An Honest Chat About Mental Health After Transplant

So yesterday I had a meltdown of epic proportions that would shame even Gemma Collins herself (or make her proud, I'm not quite sure actually.) The irony of getting upset about being ill making you even more ill so you end up in a ridiculous circle! Transplant doesn't magic away all of your problems, I still have CF so have some of the same issues and am now faced with new ones too. Of course life has improved so much, I'm so grateful to be able to do more and have this extra time so I think some people may read this and think I'm being so bratty! But I think it's important to talk about, so I will.

Since transplant I've written a lot about all the fun things I've been able to do, I've honestly been having the time of my life. However with the extreme highs come the extreme lows, there are some days I don't even want to get out of bed but I make myself because I feel so guilty for feeling down and wasting a day. Like I'm sure my donor and their family didn't envision that life when they agreed to organ donation so want to keep my side of the deal as it were as every day I make them a little promise  in my head that I'm gonna do something fun and worthwhile and not waste a moment (although the things my geeky self thinks are fun and worthwhile and a good use of time may be up for debate hahaha.) But obviously I'm only human so still have down days, I can fight it and I do but I think I am allowed to feel a bit crap some days as much as the next person. I had this a bit pre transplant due to all the crap that comes with having CF but I think it's gotten worse post transplant. I don't know why it's worse now when in theory it should be better, I mean I know some of my medication now really affects my mood but I think also before when I was ill there was always a bit of hope. Hope that I'd bounce back from an infection then when it became clear that I wouldn't, hope that I'd get my new lungs. There was even hope, no matter how tiny, that better treatments or even a cure for cystic fibrosis would come in time for me. Transplant is your back up plan if your lungs fail and if you're lucky enough to get them it's your second chance of life but also your last, which is why you've gotta make the most of whatever time you get with your new lungs! I've said before how this isn't necessarily a bad thing because I do think I'm making the most of this chance which is why the past year has been so much fun but I do have worries about rejection, especially when sometimes it feels like every week I'm hearing about another person who has passed away from it. I know this might sound really negative but it's not something that I think about all the time, just more hovering in the back of my mind and maybe now I think about my own mortality a bit more than I used to. Like I said, I use this in a positive way but it doesn't mean there's not a darker side to that too.

It's something I've had to adjust to alongside new challenges, things that they don't necessarily prepare you for which is in part why I'm writing this on here in case it helps others. Now I've had transplant it's really fun and exciting trying to catch up, but equally it's tiring. I'm 24 but where I've been ill for the past few years I almost feel like I'm 18 again and let out into the world and I'm trying to cram in a lot of experiences in a short amount of time that other people have done over a few years. I know this is my own fault for trying to follow the crowd and that it's not a race, the notion that you have to have ticked off certain things by a certain age is silly and made up but still we do it anyway because although we know it's overrated deep down most of us want normal lives and to fit in. But it's true that when I was ill my life did kind of come to a standstill while the rest of the world kept turning and now I've jumped back in it's only natural I'd stumble a bit and have a bit of trouble finding my feet. At first I was on a high, loving my new lease of life and good health and independence but maybe now things have calmed down I'm facing reality a bit more, I don't really know. Also actual transplant has been playing on my mind, it was all completely worth it of course but it was the most horrendous experience of my life which I don't think I've really gone into fully on here. I know it was over a year ago and I should be over it but it's only now really that it hits me and I realise the full enormity of almost dying, not when I was l like 'OMG, Alexa Chung liked my photo I DIE' but more like 'Oh hi, I'm on life support in desperate need of new lungs asap or I will literally, actually die, be dead, be gone.' That is bound to put one on a downer now and again.

I think I'll end it there, I really hope no one takes this as being ungrateful or that I'm putting organ donation in a negative light - if you read this blog regularly you know how it's the best thing that ever happened to me, I love life and have written plenty about it. Plus, like I said, it seems things are in extremes these days with the highs and lows. I'm so lucky to have the most understanding family and friends ever but there does seem to be this expectation of transplants being a cure, of life being totally amazing after and while there's no doubt it's so much better it's certainly not perfect because no one's life is. So I thought I'd write this so that even one person in the same boat knows it's nothing to be guilty or ashamed about and that they're not alone in these feelings. If you've had transplant, don't let anyone tell you you're not allowed to feel down or sad ever because of that as you're still human and in fact have been through more than other people - don't let anyone make you feel guilty or try to invalidate your feelings.

 Although that goes for everyone, transplant/chronic illness or not! It's all relative, we all have our own problems. 

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