Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Turning a corner

At the weekend I had a wake up call. Somehow reality dawned in the lonely world of depressive self involvement and I realised that it was time to start acting like a grown up again. And I actually knew I could.

The wierd thing with depression is that when it is really bad I really can't do much for myself or anyone else. When I am in deep distress the advice is to take care of you, any way you can. That might mean taking a long shower, getting more sleep, getting help with doing the basics. Then as I emerge from the dark and the medication starts working I am able to try to do more to increase my enjoyment of life, so giving myself a few treats. Recently that has included time with friends, a sleep in once a week, and a few more boundaries on what I aim to achieve in a week. But it has also included some impressive retail 'therapy' and emotional eating. Plus just a whole lot of saying to myself "It is so hard. oh I can't do this. I can't cope". And at some point you have to acknowledge that despite the feelings, the facts are the facts. The bank balance is scary and the jeans don't fit. It doesn't matter how I feel about it, that is just the way it is. And that is just what I needed.

Suddenly I realised that more is actually expected of me. I am not a teenager who can curl up in bed, eat junk and buy expensive shoes without worrying about the consequences. Being reminded that I am an adult and I have choices and that short term pleasure has long term pain is actually really encouraging. Depression deceives you into believing that you can't choose. It is like you start believing you have been hijacked and the flight path and destination is out of your hands. But actually I can. I can do things to help myself feel better and more in control of my life by making wise choices and thinking about others. The relief of not being so self-involved is wonderful, as it must be for my hubby!

And so I have turned a corner and I am really hoping I can make choices and changes that mean that depression can get less fingerholds in my mind.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

And on it goes

I haven't written in a long time. I think the best way to describe it is that I have been under a rock, which was under water, some seriously dirty and deep water. The meds stopped working and we had to call in the crisis team again. I never thought it would happen again. I never thought I would go there again.

For my husband and I the last month or so has been really hard. For my husband it has been traumatic and exhausting to see me spiral down and to have the fear of that and the enormity of that. The sheer practical burden on him has been immense. As well as effectively losing the support of me. Because depression is the ultimate in self involvement and I haven't been able to be there for him. We both feel like we have been surviving through this.

There have been good things, like finally being referred back to the mental health service, seeing a psychiatrist and getting support through a short course on coping with distress. But we are bruised. Is this our life now? Managing my illness, holding on, juggling work and childcare and all the other things that just keep moving on and happening despite our world feeling like it is falling apart.

And in the middle is me. I wish and wish that I was different. That I was not this mess. That I could remember when I was me and things were better. But it has been grey for a long time this time and the pills are not doing their magic like they used to.

I say to myself that the changes and the lessons will be longterm, that it will be deeper and that I will be stronger and wiser. When my therapist tells me that I will learn to fly I hold on to that like oxygen. When I have to sit in the office at work cause I am shaking with anxiety and the place I felt strong disappears, I say that many people fight this fight. And when I see disasters and tragedy spread across the news I wish I had the energy to care. But instead I turn it off and think we have enough on our hearts and minds within these four walls. Someone else will have to care.

Don't get my wrong. I am getting there. I don't know where exactly but somewhere. Everyone has lots of ideas of what I could do to help myself. Now I am trying to do what is possible, what is manageable, what works for my actual life. Because in the end no-one else can do it. That is the thing about healing. It has to happen in me, and I have to make choices, and sometimes I have to do things I don't want to do. My therapist has encouraged me to ask myself two questions:
What do I want to do?
What is best for me?
They are tricky questions. And I wish I was better at knowing the answers.