Tag Archive | recovery

The Return-Days 3 and 4

quotes-the-first-step-toward_15650-6

After a pretty traumatic and stressful first 2 days back at work, yesterday and today have been marked more by my extreme fatigue, fragility and lack of focus and concentration.

I managed to get through the day yesterday, but then promptly fell asleep on the sofa between 5.30pm and 8pm and woke up to find hubby returned from work and eating a sandwich instead of the dinner I had promised to cook!

I still had an early night and was still tired when I woke up this morning. Fatigue is horrible as energy levels are low and concentration levels even worse. I can’t wait until the weekend when I can have a proper rest and hopefully build up some resilience ready for next week. It has to be steady progress rather than trying to rush the recovery but I am so depleted that I have to accept this and I carry on plodding on, slow but sure.

First step

Advertisements

Purple Patch

Heeding some good advice, today I have spent the morning making something just for fun. I happened to have a set of my favourite IKEA Moppe mini-drawers waiting to be upcycled, and I raided my Decopatch stash, found some handles and Hey Presto! I have a new set of purple Drawers!

001

002

Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

and eat three pounds of sausages at a go

or only bread and pickles for a week

and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

 

Mind-mapping for recovery

MapAs mentioned this morning, my one aim for today was to put together a Depression-Busting Plan to help me in my recovery. It helps to have a focus and although I need to make sure that I am not setting myself up to fail by setting my sights too high, I also understand that if I am to emerge from this debilitating fog I have to challenge myself and my lifestyle.

My GP asked me to think about changes I need to make for recovery and when I see her this week I may not have a definite plan in place but I have managed to put some thoughts down in my new Depression-Buster notebook.

I have been mind-mapping.

Following the holistic approach, I chose 6 areas of my life which need careful attention and wrote down all the ideas/thoughts which immediately came into my head. There are likely to be many more added later but on the basis that the most urgent ideas came to mind first I didn’t want to over burden myself with too much information.

The 6 topics I chose are;

Work

Exercise

Diet

Enjoyment

Sleep

Mental Health

Over the next few days I will be working on all of these issues alongside my GP and my support network so any ideas/tips/techniques that you use and you wish to share will be gratefully received ūüôā

002

Green shoots

runner bean seeds

Today I have one aim. To sow the seeds of my recovery and devise and write-up my personal “Depression Buster Plan”. It won’t be a 5-minute fix but it will ¬†focus on;

Short, medium and long-term strategies for recovery

Aims and goals for sustained improvement over the coming weeks

Plans A, B and C to take into account days where some aims will just be too difficult.

Rewards for success; Rewards for trying; Rewards for not beating myself up when I can’t face Plans A, B or C.

Work, exercise, diet, lifestyle and hobbies will all come under the microscope with the sole aim of reducing stress and increasing resilience.

But first, I need to get outside in the fresh air and space. Hiding away from the world might be comforting but I am in danger of turning into a troll so I will spur myself  on to spend an hour or two looking through my seed packets and decide what to plant this year.

Herbs for the kitchen windowsill, a giant pumpkin for fun, bell peppers and tumbling tomatoes for the patio and I must have some sunflowers for late summer. Everything else I will leave to my better half who is much better at growing vegetables than I am.

It will be nice to measure my progress against my seeds and plants.

Nothing forced; strong, steady, healthy growth with plenty of water, good nutrients and sunlight.

Perfect.

Runner bean seedlings

6 months clean

No anti-depressants, no counselling, no psychotherapy, no sleeping tablets,¬†no set-backs, no devastating “lows” and equally, no manic-high energy phases either. No dibilitating exhaustion, no persistent nagging expectation. In short, no depression.

Instead a calmer, more philospohical¬†approach to¬†day-to-day living, accepting slight swings in mood as perfectly normal and nothing to panic about. Final realisation that I’m not Superwoman and never have been (only in my head) and I can only do my best. If my best isn’t good enough, I’m destined for other things but actually, my best isnt that bad.

Can a leopard change it’s spots?

After some deliberation I have come to the conclusion that metaphorically speaking, although it would be amazing to think that leopards could change their spots, tigers their stripes, and Ethiopians the colour of their skin, fundamental change will only happen if the  leopard/tiger/Ethiopian really wants to change their ways. There has to be huge effort on their part to achieve change and no amount of persuasion, comfort or reassurance by others can overcome a lack of desire to change permanently if comfort can still be found in the normality of sadness, frustration, anxiety or depression.

Do some people “chose” to be¬†sad, depressed, or anxious? Consciously I think not. Who would go through¬† the misery and upset that negative and low mood brings to a person, their friends and family? Subconsciously however, it may be¬†a little¬†more tricky to be¬†so sure. There is often¬†some comfort to be¬†found in retreating into familiar negative territory of low mood, anxiety, depression and general malaise. It feels normal. It’s a good excuse to “duck out” of certain situations and there is always the back-up of¬†“some people just don’t get IT” when you need to justify¬†anti-social behaviour.

Can people change? Really change?

Depression, anxiety and fluctuating moods can be overcome and yes, I believe that once you come to terms with this and believe that you can change, it can happen. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes courage and it takes humility and trust in others.

You may need to change your lifestyle choices, your attitude and your routine.

You will certainly need the help of your family, friends and colleagues so don’t be afraid to ask.

Be yourself. Even if at heart you are a leopard with no spots to change.

A lion.

In remission

At long last and after many, many months my stomach has finally stopped its incessant churning. The constant feeling of nausea and fatigue has lifted. My head is clear and calm and this past week I have been able to focus on the tasks in front of me instead of my butterfly of a mind flitting about mercilessly leaving me unable to start and finish anything in one attempt.

I am in remission. I recognise the signs and as ever, it is only when I start to feel better that I realise just how far down the slippery slope I travelled before the worm turned. Now begins the self-questioning. How did I let it get that bad? Could I not have stopped it? How did I allow myself to sink so low when I should have learned from past experience? What happened to the attempts at positive thinking and being kind to myself?

Who knows? I do know that I had no energy to think positively. I couldn’t be bothered to talk to anyone. Every day I have been wading¬†through treacle but I kept going.¬†¬†I kept going because I never lost¬†my belief that I would get better in time. I have recovered ¬†before so why shouldn’t it happen again? It’s very hard to hold on to that faith and belief sometimes but¬†I knew that I had to hang in there no matter how tough it seemed at the time. ¬†Going through the motions is demoralising and unfulfilling¬†but sometimes just doing enough has to be enough.

Accept it.