Soooo… it’s been a while.

Hi there!  How are you all?  Well!  It has been a while since my last post and many changes have taken place!  I will try to remember them all.

Firstly, I am winning my battle with depression!  I am on a dosage now that is working well for me and I feel in control of my life (that happy illusion that we subsribe to that we actually have any control over it at all!).  I feel like things are finally turning around and I am steering my lovely little family into calmer waters.

We have moved!  We have moved an hour away from our old home which has been very bittersweet.  Firstly, I didn’t want to leave.  Secondly, I didn’t want to stay.  Therein lay the conundrum!  I LOVED the kid’s school, the friends we all had made and the school community.  I love my city.  I enjoyed living amongst so much variety as well as the general pulse of the city in general.  BUT I had no support and was feeling the crushing weight of responsibility suffocating me as I felt myself failing at even the most basic of tasks.  So many people kept telling me what I great job I was doing and to cut myself some slack.  But I was so paralysed by stress and unhappiness with my situation that I couldn’t listen – when you find yourself breaking the budget to buy tuckshop every day because you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed in the morning to make lunches that won’t be eaten, you know that something has to change!

One day in March my two little terrors broke into the medicine cabinet and stole a near full bottle of panadol.  Other kids, this wouldn’t have been a big issue.  But with the female incarnation of Merlin residing in my home it was a massive problem!  The little magician separated the white part of the childproof lid from the clear part making it simple to open the bottle and share it with her brother.  I got out of bed, found the empty bottle and promptly started our usual “off to the hospital” ritual, we had only been there a week before to rule out a broken bone.  We were swiftly moved to a room in the Children’s Emergency Department for monitoring and a 4 hour weight to check bloods and kidney function amongst queries of “how did they get the lid off?” and exclamations of “I have never hear of that being done before!”.  I must have looked a bit of a state despite my calm and quiet demeanor as I was asked a few times if I was ok and someone took it upon themselves to send a social worker to visit us.  She spent a good hour plus with me as I talked and answered all her questions.  She suggested to me that I move closer to my parents as they are my main support – something that both my children’s psychologists and occupational therapists had been suggesting to me also but I had so far resisted.  The social worker was exhausted after spending time with us and actually said “I am exhausted after an hour in here, no wonder you feel like you are falling apart after years of doing this on your own”.

So, I finally took everyone’s advice and started looking for a place to live.  After 3 months of looking, we moved into a lovely unit 2 weeks ago just before school holidays started.  This will be the third week off school for my guys and they are starting to drive me a little batty – but only a little, which is a massive improvement!  I am almost completely unpacked and we all agree that we love our new home and are much happier here already.  We have had dinner with my parents several times and they have taken the kids overnight once too!  It was definitely a great move for us and I am so glad that we have done it.

My little man started Prep this year and it has been just wonderful for him.  He loves the structure of school life and learning new things every day.  He was very sad to leave his teachers and they were sad to lose such a “delightful child” who “brings joy” to their day.  Whilst he was excellent at school, he would fairly lose the plot at home!  Thanks to Kmart I got him a $5 inflatable punching bag and whatever negative energy he needed to get out he would expend on the punching bag – he now wants to start boxing! lol.  My little man is very interested in excercise and going to the gym.  We would go to the free gym in the park near our old home and this is one of the things he misses the most about our new place, so I have promised to look for a new outdoor gym for us to frequent 😀  He tried Tai Kwan Do earlier in the year but decided not to pursue it further as he spent a whole lesson there and didn’t get to kick or hit anyone! lol So he has decided he would rather do swimming lessons instead.  Now that we live closer to the beach I think we might consider getting him into Nippers next year 😀

My little lady started grade 1 this year and it has been eventful!  She had a day where she tried to run away from school (my greatest fear!), but after the initial hurdles she settled into the rigidity of her school day nicely.  Unfortunately though, not long before our move, one of her friends lost his mother in an accident.  This made an already emotional time even more intense as my poor baby girl became terrified of losing me.  Thankfully we overcame that hurdle and the result is that my darling girl seems to appreciate me more, which is a truly beautiful gift to have come out of such a tragedy.  For the past 2 days my gorgeous girl has made me breakfast in bed just to show me how much she loves me and appreciates everything I do for them both ❤  Although, yesterday she also made me morning tea which consisted of wilted celery (that had frozen in the fridge) with peanut butter to dip and a rice cake sandwich of mayonnaise and grapes.  I am ashamed to say I couldn’t eat it.  I felt bad for my baby girl because she was so proud of herself!  So I left it on my bedside table and thoughtfully disposed of it after she had gone to bed last night so as not to hurt her feelings or discourage her from such acts in the future.

We were lucky enough to go on a mini holiday with my parents a couple of months ago and had the very great pleasure of catching up with a bunch of family that I haven’t spent much time with in years!  So spending a long weekend with them was a blessing that I hope to repeat later in the year!  Speaking of which, I need to organise that! 😀  Also on the subject of holidays, one of my best friends has insisted I research cruises for us!  She is fed up with hearing about my cruise last year and is determined that we need to go off and have a lovely cruising adventure together – I cannot wait!!!  I am so thankful for this lovely lady, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year without her ❤

On a sad note though, I think I may have lost my best friend in the world.  Over the past 12 months things have been excessively difficult for both of us and I have changed so much that I am not sure that our friendship will survive what we are both throwing at it.  After almost 20 years it is very sad for this relationship that I have always held so dear feel like it is turning to water, slipping through my fingers and disappearing, and no amount of effort on my part seems to be able to stop it.  The pain that I feel over this slow, painful death has been excruciatingly difficult to bear and I feel like I won’t ever recover from it.  Getting up and living my life every day whilst feeling like that day is taking me one step closer to a life without my bestie in it is the kind of torture that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and it makes achieving happiness very difficult indeed.

But that is what I am striving for.  Happiness.  Simple.  Complicated.  Difficult.  But I am making progress.  3 times in the last 2 weeks I have felt truly happy.  2 mornings I got up, had a lovely hot shower and put my flannel pj’s on to go and make breakfast and I thought “I love me life”.  Now if that isn’t happiness then I don’t know what is!

xoxo

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Depression is an Evil Bastard

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!  Well after my last post I think a break was definitely a good thing!  That was the start of a head first plunge into a significant depressive episode.  I had been trying to treat the depression naturally for many years and until last year I was quite successful at it.  Last year though after going away on my wonderful holiday, I returned to my excessively demanding normality and I found myself no longer capable of handling the reality of my daily life, I had forgotten how stressful and exacting my role in the world was and I found myself unable to meet those challenges.  I used to use exercise as my greatest depression repellent, but I got to the point where I could barely manage a 10 minute walk (‘walk’ is generous, ‘drag’ is a more appropriate term) before returning to my car utterly exhausted.  I struggled along for a good 6 weeks before suicidal ideation kicked in and I tearfully agreed to start anti-depressants and see a psychiatrist, counsellor and psychologist.  The psychiatrist has been awesome and I am glad I have been under specialised care as I needed to change my medication towards the end of September and my GP cut my medication down very quickly due to potentially severe side affects that started to emerge.  Thankfully my Psychiatrist was able to help me step down my very high dosage in a kinder way.  All this coincided with the school holidays so the kids and I escaped to my parents home so I could get some TLC.  Which as it turned out was a very, very good idea.

 

I woke one morning experiencing extreme symptoms and battling panic attacks.  I NEEDED to get out of the house so I took my babies to the beach which was wonderful, relaxing and enjoyable.  I sat on the beach listening to an audiobook and watching my beloved children play joyously in the sunshine and play chicken with the waves. But on the way home whilst driving up the range in an 80km/h zone I was hit by a massive panic attack.  It kept pulling darkness over my eyes that I had to fight to keep at bay so I could get my babies back to safety as there was nowhere for me to pull over.  I pulled up at my parents home, beeped the horn in distress so my mum would come out and look after my terrified children and practically fell out of the car in my attempt to get myself to a small quiet place where I could call my psychiatrist.  I just wanted to die.  I wanted to drive my car over a cliff so I wouldn’t be alive anymore.  Life was just too damn hard that I didn’t want to live it any longer.  I was so tired and fed up that I just didn’t want to do it any more.  I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up – that seemed to me like the ideal state.  Thinking it and saying it out loud are two completely different things though.  Saying it out loud to my Psychiatrist made it even more real and even more scary, because if I could say it then I was one step closer to following through on it.  I was very scared and felt very, very unsafe.

 

My Psychiatrist knew me well enough by then to know that I was in very severe distress and was a danger to myself, and thus advised me to admit myself to hospital for psychiatric monitoring.  She organised a letter to be sent to the local hospital outlining my severe major depression, the transitioning of medications, my PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, special needs children and my suicidal ideation.  At the hospital I was a crying, shaking mess until they took me to a small room and started talking to me.   I finally felt safe.  I finally felt like I was going to be ok and that there were people there who would make sure that I was going to be ok.  They talked about the letter from my psychiatrist and after keeping me there for a few hours told me that they were going to send me home because I hadn’t actually attempted suicide.  As soon as the words were out of their mouth my mind started planning places to drive where I would be able to fatally wound myself.  They offered me drugs which I refused because in my mind it wouldn’t be responsible of me to take Valium and then get behind the wheel, because I might hurt someone else and I only really wanted to take myself out.

 

I was released without any real support other than a 1800 number that I threw in the bin on the way out – I wouldn’t need that because I had a plan now.  I called my mum to come pick me up – I waited and planned.  In a stroke of luck both my parents were really ill – I know this sounds awful of me!  But I am a selfless, caring person and having people to look after was just the diversion I needed to distract myself from my suicidal planning and in a moment of clarity I instructed my mother to take all the car keys and hide them in their room somewhere as my weapon of choice against myself was my car.  The mind is a strange thing.  With all the sharp objects, cliffs, mountains and potentially lethal substances on or within walking distance of my parents rural property, the only danger to me was my car.  So with the keys hidden, my body recovering from the panic attacks and downright awful day, I spent one of the worst nights of my existence trying to stop my brain from planning my demise through vehicular suicide.  It was a really long night.  But in the morning both my parents and my kids were really unwell and needed to be cared for.  I spent most of the day in the kitchen keeping my mind and body busy making nourishing food and drinks for my family members.  At the end of that day I was so exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically that I finally slept.

 

Over the ensuing weeks I started my new meds and completely transitioned off the old ones.  I felt much better on the new tabs but over the following months the dosage needed to be increased as I would plateau and then start to go down hill again.  The dosage I am on now seems to be working, however last week I had a day where my baby boy attacked me no less than 3 times during a day of rolling meltdowns.  It set off my PTSD, anxiety, hypersensitivity and depression in a big way.  I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again but I didn’t reach a point of contemplating suicide, so that was a win.  I feared though that I may need to increase my medication again, but within a few days I was doing much better and even had a little increase in energy.  That is a win.  A very significant win.

 

Depression is a severely debilitating condition that isn’t just feeling sad – that is feeling ‘depressed’ which is vastly different from clinical ‘Depression’.  When a sufferer is in the throes of a depressive episode, simply getting out of bed is an achievement.  Anything beyond that is a significant accomplishment that should be recognised and praised.  An analogy that is often used to describe depression is living in darkness.  My best friend and I had a discussion last week on my first “dark day” about what it is like.  I likened it to living in darkness and not being able to find a switch to turn on a light.  There may be hands there wanting to help but you can’t see them, and trying to find them is an unfair struggle unless you know where to look – but depression makes you think that you are all alone, so looking for the hands in the dark seems to be a pointless endeavour.  I am lucky enough to know, within the depths of my soul, that my best friend will always be there, no matter what and that makes me the luckiest girl in the world.  We have been there for each other through thick and thin and I know that no matter what happens to me, I just need to reach out and I WILL find those wonderful hands and that beautiful heart that always shows me where to find the absolute best of myself.  I am also blessed to have another amazing best friend who knows that I sometimes need someone to walk into the darkness, find me and bring me back into the light – for her I will be eternally grateful and I am so happy to know that whatever challenges life throws at me she will be there to support me and laugh with (and sometimes at) me.  Unfortunately these two fabulous people that I love ridiculously, live nowhere near me!  But I am lucky enough to have some good friends who DO live close by and who enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs – these are the people that make my every day life more enjoyable and I hope that they say the same about me.  Along with my wonderful family, these are the people I look for when things go dark.  They bring light to my world when I need it the most and it is a privilege to know and love them all.

 

Depression is a bastard of a thing to live with for a lot of reasons, but something that a lot of people don’t know about Depression is that it takes the things that you enjoy most and prevents you from doing them.  ‘Crazy!’ I hear you cry!  Well it is true and just awful!  For me, the things taken from me were exercise, writing and reading.  Thankfully I am now able to write again (joy of joys!), I am super keen to get back into exercise (happy dance!) tomorrow, but my beloved reading is still evading me.  Even webpages I wish to read for research purposes are just not available to me.  It is more than a mental block, I physically can’t bring myself to open the pages!  It is ludicrous and so very frustrating!  I am a very logical person so my own inability to overcome this seemingly self imposed obstacle is irritating beyond measure!  But thankfully I am making progress and that MUST be acknowledged and appreciated.

xoxo

find-the-people-in-your-life-who-bring-light-into-the-darkness