Being depressed at Christmas

I came across this article written by Matt Haig earlier today. Matt writes extensively about living with mental illness, and this piece really sums up some of the struggles faced by many of us at Christmas.

https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/14/shopping-hell-kindness-therapeutic-depression-christmas?__twitter_impression=true

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4am…

So, it’s 4am, and I’ve not yet slept.  Hurrah for insomnia!

I’m no stranger to this stupid fucked up sleep cycle, I’ve been living with it for years, but I’ll never get over the fact that 4am is so utterly boring!

I’ve been looking at recipes.  Mainly healthy ones.  It can never hurt to try to eat healthier, can it?

I’ve been browsing the Shitty Watercolour Facebook page.

Listened to another episode of Paul Temple.

My brain isn’t ready to switch off.

A million and one things are racing round my head.  I wonder how they all fit in there.

Just had a mug of hot chocolate, but now I feel sick.

I should probably go back to bed as I have important things to do tomorrow.

It’s too late to take a zopiclone, as I won’t be up before lunchtime if I do that now, and if I was to be, I’d have the mother of all hangovers from it.

I kind of hope that spilling here will allow me to get at least a couple of hours sleep.

I wish I could put my finger on one particular thing that’s bothering me right at this moment, but I guess it’s a culmination of things.  So many things in this old brain.

I applied to go back to uni, so I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear about that.  I’d love to be able to finish my Film Studies course, but unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it may seem.

I’m totally lacking motivation to do anything at the moment, so that’s making me feel guilty.  I enjoyed the sun the other day though, and went for a nice walk.  Baby steps.

I wish people would mind their own sodding business, and focus on their own lives rather than trying to ruin other peoples.  Makes me think of the old ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

I’m worried about this whole election business.  Still no one seems to know what Brexit is, and whilst the media are talking about Diane Abbot getting muddled up in an interview, the government are pushing through some very worrying policies that will affect our young people.

One of my cats has been more clingly than usual since she was spayed the other week, and I don’t know if I should be concerned about that or not.

I feel terribly guilty for not making more effort to see people this past goodness knows how many months.  I currently don’t have a car, so I’m feeling somewhat isolated.  I liked being able to just go out for a drive sometimes, particularly if the weather was nice.  Just go and see places.

I don’t have a light summer jacket.  I have cardigans and winter coats, but nothing really in between, so I was thinking of making the ‘bomber jacket’ from Gerties  ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s’ (seriously, something I’ve been thinking about whilst unable to sleep!).

There was something about shoes too, but that’s not in my brain any more.

I worry a lot.  I think too much.

I need to sleep.  It’s now almost 5am.  Fingers crossed for the sandman.

xxx

 

 

 

Friends

I am very lucky to know some absolutely wonderful people that have been there for me over the past 6 months when my life took a nose dive.  They continue to show love and support and I can’t say how thankful I am for that.

Not all of them are close in geographical terms, but this is where social media comes into it’s own.  Facebook has been a lifeline for me.  People have sent me messages of all kinds and it’s been really lovely to catch up with people I haven’t necessarily spoken to for a while.

I’ve had so many people assure me that how I’ve been feeling is normal after the breakdown of a relationship, and that’s helped a lot.

But…

I’ve been focusing on the wrong things.

I don’t think I’ve said how much I love and appreciate these people.  I’ve been too wrapped up in what sometimes feels like self indulgent, trite bullshit, despite them saying otherwise.

I’ve been wondering what he’s said to his friends about me and what happened. I actually bumped into one of them a few weeks ago, she asked how I was.  This is someone that I’d spent a great deal of time with during my relationship with my ex, and at no point over the previous months had she asked I was.  But she did on that day.

Why worry about what people like this think of me?

These aren’t the people that cared about me, and they are the people that probably only know his side of the story, so they’re not worth another moment of my time if they’re happy to judge me.

I’m not ashamed of suggesting that we try to work things out in two heartfelt emails that he decided to ignore.  I’m not going to apologise for sending him messages saying I miss him (I still do miss him) but that I wish him well.  That’s a normal part of getting over a heartbreak.  I haven’t spent my time sending him abuse, or being nasty.  I haven’t sent him messages every day of the week for the past 6 months.  I’m talking a handful of messages here…

Why on earth would I be ashamed for loving and caring so deeply about someone? He was everything to me, and that feeling isn’t going to disappear overnight.

What I am going to do now is try my best to carry on moving forward with my life.  To focus on those people that do love and appreciate me.

So to all the people that have been there for me, even if it’s just been sending a message of support, I can’t thank you enough.  I hope you know that you are very much loved by me, and I couldn’t have got this far without you xxx

Part 2 – The Aftermath

Click here for part 1

I don’t remember very much of that weekend, I think most of it was spent in tears.

I returned to work on the Monday, I had to carry on like normal, after all.  I was under a lot of pressure from work as I was in the shit for taking time off to find a home and after my uncle passed away, so I dragged myself in.

I made an appointment to see the doctor – something I probably should have done weeks before.

I was given a sick note for 2 weeks.  My doctor was horrified at what I told him, and was really supportive.

I emailed work and told them I had a sick note.  My boss knew what had happened, and knew I was going to see the doctor.

That Wednesday I received a letter from my employer saying I was fired, but they would pay me 4 weeks pay and I didn’t have to work my notice.

The reason was ‘gross misconduct’. There were a few things mentioned, but no actual reason for them considering whatever I’d done as ‘gross misconduct’.

But I wasn’t well enough to do anything about it, and by God I wanted them to know they can’t just treat people like this.

I was being harassed by someone at work as a direct result of their inability to nip the problem in the bud before I even began working there.  The worst thing?  THEY ADMITTED AS MUCH!!!

Anyway, I was then at a point where I was unemployed, alone, and living in a caravan just a few miles from my previous house.

A few things occurred to me – why, if my now ex partner had been ‘thinking about this for a while’, had he allowed me to look for a place near him, knowing my family and nearest friends live an hour away?  This pissed me right off.  It still does.  We’ll not go into what I thought (and still think) about the ‘friends’ that I made whilst living round here.

My depression had been kept relatively under control until the beginning of April.  I was looking forward to moving and getting on with life, looking to the future, then things fell apart.

I couldn’t see any reason to carry on.  It was honestly the thought of my cats eating my face that kept me from doing anything stupid.

The week after I was dumped, it was my uncles funeral.  I felt so selfish for feeling like I did.  Here I am, unemployed, newly single, and all pretty much my own fault, and my cousins are now without their dad, and my auntie without her husband.  How self absorbed.  I was swinging wildly between feeling despair and feeling self loathing for feeling like I did.

Guilt is a big part of depression for a lot of people.  Being brought up Catholic, well, guilt is like a default setting for me.  It feeds the depression.

I spent most of my days crying, utterly unable to see a way out of this mess.

I spoke with my ex partner a couple of weeks after he dumped me, and I felt like maybe things were not all lost, so I emailed him.  It could be that he’s not seen it, or maybe he deleted it.  Whatever, he hasn’t seen fit to reply.

I probably don’t need to go into the negative thoughts I have about this.  Needless to say, I’ve come to the conclusion that actions speak louder than words, and his feelings towards me, and our relationship are obviously not anywhere near what I feel about him.

Yes, I still love him.  Yes I’d love a future with him.  But somewhere along the line he decided that wasn’t for him.

Maybe there’s someone else.  I don’t know and I suppose I’ll never know as this person that I love and care about so deeply, the person I miss each and every day, wants absolutely nothing to do with me.  Every day it feels like my heart is breaking afresh as I look at my phone and don’t see my ‘good morning princess’ message from him.

I find it unbelievable that I managed to make him think this way, when I think of other people and how they are with each other, the things that they have been through and they are still together.

I do have a point to make, but you’ll have to bear with me, this is all relevant stuff.

I haven’t cried for 3 days, which is good going, but writing about his morning message has set me off.  It’s the silly little things I miss the most.

It’s these things that kept me going and stopped me from succumbing to my depression sooner.

Someone said to me that you shouldn’t rely on anyone else for your happiness.  I know this full well, and it wasn’t relying on anyone for happiness.  It was having someone there that understood and just their very existence made each day bearable.

I didn’t want him to bail me out, I told him as much.  I didn’t fuck up on purpose, I just can’t deal with things very well, I thought I was doing the right thing.  Maybe I was doing the right thing in my head, but when your brain doesn’t work too well in the first place it’s hard to tell, and certainly looks like a huge cluster fuck to the average outsider.

So onto the point I wanted to make with this story.

Being with me, you don’t just get me.  You get me, and my depression.  Being with someone with depression is like being with 2 people.  Always this horrid thing is there, you may not see it all the time, you may not see it often, but it’s always lurking.  You may not realise how it can rule someone’s life, even when they look fine and seem to be acting fine and holding shit together.

It’s a constant darkness following you.

At times it feels like a tangible thing.

It’s suffocating.

When it comes down to it, my darkness pushed the one person I have ever been able to see a future with away.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m making excuses, but sometimes the way my brain works may seem totally normal to me, but it’s not to other people.

It’s kind of ironic that the main theme for this years Mental Health Awareness Week has been relationships.

So here I am, still alone in my caravan in the middle of nowhere, still unemployed, still struggling through each day.  Some days I cry a lot, some days I feel ok.  I am back to not even considering a future (I never had done until I met my ex), it all seems pretty pointless at the moment when I have to force myself to get out of bed in the mornings.  I can’t plan too far ahead as I’ll either forget or be unable to do it.  Have I mentioned that my memory goes completely when I’m ill?

I am lucky that I have an extremely supportive family and a fantastic group of friends that have gone out of their way to look after me. Social media sometimes gets a bad rap, but I can say, hand on heart, that I would have been absolutely lost without Facebook & Twitter.  It’s not easy scraping together money to travel to see people, but at least if I’m able to steal wifi I can at least stay in touch.

2016 so far…!

Crikey! I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since July!!!!

It’s been a long time, but much more has happened in the first months of 2016 than since my last post!!

I began CBT in January, and despite often thinking that we don’t actually do much in the sessions (although I adore my nurse…is she a nurse?  Counsellor? I dunno….anyway…), amazing things have happened.  I am learning to say no.  I am learning to stick up for myself.  And most importantly, I am learning to articulate what I am feeling.

Sure, it’s not an easy journey, and I don’t consider myself anyway near ‘cured’, but I am certainly learning to deal with things in a completely different way.

I think it helps a great deal that I have an amazing partner who supports me totally, and at least tries to understand what’s going on, plus two dumb cats to come home to every night.

Recently, work has been pretty difficult for various reasons, but I’m still there, still chugging along, and still making it into work every day.

My family had some upsetting news in the new year, but again, I’ve tried my best to deal with it, and not let negative thoughts get the better of me.  Again, I have kept chugging along.

I’m doing things for ME, rather than trying to please everyone else, which is how I’ve always lived my life.  Only recently have I learned that’s not the best way to be.

I am being kinder to myself.

Things feel like they are finally falling into place.  I am looking forward to the future for the first time I can remember.  I have plans and ambitions, and I actually believe that I can achieve them.  That is a HUGE thing.

I have a new outlook; I can make things better for myself. That’s not to say I ever relied on anyone else to make things better for me, but more that I was happy (or not, as the case may be), to just put up with what I had.

Something along the lines of ‘I am the master of my own destiny’.

So, 2016 is pretty awesome so far.

What else has it got in store?

Well…

I currently live inbetween Leominster and Ludlow, quite literally in the middle of nowhere, so I’d like to continue doing so.

The dream is to live cheaply, sustainably and simply.  So I’m downsizing.  Who knows how or when, but it’ll be happening.

in 2015 I attempted to grow some vegetables in my ‘garden’, but due to the fact that it gets little to no sunlight because of the position and overhanging trees, I only managed a tomato that never ripened and the tiniest carrot you’ve ever seen (but at least they grew, right?!), so maybe one of my goals this year is to grow, from seed, ONE thing I can eat!  JUST THE ONE!!!!!!!

Maybe this is the start of my journey towards living the perfect life that I’ve never actually dreamed of, but is actually quite right for me.  It’s funny how what’s right just suddenly sometimes clicks into place.

 

Also – DEADPOOL IS AWESOME!

 

Widdles  xxx

 

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a while (again), for which I apologise.

I do hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas, I know it can be a particularly tough time for some, but I hope you’ve made it through unscathed.

So what has been going on in Bromyard?

In all honesty, not a huge amount really, which is sublime!

I got myself a little job in one of the pubs, which has helped me get over some of my anxieties, as well as helping me to meet some absolutely wonderful people.  I’ve made some real firm friends here, and I finally feel at peace.

I’ve been working through some tough shit, as a result of my time in Worcester, and have to say, as a result of my move, I’ve really found out who my true friends are.  The ones who will bother to ask how I am, without making me feel bad about nothing in particular.

My flat is really feeling like home, and I can invite people over without being embarrassed – I love to cook, so have had a few people round for dinner, though still not had a house warming yet…give it time!

I feel like I’m finally me again.  My time in Worcester started me on that journey, and I am ever thankful to those that helped me on my way, but I’ve moved on, and taken the next step all by myself.  I’m a very changed woman to the one that came out here in September.  I believe that is partly due to the people I have chosen to surround myself with.

I’ll always have fond memories of my time in Worcester, but I met people that were no good for me (and that occasionally still pop up to cause drama), but I’m past that now, and I hope to continue on my life journey with a smiling face and no unkind words – I’m out of them.

It’s now a case of upwards and upwards, and I’m looking forward to a new year.  I had my ctrl+alt+del moment when I moved out here, and I’ve been adding items to the recycle bin ever since.  It’s been cathartic, and made me happier.

I feel calmer, more happy, and stronger.  I know now that not all the crappy things tough that’s not to say that I am totally free of blame, circumstances made me a hard person to get along with sometimes.  But I also know I can hold my head up and say ‘I have no regrets’.  No one is perfect, and I think that’s something we should all learn.

For now, I shall wish you festive greetings, and hope that you have a wonderful new year.  I will also try to keep this little place updated more often, who knows what may appear in the coming weeks & months?!

All my love,

Widdles xxx

It’s been a while…

The last few months have been a huge struggle for various reasons, and I’ve been pretty quiet lately due to a number of reasons.  Needless to say, things are really starting to fall into place, FINALLY!!

I’ve moved out of Worcester to Bromyard (have a look on Google Maps).  A move that I felt was particularly important.  The past year in Worcester has been full of ups and downs.  Yes I have some absolutely wonderful memories, but there is also a lot of anxiety associated with the place.

I’m now settled into my new flat, which already feels like a home (one thing my last flat never had).  I’ve also met some absolutely wonderful people here already (I’ve been here 2 weeks) and feel like this really is the start of a new chapter in my life.

I finally got the doctor to mess about with my meds, and they seem to be doing the trick too.  So far so good.  It’s still one day at a time, but I feel I am really starting to get properly better.

I feel I have wrapped things up in Worcester, I’ve made mistakes, and I have also apologised for them.  Anything else is not in my hands, and that is ok.  People do what they do.  I spent too much time being hung up on things that were totally out of my control, and those that will bog off at the drop of a hat, probably aren’t the best of friends anyway.

I have to say huge thank you’s to all my true friends that have supported me in my move out here – it is only 20 minutes away, not the end of the earth and I hope I will be seeing you all again very soon!  Bromyard is a lovely place, really chilled out and I really do feel at home here and part of the community already.  I don’t feel at all out of place, or lonely – which was something I always felt in Worcester.

All in all, things are going fantastically well right now.  I’ll let you know when the house warming is xxx