Sunday, November 28, 2010

Revisiting the big black hole

So it's happened again.  I'm in that big black hole of nothingness where my bed is my sanctuary and sleep my best friend.  I'm still struggling to work out what triggered this episode.  Perhaps it's best not to think about why and put in place the very small steps to find my way out of it.

I can start that process by being grateful for an understanding husband and two daughters who are old enough to pitch in and help out around the house.  I do not like my daughters to see their mother in bed all day, crying, curled up in a ball, seemingly unable to function and do the basics like have a shower.  Miss G. goes off to school retreat tomorrow for 3 days and I don't want her to go off with an image of me like this.  I do think she knows me well enough to know that this sojourn into the black hole will pass in time.

I know there is an element of acceptance I need to have about this ongoing condition I battle with, but you know what, I'm just a bit over it all.  There is such a huge part of me that wants/needs to get out there and do stuff, but I just can't physically or mentally make myself do it.  I guess that's the fatigue aspect that comes with depression.

Tomorrow is a new day, perhaps bringing with it a more positive outlook.  One can only hope.  That's a key word isn't?  Hope.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sleeping should be for sleeping

When I go to bed at night, sometimes quite late, the most important thing on my mind is sleep.  You know that period of time when you have a rest from all things, supposedly.  It should be a physical, mental and emotional rest, supposedly.  Sometimes that just doesn't happen.

I can't remember how many evenings I've been yawning my head off, I'm really tired and sleepy, ready for bed, yet when I get there I'm wide awake.  I use to fret incredibly about the sleep I wasn't getting, how tired I would be the next day but now I just get up and do something until I get sleepy again and usually on my return to bed I will sleep.

So I've learnt to cope with that and insomnia to some extent.  What I haven't come to terms with is nocturnal panic attacks.  Last week during a blissful sleep, supposedly, I awoke to find myself sitting up in bed, heart racing, feeling nauseous, wondering what on earth was going on.  It took me a moment to realise I was having a nocturnal panic attack, got back in control by seeing it for what is was and breathing away the panic.  Where on earth do they come from?  I had nothing particularly distressing on my mind, I had been in a reasonably positive frame of mind during the day so I cannot connect it to anything.  It's not as if I'd been thinking about something and off I went.  I mean for goodness sake, I WAS SLEEPING!!!

So I'm wondering how much of what we feel deep down and choose not to think about during the day, gets processed in our subconscious while we are sleeping?  If that's the case, then our subconscious is not very nice to us.  How many of you have had or suffer from nocturnal panic attacks and what are your coping strategies.  Does anyone know why we have nocturnal panic attacks?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where's the sunshine gone

This weekend is really a bit off a fizzer as far as sunshine goes.  That's not only weather wise but for me too.  I really dislike waking up with that heavy feeling in my body and the immediate thought that goes with it, oh no, it's going to be one of those days.  Well I have to say that rather than wallow in my I don't want to get out of bed feeling, I now try to think this is not a good start to the day....but it may get better.

When my lovely hubbie asks me if I'm o.k., I can say "Today is not a good day for me, but I'll be o.k."  And I will be.  Isn't it nice to have reached a place where I can say and think that?  This morning being Sunday I have the luxury of not having to be out the door to take Miss G. to school, my family is home and we are all relaxing or pottering around the house doing bits and pieces.  I have decided to spend a little extra time in bed this morning, just slowly working my way up into the day, not pressuring myself to get on with the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, the baking that needs doing or tidying up my never ending mess.  Instead I've had a cup of tea, breakfast and morning coffee, all in bed :-)  And of course reading the blogs I follow (laptops are wonderful as is wireless internet connection), making a few comments here and there, and dealing with a few very NASTY hot flushes.  I'm taking the time to think about creative ideas that are running around in my head, being inspired but other people's creativity and making a list of things I'd like to make.

Last night I made some Christmas baubles for the girls to hang on their bedroom doorknobs.  If you follow my other blog, you will already know this, sorry.  The enjoyment I get out of having an idea in my head and then actually bringing it to fruition is so rewarding.  A huge part of the joy of creating is sharing it with others.  I really love the internet and blogging for this very reason, the sharing and caring with heaps of wonderful people.

On a slightly different note, I would like to mention an experience I had late Friday afternoon which brought home to me how fortunate I really am and in comparison to some other people.  I was at the local pharmacy to pick up my happy pills (as I call them) and bumped into an acquaintance of some 15 years or so.  Some of our children were at primary school together so there is a connection of sorts.  We were asking how our respective families were going and I learnt in this particular family, the son who has just turned 20 is suffering a rare and aggressive form of cancer which needs to be treated with an equally aggressive type of chemo for a year.  The young man who is sick only has one kidney, so there are many things to be concerned about.  The mother suffers extreme anxiety and depression and has been very unwell for two years and is basically housebound.  Her illness started before the son was diagnosed with cancer.  The father, whom I was talking to, had two years previously been suffering a digestive disorder which now thankfully is under control.  The father is the sons carer and a daughter is the mothers carer.  So you see, in comparison what do I have to complain about?  Very little.

Tomorrow the sunshine will be out and as I'm typing this I can see out my bedroom window the clouds clearing and blue sky is showing.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've over done it

Do you ever feel good, so wonderfully good that you think you can conquer the world?  You do too much in one big hit and then you pay for it, coming down with a resounding crash.  That's me, I've gone and over done it, again.  You would think I would have learnt by now to pace myself, but no, my enthusiasm gets the better of me and off I go doing goodness knows what. 

Perhaps I'm subconsciously making up for a long cold winter spell of achieving zilch and all the sunshine has gone to my head.  I feel like I'm coming out of hibernation when the sun shines and I need to go and fatten up for any lean times ahead, figuratively speaking.

I think tomorrow I'll be slowing down my mind and body, going about the business of housework slowly with many cups of tea in between the bathroom cleaning and the vacuuming.  Perhaps if I think calmly, I'll be calm and not worked up into a flurry.  Sometimes this works for me when I'm running a bit late.  I'll be driving in a highly anxious state and when I think about it, being anxious and uptight isn't going to get me to my destination any quicker so I might as well lower those shoulders that are hunched up around my chin, take a big breath and just breathe.  Easier said than done isn't it?  I'd love to know how others handle tendencies to over do things and how to slow down the mind and body.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sometimes it's better not to think

I believe I may have another addiction....blogging and reading blogs.  I'm finding it takes up an incredible amount of time each day reading and posting and I'm wondering if this a good use of time.  I may have mentioned before that I'm a bit obsessive about many things and blogging has been added to that list.

Having learnt over the years that I need to think about where my black times come from, analyse thought patterns etc, I find that sometimes I can over think.  Is there such a thing?  For me there is.  A part of the fun of blogging for me is discovering new people, new ideas, people who share similar interests etc.  Yesterday I discovered a blog by a 30 year old something mum who seems to run her own business, has had 4 children in about 5 years, the most recent addition is only about 2 weeks old.  Her hubbie is about to start a new job and will be living away from home during the week.  I had to stop reading about this particular family's life as I found it stressful just thinking about it.  Silly me went back for another look today and I got stressed all over again.

I think I have just learnt a very valuable lesson here.  There is a time when I need to switch of from those things I have no need to think about.  I would love to send this lovely lady messages of encouragement, see how she is coping but I just can't do it.  One of the reasons I think is that I had such a stressful time when my girls were babies.  I had severe post natal depression, anxiety, panic attacks, basically the lot.  Even though this lady seems to be doing very well, I find myself thinking about how hard it must be for her, and I just can't afford to think about that.  Does that make me weird or just very sensitive?  Don't think it matters either way really, I just need to look after my head space.

Perhaps I should limit my time on the computer each day too as at the moment I feel like it might be taking over my life.  I wonder if I'll manage to implement this change.   No too hopeful on that one.  Some obsessions are just so enjoyable. :-)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Returning to normal ?

Our lovely visitor (my nephew) has left and our house is strangely quiet.  It's quite amazing how the addition of one person can liven up a household.  We all have our routines, our habits and it is interesting to observe how these are changed when someone else comes to stay.  I enjoyed getting out and about a little more than usual, visiting a few places I haven't been to for a while.

We live very close to temperate rain forest and as my nephew loves to walk, we went for a walk in the forest to see a small waterfall.  I had forgotten just how lovely it is to walk in the forest and really enjoyed being reminded that this beautiful place lies on our doorstep.  The smell of the trees, the tree ferns, the undergrowth, the damp earth and all the birds making their different calls was delightful. 

My nephew comes from a dry region in Australia where it rains infrequently and running water is a novelty.  I was delighted to see the enthusiasm on his face at the sight of the small waterfall and what is really just a small creek.  We spent a very pleasant 20 minutes standing on the little bridge watching the water and tossing in leaves and twigs to see them rushing over the rocks and into the distance.  My nephew was itching to get his hands in the running water, so after a quick scramble down the embankment that's just what he did.  The enthusiasm of youth is infectious and we spent a large amount of time laughing at silly things and generally having fun.

My two daughters who are 20 and 17 enjoyed spending time with their cousin who they rarely see.  The last night he stayed with us, the four of us got caught up in a cushion fight (which I started I might add) and I can't remember the last time I laughed so much my belly hurt.  There is something quite liberating about trying to hit a very tall, strong  22 year old nephew on the head with a cushion, grabbing cushions off your opponent, dancing around chairs and sofas to avoid getting hit on the head yourself.  :-)  Don't you think it's great that a 48 year old auntie and mother can start a cushion fight and enjoy it?  Oh the bliss of not acting ones age!!!  :-)

I would have to say that I very successfully spent 3 days living in the moment while my nephew was staying with us.  Very pleasant moments they were too.

I hope everyone is going well and thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Handling the off days

I suppose it had to end, the feeling good every day.  What a lovely holiday it was waking up feeling happy, refreshed, enthusiastic and well, just well.  Today I'm off colour in every respect, but you know what, even though I feel out of it, it's o.k.  This too shall pass and who knows by this evening I may well be feeling better.

I am continually surprised by how much I am affected by stress, little stresses, big stresses, they are a direct link to my overall sense of well being.  The stress of a situation or situations is generally not going to disappear immediately.  So the question might be how to manage these so that they have minimal effect on how we feel?  Still learning how to do that but a very good start might be by living in the moment.  When I live in the moment, I'm hopefully thinking about what I'm doing right now, not about how I'm going to manage the next 6 hours or even the next 5 minutes.  I find this very hard to do because I'm generally someone who likes to be organised and plan ahead.  Sometimes that just does my head in, especially on off days.

We have a visitor coming, someone I'm looking very much forward to spending time with and I'm so annoyed that I'm feeling off.  The annoyance isn't helping me one bit, so I need to remember that people who come to visit, come to see us, not the house, the dog who smells and needs a bath, the floor that needs washing, the windows that desperately need cleaning from the dog slobber.  There will be a bed, food, shelter, love, laughter and friendship.  They are the important things, yes?

I'm about to live in the moment of eating some honey on toast (yummy homemade bread) and a lovely cup of tea.  Let the rest of the day take care of itself.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Muddling along

It's been quite a while since posting on here and I think that is mainly a good thing.  I certainly have enjoyed feeling better the last few weeks and I'm positive the nicer weather has had an impact on me.  In complete contrast to yesterday which was sunny, warm and about 28C, today is gloomy and raining with 19mm of rain falling overnight.  I do love the rain for the garden, for adding water to our water reservoirs but please bring back the sun.  PLEASE!!!

I found the stress reducing commandments below over on the delightful blog Marigold Jam.
I've seen them somewhere else before but had completely forgotten about them.  I think I might just have to add them as a permanent fixture on this blog to remind myself how important they are.

1 Thou shalt not be perfect nor even try to be
2 Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people
3 Thou shalt leave undone some things which ought to be done
4 Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
5 Thou shalt learn to say "No"
6 Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and thy supportive network
7 Thou shalt switch off and do nothing regularly
8 Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and inattentive at times
9 Thou shalt not ever feel guilty
10 Especially thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy but thy best friend

I've certainly learnt some of the things on this marvellous list, others I fail at dismally.  I grapple with No. 1 continually.  I am a perfectionist by nature so living with untidyness drives me nuts.  

I would like to add another commandment to this list, 'Thou shalt not apologise to anyone for who you are.'   It's very easy to be concerned about what other people think of you when your house is less than tidy and needs a good clean.  You are still in your Pj's at 11.00am on a Saturday morning blogging when other people are out doing the weekly shop, taking the kids to sport or doing some other industrious thing.  Your mind is on some wonderful creative activity instead of making sure your daughters school clothes are being washed so she will have something to wear come Monday morning.  All in good time, it will get done eventually, just not yet.  Surely it's time for a nap.

Today might be a little less wonderful than yesterday but I'll find some things to make me smile.  I'll daydream a bit more about designing images for a lino print and try and try to loose the feeling that I might make a mistake and mess it up.  (The perfectionist side is coming out).  I'll take pleasure in the fact that yesterday I made a lovely shell and button hanging thingy to put out in my garden room.  And I'll certainly be smiling when my hubbie walks back through the door after taking Miss G. to swimming squad.
I hope everyone finds something to smile about today.


Friday, October 8, 2010

No blues

Hi there.  Something very exciting has happened to me,  I've had about 5 days of being happy all day!  I can't remember feeling so good for such a long time and I'm enjoying every moment of it.  I've had to deal with a number of things which would normally do my head in, but I've coped remarkably well.

I have been totally immersed in creativity which may have something to do with it, or perhaps it's more daylight hours and I'm making vitamin D.  I don't really care what the explanation is, I'm enjoying the ride.

This morning I attempted to make my own stamps for the first time.  Inspiration for this project lies firmly with Chantal    of  Chantal Vincent Art.  I'll probably show the results on my other blog.  It was nice to be learning a new crafty skill, another thing to add to my growing list of crafty interests.

I must away to pick up Miss G. from school.

Have a great weekend,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lost in a world of creativity

In complete contrast to yesterday, today has been a better day.  Routines are good things as they force you to be active.  So much so that I even swept and mopped the floor and now I feel like I've got some head space.  Back to that thought in a moment.

My oil painting classes resumed today so I was able to enter that magical world of creativity, being lost in strokes of brush against canvas, colours, the smell of paint and turps.  A little bit of conversation with fellow artists, admiring the photos and paintings our teacher took and painted from her recent trip to France (she flew in this morning) and the the tranquility that comes from doing something you love.

Before painting class I cut out a pattern to make a little bird made from fabric.  I've been yearning to make some since I've started blogging and seen them on other blogs.  They look so cute.  So two creative opportunities in one day  Sigh.  (A good sigh).

Back to thoughts on head space.  Does anyone have a theory on why clutter in our houses makes us feel like we are cluttered in the head?  I'd like to understand the psychology behind it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Irrational thoughts

This morning we awoke to another beautiful sunny day, perfect for hanging clothes on the line and other general outside activities.  But what was I thinking about?  I really need to vacuum and wash the floor, it hasn't been done for ages.  I was quite prepared to get out the vacuum cleaner and mop and clean away.

But something happened in between waking up, breakfast and a shower.  I went from downright cheerful to panic attack in about 15 minutes.  I have no idea what bought this all on.  Well perhaps I do, it's the contemplating back to the routine, stresses and what I talked about yesterday.  Funny how we think we are o.k. with it all but the subconscious is doing it's thing.

After my shower I came out looking for hubbie as a he gives the best hugs in the world and that is usually something that helps me catch my breath and calm down.  I couldn't find him.  I looked in all the usual places he might be.  No hubbie.  Then I realised his car wasn't in the driveway.  He never goes anywhere without telling me he is going out or leaving a note.  By this time I was seriously freaking out as this was such uncharacteristic behaviour for him.  (I'd just like to point out here, I do not stop my gorgeous hubbie from doing his own thing.  I'm not a controlling wife, shudder, we just always let each other know where we will be etc.)  His phone and wallet were gone, Miss C. had already gone for the day and Miss G. had just risen from her slumber so she was in the dark as to his location as well.  I rang his mobile only to get voice mail.  FREAKING OUT BIG TIME NOW!  About 5 minutes after I rang he phoned me to see what I wanted.  Oh it was so good to hear his voice.  Apparently he had taken Miss C. to the bus 'cos she was running late, had decided to take a little detour on the way home and when I rang, his phone was not connected to hands free and had fallen on the floor of the car.

When I knew he was safe, hadn't done a runner, I cried bucket loads.  Silly irrational thoughts, he would never run off and leave me ever.  He is just not that type of person.   It wasn't about me not believing in him or trusting him, it was about me being in a fragile emotional state and allowing my world to tilt.

So this brings me to the question I've been pondering for some time now.  Am I too dependent on my hubbie for my emotional strength?  Am I too reliant on him to get me through my difficult times?  Do I need to develop a bit more backbone?  I believe I need to.  So how do you learn to be self reliant emotionally while maintaining the sharing in a relationship?  It's a big one, isn't it?  I also want to teach my daughters by example that we have the ability to be emotionally self reliant.  I sure don't feel like I'm doing that at the moment.

Does anyone else grapple with this?   Many people don't have partners, what do they do to cope, to be emotionally self reliant?  There is no choice for them.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

No routines, less stress.

Today was a gorgeous day weather wise, the first warm day we've had in a long, long time.  Our winter has been incredibly long, grey, wet and cold and it's a time when I never get enough vitamin D. 

When I woke up this morning and saw all that sunshine, there was only one thing I felt like doing and that was get out into the garden and tackle some of the weeds that still managed to grow without sunshine during the cold months.  It felt soooo good to get my hands in the soil again, to breathe in fresh air, to be totally absorbed in something I love without any distractions.

We have had school holidays here for the past two weeks so there has been a little bit of respite from the normal routine which I hate so much.  Deadlines, schedules, demands, have to do this, must do that.  The absence of the stresses of the normal routine have made me realise just how much I don't do routines.  Well I do them, but not well.   Routines cause me stress and stress contributes to depression.

With Miss G. on school holidays, she's not as stressed either.   It's surprising to realise just how much of her stress filters through to me.   I suppose that's because she chats to me about her homework deadlines, difficulties with certain subjects etc.  So how do I learn not take the stress of everybody else on board.  I don't know.

Does anybody else struggle with this?  I'd love to hear about your strategies.

Wishing you a stress free Sunday.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reasons for not being depressed

Hellooooooo there.  I've been confronted with yet another birthday which I don't find depressing at all.  I guess I've accepted the age thing is inevitable and I'm told I don't look my age.  I certainly don't act it.

My darling sister sent me this birthday card.  If you are reading this blog because it discusses living with depression, I'm sure you will enjoy the humour.

I love my sister's choice of card for me, she knew it would make me laugh and that it did.  Wishing you laughter and happy thoughts today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anxiety, panic attacks and depression - a triple whammy!

Anxiety is in my opinion is on a par with depression.  Depression is like a big black hole of nothingness, anxiety is a never ending whirlpool of terror.  Depression makes me sleepy, lethargic and I burrow to avoid the blackness.  Anxiety is gut wrenching, hand wringing, shoulders near the ears, stomach roiling, mental anguish, rocking back and forth kind of stuff.

Depression and anxiety is a double whammy, throw in a panic attack here and there and you've got a living hell.  Fortunately for me medication has taken the edge of most of the severest symptoms but they lurk very close to the surface if I'm not careful.

There are times when I wonder if I'm being a bit too precious with myself, it feels like I'm making excuses why I can't or won't do something.  However I've learnt from experience if I don't look after myself and only do what I can manage, I suffer.  There have been a number of occasions where I have committed to something only to discover that I just couldn't follow through.  That to me is worse than if you decline to do something in the first place.

When Miss C started kindergarten many years ago, I volunteered to be on the fundraising committee.  Come the school year I pulled out, I just couldn't do it.  More recently (and I'm  not proud of this), I wanted to do some volunteer work at a local hospital, I felt I could be of help.  There were vacancies for volunteers in the emergency room and after the interview, I was taken through what I would be doing and I thought to myself, what on earth am I doing here.  As I learnt more about what would be expected of me, I knew I couldn't go through with it.  I didn't say anything at the time as I was too embarrassed and ashamed to admit how I was feeling.  Walking back to the car my stomach felt like it had a lead weight in it.  I've learnt to take very close notice of my feelings and have relied on my intuition a great deal when making decisions.  I waited a few days and finally plucked up the courage to phone the person in charge of volunteering saying I wouldn't be able to volunteer due to reasons beyond my control.  Needless to say they were less than impressed.  But when I got off the phone, my relief was so great I knew I had made the right decision.

Some of the worst depression I've suffered was when I had my two babies.  Of course it was post natal depression but with my first child it wasn't diagnosed until she was 10 months old.  I still grieve to this day that I was unable to give my beautiful little girl the love and attention she deserved.  I was isolated from family as they lived on the other side of the country so I had no support networks.  My hubbie was an absolute darling be he didn't know what was wrong either.  Miss C never went hungry, she was physically looked after but I wasn't in a place where I could give her all those wonderful things mums give their babies.  I am proud that I managed to breastfeed her totally for 10 months, at least we had some bonding.  The breastfeeding was hard for me as I struggled to maintain supply and this caused me huge anxiety.  Just thinking about it now makes me feel anxious.  One day I might be brave enough to share with you the responsibility I feel for contributing to Miss C's difficulties, but not yet, it's still too raw even after 20 years.

I have a phobia which causes me extreme anxiety and once again I'm grateful to medication for keeping it under control most of the time.  It's not a problem now unless I'm directly confronted but I remember years of metal agony trying to deal with the anxiety it caused, the fact that it controlled my life completely.   I absolutely hate that I have no control over this area of my life.  I can tell myself everything I need to but it makes no difference, the thought patterns are so deeply ingrained I react immediately.

Then there's the panic attacks.  The first one I ever had was in the middle of the night.  I woke up out of the blue feeling terrible and actually thought I was ill.  I have never, ever felt so bad in my entire life.  Some people say they feel like they are dying, I felt so bad I wanted to die.  It was such a frightening experience because I didn't know what was happening.  After I had returned to some measure of calm, I was too scared to go back to sleep because I was afraid it would happen again.

Another time I was helping a neighbour carry a mattress up to her house and I had a panic attack.  Unbelievable!  Why did it happen out of the blue?  That's something I find frustrating, a panic attack for no good reason.  Most of my anxiety is low grade now and I keep it that way by not having too much on at one time.  It's frustrating because I really feel I should have more control.

Even though I've rambled on here about depression, anxiety and panic attacks, you'll know if you read my other blog Ungardened Moments that I strive to fill my life with happy and enjoyable things I love.  I'm just so grateful to have access to medication, knowledge, counselling and support.  Not to mention a long suffering husband that truly loves me, warts and all.

I don't know why I'm prone to these things but that's my lot in life and I'm trying to make the best of it.  I thank you for your patience with this very long post and for taking the time to read it.  I hope that by sharing some of my ugly stuff, it might help someone else realise that there are many people dealing with similar things, that we are not alone and it's more common than we realise.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Anne  :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

I did it!

It's nice to sit down, take a big breath and say I did it.  I pulled off hosting a 50th birthday party which is something I certainly wanted to do but wondered how I would manage.  I had moments Thursday through Saturday when honestly I wanted to crawl into my bed and go to sleep.  I wondered how I would get through the organising, the cleaning, the timing, the baking and all the preparations that go into such an occasion.  I knew I was capable because in the past I organised my own 40th, did all the catering etc.  I've hosted 16th and 18th birthday parties too but perhaps at those times I was in a slightly different frame of mind.

So what did I do?  There was an incredible amount of self talk going on in my head.  You can do it, one step at a time, concentrate on doing one thing at a time, check your list.  The other thing I did was take regular small breaks, you might say it was a kind of reward I gave myself for achieving tasks on the list.  I had my laptop on so I could do a bit of a browse through blog land while I had a cuppa.  It seemed to do the trick.

Saturday morning was probably my most difficult time as I had such a lot to do.  There was a point where I felt myself teetering on the edge of extreme anxiety so I sat myself down on the bed (didn't crawl in, yay) and did my best to do some yoga breathing and meditation for ten minutes.  The small mental break was quite helpful and I was able to get on with it.

We all had a wonderful evening and I was so happy to see everyone enjoying themselves and my cooking.  :-)  Getting through those moments of anxiety was an achievement and gave me a bit of confidence that I can use strategies to get through.

In a future post I want to talk about anxiety and panic attacks as they seem to go hand in hand with my depressive episodes. I'm wondering if other people suffer this too and and how they handle it.  But right now it's time for some Zzzzzz.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A lovely day

Today was a lovely day and isn't fab to have one every now and then?  I took the birthday person (see birthday time) , out to lunch at a lovely bohemian type cafe with Moroccan influences in food and decor.  They also sell Moroccan decor items such as mirrors, lamps, pottery, candle holders and today they had some beautiful leather square and round floor cushions in amazing colours like aqua and red.  They were exquisitely made but at $345 each I decided not to bring one home.

This popular cafe is certainly a feast for the senses and suits the more quirky and out there parts of my personality.  It's so nice doing something you enjoy isn't it?  It's like taking a holiday from all the other stuff.  Note to self, make time to visit this cafe again soon.  Here's to taking more mind holidays!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Meltdowns and light bulb moments

Yesterday I wrote a very long post pouring out all kinds of stuff all over the place.  I decided it was just too long and too emotional to post on here. Why?  Well I had a little bit of a meltdown yesterday morning, came to the realise quite a bit about myself, my journey in this life and it led to more questions than answers.  I had been having a heart to heart with Miss G (she is so wise and understanding for one so young), which produced some light bulb moments for me

I now have a better grasp on some of the things I struggle with and why, but how to resolve these issues is something I'm grappling with.  There are constraints in place, some self imposed, some a part of life that stop me from being who I really am.  The title of yesterday's unpublished post was "Are we who we really are?"  So what I'm trying to say here is that the routines and responsibilities we have in everyday life contribute to us not being who we really are.

I am a highly creative person, so much more than I had previously realised or recognised.  An inability to create when I NEED to as opposed to when I CAN causes me an extreme amount of distress which is something I have not previously understood about myself.  I've clamped down on those creative needs as other things have taken priority.  I have a family with needs and as a mother I put them first.  I'm o.k. with that.  It's the ability to juggle family needs with my creative needs that have me floundering.  Yes I can and do my best to make time to be creative.  But that's not usually the time when I'm in that highly creative place where I can be in the moment, be totally and utterly absorbed in creativity.  I can now see how subduing these feeling and needs has not helped me.

So how does one find a balance?  I honestly don't know.  And to be perfectly honest, I don't really feel like finding a balance. 

The light bulb moment came to me when I was making a Fathers Day card yesterday morning.  I was in my creative element.  There were textures, patterns, colours, images saturating my mind.  And I suddenly realised I was happy, really and utterly happy.  Then it struck me that I am at my happiest when I'm creating.  Be it gardening, painting, drawing, sewing, crocheting or card making.  Time ceases to exist.  I dabble with the piano when no one else is home which is rare.  My hubbie plays beautifully so I don't feel comfortable playing around him.  But when I have a go at something like Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, ooooo, I'm in that place again, creating, creating music.  It's so good.

When I was younger, much younger, I had this feeling deep down inside that I could paint, that I wanted to paint and so I had some lessons in water colours.  They were o.k. and I knew I had some ability.  A couple years ago I decided I would try oils and have had lessons ever since and I love it.  I have this feeling deep down inside that I could weld sculptures, abstracts.  I don't know how to weld and don't have the space to but that feeling is there nonetheless.  The same goes for pottery, maybe one day.

How can I be who I really am while being what I am needed to be by others?  Huge question.    Plenty of conflicting emotions.  No easy answers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Emotional roller coastering and distractions

Today has been a day of emotional roller coastering.  Is that even a word?  Too bad, I like it.   :-)  I really don't know if this is unique to me or whether other people go through such a range of emotions in one day.   It's a bit exhausting I must say!  So today I had a period of time when I was really angry and I have absolutely no idea why.  That's the bit that gets me, I like explanations for things.  Then I had times when I was very happy, that was really NICE!!!  Add to that a little bit of sadness and a lot of joy.

When I get angry I just don't know what to do with it, especially when there doesn't seem to be a reason for it.  As I have done on many occasions before when I need a distraction, I put on some music, quite loudly too, music that would be considered quite alternative, music someone my age wouldn't be expected to listen to.  Man it was good.  Didn't take long before I was singing away and no doubt making other people smile when we were stopped at the traffic lights.  Hey, it's free entertainment!  (Perhaps I should mention I was driving and not dancing and singing on the footpath.)

Sadness came today when I was reading a blog by a lady who has been going through a difficult time with one of her children.  She has a diagnosis for his condition now and although in one way this makes it easier to deal with, it's also a time for a little bit of grief.  It's the realisation that your child is not in the mainstream and that life is going to be challenging for them in many waysYou know you are in for continuing times of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion as you help your child to reach their full potential.  You know you are in for the fight of your life so that your child has a voice, finds his or her place in the world and is recognised for their abilities as much as their disabilities.

My joy today came from three things.  First I received a message from the above lady who was appreciative of some words of encouragement I left on her blog.  I commented because I understand what she will be going through as I've been in her situation with one of my own children.  My second  very big joy came from a phone call Miss C received about having a third interview for a job.  (She has been looking for work for a couple of years.)  This sounds really promising as she has progressed through two interviews.  The third joy came from Miss G receiving 98% for a biology test which she didn't have time to study for.  She is doing two VCE subjects in year 11 and biology is one of them.  Her goal is to reduce the amount of subjects she is doing next year in year 12 to 5 instead of 6 to lighten her work load.  But she has to get a high score before her school will allow her to do only 5 subjects next year.

Happiness came from being out and about and being distracted in a pleasant way.  From finding the perfect birthday present for a family member.  The focus was off myself and onto other things.  Finding a dress to wear to the ballet was pretty amazing I must say, this time last week it wasn't looking to good in that department.

So I guess I have realised again today how much distractions can help with emotional roller coastering.  It can be music you find groovy, doesn't matter if someone else thinks it's rubbish.  It can be from the joy of knowing you have helped someone else.  And it can be from little things too. 

Now I need to go and make dinner or there will be no joy at all for my hungry family!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stress is not my best friend

Do you ever wake up in the morning and think I can't do this anymore?  I did this morning.  It's a yuk place to be and while having a shower (my thinking box), tried to analyse what was different about this morning as opposed to every other morning.  I think I have some of it worked out.  I have too much to do today.  From someone else's point of view the things I need to do today are easily achievable.  It would mean they would be busy, but it would be doable.  For me it's akin to climbing Mt Everest.

I learnt many years ago that stress is not my best friend and I do all I can to avoid having to much to do on one day.  Unfortunately there are things to be done today that have to be done today.  The dog food has run out so that's a trip to the vet.  Our dog has allergies so she has to have a special food.  The chook food has run out, so it's off to the produce shop to pick up pellets and wheat.  I make my own bread and I need gluten flour so it's a trip to another shop, not my regular supermarket.  At least while I'm there I can buy coffee (the one we like), dried paw paw for home made muesli  and some fish for our evening meal.  And while I'm down that way it makes sense to visit Aldi to stock up on some staples that they have at a much more reasonable price than the other supermarkets.

This morning I had a yoga class and although I know I always feel better afterwards, initially it was just another thing to fit in.  I'm so glad I went though.  So after the lovely calmness of yoga it was off the the chemist for a prescription (need those happy pills) and another supermarket to pick up the other ingredients for the muesli which ran out this morning.  Ggrrrrr!!   Both hubbie and I have muesli for breakfast and the day doesn't feel right if we don't start out with our bowl of muesli.  Yes, a little strange I know.  While I was in that particular shopping precinct,  I popped into a slightly alternative clothing shop in the desperate hope of finding something to wear to the ballet.  If you read my other blog, you'll know all about that frustrating story.  Well I came out empty handed.  Double Ggrrrrrrr!!!

By now my stomach is grumbling and I'm in desperate need of sustainence and coffee, so homeward bound and here I am.  Meanwhile the wash has finished and needs attending to.  Do I risk putting it on the outside line as it's windy, but rain is threatening?  Or do I put it in the drier?  Just more things to think about, organise and actually do.  So as I sit here typing this post I know I have to go out again and do all the things I first started talking about in this post.  And I absolutely must drop in the birthday card I made for a friend and forgot to give her last night while I was visiting.  All this driving around, getting in and out of the car multiple times, I'm so glad I don't have little children anymore.

All I want to do is have a nice big nap, some peace and quiet, a big sit down and very slowly do some relaxing craft.  Tomorrow I need to do the big grocery shop, urrgghhhh.  Then Thursday it's usually my housecleaning day and I have a hair appointment.   All these things are o.k. to do in themselves but I just hate having to go our all the time, it's so disruptive to my state of mind.  The mind is screaming at me for some quiet, time to just be.  Oh well there you have it, an almighty winge about everyday stuff other people take in their stride but I don't seem to be able to.

I feel like my children are only getting the dregs of their mother.  What kind of memories will they have of me?  How will my actions, attitudes and struggles with daily life impact on their future lives and how they manage everyday stresses?  It places a certain pressure on you to be something other than what you are feeling.

So can I leave this post on a positive note?  Let's see.   I have a car and can drive.   Today I am healthy.  I can walk, see, hear, taste, touch.  We have enough money to purchase what we need.  I don't live in a war torn country.  I have a lovely home and garden.  And when I get home from the next outing I can have a cup of tea, a big sit down and I might even manage a nap.  So once again I remind myself, one step at time Anne!

Friday, August 27, 2010

One little blackbird

The past week I have woken up to the sound of one little blackbird singing his heart out.  For a very plain looking bird (no fancy colour feathers), they have the most beautiful song.  I feel like this little bird is singing just for me when in actual fact he is probably trying to impress the lady birds.  Well this lady is very much captivated by his song. 

Here he is sitting in the sycamore tree in our front yard.  Another of life's little moments to enjoy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One of life's moments to enjoy

Today has been a day of rain and some hail.  Fairly miserable weather it has to be said.  But this afternoon we were rewarded with the most magnificent rainbow.  My little digital camera struggles to portray how beautiful it was.  Anyway this was one of life's moments to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Insidious is the perfect word to describe depression.  It's sneeks up on you without you even being aware of what is taking place.  I want to know how I can go from feeling relatively chirpy to feeling like I'm in a very dark place with in a matter of an hour or less.  Obviously there are some thought patterns that got me here but sometimes I just can't fathom it at all.

Take this morning for example.  My hubbie brings me in a cuppa' before he heads of to work (there is no school run today as Miss G has the day off school), I don't have to rush to be out the door.  So it's a leisurely morning where I can eat breakfast slowly.  Somewhere between then and now the dark stormy clouds rolled in and I don't understand why.  I just want to go back to bed and sleep and not think, to have a rest from the misery that I am feeling.

However I know that it will not solve anything.  I feel like kicking and screaming because there is this almighty war going on inside my head.  Go to bed and sleep, no get up and do something active, go to bed, do something active or creative.  And on it goes.

So how do I get past this yuckiness that visits me without warning?  I think only of the next few minutes, not the next hour, or the rest of the day.  Basically I have to stop thinking and just be in the moment and not everybody has that luxury.  There are people suffering depression with little children to care for (I've been there).  There are people holding down jobs because they have a family relying on them.  There are many different people in many different situations struggling to cope with the dark stormy clouds. 

Sometimes I feel like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because I have this blog to talk out the black stuff and the I have my Ungardened moments blog which is all about the happy, fun, creative stuff.  I suppose it is a good thing to separate the two states of mind at least on a computer, pretty hard to do that in your head.

So today it will be one step at a time, tiny little steps and I'll not think about what needs to be done.  If gets done great, if it doesn't it just too bad.  I think I might start my next 60 seconds with a cup of coffee.  Yes, I can do that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What makes you happy, even for 60 seconds?

When thoughts are crowding my head and they aren't pretty, I really enjoy a break of even 60 seconds when I can think of something happy, beautiful, funny etc.  Sometimes I need a little help and that's why I surround myself with things that I find beautiful, things that give me a lift.  I'm not talking about an ocean view or a meadow of flowers (although that would help), I'm talking about little things like taking the time to pick one flower sprig from a pelagoniam struggling to flower in the winter sunshine.  Placed on the kitchen window sill I can appreciate that even a flower can bloom in the cold miserable winter weather.  

I've made two big mood boards of visually enjoyable images.  Mostly they are pictures from magazines, something that gets a postitve emotional response from me.  I also have a poem on one board written by my daughter, her poem moves me.  One of these boards is in my bedroom so when I wake up in the morning it's one of the first things I see.

So I wonder if we can find something thing today that gives us 60 seconds maybe more of joy and happiness, a reprieve from the less pretty stuff in our heads.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The gum tree

I grew up on a farm with wide open spaces and lots of sunshine.  I go back a couple of times a year to visit family (they live a long way from me) and usually find some time to go walking.  On one of my walks I came across a gum tree.  That in itself isn't unusual as there are many gum trees in the area, however this particular tree was special.  It was magnificent not just because of it's thick solid trunk, beautiful coloured bark and green leaves,  it's magnificence was in what it represented to me.  At the base of the tree lying on the ground were three very large pieces of dead trunk that had obviously been part of the tree at one  time.   The tree had suffered some kind of trauma yet despite the odds had survived and grown a new trunk, branches and leaves.  It seemed to be saying well I might be down but I'm not out.  I'm not finished and I've got some more growing to do. It somehow seemed symbolic of my life.

Anyone who suffers with depression knows that the core of who we are is or has been suffering some kind of trauma.  What is it that rocks our world in such a way that little bits of ourselves flake away while we desperately try to hold it together?  Sometimes there are answers and sometimes there aren't.  I've always desperately wanted answers.  I felt that if I could only understand my depression I could solve it and it would go away.  Not so.  I understand bits of it but not the whole.  Sometimes the more I try to work it all out, the more it eludes me and that is frustrating.  I have learnt that I have to go with the flow and sometime I'm kicking and screaming all the way, it feels just too hard.   But then I'm reminded of the gum tree.

So what has a gum tree got to do with me?  Well my tree (as I like to call it) was stubborn, it held on.  I am stubborn, I am holding on.  I may be down, but I'm not out.  I'm not finished, I've got some growing to do even though growing can hurt.  Kids will often complain about growing pains in the legs, it's a bit like that.  I do my growing by persisting and not giving in when really it would be so much easier just to stay in bed, hide under the covers and go back to sleep.  I persist by incorporating things in my life on a daily basis, the things I love to do.  I have to create, it's not an optional extra for me.  It's how I connect to who and what I am and when I make connections it seems to go a little easier for me.  I might crochet, sew or paint in oils or create by tending my garden.  I need a relationship with the ground and I'm sure that has a lot to do with growing up on a farm.  And I suppose winter is such a struggle for me because I can't be outside with my hands in the ground. 

I believe anyone who suffers with depression does better when they can make connections with what is important to them.  To someone else these connections may not make sense, that's not important because they aren't the person living with depression.  Look after those parts of yourself that you may have ignored for a long time or never acknowledged at all.  Make a connection with something or someone and you may  find it goes a little easier for you too.