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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Santa Claus is coming to town!

It’s got to be mentioned, hasn’t it?

Christmas is fast approaching (we’ve been seeing festive stuff in the shops near us since before Halloween).

How are you feeling about it?

I’m totally unprepared, although this weekend we had visitors again and they put up our tree!

We all had so much fun, singing Christmas songs and hanging baubles! The kids went to choose the tree yesterday morning. I’d asked them to make sure they got the best, and I reckon they succeeded!!.

In the evening we watched Elf, and were feeling pretty damned festive!

Even the dinosaurs are feeling festive.

This morning we woke up to snow, so obviously the girls couldn’t wait to get outside!

They threw snowballs and made sort of snowmen and generally had a great time (I have a story about playing in the snow when I was round about their age which involved FARRRRRR too much excitement!).

They were so cute when they came in and sat side by side in front of the fire to warm up and drink some hot chocolate!

Me, I hate snow. I mean, I love love LOVE how it looks. From inside my house. I like to watch it fall, and I love the peculiar light of a snowy evening. But going out in it? Nah. Not for me. There’s something super romantic about snuggling the sofa in front of the fire and watching a good film.

I certainly won’t be repeating my 6 year old self’s snowy escapades…

So Christmas.

I love Christmas.

Well, I love the feeling of Christmas. I like the prettiness of Christmas. I love the SMELL of Christmas!

I detest the commercial aspect of Christmas though.

For the past few years, people have received had made gifts – maybe a hamper or a knitted gift, but they’ve definitely had a lot of heart put into them.

These, for me, are the best kinds of gifts.

Thoughtful gifts.

I hate being ‘forced’ to buy gifts. The best kinds of things come from the heart, and don’t necessarily cost a penny.

Everyone seems to want the ‘best’ or the ‘latest’ or just what’s been forced upon them in the latest advert break.

I hate that attitude.

I think we’ve almost finished our shopping (not including Christmas dinner!), and every gift has been carefully chosen as we are on a pretty tight budget, just like many other people.

Christmas is stressful for so many reasons without having the added pressure of having to get the ‘perfect’ gift.

Some people won’t be having any kind of Christmas, for whatever reason, so I think that people need to start being more grateful for what they do have.

My favourite thing about Christmas is spending time with loved ones.

In my 35 years there are very few Christmases that I have spent apart from my mum.

I love cooking Christmas dinner for my family, but this year we’re saving our Christmas for new year as I have a new ‘family’ – my wonderful partner and we have his 2 girls over the Christmas period too!

How exciting!

I hope they get snow again.

Me, I’ll stay in and cook the dinner and sing some Christmas songs.

I hope you are all coping with the festive period.

Please remember there is always someone to talk to if you are struggling, and of course, you are always welcome to contact me if you’d like.

Take care of yourselves xxx

Depression – fair game for bullies?

I admit, I don’t spend my Saturday evenings watching I’m a Celebrity, but the show, and in particular, Iain Lee, has been brought to my attention today via Twitter.

I’m sure you will have heard about him by now.

He was the one that cried during last night’s show.

Yes, HE. A man cried on TV.

He took part in one of the challenges (which sounded pretty horrific), and suffered an anxiety attack, meaning he ultimately failed the challenge.

He returned to camp and broke down.

Everyone seemed to show compassion, reassuring Mr Lee, but later Rebekah Vardy (I’m not sure what one of those is) said she didn’t like to see crying as it shows ‘weakness’ and Amir Khan agreed.

Luckily support and words of wisdom came from Georgia Toffolo (apparently a star of Made in Chelsea) who said during a conversation with other members of the camp

Yes, because the stereotypical man doesn’t cry and that’s wrong, that shouldn’t be the case.’

This is exactly the problem.

Crying isn’t a sign of weakness, in fact, I’d say it shows strength that someone is quite prepared to expose that raw emotional side of themselves.

Anyway, Mr Lee has now become the target of Twitter users calling him ‘pathetic’ and poking fun at him.

Because anxiety is so funny, isn’t it?

Depression is a perfect opportunity to call someone crazy, isn’t it?!

Despite what you may or may not think, mental illness of any sort is no reason to abuse someone.

It’s not an opportunity to attempt to push your own twisted agenda.

I can imagine that if I’d been in the same situation as Mr Lee, I’d probably have had a panic attack.

And in case you didn’t known, here are some of the VERY REAL physical symptoms of anxiety –

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fidgeting
  • Headache
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling in hands
  • Palpitations

Now imagine experiencing just one of these whilst being in a huge tank of water about to attempt a ‘trial’ on a TV show in order to feed your team mates.

Tell me you would be able to do that and not feel emotion.

Mental illness of any sort is no reason to bully and harass someone, whoever they are.

Maybe if people start accepting that it’s ok to show emotion and it’s not any kind of weakness, things will start to change for the better, but as long as names like ‘crazy’ and ‘pathetic’ are being hurled at people struggling daily, morning is going to change at all.

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

 

 

 

The Narcissist

Whilst browsing my Facebook this morning, an article about narcissism popped up.

I found this very interesting indeed.

I have dated a narcissist, and now I realise the whole time I was embroiled in a mentally abusive relationship.  Each one of the traits accurately describes them.  Things would go wrong, it was always my fault.  I’d try to distance myself, but they wouldn’t allow it.  It was ok for them to make fun of me, but god forbid the joke be on them.

But lets not forget here, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness in itself.

The Mayo Clinic describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as –

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

I could always see the depression in them, but I always felt like I was treading on eggshells.  I had no idea what might set them off, and I altered my behaviour accordingly.  A real sign of an abuser/victim relationship.

Another trait of the narcissist is lack of empathy.  I saw this frequently.  It was ok for them to be self absorbed, but if I needed help, no way!  And that would result in me being put down.

The Mayo Clinic article goes on to describe key features of the disorder;

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

I find it worrying that almost all of these traits were displayed by the person I was in the relationship with.  I can even go so far as to say I recognise all of these traits in certain people I know.

So should we feel sorry for the narcissist? I mean, after all, it’s a mental illness, right?

The best thing I did was distance myself from this person.  They ‘lovebombed’ me.  They couldn’t be without me.  The missed me.  But ultimately, they had issues they needed to deal with, and I couldn’t put myself through the turmoil, and ultimately detrimental effect this relationship was having on my own mental health.

The narcissist needs help, but as with all mental illnesses, they need to make the decision to get that help themselves.  They can be very damaging for people that come into contact with them, but that doesn’t matter.  As I learned, it is always someone elses fault.

Don’t treat them with kid gloves.  Don’t fall for their demanding and manipulative ways.  Stay strong, and hopefully, at some point, they will realise they need help and seek it out for themselves.

Your health is what matters.