Grrrr

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is getting on my nerves today.

Like… the fact that I spend every day cleaning up but my house never gets any better.

Like…asking my teen son to remove the dirty dishes and rubbish out of his room- I don’t care what the rest looks like – and he won’t.

Like… my daughter has stolen my make up again and I swear that’s why I look so grim today. Not really.

Like…I ordered wood on Saturday and after days of excuses that I accepted politely, he still hasn’t delivered my wood or contacted me.

Like…I have loads of presents to wrap and I can’t be bothered.

Like…I went in to two shops yesterday and neither sold mincemeat for minced pies – really? They do know it is Christmas, right? Oh yes…I forgot that they started selling Christmas stuff in October, but apparently not a jar of mincemeat.

Like…I had to chop my own wood (poor cinders here) and some pieces WOULD NOT SPLIT no matter how many times I hit them in temper with my axe.

Like…I’ve had chapped and swolleb lips again for over a week. And it doesn’t matter how much vaseline/lip balm/various over the counter remedies I buy, it won’t go and I think it’s an allergy. And if it is, I’m going to have to do the stupid fodmap diet.

Like…my sister told me my mum was visiting today. I said she wasn’t because of self isolating. She said she was. I got my hopes built up. I made homemade Irish cream liquer for her, poisoning myself with gluten because I am stupid and forgot it is whisky and had to taste it to make sure it was right. She now isn’t coming.

Like…I want to see and kiss and hug my boyfriend and wake up next to him and see his beautiful country and discuss our future. But I can’t go and I’m sure I won’t be going until April. And his ex girlfriends are circling like vultures.

Like…Christmas has never been the same since my Dad died and I got divorced.

Like…while I was writing this rant, my dog has chewed my vacuum cleaner attachment.

I. Give. Up.

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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.

Green Goddess

I read a blog recently which spoke of the benefits of being outdoors- in particular, walking through the forest: forest therapy. It’s been so long since my friend and I had been on one of our adventures. We were both mourning the loss without knowing it…we had both had periods of depression and/or anxiety in the last few months, we had not been as focused on our health and our friendship had suffered.

Finally, on Tuesday, we made our way over to Yorkshire to visit Ingleton Falls. What followed was a long, strenuous walk around some amazing scenery.

It was exhilaratingly exhausting. At one point my legs would not go any further and I found myself hating my weight and my lack of fitness. I stopped, caught my breath, and started again.

By the end I was so proud of myself. It is described as a ‘strenuous’ walk. I did this with poor fitness and being overweight – that’s something to be proud of. It is a truly beautiful place and I strongly recommend it to anyone visiting the beautiful north of England.

Wednesday, as fate would have it, we were off again and this time back to Llandudno and the Great Orme. We found our favourite spot and ate our sandwiches gazing out at Conwy and Anglesey.

I love it there. Conwy is my favourite Welsh town and castle. Whenever I go I feel at ‘home’ somehow. For more professional photographs, I strongly recommend that you look at The Perimeter on WordPress and this very talented photographer’s pictures:

https://theperimeter.uk/2017/06/05/clwyd-print-collection/

The Orme is windy and beautiful and I feel alive when I am there. I feel like I have purpose and meaning. Exercise and nature have a way of making you realise how lucky you truly are.. To be able to walk and see and hear and feel.

With a renewed vigour, I am determined to keep up the walking and get this weight off once and for all.

Yesterday I went to buy my new tent! I’ve bought a family sized Vango Nadina and we had great fun putting this up last night. It is huge! We are off camping again next week and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to being outdoors with my family and my friends in my new big green tent.

Clouds

The weather is so changeable at the moment here in North West UK. At times it is grim; there’s no other word to explain it. It’s windy, it’s raining and the sky is dark. The ground is covered in leaves and broken twigs and small branches.  At other times – often within the same day –  the wind manages to blow away the clouds long enough for the sun to appear.  Then, the green of the outside seems to glow. I love it. 

Like the weather, my mood has been pretty changeable too. It’s been so hard to get up this week and I hate the first few hours of the day as I fight through a medication and /or exhaustion induced fog. I wish I was a morning person. I would love to wake up early, potter about whilst enjoying a leisurely coffee and soaking up a beautifully peaceful morning before I wake the children for school. Never happens. I tried going to bed early. I’ve tried setting my alarm. I’ve tried setting my alarm and putting it far away from my bed. 

One thing I’ve been dwelling on this week is my inability to sustain anything. So for example, I start the school year getting up at 6.30 and end it dragging myself up at 7.15am. I started to wash and dry a load of laundry once a day and now have to deal with washing mountain on a Saturday.  I start a healthy, balanced diet for a few days then descend into binge-eating-chaos. I can’t sustain good habits. 

As I’ve said previously, my counsellor (and family) think that I try to do too much and then berate myself when I fail. It’s true.  I’m getting better but there is no answer for the million and one things I need to do but still aren’t done. The things that stack in my mind like jenga blocks, teetering precariously. 

I am actually boring myself at the moment. I’m sick of the same old boring thoughts in my head. Thoughts that are 75% negative. I’m also sick of thinking about food and dieting. Sick of wondering what diet I can follow and actually stick to. Sick of conflicting advice. And this sense of suspension just means that I overeat. Eurgggh. Not good.  

But. I’ve got the girls coming round tomorrow night to watch a film. Sunday I have the opportunity for another long  walk. The clouds have parted. For now. 

Another sunbeam of success! :

 

Wonder walk

Disclaimer: I am about to completely contradict myself

Last night was a new first. 

We left work and drove the 30 minutes or so it took to get to a beautiful piece of coastline owned by the National Trust, calling in at Costa for a cappuccino on the way.  I put my new walking boots on, and we set off into the woodland first. 


I can’t tell you what I loved most… The sounds of rustling leaves and crunching twigs underfoot… The warmth on my skin and the pleasure of knowing I can walk up each dune without gasping… The glow of sea and sky as we walked along the beach. 

I just loved it. I love how it looks, smells, feels. But more importantly, I love the way it makes me feel. I have never driven anywhere after work other than home or to the shops. And why not? There’s nothing wrong with choosing to do something for me: my health and wellbeing.  Once in a while I can make that choice. 

The same, unfortunately, can definitely not be said for my eating. I’m struggling. I’m tired. I’m hungry. 

I know it also is a choice. But I just can’t stop myself at the moment. I remember how it feels when people notice my weight loss, or when I pull on a pair of trousers and they’re too big. I just can’t seem to do it. I can’t stick to anything.  For a short period of time, the euphoria of my wonder walk convinces me to refuse the pull of those unnecessary foods. But not for long enough. 

Today, I have the welcomed ache in my legs from running down the beach. I also have the unwelcomed pinch at the waist of trousers that have suddenly become a little tight. 

Any suggestions?