An overload and I’m scared

All was going well till Wednesday evening. Then an overload hit and my already fragile state feels poorly.

  • My grandad can no longer have dialysis and he will die very soon. He is 97 so he has a good and long life. But it’s rocked me. He is my inspiration. I have always admired him and loved talking to him. He is so special to me.
  • My dad’s Alzheimer’s is so much worse. I don’t like to share too much here as my mum and dad are very private and there are people who know him who may read this, but all I can say is it’s going downhill fast and although I knew things would happen, it doesn’t make it any easier.
  • My mum is finding it hard to cope with my dad. With my grandad dying it isn’t helping. He is my dad’s dad but it is my mum having to deal with that too. And it’s me who tries so desperately to be her rock.
  • Finally my rock is poorly. My husband is off work with stress and he is very wobbly and shaky. I am trying to support him in every way possible and I hope he knows I will always be there for him. He keeps apologising because he says he should be strong for me right now but things don’t work quite like that in life.

Right now the build up of life is impossible. I’m terribly overwhelmed. In a weird way I feel better than I did a week ago as I’m purposefully trying to hold it together for everyone. But underneath I’m incredibly wobbly. I can really feel the illness circling me like vultures. I’m desperately swatting it away.

I’ve told some colleagues, I’ve told a friend and I’ve told a boss; all to try and get the support there if the fall occurs. Currently I’m ok. Ok as in life is pretty rubbish right now but I’m ticking all the boxes and keeping going.

Feeling emotional.

I haven’t written a blog post for a while now. To be honest I’ve been feeling so well. I’ve been happy and content. I know I should be sharing this as much as the bad but for me my writing only ever seems to flow properly when I feel low.

I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful 6 week summer holiday with my two children and my husband (who is also a teacher). But the last two days I have felt absolutely pushed and pulled in all directions. I feel drained. I feel very teary. I feel uptight.

What’s the cause? I’m getting better at trying to think this through rather than leave it as a jumble in my head which usually disintegrates into depression.

1. My children are driving me crazy! I love them. They are my utter world. I would do anything for them. But right now I am seriously thinking of changing my name to Bob, anything but mummy. The last few days they have been so whiny, demanding, moany and not only that they have been winding each other up as well. For one hour this afternoon my toddler must have screamed at his brother every 5 mins.

I know they both have colds. I know they are both tired as they have been up at night with coughs. I know some days it’s harder to be kind to your brother when you are stuck in the same room of one house. But seriously mummy is struggling.

And the worst thing is they are so loud about it. We went out for dinner tonight for my mum’s birthday and the whole pub would have heard them whine at every little thing.

2. Today is my mum’s birthday. A day I now find quite difficult. So in the weeks before her birthday I usually now buy my mum a present from my dad as his Alzheimer’s means he can’t do that. I then have to somehow give it to him to give to her without making him feel like I’m taking over or him feel like he is useless. I then worry all day about how my mum will feel. Dad used to be great at birthday presents and taking her out on her birthday etc. Now she has none of that from him and I end up feeling bad for her.

It also always hits me hard on occasions like today how much of the dad I used to know I have lost. Sometimes it is easier to forget how things have changed as I like to block it out but today I can’t. It really hits home to me how difficult it is for my mum and how different my dad is.

3. Sometimes my husband drives me mad! I know he will probably read this blog post so it’s a risk writing this here but it’s not meant to be a criticism so I hope he doesn’t take it this way. We have a different way of parenting at times. He is loud and snappy at the kids at times where I prefer the softly approach. I’m not saying either is better or worse, there are probably times when one is better than the other. But today I have struggled with his snapping at the children and his demands on them. He is completely right to expect better behaviour than we have seen today but I just can’t handle anyone else shouting and screaming!

Also he is very short with me at the moment. Sometimes I seem to ask an innocent question and he jumps down my throat with the response. He is super defensive all the time and I feel on edge that I’m going to do something to upset him.

4. Finally work is round the corner. My glorious 6 weeks that I was desperate for and look forward too so much is nearly over. Im feeling sad. I’m gutted. Work isn’t too bad. I like the people I work with. The students are generally amazing. But it’s work. Back to juggling being a mum and a job. Having more to worry about on a daily basis. Having the prospect of the added stresses throwing my depression out again.

I know these aren’t major things. But for me life is feeling a little topsy turvey. I’m very emotional and just need a massive hug (minus the whinging or moaning that can come with it)

Depression: living with self doubt.

Self doubt strikes me everywhere. It plagues my brain, invades my being making life tough. It is almost every other thought I have.

It doesn’t discriminate. Too many times to mention. In meetings, conversations with friends, time to myself and even during the weekly Tesco shop.

I seriously see so little value in myself so often. I am super critical of every word I speak. I beat myself up for acting/not acting in a certain way. I replay so much of my life with a overly critical brain.

I blame myself for everything. I often cannot see anything good in who I am. I fail to realise any positive actions I might take. I only see the negative.

I see the worst of me at all times. Boring, ugly, fat, shy, introverted, self centred, moody…the list could go on and on.

I’m not at all surprised when I lose contact with people. I know it is my fault. I can think of so many reasons why people don’t want to see me anymore.

The self doubt causes me to push people away. I’m so scared of losing contact that I often initiate it unwillingly feeling at least this way I am in control.

I consistently fear my husband will get fed up of me. I worry he will want to walk away.

I even spend time pondering how the unconditional love my two boys have for me will one day change. Perhaps when they are aware of my failings.

This crippling self doubt stops me from being myself. It stops me doing what I want to do in my career. It affects the relationships in all aspects of my day.

There isn’t always a reason why depression strikes!

A week on holiday. It has been good. Friends, family, days out, holidays and mainly great weather. All week I have been good. Positive moods. Happy. Content.

But depression doesn’t have a plan. Depression is an illness that can strike at anytime. Depression doesn’t always have a reason. Today depression hit me hard.

The lowest day I’ve had in months. There is no reason for it. Nothing to worry about. Nothing I didn’t want to do. Just time at home with the family, the garden and the sunshine.

But depression came calling. A deep dark shadow hang over me all day. The black dog sat on me making me incapable of any action. All day a black storm cloud rained numbness down on me.

Today depression sucked the energy out of me. I had plans. I had ideas. But I couldn’t do any of them. I felt like I was stuck in quick sand. Being sucked into a complete abyss of nothingness.

Today I largely gave in to it. Today I mainly sat. Today I mostly spent the day consumed with my dark cloud.

My husband has been good today. He has been patient. He has been kind. He has been a great friend as well as a husband.

I always end days like these feeling guilty. Guilty for the lack of energy. Guilty for the the lack of action. Guilty for the effect on my family. Depression has taken its toll. Today I feel like giving up.

Positive things…

I’ve had a good couple of weeks. From the depths of depression I have once again managed to find a way out. The ladder was there. The last week has been a positive one which is nice to share.

It started with my brother in law’s wedding last Saturday. A wedding not normally an event I look forward to because of the anxiety that lots of people causes me. But I had a lovely day. I was in a positive mood going into the day which helped but it was truly relaxing and enjoyable as well.

My boys made a huge difference, they were amazing. They made me smile and laugh. Both were kings of the dance floor! Also my husband’s family are so lovely. I am truly lucky. Thankfully they get me and there is never any pressure and people just make me feel at ease.

The working week then passed without much drama. Friday turned into a bonus day off where I managed to get loads of work done, the joys of motherhood. I was mid teaching period 1 when I received a phone call from my son’s nursery requesting someone pick him up immediately because he had been ill. Hence the day of tv and me managing to mark all my year 10 mock exam papers. I felt productive. I was pleased to have got that job out of the way.

Saturday and the normal events of swimming lessons and time in the garden on a gloriously hot day were great. Just the chilling out I needed. Saturday night a date night with some friends. A lovely curry. Great company and even a newly planned holiday for 3 weeks time!

Sunday involved an hours drive to Hemel Hempstead to pick up my 97 year old nan. She has had a bug. My grandad, who is also 97, has been in hospital with it as he has to manage dialysis 3 times a week as well. Bringing her back to Bedford for a few days break staying with my mum and dad. After that job was done my husband and I enjoyed some cinema time watching the new avengers whilst my mother in law babysat. Then an hour planting in the garden with the boys=Bliss.

Bank holiday Monday and once again we have been blessed with a beautifully hot sunny day. A bbq for my mum, dad and Nan. Time in the garden with my husband and the boys. Relaxed and fun.

I wanted to share how life with depression can be positive too. It takes it toll on me a lot of the time. There is no guarantee whether tomorrow will be a low or high day. But this last week has been a good one and sometimes it is about taking the positives when you can. Even trying to hold onto them when the depression curse strikes from no where.

10 Things about Me

I recently read a blog post written by someone who’s journey with mental health inspires me (Ten things about me).

So following on from her lead I have decided to do a light hearted post about me for all, there is perhaps something for everyone; from those on twitter who know nothing about me to some of my closest friends who might not know all of these. It is just a bit of fun!

1. I absolutely love football. Having two older brothers who used to play it with me and talk about it all the time had a big impact here. I don’t admit it much to many men because I always think they are laughing inside and believe I really know nothing. But I check sky sports news on my phone at least 6 times a day and certainly before and more often than I check the news. I always read the sport pages of the newspaper first. I follow deadline day, football focus and match of the day religiously. If football is on tv I watch it and my husband goes upstairs (he hates football). I also love football computer games. Football manager is my favourite but I don’t have time for it now.

2. I was born in Reading. We lived in Newbury. We moved to Bedford just after my fourth birthday.

3. My favourite colour is blue! The sky and the sea are often blue how could I not like this best when I love looking at them.

4. My favourite food is hands down chocolate. My favourite meal is very hard! I love Indian, Chinese and dominos pizza is a takeaway favourite here. But more than anything I love my husbands freshly cooked carbonara with no cream in sight!

5. My least favourite body part are my breasts. People have often told me they would do anything for some my size. But they hurt my back, effect my exercise and make clothes very difficult to buy. If I could afford a reduction I would have one immediately

6. My husband and I met aged 13. We both went to the same school. We were friends. He said he first fancied me at the year 11 prom! In sixth form he asked me out 3 times and I turned him down each time. We were friends through uni but lost touch for a while after that. Aged 27 he started at the school I was working at (which happens to be the school we went to and first met aged 13). After 4 months of working together I asked him out this time. He said yes. 6 months later he proposed to me on the way to the year 11 prom we were attending as teachers. A year later we were married. A true love story.

7. My favourite place I have visited. Two places tied. I did them on the same holiday in 2010. Niagra falls. Just a stunning part of God’s creation. Washington DC for me I was most struck my the war memorials and famous sites.

8. I used to want to be a sports presenter on TV. Seemed the best job in the world. Visiting sports events that I love would be amazing.

9. My most treasured possession. My teddy Bromous. He was brought for me by my auntie pat for my second birthday. Until alan I used to sleep with him every night. He has shared everything with me and been cried on many a time.

10. My biggest achievement to date. There are many education things I am proud of. My gcse’s staggered me at the time: 6a*’s and 5a’s. My first class degree and distinction for my masters are great. But for me my biggest achievement is my two boys. They will always be what I am most proud of.

Five tips to help those supporting a loved one with depression.

Living with someone who suffers from depression can take its toll. When at my worst my husband always says it is like his wife has disappeared. What makes it worse is the illness makes me so consumed with my own thoughts that I often fail to see the effect I have on him.

In their book living with a black dog Matthew and his wife Ainsley explain how depression can affect those closest to the sufferer:

“A black dog in any relationship can be confronting, frightening, but navigated together, the bond can be deeper, richer and better for it.”

(Johnstone, 2008, 71)

It truly is all those things. But without the support many would crumble completely. But it’s hard for the supporter too.

I have snapped at him for everything, I have told him off for the most ridiculous things from moving on the sofa to making too much noise. I have moaned at him for not doing the littlest of things and shouted at him for nothing. He has borne the brunt of all of my anger and frustration. When things haven’t gone well at work he has taken the consequences of it. I have moaned to him about it and then all the frustration and anger I have had with other situations I have taken out on him.

If you are going to help your loved one it is important that you stay well. It is important that you remain strong for them during their illness but in order to do this you must take care of yourself as well.

1. Get out when you can. If it means running to the local supermarket to grab some milk and a free coffee, as my husband does from Waitrose, do it. It may only be 10-15 minutes but it can just take you away from the situation for a little while, just to build up a little bit more patience and strength. When you get the chance take a longer break, go for a drink with some friends and blow of some steam. Have a good moan to them, let it all of your chest and don’t bottle it up.

2. Don’t get sucked into their illness. It can be easy to fall into the depression yourself. Living with someone who is constantly down and low can make you feel this way. When they find the negative in everything, you can start to do the same. When you live with a person with depression you can be drawn into their low feelings just like a fly is caught up into a spider’s web. The best advice for anyone living with someone with depression is do whatever you need to do to avoid this.

3.Another piece of advice for those closest is don’t take it personally. At times my husband asks me “are you in a mood with me?” He is asking because I become very withdrawn at times. The depression attacks me from within. The phrase you take it out on those you are closest to is certainly true. Hence him asking me over and over whether I am cross with or annoyed with him. The answer is 100% no. He has done nothing to upset me. He has done nothing wrong at all. I just can’t stand to be in my own company. Unfortunately he gets the brunt of how I feel. So if you have someone close to you who has depression and has been treating you pretty shoddily recently, take heart-it is not personal. Most of the time it is not anything you have done or said, they are just really struggling to be alive at times. It is an effort just to sit still because their head is making them feel so bad.

4. One of the things that is important to remember, so as to preserve yourself as a loved one of someone with depression, is take some slack but don’t start doing everything. It is true that depression completely cripples someone’s motivation, enthusiasm and energy levels. Firstly if you do everything you will burn out. Secondly it has been important for me to do what I can do so I don’t feel completely useless and a failure. I feel like I have some worth. So when you live with someone with depression it may help to take up a little bit of the slack temporarily but don’t suddenly start doing everything. It won’t help you or the person with the illness.

5. Finally it is important to remember you will get it wrong from time to time. You will lose your rag, you will fail to show patience at the correct time and you will snap. When this happens, take a step back and don’t beat yourself up, you are human and it is impossible to be understanding, compassionate, a good listener and be with someone who is depressed 100% of the time. Ultimately the message is you will lose your cool living with someone with depression. Do it and move on.

I’m sorry to my husband for all the times I have been like this. I am sorry for snapping at him. I am sorry for not listening and I am sorry for being distant. I love him so much. So don’t take these actions personally. This illness will be over and I will get better again.  

Thank you for sticking with me always. Keep strong!