I had my first real bout of depression after the birth of my third child. There were lots of reasons for that. First, I’d had a little postnatal depression or baby blues after each of my babies. Second, my mum was not around and my relationship had been damaged by her own breakdown a year or so before. Thirdly, I knew that I should never have got back with my husband. A pregnancy, planned or not, (it wasn’t) was never going to change that.

In a way, the cause of the depression is irrelevant for this post. It’s what it did to me that matters.

My Health Visitor called it ‘catastrophizing’. All I could think about was what would happen if I died – how would my kids cope? I worried about war and disease and obsessed about stockpiling provisions for my children. At that point, I stopped watching or reading the news and I haven’t since, six years later.

An antidepressant prescription, a decent life insurance policy and a reunion with my mum resulted in a semi-recovery.

You probably won’t believe this, but I am actually a positive person. Friends and family comment on it, pupils at school comment on it – people talk to me about their problems because of it. I try to see the good in a situation. I believe in learning from them.

I actually believe that this is the root of the problem with my mental health.

I am a positive person with insecurities. And what that means is, over certain situations, I have an internal struggle which rages in my brain and threatens to consume me. A fight between hope and doubt.

My break down/burn out three years ago – or whenever it was now – I feel was caused when somewhere in my pysche, I realised that I was in a helpless situation. My dad was dying and there was nothing I could do about it. I was in a challenging situation in work that I could do nothing about, it was just circumstances. My marriage had failed and there was nothing I could do about it.

So you can imagine, for a once catastrophizing depressive, the Coronavirus is the Freddy Kruger of nightmares.

I’ve had so many mixed feelings and thoughts about the Coronavirus situation. Due to my lack of knowledge about it – not reading /watching the news for example – it was a distant problem. And then, as it got a little more serious, I wondered how much was social media or media hype. (As it has got more serious, I of course have started reading the news). And then, I considered that for most people ‘symptoms would be mild’ so whilst needing to protect the vulnerable, I couldn’t understand the panic for everyone. In some ways, these were all signs that my depression was long gone. Hope and positivity remained. Or naivety.

The world is standing still now though.

Fear is gripping everyone, everywhere.

I don’t know what this all means. We see cases and deaths in forever upwardly spiralling numbers but no clear understanding of what this means. Were they all old and/or vulnerable? How many were due to reduced facilities – the sheer numbers putting strain on medical supplies where having the right equipment would have saved lives?

We are told that it is likely that many of us will catch this virus. We know more people will die.

Is it wrong to have hope? I think not.

I have hope that the amazing scientists and medical professionals around the world will find a way to help us. I believe that if we work together, we can support one another through this terrible time.

Whilst I do have family members with medical issues, most are in good health and I remain hopeful that we will manage with the mild symptoms. I count my blessings that my dad is not here to witness this and worry about it. He would never have survived coronavirus and the anxiety would have consumed him every minute, night and day.

I’ve not stockpiled food. I’ve tried to be considerate of others whilst having hope that the empty shelves will soon refill and the items I couldn’t buy will be available. Perhaps this is hope, perhaps this is stupidity. But that’s what I have done.

At the moment, all I want to do is bunker down at home with the people I love and wait it out. Take something positive from this – time to appreciate my family and love them and be with them.

And hopefully, when we come out of the other side of this we will all appreciate the right things a little more. Time with family. How lucky we are to have food and medicine. The people that work so hard, so thanklessly, to provide medicine and care.

And maybe we will care a little less about materialistic things. Selfish people. The non-essentials in life that mattered so much to people which actually don’t matter at all.

My only regret is that I won’t get to see Wild Card. I won’t be able to spend quality time with him. He will be a million miles away, even further away than he was before.

More on this in my next post.



Believe it or not, depression is not one emotion. It is a rollercoaster of emotions that leave you feeling out of control. Most of the time, you have no real understanding of why you feel that way. That then adds a huge dollop of hopelessness on top to weigh you down further. 

Emptiness is the one I hate the most. It signifies resignation to the fact that I can’t change anything so I may as well not (allow myself to) feel anything. 

You trudge through the day world-weary and heavy limbed. The world is grey. You notice only that still greyness around you- nothing else catches your interest or imagination. You’re too tired to get angry or upset. You just plod on. 

Having successfully completed my CBT, I understand now that emptiness is both an avoidance and a coping mechanism. My mind, protecting my body from the ill effects of stress and anxiety, turns the switch to nought. 

I’m crying inside for the loss of him that never was. I’m so angry with myself for being so pathetic and weak and powerless. I’m frustrated that I can’t create a version on myself that I am proud of and that helps me get the life that I want. 

Seven months ago, I would have sank lower and lower into that emptiness: the sinkhole of empty emotions and avoidance. 

Today, I hide behind the emptiness, skirting around its depths,  because it makes those around me think that I am OK.  In being able to list how I feel, for you, I am showing that I have made some progress at least. 

The grey is swirling, showing glimpses of colours so iridescent that I cannot look. They dance in and out of sight, taunting me, teasing me, showing me that there is another way to live. I just need to learn how to reach out and touch them, allowing the colours to swirl and spread over me: a life of light and beauty and excitement that can be mine. I’m going to take my children with me. 

Thank you for listening. 

From the soulĀ 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last post and considering how I can feel so strongly about what has happened. It just so happened that I also read Back in Stilettos Again’s last post which resonates a lot:

More Realizations –

As I work my way mentally through my past and present, it is easy to see how my current feelings stem from my past. I believe in honesty and straight talking. I have a real dislike of game playing in relationships. 

In April 2011, I had two children, had started a new teaching job the previous September and was living in the house my husband and I had built. My marriage was on the rocks. 

It doesn’t matter what exactly was wrong. He was – repeatedly – doing something I didn’t like and couldn’t accept but he continued to do it, deceitfully and secretive and I would find out periodically. Every time I caught him, a piece of our relationship broke off in to the abyss. You can fill the gaps here: alcohol, drugs, women, gambling – anyone of them can destroy a marriage. 

I had been trying to convince myself that this time he was keeping his promise. Then I called home early to pick something up I’d forgotten and caught him. I then did something I had never done in all years – yes,  years – that this had been going on: I asked him to leave. 

I was angry, hurt, bitter. But I was also relieved. Months went by and I wouldn’t let him back. He was arrogant,  defiant then hurt then angry. I wouldn’t go back. 

Months later, I met Lost Soul through my sister and her boyfriend. There was an instant attraction there: he was tall, slim, with almost black hair and green eyes. 

He was a charmer. He knew exactly what to say to any girl in the room, me included. I watched in admiration, awe and jealousy too. 

Then one night, there was a group of us having drinks and playing cards. After a while I chose to sit on the couch and listen to music whilst the other’s played. He came to sit next to me and the rest is history. 

It’s hard to explain what happened in the years that follow because despite being five years later, I still don’t understand and it still stings. 

The connection we had was unbelievable – better than I have ever had in the three long term relationships I have had. We understood each other, supported one another and inspired each other. He was a lost soul- younger than me, had suffered with depression and wasn’t sure where his life would take him. 

I would see him nearly every weekend and in the week too. Sometimes we would kiss, often we didn’t. We would always end up cuddling on the couch or in my bed but nothing really happened. 

It was more than just friends though. There was a passion, a spark,  that everyone around us saw and we felt. I didn’t imagine it, although I have often tried to convince myself I did. 

He’d tell me he loved me, that he’d never met anyone who understood him so clearly. But he was scared of losing me- if we took this further, we could lose what we had. 

In the time we were ‘together’, I know he slept with other women. He wasn’t adverse to one night stands. Just not with me. He was my best friend. I learnt the true meaning of heart ache. In a night out with some friends, one asked me why I was holding my stomach. I hadn’t realised I was. My friend was intuitive enough to know why and we talked about it but could never work out what was going in. 

I spent so many hours trying to decode his behaviour. I came up with many reasons for why he couldn’t commit to a relationship. I was older than him, had children and a career. This would never have been just a fling and he wasn’t ready. My low self esteem blamed my age and my weight. He mentioned my weight in the only row and subsequently the last conversation I had with him before I moved on. 

Some friends felt he was using me. “For what?” I’d ask. Certainly not for sex, definitely not for money. We would watch TV together, sip wine or talk through the night. We’d dance in my living room or play on the x box. 

One day I walked away. I told him I wouldn’t wait. I started online  dating. I cried on the way home from every date because it wasn’t him. He started dating too and we drifted apart. I thought about him, ached for him, every single day for years. 

I convinced myself that I had imagined the whole thing. We were just friends but I wanted more. I imagined the looks he gave me, the tenderness, the passionate kisses. He wasn’t my soul mate. He wasn’t. If it was meant to be, we’d have been together. Other times I would imagine he was my Willoughby (Sense and Sensibility). I blamed my imagination, my love of literature, for constructing an ideal that I would never find. Love doesn’t exist like that, I told myself. All you need is a good man and you can make it work. 

My next relationship lasted six months. On paper, Car-man  was perfect. I didn’t feel that connection but my attraction to him would catch me out when I wasnt thinking about it. He would have married me and given me the world but I felt claustrophobic. I ended it gently. 

Three months after that, after a night out and a heart to heart with good friends, I told my husband that I would give it another go. He had waited in the background through all of this. He had stopped his vice – so he told me- and was again the person I had fallen in love with so many years before. 

I felt nothing when we first kissed again. Sex was problematic. I think he couldn’t cope with the fact that I’d had another relationship, despite what he said.  In desparation, and on only one occasion, I agreed to have sex without a condom in the hope that it would work. Nine months later, we had our third child. I can count on one hand how often we had sex/kissed/cuddled after that. 

Post natal depression hit me like a sledge hammer. It was only when the Health Visitor reflected on my relationship with my husband did realisation hit me. I didn’t love him, hadn’t loved him for so long. I cared deeply for him, felt no antagonism towards him as such, but I didn’t love him. 

Two weeks after I gave birth, Lost Soul reappeared in my life at a celebration. I realised then that I hadn’t imagined any if it. The looks, the feelings, the connection was still there for both of us. He was single again. I was not. I stayed out of his way after a brief chat and tried to ignore the way he watched me from across the room. He left early. 

I tried so hard to make it work with my husband  for so many years. I tried to get back those feelings that we had shared in the first seven years of our relationship.  I continued to tell myself  that there was no such thing as soul mates. Lost Soul was a player, that’s all. Slowly I forgot to think of him every day and the hole in my heart healed. I tried every trick in the book to rekindle my marriage. But I couldn’t.  We were both unhappy. 

I’m August last year, before the split with my ex in October, I again bumped into Lost Soul at my sister’s birthday. It had been two years since I last saw him. He had brought his new girlfriend. We pretended to ignore each other for a while but I caught him watching me. He was drunk: I was driving. 

I heard him talk about me to my brother in law across the table, the band’s music just too loud to hear specifics. 

At the bar he came over to speak to me, his arm around my waist as he spoke in to my ear over the sounds of the electric guitar. He told me that he often thought of our time together and that he missed me. 

Later, I declined his invitation to go to the next pub with him and his girlfriend. I could see the suspicion in her eyes and I didn’t want either of them to see the jealousy in mine. 

I did offer to drive them to the pub – more to get them out of their so I didn’t have to look at them taking selfies. In an over exaggerated way, he told me he loved me as we walked to the car his girlfriend just the other side of him. I’m the car he fired questions to me, asking about my job, my life, my marriage. He asked for my number as he got out of the car, his girlfriend stood behind him. 

All game playing. Yes, there was a connection but it was never going to happen. I can’t truly trust anything he said to me. I can’t trust my own feelings, my own eyes and my own ears. Another time and another place maybe? Perhaps if I was three years, three stone and three children lighter. Perhaps not. 

And so, I’ve realised that I can’t stand the game playing. I can’t stand lying and deceit. I’m not going to put up with it. And I need a connection because ‘making do’ cannot be made into something it can’t be. What I need is that beautiful and perfect middle ground between my ex and Lost Soul – the best of both of them. There goes my imagination again.