A relentless mind

Tonight I am babysitting for my neighbours one year old. It feels really weird. They are our attached neighbours so just the other side of the living room wall is my husband watching tv in our house.

I’m watching continuum on Netflix. I’m on series 3 of 4 and I am really enjoying it. Over the last year I age done less reading and more tv watching. It is like the depression has ensured that I can’t concentrate long enough for a book but being transported into another world by tv is great. However at times even this doesn’t work take my mind off things.

So far this evening I have marked year 7 assessments. Planned a task for my year 12 lesson tomorrow and planned my lessons for next week. I know that if I solely watch tv my mind is going to wander. Now I’m writing this blog post, another strategy!

It is ridiculous really. I love this tv series but I’m scared of letting my mind go. Sometimes when it starts I can’t stop it. Right now if I was at home I would be in bed. I like to go to bed early in the evening. I don’t necessarily sleep but I find being in bed a chance to chill out and relax.

Instead I am in my neighbours front room. I really love our neighbours. Similar age to us, children of a similar age to ours, similar interests and also very chilled out like we are. But it still isn’t my house! A classic example I’m in my clothes when usually at this time I would be in my pyjamas!

I can feel my mind racing behind my concentration on this blog. Will their son wake up? What will I do if he does? Will he be ok with me being here? Will I be able to sleep when I get home or will my mind still race? Will my cold feel worse tomorrow because my chest is hurting tonight? And don’t even start me on the questions that are racing in my head about my day at work tomorrow!

My mind is my own worse enemy. It is certainly relentless!

Something exciting happened!

Yesterday was such a strange day. A vomiting bug descended on myself and my husband. Without knowing that a friend of mine suggested I self-publish the book I have written.

For most of the day I wasn’t really in any state to do anything. I was either vomiting, sleeping or crippled with stomach cramps. But come the evening and I thought I would take a look.

Is it easy? Can I manage it? Is it going to take much time? The book was very ready to be published. It had been checked several times by my good friend. Can I simply upload it?

After a whilst working out a few details like copyright I managed to upload it. I had to wait for it to appear. But this morning there it was on the kindle store! How weird to see my name in print (well my pen name). To have a book published that people could buy.

One of my recent posts was about wanting to do more. I feel like I have started to make a small difference in shattering the stigma of depression. Here with publishing my book I seem to have taken another small step.

My goal is to reach more people. To shatter the stigma of depression a little more each day. It may be a slow process, it maybe tiny steps but it is helping me. I feel useful, i feel like I have a place, I feel like there is a purpose to my life that is new and exciting.

I have had some really positive and supportive comments. Each has really picked me up. Each has made me smile. Each has boosted the self image a little bit more.

I’m hoping to keep taking these small steps. I’m hoping I can keep making a little impact on people’s lives.

If you have a kindle or a phone where you can get the kindle app please take a look. Perhaps try the free sample and if it takes your fancy go from there. I would really like your opinion. I would really like the book to make a difference to one person. If it is only one person that will be a success.

“Be there for me” by faith Trent available now on the kindle store.

Shatter the stigma of depression:I want to do more.

I know I have started to do something. I know I have begun to be an agent for change. I know every little can help. But I want to do more to shatter the stigma of depression.

It has been 8 months since I started my shatter the stigma twitter feed. It has been 5 months since I started writing my blog on depression. It has been about a month since I started my school wellbeing group on twitter.

All of these help me. All of these provide an outlet for my own feelings and emotions. All of these have been an important part of my recovery from the worst depressive episode of my life. Each of these has helped me reach out of the black hole.

I also think each of these have touched others in some way. Providing hope for those who are alone. Providing encouragement for fellow suffers. Providing information for those who want to help those who are struggling with the illness.

But my mind is often thinking about what more can I do? It feels like it is very deep inside of me. It feels like it is in my core. Helping others has always been central to my purpose.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. I’ve been driven to help educate children. Teaching is and always will be a large part of my life. But now I think I have another dream.

I want to do more to shatter the stigma of depression. Every week I still encounter it. It is very small and insignificant most of the time but stigma of mental illness is still out there. Mostly I believe it is due to a lack of knowledge or misconceptions.

So I am looking for other avenues. I have written a book but it hasn’t taken off. Although well received by friends I can understand it didn’t fit the profile publishers want. Right now I don’t have the time to rewrite it! I would love to share my story and offer advice via public speaking. But opportunities for this seem to be hard to come by.

So I’m looking to do more. If you have any ideas please comment below. I feel like shattering the stigma of mental illness has become my passion and my cause.

Guilt. Depression. Guilt.

I have certainly talked about guilt before. It is something I live with. It is a major part of my upbringing but also my depression.

The guilt can be overwhelming. It can infiltrate every part of my mind. Day to day it can have a large impact on my mood and productivity.

What do I feel guilty about?

  • Lots of my guilt at the moment is associated with my husband. I feel like I am constantly letting him down. Emotionally do I support him? Do I push him away too much? Do I isolate him? Do I fail to share and talk? This ultimately turns into worry and anxiety. Is he fed up with me? Does he regret marrying me? Does he love me?
  • My mum in particular is having a tough time at the moment. As a full time carer for my dad who has Alzheimer’s it is relentless and emotionally draining to see the man you love fade before your very eyes. There is so much guilt associated with my parents. Should I spend more time with them? Should I be helping out in more ways? Should I ring them more often? Should I be helping them more?
  • All of this guilt leads to more guilt. I spend so much time being over concerned with guilt that I then feel guilty for not showing my own children another time or attention. Should I play with them more? Should I put the tv on less? Do they eat too much junk?
  • Then to a lesser extent comes guilt about friends and work. I feel guilty for things like I missed someone’s birthday. I didn’t comment on someone’s new hair. I didn’t show another care for their issue. I haven’t spent enough time supporting those students. Have I given them enough feedback. My lesson was rubbish today, I should have spent longer planning it.

I’m not sure I’ll ever really be free of the guilt. I’m not sure it will ever fail to be a part of who I am. It is something I have learnt to control.

Swings and roundabouts

Ups and downs

Lows and highs

Swings and roundabouts

My life with depression.

Positives and negatives

Energy and exhaustion

Focus and confusion

My mind spirals all in one day

Help and pushing it away

Listeners and supporters

Knowledge and misunderstanding

My life full of different contacts

Too little and not enough sleep

Lonely and yet too many people

No time and too much time

My never ending circle of illness

Don’t give up on me.

Belief me. Listen to me. Understand me.

Respect my illness.

Respect my story.

Respect my journey.

Thank you for caring.

Sorry for being poorly again. Sorry for being so low. Sorry for failing you as a wife, daughter or friend. Sorry for pushing you away.

Thank you for your care. Thank you for your love. Thank you for showing me I matter when I feel so useless and a failure.

Over the past few days I have been heartened by the kindness of friends, colleagues and complete strangers. I have received many texts offering to talk or just for people to be there. I have received encouragement and reminders to take time for myself. I have had hugs and today even a chocolate pastry (thanks that really helped). My husband rubbed my back, which ached as an affect of anxiety, when he was exhausted.

One of the problems with depressions is pushing people away when I need them most. I haven’t yet managed to open up to anyone. I haven’t talked about how I am feeling. I haven’t let anyone (even my husband in).

I am worried that people may think I am being rude. I am worried that people maybe cross with me. All I can say is I’m not ready to talk yet. All I can say is I really appreciate the love. Every single message or act of kindness really does help. It makes me feel loved. It helps me feel valued. It works to counter the negativity in my own brain.

So thank you so much. Please don’t give up on me. I hope I can pull myself out of the deep abyss soon.

Feeling lost.

Emptiness. Alone. Being eaten from inside. That is how I feel today.

Everything is so hard.

Worried and anxious for a family member. So stressed that tears flow and they look physically drawn. They are struggling so much. But I feel completely helpless. I feel useless. I feel like more of a burden than a support. I don’t know what to do to make things better. I don’t even have much time to talk. My life seems so busy at the moment. I am barely coping with me. Surely I am making things worse for them? The guilt is so hard handle to process. The feelings of I “should be doing more” overpower me. The worry for the person follow me throughout the day. I’m constantly thinking “what can I do to make things better?” But I have no answer.I have managed to cope with the day. Housework, Tesco shop, playing with my 1 year old, doing the school runs. I even hosted a play date this evening for one of my eldest’s school friends. That meant 4 extra for dinner and feeling on edge the whole time.

Right now the worry and guilt is back. I have sat down this evening and I actually feel sick with the emotions that a flowing through me. My husband who has come in from parents evening is being so lovely but I seem to be pushing him away.

I know I’m poorly again at the moment because of my reaction to him. I am struggling to sit next to him on the sofa. He is snuggled into me but my body wants to scream and push him away. I have no idea why.

He is done nothing wrong. He has only been loving. Perhaps it’s I don’t feel I deserve being loved today. I don’t deserve his care or affection. When poorly I also push people away. It is so hard to be with anyone.

I’m desperate for this to pass. Please please don’t sink low again. I was doing so well. I’m really struggling right now.

A low depression day.

How can things change so fast? How can my world turn upside down? How Can I sink so low so quickly?

My last post shared my experiences from counselling on Friday. Out of the blue my past has come out to haunt me. All along I had known it was still there. I had it boxed up. But now it had been drawn out.

I’m not strong enough right now. I am on the road to recovery. Dealing with it is certainly part of the journey, perhaps the key stone, but now? Is this the right time? Just as I’m coping?

So what do I feel? Today the depression is back. The lethargy. The low that makes me feel I’m on the floor. The tiredness. The self-doubt. The lack of clarity. The concentration is missing. The focus failing.

Today everything has been a battle. I got my children up and ready for school and nanny’s. I have been to work. Interviewed someone in Australia for a teaching job via Skype. I taught four lessons. Ran an intervention session at lunchtime. Attended a meeting after work. I have come home listened to my mum’s day of woe. Played with my two boys. Bathed them, read to them, cuddled them and tucked them up into bed. Today I have done all this when all I wanted to do was hide in my bed. Today I have achieved all this when I could have cried all day.

Why? What do I feel? For a long time now I have been aware of the affect my own past has on who I am today. I am desperate to overcome it. I really want to be free of its hold over me. But Friday’s session has left me feeling like I will never win this battle.

I’m so disappointed in myself. I’m so cross that I can’t seem to remember the events clearly. I’m upset that even when I talk about it I can’t seem to describe it. It feels like it will forever burden me. I am a failure. I am a waste of space.

What happened in my past isn’t even that bad. What happened in my past many would have overcome. What happened in my past is nothing compared to what others have had to deal with.

I’m left feeling weak. A burden. A failure.

I need to regain the control over my illness.

I need to ensure the road to recovery doesn’t take me apart completely.

I need to be well for my family.

Skeletons in the closet

Before I went to counselling tonight I was writing a post entitled “disappearing depression”. I was happy I felt in control. I felt like I was truly on the up. I felt like there was more good than bad.

I went to counselling not knowing what to say. Everything was good. Do I even need counselling anymore? I feel a bit of a fraud going. But tonight turned into the hardest counselling session I have ever had.

It honestly came from nowhere. It certainly wasn’t planned. But deep down I knew that although on the surface things have been going great underneath was a different story. I am still self harming almost every day. The negative questioning, overthinking is still ever present. So I knew that even though I was certainly loads better there was still a far way to go.

I hadn’t planned to open up the closet with the skeletons tonight. I was talking about something rather innocent and apparently not related. But as I have recently learnt much of who I am today relates to events in my past.

Now those of you who have read any of my blogs in the past will know I don’t shy away from sharing the most intimate thoughts and events. I have shared the truth about self harming and plans to end my life. But this is the one area I can’t share.

Part of my core is I can’t upset others. It is one of my biggest fears. What other people think of me and I want to make everyone happy. This is of course related to events in my past. It is for this reason I can’t share the actual details. I would hate for the people involved to blame themselves for how I am now. I would hate them to think I believe they are the cause of my illness. I would hate them to believe I think less of them.

So all I will say is like everyone I am effected by events in my past. Mine aren’t the most horrendous or traumatic that you have ever heard. But they certainly had a huge impact on a very young mind.

Tonight it shocked me how much events that happened over 25 years ago have affected me. How every single day of my life the feelings I felt then affect my core now. For years I have wondered why my memory always seems to be incomplete. I can only remember snippets.

My counsellor tonight highlighted her belief that she thinks I was so deeply effected by events that I have in fact blocked many memories. I have put them into a subconscious that I cannot open. She is also keen that right now I don’t try to as I’m not quite ready for the emotions they hold.

This is what I want. I want to finally be able to live my life. I want the anxiety and the depression to be a thing of the past. I want to conquer these skeletons in the closet even though I am aware it could take years.

I think my past is holding me back from being the person I really can be. The aims and ambitions I once had and the ones I still have are in jeopardy because I struggle with the events of the past and they continue to affect me.

Maybe one day I’ll manage to really let them go. Maybe one day I’ll overcome their hold on me. Maybe one day I’ll be who I want to be without having the depression and anxiety.

Crippling tiredness.

One of the symptoms of depression is an overwhelming tiredness. It is exhausting to be alive. It is hard to maintain concentration.

The most extreme tiredness I have experienced was whilst pregnant. Not in the final stages as some might expect but in the first trimester. In both pregnancies week 10 was the worst. With morning sickness (so poorly named as it was all day and night sickness) making me queasy and the new abundance of hormones draining all my energy, I would be in bed by 7:30pm most nights. I could barely keep my eyes open each evening.

For me the tiredness which can be a symptom of depression can be similar to the extreme exhaustion I felt in early pregnancy. It is like a heavy weight is on my shoulders. My head feels foggy. My brain a tangled ball of wool.

Why does the tiredness strike? There are many possibilities. Sometimes my young children waking in the night can cause tiredness which in turn can make me feel fragile. But often it is the other way round. The depression causing the tiredness.

Take last night I went to bed at 8:30pm. I was absolutely exhausted. I was too tired even to think. I felt like I had glazed over. Yesterday had been a good day. But the depression had made me overthink about some of my lessons. The guilt for missing something I perhaps should have attended also made me worry. All leading to tiredness.

Then there is the inherent tiredness that seems to come with an ever changing mood. The battles to put on an act. The travelling up and down the mountain of highs and lows which can occur from hour to hour. Traversing this tumultuous journey induces tiredness of its own.

Finally putting on an act. Mostly I have been well recently. But I feel a need to keep up this pretence even when I am not myself. I am scared of other people thinking I am unwell again. I am worried that at work people may judge me differently. But sometimes it is just a case of putting on an act can push myself out of the mood. Focusing on the good. Pushing away the negativity that feels like it is forcing its way in helps keep me well for the long term.

But as I have describe before it is like fighting a war in my own mind. However instead of there being two countries or two cultures or two religions battling it out, it is a battle between different parts of my brain. An internal war. A fight between the positivity and the negativity.

All this means tiredness. A tiredness that can be relentless. It can follow me like my shadow.

All I can do is surrender. Sleep is my saviour.