Have you read my last post? Please do. You will hear me tell you that my antidepressants have really helped me stay calm today, on the third anniversary of my dad’s death.

I’ve spent the afternoon crying and anxious. So, no it hasn’t numbed me.

Then just to top it off, work called me before. They have received the Occupational Health report – I haven’t- and the big academy boss wants a meeting on Thursday. Instantly, I felt sick.

I’ve called the union guy but no response as yet. I’ve been anxious and nervous ever since.

And no, Wildcard has still not discussed his borders opening and his desperation to see me as soon as possible.

Ok, then.

Focus – 28th April 2020 (daily prompt)

I have had limited focus of late.

Firstly, I am head-over-heels-can’t-think-of-anything-else-in-love. I’ve been in this state a little while, to be honest, with a good measure of new relationship anxiety on top. My method of coping? Writing it down, without a doubt. The majority I have written on WordPress although I haven’t always published the posts. Some are for my eyes only. Some I have written in a journal and some on any bit of paper I can find and then securely hide away.

Writing helps me to focus. It empties and sorts my mind which then leads to greater focus afterwards.

However, the Coronavirus has definitely affected my focus too. For weeks I couldn’t watch TV, other than the news, couldn’t get in to a book, couldn’t face doing much really.

Eventually, my reading focus returned when I went back to an old favourite from my youth. Young Adult fiction is easy to read but works hard to be engaging for a highly demanding audience. It was definitely the book rather than the reading itself though. Once I finished the series I attempted other books to no avail. It’s been very much trial and error.

What has been particularly interesting for me is that I have had a taste of what my 13 year old son goes through every single day. He was diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago after a long battle and wait for CAMHS appointments. He is also now waiting to be assessed for autism.

I didn’t know my child had ADHD for a long time and that is distressing considering I am a teacher.

My first child, my daughter, was angelic in every sense of the word. Quiet, rarely cried, met every milestone, sweet, gentle… Easy. My son was completely different. Energetic, lively, loud, confident, smashed every milestone, intelligent, passionate, never sat still. For a long time, I just thought it was because he was a boy and a different personality.

Looking back, issues started in Primary School early on. My polite, well mannered, affectionate but very energetic child was struggling in school. Despite clear intelligence he failed to make progress. He struggled to physically write. It was blamed on him being left handed. Then poor teaching. Then laziness. Then eventually that he had joint laxity and therefore physically cannot write well. Lack of progress was also attributed to a number of personal events in our lives too.

By Year 5 though, he had started showing other traits. As well as poor attention and focus, he’d started to be aggressive at home. He’d have meltdowns and couldn’t control his emotions. He was frustrated and unhappy. I blamed school. I blamed my failing marriage.

When ADHD was mentioned by his Year 5 teacher, I initially disagreed. But through his final diagnosis of joint laxity by occupational health and the assistance they suggested for him, I realised that he was showing signs of ADHD.

This last few weeks have been the closest I will probably ever get to understanding how he feels. Not being able to relax or sit still. Feeling on edge and anxious. Feeling frustrated when I can’t focus. My mind jumping uncontrollably. Not being able to do anything but not being able to sit still either. Feeling like a failure. Not understanding how to stop.

My child goes through this every day. No wonder he can’t control his emotions.

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:

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.