Tag Archive | support

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.

Challenges

The past two days have thrown up an number of challenges some of which I predicted and some which I definitely did not see coming my way. Overall, sitting at home on Friday evening after a sometimes difficult 48 hours, I think that those personal challenges have been mostly met head on and resolved to my satisfaction albeit only with the help, strength and support of those friends who are closest to me. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to help my friends as much as they helped me but I’m working on it.

My personal challenges may be different from those of my fellow tribesmen, but they are no less or no more debilitating. Just different and I thank those who provided the comforting words of encouragement for helping me conquer some of my fears and anxieties. Andrew, Leanne, Rupert, Emer and Abigail. Thank you.

I have started to think about my very organised and forward-thinking coping strategies to the extent that I may rethink my theory that forewarned is forearmed. You can be too prepared and fall victim to imagining all sorts of disasters that will never happen. Catastrophising can become addictive and certainly doesn’t help with low mood or anxiety issues.

For example. Yesterday I was invited to attend a meeting at Citi based in Canary Wharf. I am claustrophobic and don’t like heights so that flying, travelling in lifts and in the back of cars with only 2 doors can be problematic for me. Busy, busy, busy, I stumbled from meeting to meeting so that when we finally arrived at Citi at 4pm, I signed in and in typical sheep-fashion followed my colleagues towards the lift. Still catching up I watched Glen reach towards the button -36th floor.

Now if I had made the connection between Citi=tallest building in Canary Wharf, I would have checked beforehand where the meeting would be held and “persuaded” Glen to hold our gathering lower down. However, no such connections were made and before I knew it I was being whisked up to the 36th floor, my ears popping twice. . I had only made 17 floors in a lift before and I had more than doubled that in one trip.

I felt pleased with myself. But I also felt a little silly. What was all the fuss about? I was safe. The lift engineering hadn’t failed half way up. And the doors opened at the top. I wasn’t trapped. I didn’t have to be rescued in mid-air. All thoughts which I would have chewed over for weeks had I known in advance that I would need to go to the 36th Floor. There was no way I would have done that if I’d had time to think about it but the surprise element worked. My friends were fabulous. They encoraged and reassured me and I made it to the top.

What a view across London. The O2 Arena, London flood barrier, City airport, London eye, the Thames, etc etc and I took in the panorama from a safe place with my back against an internal wall!

Perhaps next time, I’ll be brave enough to approach the window and take a photo.

Small steps.

Angels in disguise, I’m tired of fighting

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing.
There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny.
And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.

Octavia Butler

I’m tired of fighting but I can’t give up now I’ve got this far. In my current mood I’d like to do just that but to give in is to let a lot of people down and is not an option I care to live with long-term. I am trying so hard to put things right and adapt my lifestyle to alleviate some of the physical, emotional and mental pressures but it feels like I’m treading water just to stay afloat let alone make any progress. At times like this I am more than grateful for my friends who keep me on the straight and narrow. Like many who experience unexplained dips in mood I can say the most alarming and incoherent things out of despair and desperation which can hurt and concern those closest to me. It also must try their patience and for this I apologise.

I do not send out SOS messages often, and certainly don’t cry wolf. I try to deal with changes in my mood sensibly and rationally but sometimes I see no reason for the swift change so a little support from those who understand is so welcome.

When feeling like this I instinctively gravitate towards my “tribe” where I retreat into safe territory talking and relating to people who understand how I feel and who know that they can challenge my thinking and state of mind legitimately without fear of recriminations.

I don’t believe in Angels but it’s amazing how often friends appear out of the blue as if they sense a need for their help and guidance. They must be my “Angels In Disguise” but how they manage to hide their halos is beyond my understanding. I have somehow acquired a team of Angels In Disguise which does a fabulous job of picking me up, dusting me off and pointing me back in the right direction. As far as I am aware they all independently but strangely act as a team so that I’m not inundated with offers of support one minute and left to stew the next.Weird. I’m not sure how this has happened but I’m glad it has.

I only hope that I can be someone’s Angel In Disguise too.


Stop the world I want to get off!

Actually no I don’t but I’d like it to stop spinning relentlessly out of control, or even just slow down a bit so that I can catch up and make a fresh start.

My blog was and still is here to show people who even though you may have depression, anxiety or perhaps another mental illness, you can live and enjoy life with the help and support of others, and with determination, patience and resilience on your part. There is no getting away from the fact that some of your recovery will depend on you and your belief that you will recover in time but I am not going to tell you that it is as easy as it sounds here sometimes. It certainly is not and I apologise if it comes across that way on occasions it is not intentional. I do try to look for and focus on the positives in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same. I also understand that this approach can be daunting for some but can reassure you that I am just as fragile, confused, impatient and frustrated with my depression as the next person with mental health issues. I manage to hide mine very well and would give Meryl Streep a run for her money at any Oscar ceremony.

It is too easy to become wrapped up in the routine of your daily life, commitments,  habits and other people’s needs and forget that you need time out and some nurturing TLC too. I’m guilty of that. Ignoring and burying my “troubles” and concerns deep down so that they fester away unresolved, churning in my subconscious waiting for that welcome release.

This week those troubles and concerns started to leach out and although for a while I was caught up in the overwhelming emotion and apparent negativity of it all as a result of my mini melt-down I am now in a much more positive frame of mind and ready to fight my corner from within. I still need time, and encouragement and a lot of nurturing and TLC from those who care to provide it (!) but I am hopeful that all will be OK in the end-whenever that may be.

And for those who may not have reached the end of Dr Seuss the other day…..

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


 

Another brick in the wall

It’s too easy to build walls. Fortifications against being hurt and damaged and yet all too often we feel we have no choice but to create barriers for our self-protection. We become numb with exhaustion, despair, disillusionment and tired of trying. So we block everything and everyone out to stop the downward spiral.

Sometimes however, you put up those same walls not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

It will be a true friend who will persevere in the face of a reluctance to yield. Someone who sees you for who you are, not what you have become through withdrawal. A person who understands that illness can creep up unnoticed and invade the soul but that soul is still there just waiting to be released from its burden. An honest, kind and loyal friend who wants to see you repaired and enjoying life at each breath.

There will be friends out there but sometimes you need to ask for help.

Don’t be afraid.

True friends will dismantle that wall brick by brick until the real you reappears. And they will be happy to do so because they care.

Persevere [Patrick Lindsay]

Those who succeed are not necessarily the most gifted.
They are the ones who never give in.
Inspiration is just the start.
perseverance is what brings things to fruition.
Whatever the obstacle,
whatever the opposition,
however long it takes,
see things through.

“Patience and time do more than force and rage” [Jean de la Fontaine]

What’s the single most important thing I accomplished in 2010?

An easy one for me.

2010 was the year in which I overcame the fear of prejudice, stigma and of being labelled and finally admitted to friends, family and colleagues that I have depression. There were many reasons why I felt this was my moment and whilst it hasn’t all been plain sailing, I don’t regret it for one minute.

It sounds dramatic, but since my admission last May, my life has changed completely both at work and at home. I am now involved in lots of depression-related activities with my prime target to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and depression and to help others come to terms with this illness. All I have achieved towards this end in the last year is dedicated to everyone suffering with depression and mental illness, and to encourage them to hang in there, keep calm and keep going.

It will get better but you have to believe.

Undoubtedly the best thing about my admission however is that I have at long last found my tribe.  I now belong to a large group of like-suffering wonderful people who I now count as some of my best friends because of our mutual association and understanding of depression. There is nothing like peer support to help deal with this illness as it can be a very lonely place and friends who genuinely understand the illness and it’s varied unpredictable symptoms are precious indeed.

Thank goodness for that moment of courage and thank you to all my new friends. I can finally be me.