the brain that process pain signals and link them to other regions’. As this is the current thinking for fibromyalgia I will include it in my discussions.

Initially on this blog I will talk about my history and experiences with each of these conditions separately and then go on to talk about my daily challenges. I hope I don’t appear to be self indulgent in my posts. At the moment the purpose of this blog is for me to document my experiences and maybe learn something from it.