Last week I went back to my GP asking for help with a sudden onset of a severe depression. At the time, she suggested that I might need some time off work to recover and get myself back on track and, true to form, I said, “No, thanks, I’m sure I’ll be fine; it’s just a blip”.
That was a tad optimistic to say the least and over the week and weekend it became patently obvious that I wouldn’t be “fine” and having wrestled with both the disappointment and stark reality of my illness, this morning I was at the Drs surgery at 08.15am waving the white flag.
I am now off work for 2 weeks. There is no doubt that I need the time out and we spent a good 30 minutes going through my mind-mapping exercise so that I can plot my recovery properly. Anti-depressants only go part of the way to lifting mood long-term and therefore we identified a number of things that I need to do over the coming weeks and months to secure success.
My biggest challenge? To be kind to myself. My GP recognises that this is the crux of many of my issues and that with the high standards that I expect of myself I live with constant disappointment. I have to achieve. It is deeply ingrained in my core and unless I am achieving something, however small and insignificant, I am a failure. I can’t just do something and enjoy it, there has to be a purpose otherwise, what’s the point? I know that I have to work very hard on turning this ethos upside down and hopefully persuade myself that I can do something purely for enjoyment.
Challenging this mindset is going to be difficult, it has been part of me for almost half a century and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t collecting certificates, accolades, trophies, rosettes and badges for my efforts. I even have all the photos taken over the years to prove it but it is time to stop.
Depression the illness and the recovery is exhausting and I spent a few hours this afternoon asleep. When I woke up, the skies had cleared and the sun was out and whilst there is a stiff breeze, I went for a short walk around the village to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. I don’t want to spend the next 2 weeks in bed however tempting that may be at the moment so I am going to pump up the tyres on my bike and get cycling. That should help to clear the mind and gentle exercise will hopefully stimulate those endorphins to multiply exponentially!
Pied Beauty-Gerard Manley-Hopkins
Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: