I have come to the conclusion, after much pondering, that I may well have had my second breakdown/burnout/whatever it’s name is now.

The weird thing is…I didn’t feel it, as such. I’ve felt crushing anxiety – that much is true. About a year ago I upped my low dose antidepressant because of all the bother that was starting the academy take over. So, yes, the anxiety was there.

What wasn’t there, was that deep dark numb pit that I fell in. The one that, last time, I hadn’t known was swallowing my whole path until I was in it head first. When I think back to that time – weirdly around this time of year too (!!!!) in 2017, I can’t remember a great deal. I remember that first moment. I remember days staring out the window at the field opposite accompanied by my cat and a hot drink. I remember that I didn’t shower much and I wore my depression hat – a glittery silver woolly hat – to hide my grief.

So no, that hasn’t happened. I’ve avoided the deep dark pit. Don’t get me wrong, a few times I’ve thought I’ve seen him far up ahead but I was wrong.

Anxiety- yes. Depression – no. However, there are signs that I’ve not been quite right recently.

First, Wildcard noticed. He notices everything. Second, I’ve put weight on and my nails are short. Third, I can’t get on top of my house. You’d think with not working for 6 months I would have mastered it. Despite feeling like I’ve tried nearly every day, I’ve failed. Completely. More recently, I’ve even stopped with my facials and putting make up on and I think that was why Wildcard was so suspicious when I went to the Christmas Market spruced up like a turkey. This last month I’ve stopped using the Fabulous App. I’ve stopped drawing and painting.

There is sufficient evidence there to say that despite feeling otherwise, I’ve had some sort of mental episode. Why haven’t I felt the depression? Well, it could be my tablets working. It could be that I am generally happier (that needs some pondering). It could be because of Wildcard. He’s the only new thing in my life.

I’m avoiding stuff though. I’m plodding along, doing whatever I actually do each day and avoiding a whole heap of crap in the corner. I know I need to deal with it. I know that if I don’t, eventually that pile of crap is going to devour me. I just can’t seem to start or sustain a start.

I was notified this week that I have been writing this blog for five years. Five years! My blog is nowhere near as successful as some, and particularly some of you who read my blog. I know in part that’s because I don’t always put myself out there and join in with other blogs. Something else I stopped doing and need to start. But my near 500 followers mean a lot to me, the ones that have been with me for a long time (Anna and Susie) and those who comment and give me advice (Kay and Writerswithoutwords). Thank you to all of you. 🥰🥰

It was a shock though to realise that I started this blog because my life had been through a major life changing event- the permanent separation from my husband. I wanted a new life, a new me, and this blog was going to document that. My Cinderella style transformation.

Yeah. That hasn’t happened.

Life has hit me with a few more catastrophic events to deal with.

And yet, I am a very different person than I was five years ago. My priorities have changed. My goals. I’m still lost but in a different way.

I’ve written before about not quite knowing how I want my life to be. Not being sure how or where to start.

I think I’ve realised that there is a really good reason I haven’t done much over the last six months.

I just wasn’t ready.

Six months rest and recuperation is nothing over the course of a whole life time. So my friend wisely said.

And so, whilst I didn’t feel it the same, I acknowledge the time nonetheless.

I was not ready. But now I am.

The seated man

He is taunting me. He sits there, smugly mimicking me with his expressionless, emotionless face.

Apart from getting up with my children and then later to check on my dad, I have been in bed all day. I told myself that I was just going back to ‘get warm’ (we have no heating until the fire is built) but each time I have found my eyes drooping and then have dozed.

I have ignored the vibrations of my activity tracker, the seated man taunting me repeatedly as I lay inactive in my bed.

Work has played on my mind most of all, but also the things that I had planned today. I have accomplished nothing.

As my sister said, in the short history of this depressive episode, this is the first time I have spent all day in bed. One day. Hopefully the last. And if it isn’t? This article may help:

https://www.blurtitout.org/2017/09/21/depression-wont-let-us-out-of-bed/

Tomorrow, I plan to laugh in the face of the seated man.

Not gone and definitely not forgotten

Depression does this thing to you. It does it very sneakily, cunningly. And although the thing that it does is so obvious, you fall for it every time. It’s depression’s way of showing you it is still master.

It disappears.

Depending upon your stage of recovery, it can go for a few minutes up to a few months or maybe years. You may wake up one morning and not feel that dreadful heaviness rest upon you like a second skin. You may actually look forward to your day, or your activity.

Maybe it is smaller. Maybe you are gazing out of a window (something you never did whilst on the fast-and-busy life train) because your world has slowed and your mind is numb and then something catches your eye. Perhaps a little bird fluffing his feathers against the cold frosty branch. Maybe it’s a single snowdrop, head dancing to the breeze. Whatever it is, whilst previously occupied with the Master (depression), your attention is now caught, your mind is clear and free from worry and guilt and pain and darkness. And you think, in that moment or the day or that week, it’s gone. Am I better?

And when the darkness, the heaviness descends again it can be so easy to add weight to its return by feeling like a failure because you haven’t actually recovered.

But you can’t let yourself as this is not the truth. Every moment of happiness or calm is another step towards recovery. It’s a step toward overthrowing the master. And sure, he’ll probably always be around but you will be the master of your own life then so his visit will be short – unpleasant and unwanted of course – but short.

The change in medication appears to be still having a positive effect. I’m tired from the insomnia but the thick-headed exhaustion I can only attribute to the previous medication, is gone.

I can’t tell you how this feels. If I wasn’t depressed I’d be euphoric. Strangely, sometimes I catch myself missing that feeling and searching for it but it has gone. I can’t believe that I out up with it for a year. Yes, it was worse when the GP initially increased it a few weeks ago, but that feeling has been there for a while.

And this has allowed my mind to think that perhaps it was the tablet that was making life so difficult. Maybe I’m cured! Maybe I’m free!

Then I get a courtesy call from work. Sure she’s nice and caring. Sure she tries to say things to out my mind at ease. But being told that I have to go to Occupational Health isn’t relaxing. Being told that you need a welfare meeting with her and your boss is not a way to calm you. And then, as gently as they can, telling you that tomorrow an internal advert for your role is being sent to all staff – albeit in a temporary capacity – tomorrow.

My did the Master steal the show then! He stamped his feet and screamed and pulled me down, down, down for the rest of the day.

Nope, you still have depression. You don’t have a medicine induced exhaustion anymore but you are still depressed. You are going to be a good girl and stress for the rest of the day about your decisions, your career, your life.

Fact is though, to even think that I am getting better shows optimism and that is progress. So, the master may have won today’s battle but I am going to win this war.

January blues

My doctor has signed me off for a month. Part of me felt relief – I’m not ready to face the world yet. I don’t feel like me. I told the doctor that I feel like I have lost myself somewhere: my strength and positivity. I don’t recognise myself. Another part of me wilted when he said a month. It’s confirmation that I’m not better yet. That I’ve failed to pull through. That I’m not strong enough. It moves a ‘blip’ into something else. Confused? Welcome to the inner workings of an anxious and depressed mind. The doctor has also changed my antidepressant and I didn’t even have to ask. So, I’m going to have two rough weeks whilst I switch over and deal with a whole new set of side effects but I’m so hopeful that this will signal the end of my breakdown/burnout. He has advised me to give myself time, to search out ways to relax and to go for walks to help clear my mind. I need to encourage myself to move more and hopefully the brighter days will encourage this also. It is a beautiful and bright frosty day today. Spring is not in the air yet but the sunlight offers promise of better days to come. In six weeks I am due to go away with friends to Prague. I’m not sure about going at the moment, but hopefully by then I will be more like myself. It could be a celebration of my return to normality. I’ve been looking a lot into ways to improve day-to-day. How I can be more efficient; how I can tip my life into ‘manageable’. The next few weeks will give me some time alone in order to really think and plan. ********* I started this post yesterday. I’ve been on my new tablets for three days now and I can’t believe the difference already. As expected, I am struggling to get to sleep and it is something I really need to work on because I can’t depend on the medication to do it for me. Despite this, this morning when I got up my mind was clearer. That exhausted mind numbing fog that has invaded my mind is now just a wispy mist; more dense in some places, but thin and threadbare in others. What it means, is that for periods of time this morning my head has been clear with the odd wave of tiredness and nausea. I’m hopeful that by the end of January, the blues will be over.