Monday, 27 October 2014

Always remember, everything happens for a reason

It’s been a little over a year. So to commemorate the milestone, I gathered some friends who had been supportive to me during that time for afternoon tea and drinks last Saturday.

A friend brought some farm fresh eggs and home made caramel slice. Another one gave me a plaque with the words "Remember, always remember, everything happens for a reason". All brought alcohol.

It was hot. Combined with some wine, deep seated tiredness, some alcoholic punch and general awkwardness at public speaking, I endeavoured to thank my guests and to reflect on some things I’ve learned. The key lesson being to appreciate the things around you so easily taken for granted.

 And I acknowledged to the group that I was particularly thankful for meeting the man I’m currently seeing who I referred to as ‘thoroughly lovely’.

Tonight, with only a hint of a storm to come, the lights flickered, and the power went out. With a rare window of child free time before M was coming to visit I had a pile of cleaning and ironing to do. But with the loss of power I gave myself over to what was happening. And instead I sat outside, drank some wine (after all, the fridge had lost power!), listen to the birds and paint my nails in the fading light. And now that the sun has well and truly set, I’m sitting here still outside, typing on my laptop listening to the wind rushing through the trees.

Damn. Correction. The lights have sprung back on inside.

But I think I’ll go inside, turn them all off, and keep the candles burning until M arrives.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Last week I felt blergh.

I wasn't sad or angry or confused or hurt. But I was...

Flat, numb, unfocused.
Unable to concentrate on conversations and simple tasks at home and work.
Not as interested in seeing the lovely guy I'm dating.
Unable to laugh at things I would normally laugh at.
despite the lovely spring weather, smells and sights around me, I found it really hard to appreciate its beauty.

However my desire to consume chocolate was in no way diminished!

For those who are familiar with these feelings, may have an inkling of something that I finally conceded to by the end of the week. The black dog was back.

I had previously felt its back brush up against my leg, its rough tongue lick my hand (ok, taking the analogy too far?) but this was the longest bout of depression that I've had.

I consider myself lucky that I haven't so far been completely crippled, or resorted me to medication. Yet I find its haze exhausting and frustrating.

I was diagnosed with mild depression in the early days of the separation by the counsellor I was lucky enough to be seeing, but this was definitely worse. No, there were no 'hurtful' thoughts that entered my head towards myself or my children, thank God. But for people whose response is basically 'snap out of it/look around you at your lovely children/think that things could be worse/just cheer up', then I can now absolutely testify that those words are useless and insensitive. And luckily I didn't hear them from anyone.

I confessed my suspicion about the depression to the lovely guy, an understanding colleague who caught me unaware at work, and my ex. They are pointing to a hormone IUD I had inserted over a month ago, which has had no negative effect until now. But I don't know if it's that simple... I think there's a whole myriad of factors that contributed to this, and then I came across this article which confirmed some of my thoughts.

The stress of separation. The hormone IUD. A mother with mental illness. My own issues from my upbringing (note I am not a fan of blaming others and I believe in being accountable for yourself, but it does help paint a picture). The sudden reduction in exercising, after having been a regular visitor to the gym for several months. The huge intake of processed foods (well, chocolate). Chronic long term lack of sleep.

So on Friday morning with the kids at their dad's place, I took myself for a run (er, maybe more walking than running!). And when it came time to see the lovely guy for coffee that morning before work, I could at least smile and make chit chat. I'm not implying this is an easy fix, but the fact that I felt a little better as the endorphins started to course through my body, was a relief.

So I can start to feel myself swimming up from the depths and feel things a little clearly. And the lovely guy didn't get freaked out.

So what did I learn? Something I already knew, which is that depression sucks. That this is a journey I'm just starting on. That you just can't pull yourself out of it. But with a bit of time, awareness and patience, I can help make it more tolerable until it passes.