Tag Archive | depression

114 Days of freedom-day 7

Already one week down on my 16-week break from work! How quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself so the saying goes.

I certainly enjoy having the time to indulge my favourite activities; walking Jasper, making quilts and, at the moment, sleeping.

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Jasper heping with mummy’s quilt!

One thing I have learned about chronic fatigue and how it affects me is that my body is not very good at dealing with adrenalin. It doesn’t matter whether the adrenalin -rush is the result of stress or excitement, (a) I seem to produce a lot of it and (b) it hangs around and upsets my equilibrium for some weeks afterwards.

I finished the high-intensity cycle of my seasonal work at the end of January, and am still winding down 3 weeks later. In previous years when I was much less self-aware, I would have fed off this adrenalin and continued the high-energy activities it promotes. This in turn would lead to a crash weeks if not months down the line. These days, being aware of this potential reaction I make a concerted effort to relax and not do  more than necessary so conserving my energy and protecting my equilibrium.

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The beginnings of a disappearing 16 square quilt

Since finishing work, I have been able to control what I do during the day, but my sleep pattern has been disturbed. Short periods of deep sleep for 2-3 hours are followed by hours of agitated waking, my mind racing with ideas and plans for the next day.

Going forward if my sleep doesn’t settle down soon, I will take my prescription medication to help me stay asleep for a good 6-7 hours instead of waking every few. In the meantime, I just keep trying to rest and relax in the hope that sleep returns to normal. My GP tells me that sleep patterns are the last thing to sette down after a relapse so hopefully it won’t take long.

Still mind

Time flies….

when you are enjoying yourself. So the saying goes and I endorse that wholeheartedly.

I ask you, how is it 2 months since I last posted? Where did those weeks go?

All I can say is that I have been out and about, “doing” things, making things and generally making the most of my 4-month break from work.

My biggest thrill is my puppy Jasper who is now 8 months old. He is such a revelation and has made a huge difference to my daily life. Anyone who has suffered from/is suffering from depression or anxiety will understand that it is often difficult to engage socially with others and it is easier to keep your distance than make an effort. As a result, I could spend hours in solitude and although I enjoy my own company, it is not healthy for a person to become so self-contained. Jasper has changed all that as I hoped he would before we had him.

He is such a beautiful dog both in appearance and nature that I am “forced” to talk to other dog walkers and appreciative members of the public every time I take him out for a walk. It helps me to engage with people as the attention is deflected away from me and is instead focussed on Jasper. Although outwardly I appear confident and am happy to speak up, I do not like attention to be focussed on me and therefore if I am not comfortable in my environment, I keep quiet and move on.

Jasper makes me happy. I love animals, I particularly love dogs and have waited a long time to have another one. He makes me laugh and I love to see him enjoying himself usually in water (the muddier the better) and as I am responsible for his welfare and enjoyment I have less time to think about me. It’s a win, win.

I wish that I could bottle Eau de Jasper. I would make a fortune!

Zentangle

Quite by accident this week I discovered Zentangle. I have been keeping my journal up to date and enjoy making it pretty by including pictures, quotes, pre-printed journal cards and recently, doodles which I have been painting with my watercolours. I always enjoyed colouring in pictures as a child and I have clearly not lost that desire to both doodle and colour.

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Inspired by designs I have seen on Pinterest I started to search through the pin boards looking for further ideas. That’s when I came across Zentangle. I can’t believe I haven’t come across this before but am certainly making up for lost time now. The picture below is my second attempt.

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The different patterns are called Tangles, and the Zen prefix gives you a clue that practising this art using the repetitive lines, circles and shapes is very relaxing. Fundamentally it is an easy art to follow as you need no previous experience and initially you work with a black pen only-no need for colour. The repetitive nature of the exercise encourages focus and concentration as you try to make each line and shape smooth. You literally lose yourself in the drawing and it clears the mind in much the same way as meditation.

For me this is a perfect way for me to relax. I am hopeless as mindfulness/meditation as I am very impatient and I like “doing” things. Sitting still is agony for me and therefore having something like this to do which not only needs concentration but also produces a pleasing end result is rewarding and soothing.

The creators of Zentangle, a meditative art form, are Rick Roberts (Zen) and Maria Thomas (Tangle) and reading about its development and formation is interesting. I am only a beginner at this but already I am hooked. It was my birthday last week and I was able to order a lovey Zentangle book and micron pens from Amazon to help me along my journey.

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I recommend this for anyone taking up Zentangle although you can find lots of ideas and inspiration on the web.

Have a go, and enjoy rekindling your inner child!

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114 days of Freedom

Freedom

I can’t believe that my last post was 3rd January. Where have those (almost) two months gone?

ActuallyI can tell you- January is my busiest month at work as a tax return reviewer. The UK tax return deadline is 31 January, and whilst many people say they will send us their information earlier, they never do so a large proportion get prepared, reviewed and submitted to good old HMRC in January. In fact, this year I was on “Midnight Duty” on Saturday 31 January and was still sorting out problems at 11.55pm!

So that was January. The first two weeks of February were spent tidying up loose ends before I started my 4-month break from work lasting until 8th June. A total of 114 days of freedom.

This is day 12 of aforementioned 114 and I am just starting to come round from a very busy period at work. I am on an annualised hours contract which, in simple terms, means that I work my butt off for 8 months during the busy time of the year, then have 4 months off during the quiet time. This works for the business and it sure works for me as it gives me an opportunity to recover my equilibrium and really relax properly for the first time ever in my working career. For someone who has periodic bouts of depression exacerbated by fatigue, this is an amazing arrangement and it’s a long time since I have felt so well mentally.

So far I have spent my time relaxing and being creative which is my natural bent but which I have to suppress during busy times as I just don’t have the time to indulge my inclinations. More about this in a later post.

In the meantime I am feeling much more communicative now that I have rested my brain and hope that I can resurrect my blog for at least the remainder of my “leave.”

2015

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all!

This time last year I was looking forward to a busy busy 2014 and sure enough so it has been. Overall a very successful and happy one albeit against the usual backdrop of “depression expectancy.”

My New Year resolutions this year are few but hopefully more truly life-enhancing than the previous “Must lose weight,” “must exercise more,” “must eat healthier,” etc etc.

For 2015 my intentions are simple and two-fold.

(1) To stop living in fear of the black dog returning and to live my life in the moment and

(2) To go swimming 3 times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am with the other “over 50’s”!

My biggest problem is accepting that life can be good. I must stop expecting the worst to happen and preparing accordingly. As sure as eggs are eggs (as my grandma used to say) it usually will. Granny wasn’t well educated but she had a pretty good grasp on the relationship between thought and behaviour and the self-fulfilling prophecy theory as explained by Merton. And so I must try and put my past experiences into perspective and take each day as it comes. Some days will be better than others but that’s normal. Hey! I think I’ve got this!

I have a great support network.

I have a fantastic husband.

I have an amazing son.

I have a wonderful family.

I have a cute puppy.

I have a job I love.

I work from home.

I have 4 months off work between February and June.

I have a house and family in Iran.

What have I got to worry or complain about?

Nothing.

I wish all my friends and family a happy and healthy 2015.

Guilty

Over the past 4 years my Blog and I have been great friends. Writing about my experiences really helps me to make sense of my bouts of depression and keeps me connected with the outside world when I don’t physically step outside of my front door. I have made some lovely friends on here so “Thank you Poppyposts”:)

I feel guilty now because I have a new life. A new life which has taken some time to reach but they say that everything comes to those who wait and put simply, I haven’t felt so well mentally for as long as I can remember.

I have been very busy with my new job, my new puppy and my new-found positivity but that’s no excuse to abandon my Blog for almost 3 months! So I am back but with a different focus. How to stay well and what works for me. I think I have found a balance and with a few tweaks 2015 could be the year when I finish up a much healthier person physically, mentally and emotionally. I can look forward to that I’m sure.

I know that I am incredibly lucky to have a hugely supportive family, group of friends and an understanding employer but I have also been brave enough to take my opportunities as they have presented themselves.

The saying goes;

She who is brave is free

She who is brave is free

 I do feel that I have finally been released to live my life as I chose. How brave am I?

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