All posts tagged Depression

Happy Box

Image via Flickr user ex.libris

Would you like to hear about my Happy Box? It helps me feel better on the days I feel blue. Are you smirking and sniggering? Don’t be filthy!

I think everyone should have a Happy Box, depressed or not. It sits on a shelf in the kitchen where I can see it every day, and even without opening it I am reminded of the good things in my life.

How to make a box of happiness.

  1. Find a medium sized box. It doesn’t have to be special. You can decorate it if you want to.
  2. Find 5 or 6 things that make you feel good just from looking at them. They remind you of something you did that was wonderful, an award that you received, a card from someone telling you are awesome.
  3. Add to your Happy Box over time.

I open my Happy Box on the days that I need a deeper reminder of the goodness in myself and in my life. When the black voice inside me is drowning out the rational one.

I created my Happy Box because I didn’t want to rely on the people around me to cheer me up when I felt down, but I can’t always remember the good things when I feel shit. I can remind myself when I need to. I can find it within myself.

The good crockery

Image via InAweofGod'sCreation

So, I’m home! I am finding that hospital is a bit like London, or labour, in that now I am home I am blanking out all of the shit that I hated and just remembering the good stuff. Like not having to prepare meals, or take care of anyone else except myself. And having a space that I can hide in. The ever thoughtful Mr Optimism has suggested that I blog about all of the things I hated, so I can remember them, but also so I may use it as motivation to do the things that will keep me well when my motivation is waning.

Now that I am home, I am desperately trying to maintain the motivation without being hard on myself. This is a tough ask for me. I have had small wins: bed early, got my art stuff out (didn’t actually use it…), checked email without having a panic attack, meditated this  morning. Still no exercise.

At the risk of sounding all cliched, this moment right now, this very moment will never happen again. It is unique in all time and it is up to me, up to all of us to live it in a way that is true. Each moment is a moment to be treasured and lived in a way that I can be proud of. With this in mind I am declaring henceforth I will use the good crockery.

I never use the good crockery. I save it for later. I’m not sure when later will come, what defines the moment that it is finally ok to use and indulge in the nice things that I have available to me. Why must I use the horrible stoneware now. What will happen if I use the good crockery now? I might feel good?

True, I might break the good crockery. But it is also true that the good crockery might break later on when I use it too. Or it might get broken while moving house, or be discovered by a certain 3 year old and smashed. Then I would have to face that my good crockery had existed and been destroyed without me ever having experienced the joy of using it.

I am of course using my good crockery as a metaphor, for here is a list of other things I do not regularly make use of because this moment is not a special enough occasion…

  • Nice bath smellies. In fact I am more likely to throw out a smelly unused 12 months down the track after it has gone rancid. This totally makes no sense.
  • My Chanel make up. That I splurged on years ago, and is probably giving me cancer now because it’s so old.
  • My antique glasses. In case I break them.
  • My nice clothes. Surely I should enjoy and wear them out now, while they still fit. Shit will go south soon enough.
  • Nice paper. This I acknowledge is truly neurotic, however I personally know another creative who does the same thing. I have reams of lovely paper that I will never draw on in case I ruin it. I just keep on buying it, and drawing on the crappy paper because that’s all I’m worthy of. If my psychologist sees this she’s going to go to town on me, I know.
  • My fucking expensive Trek Madone. This is a bicycle that is worth more than my car, which I refuse to ride in inclement weather because I don’t want it to get dirty. I don’t even know where to start with that one.
  • Quiet moments with people I love. Because I’m so fucking busy. Am I really? Or is it just that I can’t bare to sit still. The tasks will never be finished, I need to learn to relax in spite of the tasks.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the good crockery, now. In this moment. Because I’m learning that enjoying the good crockery energises us, and reinforces the feeling that we are worthy of the good crockery. Worthy of positive moments.

Do you agree? Or am I expecting too much from the Wedgewood?

 

Celebrate

Image via Homies in Heaven

How often do you celebrate the wonderful things that you have done? The big and little achievements in your life. It’s a weird feeling, right? Do you feel a teeny bit jealous of people who seem to have no problem doing it? I do.

My previous psychologist once asked me to write down 5 good things each day, and it was tough to think of that many some days. My fabulous business mentor wanted me to tell her my strengths in business and I was reduced to tears. We are not taught to celebrate our successes in this country are we?

I think we all need to become fabulous trumpet players. We should take lessons and practice blowing our own trumpet. It feels bloody weird to start with, but I think it’s an invaluable skill. And while we’re practicing blowing our trumpets our inner critic (or Itty Bitty Shitty Committee) is silenced, even if it’s only temporary reprieve.

So I dare you: Blow your trumpet! Comment here about something great you have done, big or small. Or ring a friend, or tell your partner. Then ask them to tell you something great they have done. Have a toot every day and see how good it can feel. Check out the guy in the picture, he’s practically orgasmic with joy! Or drunk.

I double dare and physical challenge you, blow your own trumpet.

Today I ran for 30 minutes, when every fibre of my being wanted to make a cup of tea and sit on the couch. If you’ve ever experienced depression you’ll know what a major feat that was. I felt proud of myself for doing it – go team O.

The resort

Image via Elgin County Archives

I’m off to “the resort” tomorrow morning, and slightly very nervous about it all. To pep myself up a bit I’ve compiled this list of things that might be good about going to hospital.

  1. Hoping for a valium drip. Self administered, natch.
  2. A great opportunity to catch up on all the small business, marketing and self help books I’ve been stock piling.
  3. TV in bed.
  4. Sleeeeeeeep.
  5. Exercise program and lack of access to Tim Tams and Ice Magic = kilos lost.
  6. Group therapy should be fantastic inspiration for future posts, surely? Confidentiality agreement be damned!
  7. Possible celebrity sightings, so say Mr O’s colleagues in the psychiatry department. Confidentiality agreement be damned!

That’s all I could come up with. So in summary, I’m assuming hospital is going to be like The Biggest Loser with better drugs and more strict legal agreements.

Oh yeah, I might get better. There’s that to look forward to as well.

Mother of the Year

Image via Jaydubyasee

Motherhood lesson #423: Pick your battles.

Yesterday Moopy hit the skateboard park (yes the skateboard park, yes he is 3) wearing the following…

  • Jeans that are 2 sizes too small (I want to wear those ones Mum)
  • No underpants (But I don’t waaaaaaaant undies Mum, nooooo!)
  • The pyjama top that he’d slept in the previous night (I won’t be cold Mum, I want to wear this one)
  • Shoes, but no socks (The socks are too fluffy and soft Mum, I don’t want them)

I’ll be in line for a mother of the year award this year, for sure!

It is worth noting that it was 12 degrees and raining outside today. Even with this in mind, this was a battle I chose not to fight. Some days I fight all of the battles and we both lose, feeling frustrated and angry with each other, apologising to each other for fighting like some kind of bickering married couple. Those are the days I beat myself up over. Is it really important that he wear matching socks, or am I just fighting to win the argument. It’s so hard to not sweat the small stuff when you are a mum. Sometimes you forget that they are 3 and you are supposed to be the grown up. When you are lost in the moment you don’t realise how ridiculous it is to yell at a child “Don’t yell at me!”

So today I chose not to fight partly for him and partly for me. Mostly for me if I’m honest, because at the time I couldn’t really see how stupid it would be to argue over those things, I really just couldn’t be bothered with ANOTHER fight and I didn’t want to be banshee mum again. And in the end it was nice to have a day where I was more relaxed, and we could just kinda hang out. It’s a feeling I’m going to try to hang on to.

Doing all of the things

Image via Hyperbole and a Half

While I did make a somewhat miraculous recovery at the retreat recently, some rather heavy family issues have taken their toll and I find myself back in the unhappy place.

My usual reaction is to deal with the problem. Do all of the things to get better, and do them a lot so I may get better quickly. For goodness sakes just stop being so depressed already.

Consequently I’m suffering from a bout of recovery fatigue. It takes me so much work to get better because of the type of depression that I have, and what’s the point, I’ll just be back here in six months anyway. I am really trying to be bothered to get better, if not for my sake then for the sake of those who rely on me.

Some people suggest I harden up and do all of the things. My psychologist has suggested that I go easy on the all of the things approach, but I’m not sure what that looks like. Maybe just getting to bed on time and eating something for lunch each day is enough of a challenge for me right now (Inner Sarcastic Bitch: how pathetic). I’ll see how that goes.

Because even I am sick of listening to myself whinge about being depressed.

Where’s My Glow?

Whine? Why yes, both kinds!

Hospital

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been a bit unwell with a really bad kidney infection. Despite taking antibiotics and drinking heaps of water, instead of getting better I got sicker and sicker, until I was almost too sick to look after myself. I was seeing a bunch of different doctors and almost ended up in hospital. To look at me you wouldn’t know I was sick, but I was really struggling. Being in hospital didn’t bother me too much, because I just really wanted to feel better, but I felt guilty at the prospect of having to leave my boys behind to fend for themselves and what that said about me as a mother.

What do you think? Take note right now of what your perceptions are of me as a person and a mother. Read on.

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been a bit unwell with a really bad episode of depression. Despite taking antidepressants and taking good care of myself, instead of getting better I got sicker and sicker, until I was almost too sick to look after myself. I was seeing a bunch of different doctors and almost ended up in hospital. To look at me you wouldn’t know I was sick, but I was really struggling. Being in hospital didn’t bother me too much, because I just really wanted to feel better, but I felt guilty at the prospect of having to leave my boys behind to fend for themselves and what that said about me as a mother.

What about now? Any different?

We hear a lot in the media about how the stigma around mental illness has gone, but I am not so sure. Perhaps I am the harshest judge of myself, but while I really had no problem with the prospect of going to hospital I was very worried about anyone in my life finding out why I was there (blog readers you don’t count!). The way we treat physical and mental sickness should be the same, but something tells me we have a ways to go.

 

If you have a friend with depression

Today I thought I would write a guide for people who have a friend (or partner) with depression. My BFF who dared to leave me and live interstate for some years (the cheek!) is now home again, to my proclamations of depression. It has struck me that he is perhaps a bit confused about what has changed about me, if anything, or how I am expecting him to be. If I was brave enough, this is a conversation I’d be having with him.

1. Being depressed is not just feeling a bit sad.

I wish it was. It’s a biological thing, that can affect you even if you have a perfect life. So it’s not always a reaction to shitty things happening. It’s also not something you can just pull yourself out of.

2. There are some very physical symptoms of depression, including:

  • Complete loss of short term memory. When we say our brain is like a sieve it we are so not joking. I count this as a physical symptom!! If we forget things it’s not because we don’t care. It just fell out of our brain
  • Inability to problem solve effectively or make decisions – so you might want to suggest somewhere for coffee, because we can’t decide *stress*
  • Lethargy/Tiredness. Not being able to get out of bed sounds like lots of fun I know, but it’s not – trust me. Especially when you can’t just stay in bed, but that’s a whole other rant.
  • Word Salad. When your brain just can’t find the right word. Please don’t make fun of us.

3. We are the same person.

OK, that sounds like I have MPD now. I don’t. You know what I mean.

Speaking for myself personally, I don’t expect my friends to treat me any differently. You don’t need to blow sunshine up my arse, or take pity on me, I am also not a project that you need to fix – I have doctors for that. Just be there for catch ups and chats and hugs.

4. Education.

You might find it helpful to read up about depression, try starting at Beyond Blue – who have good resources for friends and families.

5. Thank you.

Know how important your friendship is. Even if we can’t express gratitude right now, it’s so important to have friends around.

x

Precipice

prec·i·pice

Noun. A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one.

Some days I am standing at the bottom, looking up at the climb I face that day. Some days I am standing at the top waiting to take the leap of faith into some new unknown.

The Zoloft-induced elation (normalcy?) I experienced late last year has been shattered by another dark episode, as it became clear that I was experiencing much more than the exhaustion that one would expect after having your MIL in residence for two weeks. The kind of dark episode that increasing my dose by 1/3 hasn’t touched the sides of. Yay me!

I have been using some uncomfortable words to describe my state of mind lately. Mentally ill. Retarded. So tired. Incapacitated. Incapable. I have been living in a bizarre world where I can’t put together the logic to make dinner, but am quite capable of strategising marketing plans for clients. Coping mechanism perhaps?

So the precipice I stand at today is staring down my first appointment with a psychiatrist. He called me today to introduce himself and tell me when the appointment is, and it struck me when I hung up that the way I noted the details is a perfect visual representation of my state of mind and life right now. Chaotic, disorganised, absurd, childlike.

So what does one expect at a psychiatrist’s appointment? Will I find myself in One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest and not know how I got there? Fuck I hope not. I know I want a rest, but today not that badly.

What I do know is that I hope that when I take this leap of faith there will be healing, and recovery, and wellness. And I’ll get back some of that elation (normalcy? fuck you Universe that I have to fight to feel normal) that I experienced last year, and life won’t be so difficult for my family.

Five things about depression (potentially less helpful than this list).

  1. It can take compliments and positive statements and twist them into ugly thoughts.
  2. It can make an intelligent and independent person struggle to complete basic tasks.
  3. It can make you forget what you were talking about mid sentence.
  4. It is fucked.
  5. My GP tells me I can beat it again.

 

OSSF: Adding some colour to my life

Yesterday Fox in Flats issued a challenge to wear head to toe black. Discussing it with My Mummy Daze, I had to point out that this wasn’t much of a challenge for people living in Melbourne, much less those working in the creative industry. Indeed both of the ladies I work with were in head to toe black yesterday, while I was adding some colour with a bit of grey.

So she issued me with a more challenging challenge, to wear at least two colours everyday for a week. Ruminating for a moment, as I tend to do, I thought hell yeah – I’ll take this as an opportunity to add some colour to my grey days at the moment. I wonder if there is any research out there about surrounding yourself with colour when you are depressed?

So Andrea, with only a little bit more ado I present Ms Optimism in Living Colour – Day 1. This counts as an Op Shop Style File since I’m wearing a few new/old acquisitions. So, have I peaked too early…..?

Homemade necklace made from an odd earring from the op shop, 50c. There's navy in there!! That's not black.

Green Armani Exchange butterfly top, $3 op shop (potentially 6 or more seasons old), Coral Ojay singlet from outlet $9