Tag Archive | Emotion

Extremes

The past two days have been blighted by extreme mood swings which resulted in a dismal, despondent and very tearful Sunday evening followed by a wary start to Monday, ending happily on a very positive note. For someone who takes regular medication with the expectation that it keeps my mood upbeat but stable these swings are unwelcome and totally unpredictable.

I have started to keep a diary as I suspect a visit to my GP/psychologist may be required to discuss these huge variations in my mood but I need to identify some sort of pattern if I can.

To help me do this, I will be returning to Moodscope, the online mood monitoring tool in the hope that it will help me shed light on the patterns and causes. I suspect that there is something going on apart from my depression but we will see in a few weeks time.

In the meantime, my friends once again came to my rescue and helped me through the desperation and I thank them most sincerely for their patience and forbearance.

Coasting in neutral

I am a person of extremes. I feel things deeply and I get excited about the most mundane of things. If something or someone annoys me, everyone gets to know about it. There are no half-measures and what you see it what you get. Tough if it’s you I don’t like.

Except.

I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place at the moment. It is not unpleasant or disturbing. It is not exciting or emotional either. And that is what is so strange. I am coasting along in neutral.

I am ambivalent to many things and people who cross my path. Problems and issues pass over me like a stream over a pebble and I have no strong feelings about anything I do. I just do it.

Maybe most people live like this and go through the motions whilst life passes them by? I’m not sure but it is not native territory for me and it’s weird. I’m hoping that after this week I will be able to go away with a clear mind and think about where I am and what I do next. Why am I stripped of emotion for many things yet overcome with emotion for others? Am I having a mid-life “crisis” or have I just exhausted my options and don’t know where to turn next? I’m not sure but I don’t like it.

I’d rather be me even though it clearly has disadvantages. Opinionated, energetic, interested, loud, inventive, determined and raring to go in top gear.

Coasting along in neutral is not me.

Not me at all.

Friends

Depression is miserable, and the chances are that if your family and friends have not encountered someone with depression or low moods before, they will have little idea how to help you. They may be embarrassed, feel awkward and frustrated with your continued apathy and apparent hostiity and often they drift away on a wave of helplessness.

It need not be so however, and with a little help from your friends, things can start to improve very quickly. So what can be done to help your friends understand and support you when in the depths of despair, or maybe feeling just a little low?  Here are a few tips from someone who has benefited from the much needed strength and enduring patience of her wonderful friends and family, without whom I would have self-destructed years ago.

“A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway” (Christi May Warner)

Firstly, it’s good to talk.  In my book, a friend is someone you can talk to without fearing reprisals or judgement and who can share your concerns with compassion and impartiality. If you can talk to your friend, you should be able to overcome the barriers of embarassment and stigma surrounding depression quite quickly and discover that a problem shared feels infinitely much better than a problem stewing away inside, draining you of the energy and resolve to find a solution. So next time you get invited round for a cup of tea and a chat, go.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down” (Oprah Wnfrey)

Moodscope.com-A really useful on-line interactive tool for helping you and your friends to monitor your moods and provide support when needed.  Each day you can track your mood by answering a few questions and will  receive your Moodscope score, a percentage between 0 and 100, indicating how happy or sad you are. You can also nominate a “buddy or buddies” to receive the results so they can monitor your moods and ascertain the level of support you may find useful on any particular day. A great way to keep in touch and prevent withdrawal, a common sympton of depression.

What does depression feel like?

A difficult emotion to explain and an almost impossible one to understand, depression comes in many different guises and is complex and unpredictible. It is crucial however that friends try to understand how depression may affect a person, and the symptoms it can produce. This poem tries to explain to non-sufferers what it feels like.

Caroline’s Poem

Learn to accept help-a friend in need is a friend indeed

Remember, a friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself. They are precious. Don’t lose them.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept help when you are depressed and not in a position to reciprocate whether it be emotional or practical support that is needed. “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” (Bernard Mettzer) and will come to your aid regardless by not necessarily taking “No thank you” or “I’m fine” as your final answer. Clearly everyone will be different and have to be treated sensitively but often friends can be more firm than they think without causing distress or offence to the person depressed. Kid-gloves are often required, but some cajoling and persistence will also be appreciated on occasions.

Top-Tips for friends

DO

Be patient and understanding. Make it clear that it is not the person you are frustrated with, just the illness.

Keep in touch either by visits, phone calls, emails or texts. Facebook and email can be useful if leaving the house is a problem.

Encourage healthy eating and exercise habits

Show that you care by learning about depression, it’s symptoms and impact.

Offer practical as well as emotional support. This often frees up much needed “me” time

Expect the unexpected. It’s a rocky road and a rollercoaster ride for everyone. Be prepared.

DON’T

Tell your friend to “pull yourself together”-they are not curtains.

Expect too much.  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Encourage the consumption of alcohol. It doesn’t solve underlying issues and is a depressant.

Remember, a real best friend is someone who can see the truth and pain in you while you are fooling the rest.

That’s what a friend means to me.

Depression-what does it feel like?

Wings clipped, feathers oiled
Aborted daily take-offs
Wading in treacle

Lacklustre. Can’t breathe.
Manic inactivity
Encroaching numbness

Confused, forgetful
Endless lists, tasks for the day
Sleep; insomnia

Dark introspection
Fatigue, every effort blanked
Fortified shutters

Rainbow long faded
Black and white and shades of grey
Monochrome living

Endless shivering
Blue ice pumps through veins
This polar cap never melts

Deflated, let down
Weighted to the ground; handcuffed
Every bubble bursts

No winner’s medals
Struggle to the starting line
Not at the races

Creativity
Dries up. Flourishes; small steps
Something from nothing

Callous self-hatred
Stricken senseless. Alien
Crushed by fate. Friendless

First hurdle faller
The conspiracy of life
Odds on a loser

Inevitable
Break down, break up, no breakthrough
Corralled, reined in, trapped

Frustration, anger
Crescendo of emotion
Threatens to burst forth

Regrets, lost chances
Tears of disappointment well
Lost soul, futile search.

That’s what it feels like to me.


 

Inner peace

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”

Something which does not come naturally or easy to me is much longed-for peace of mind. Always opinionated, passionate and incessantly active my mind chatters away leading to mental and physical exhaustion when I fail to switch off. This year in particular has been emotionally draining and has left me with an underlying craving for peace. Clearly this is something I need to work on if I am to avoid a similar burn-out which I experienced early in November. Nothing is worth that awful feeling of impending doom, hopelessness and lack of control over my emotions, concentration levels and sleep patterns. I need to become more emotionally intelligent, confident in my ability to say “no” and gain authority over my inner self.

In the last week of 2010  I start to think ahead to the new year beginning on Saturday and what I can do to improve my quality of life without depriving myself of all those things I enjoy.  After some soul-searching and contemplation I have decided to make just one Resolution.  I will work towards attaining inner peace. Easier said than done I fear but sheer determination can overcome many hurdles and I am determined to succeed. Failure is not an option if I am to avoid melt-down in what  will  be another busy year.  I believe that if I can acquire some equilibrium and become happy with myself then everything else will fall into place. This year, I refuse to put myself under pressure to lose weight, get fit or work fewer hours. Instead, by focussing on what I enjoy doing and making time to relax, I will achieve a balance right for me.

So having determined my goal for 2011 I need to work out how best to meet the result desired. I need a plan flexible enough for it not to become a chore and it must take into account my unpredictable work patterns.

I have all week to map out my route to success……and so my journey begins.