Tag Archive | Friendship

To carry on or to not carry on? That is the question.

026Over the past couple of months I have been wrestling with myself and wondering whether I should carry on writing under my Poppyposts title. For those who have been “with me” for a while know that Poppyposts was originally a Blog created to share my experiences of depression so the question now is whether to stop, or to carry on under a different banner. Not that my depression has dissipated. Not at all, but it appears that after 30+ years of living with my demons, they are here to stay and I have nothing more to add. The trouble is that I like the name Poppyposts! To me is signals hope and colour and life. I am reluctant to give it up without a fight.

I live with this illness for better or worse. I cope with the illness, well or otherwise and I take full responsibility for its impact on my work life, good or bad. In this I am like thousands of others who experience the same ups and downs; the positives and negatives; wanting to help, wanting to stay anonymous.

So I think I have come to the conclusion that I will continue to Blog, but not necessarily about my personal battles with depression and anxiety. This takes the pressure off a little-self-induced pressure undoubtedly-so that I can express my opinion on a particular matter, or just journal my hum-drum existence as I want to without wondering whether there is a purpose or an impact. I guess I was brought up to believe that everything has to have a purpose otherwise it is superfluous. If its not useful, its not worth doing. If you are not learning from the experience, dont do it.

If nothing else I am learning that I can do things and experience things just because. There doesn’t have to be a purpose. I can enjoy life without having to give it a mark out of 10.

So, I’m back. 3 1/2 stones lighter than I was! Not that Blog readers can see it but nevertheless the weight loss has had a huge impact on my life and how I live it which will undoubtedly flow through to my Blogs. I hope that I don’t become a Slimming World bore but I feel so much better, more alive, more capable and definitely look better, that perhaps my story will help to inspire others to take the same journey. Who knows?

 

 

 

Friends and my two-selves

Introverted

I am really struggling with my latest bout of depression at the moment and am just about getting by but only because I am leading two lives. I don’t think I am unique but maybe a little unusual in the way I tackle and cope with my low mood and negativity. I do it by existing on two levels. Somehow,  I have learned to separate my true self from my necessary self. My true self reflects how I feel when you strip away my necessary self; my necessary self is that person who needs to work to pay the bills, needs to keep occupied to fend off the demons and needs to carry on because if I don’t, I will give up permanently.

My true self is that person who remains locked in a surreal existence where I question my worth, my value, and my purpose despite my achievements. Except that I don’t see anything as an achievement, just a lucky occurence. According to my latest mental health assessment, my mood couldn’t be much worse and I have avoided in-patient treatment by the skin of my teeth. I have to go back to my GP to discuss my medication, which isn’t working as it should and I have to organise more talking therapy to help me recover.

In the meantime I feel that I need to apologise and explain my inconsistent behaviour as some people can be very confused by it. A lot of the time, when I am feeling good, I am sociable, chatty, helpful and fearless. When I am in a depression however I am completely the opposite and talking to my best friends is difficult if not impossible however hard I try to force myself. It is at times like this that I need great friends. Those who don’t get miffed when I “ignore” them but accept that sometimes I am happier to retreat into myself and observe from afar. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, or that I’m not interested. Far from it; It’s just that my self-confidence and  ability to communicate are at rock bottom and I need some time to come round.

I don’t have many friends. Not  because I don’t like or trust people, but purely because I don’t want to let them down by not being there when I am needed. Sometimes I just can’t be there however much I want to be. It’s easier this way and those friends that I do have are treasured and valued beyond comprehension.

A_FRIEND_IS_SOMEONE_WHO_KNOWS_YOU_LIKES_YOU_ANYWAY_BLACK

So, if I have been distant and uncommunicative, this is just me getting by and doing my best to hang around long enough for the good times to come along again. I have every hope that they will, as they have done in the past.

The only difference this time is that I am worried that I don’t have the energy or determination to fight this off again. It’s exhausting, demoralising, and I feel hopeless and useless but I refuse to stop trying.

head-up-stay-strong-fake-a-smile-move-on-2

Hope

It is 7.00 am and after spending two days in bed I am up and showered, teeth cleaned and fully dressed, albeit it my shirt could do with an iron. For those who understand depression these are seen as the triumphs they are. For those who have no experience of this illness, these are the daily tasks that we all take for granted when healthy and feeling good. I take them for granted too but on mornings like today I feel like I have conquered the world.

My advantage in dealing with my bouts of low mood is that I have recovered before and I have hope that I will do so again. My GP as ever has been very supportive for which I am truly grateful.  I am lucky to have a GP who takes the time to discuss my condition and the best way forward. Not everyone has this advantage and I do appreciate it.

At times like these, little things mean a lot. Thank you “Sally” for an uplifting quote for today;

‘All flowers eventually turn to the sun’

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Fighting battles

I am naturally someone who wants to help others. I can’t help it , it’s my nature. I am a frustrated medic in that I am sooooo squeamish I couldn’t possibly entertain a career as a surgeon, nurse, or even as I tried, a physiotherapist. I hate to see people hurting whether it be physically or mentally; it kills me.

I kind of kept this under control and under wraps until 3 years ago when I “came out” about my depression. Following my admission I received hundreds (yes, hundreds) of emails, phone messages, texts, facebook contacts, wanting to share their experiences with me. This was/is fine but as I have come to realise, I need to take an aloof approach and not try to fight other people’s battles for them. This was probably the most important lesson I learned but it was and remains hard to do.

The causes of my depression are many and varied and are not something I want to repeat here. Despite these debilitating episodes, my basic personality is one of high moral standing (not good for humanity!) and outspokenness (not good for me!). I have learned to curb both these traits so that I am much more tolerant of errant behaviour and those who don’t meet my expectations of them but today I broke my own golden rule and intervened in someone else’s “difference of opinion” with A N Other.

Part of me was wary, no, unwilling to interfere but in the end I felt I had something to say and I needed to say it. I just hope that the person on whose behalf I intervened appreciates that I did it with my best intentions and with much aforethought. Blogging is a forum in which many people find their tribe, their community of like-minded people who are interested and supportive in that particular topic or subject matter. No one has to join in if they don’t feel comfortable and even if they feel strongly enough to criticise, there is also no need to continue the vitriol in some kind of personal vendetta. Just go away and do your own thing sweetheart and leave the rest of us in peace to follow our instincts and develop our own relationships with fellow Bloggers.

Blogging is not a substitute for “real” relationships but everyone has their own reasons for wanting or needing to Blog at a particular time in their lives. For me, even now, today, depression can be very debilitating so that speaking to someone face-to-face or on the phone can be distressing. Not many people at work would see me as a person who dreads the phone ringing, but that’s the reality. I’m just very good at hiding it.

I am lucky that my friends understand this and whilst I may not see them or speak to them personally for years, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care or I am not thinking of them in times of trouble. It’s how I am. I don’t like it and I try my hardest to fight against it and it doesn’t always work but I have learned to be kind to myself.

So, to you “Anon” I say this. Go away and resolve your own issues by tapping into your own resources and friends and leaving the rest of us to commune and support each other without prejudice and attitude in an environment where preconceptions and judgmental attitudes are alien and positivity and genuine concern prevail.

Rant over.

For today.

Facebook Friends

There has been a lot of criticism about Facebook and its use. Are “friends” really friends? How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met? Facebook friendships are shallow and meaningless and people should get a life instead of spending all their time on the computer.

Ha! Ha!

I have just spent a couple of days with a Facebook Friend and his family in the depths of sunny Wiltshire and my son and I had a great time! Now we are all Facebook Friends and shall be for a long time I suspect.

I have “known” Andrew for almost a year, and in that time we have become good friends helping each other through the dark and often lonely times of depression and anxiety. However much one’s friends and family are there to support, it helps to have a friend who knows what it feels like to have the world pressing down on your chest and shoulders squeezing out every morsel of sensible reason and hope instead giving you a feeling of panic and fear. Someone who can rationalise the thought-patterns and turn negatives into positives; someone who won’t and can’t judge you, recognising the causes and symptoms of the extreme emotions as one’s own.

I have met Andrew during the year, and heard about his lovely family. His two sons are clearly his pride and joy and he is very proud of them both. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew’s wife and youngest son at the weekend and they couldn’t have made us more welcome. It is fortunate that my son and Andrew’s son are the same age (only 17 days difference) and they share a love of sports and just being 16. The 9 holes of golf played yesterday afternoon was a source of much hilarity and we certainly got to know each other much better on the rather chilly fairways and fast-running greens. Dad even turned up at the 6th tee with a flask and chocolate! Could it get any better than that?

Actually yes it did as we also met the two Springer Spaniel puppies, at 12 weeks a recent addition to the Cooper-fold and simply adorable. Andrew did tell me pointedly this morning just before we left that he had padlocked them in their enclosure…….I wonder why! It was very tempting to stage a kidnap attempt of Rosy and Lily but I dug deep and resisted the temptation. In addition we were treated to some lovely meals and expert baking (Domestic Goddess in residence) so I was perfectly content!

Thank goodness for Facebook Friends! I am lucky that my Facebook Friends really are friends and I appreciate that.

Anyone who tells me otherwise clearly don’t know what they are on about!

You’ve got a friend in me..

You’ve got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you’re miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
Just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got troubles, well I’ve got ’em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and we see it through
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me

Some other folks might be
A little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
Maybe
But none of them will ever love you the way I do
It’s me and you
And as the years go by
Boys, our friendship will never die
You’re gonna see
It’s our destiny
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me

Depression Awareness Week- Friends

Over the past difficult couple of months I have been privileged to receive the support of some great mates. What a difference it makes when someone genuinely cares enough to see through the “OKs” and the “fines” to bouy you up as you struggle. Friends, buddies, mates whatever you want to call them are a huge filip when feeling low and a true friend will stick by you when the going is tough.

Diamond rings, flash cars and designer clothes are all very well but it is the everyday efforts that a person makes to ensure that your day is a happy one that counts more than anything.

A person who sacrifices their own immediate feelings and position for the sake of another is a true friend indeed and should be loved and appreciated with all your heart. Indeed, too many times words are spoken in earnest, but are never followed up by the promised act. If you find a friend who is willing to stick their neck out for you, support you, care for you and offer impartial guidance when you least expect it, you are a very lucky person. If they can also make you laugh and cry with joy, reassure you that “No, your bum really isn’t that big” so that you start to believe it, and give you the confidence to break down long-established inhibitions and  barriers to enjoyment I must be one of the luckiest people alive.

Some advice- don’t let them go.

Instead, let them challenge you and your attitudes, habits and  “comfort blankets” to ensure that you develop as a person and become a better, more thoughtful and self-aware individual whilst you grow in confidence day by day.  This is a wonderful relationship to have and not everyone gets the privilege.

The help, support and love of a friend is given unconditionally and without pre-conceptions or judgement. It is invaluable. It is always welcome and should never be taken for granted.

So how do we thank these friends?

By being a good friend in return.

I hope I am.