Isolating

I haven’t written a blog post for quite a while and the truth is this is because I have been really well. The truth is when I am well I don’t need to write. The truth is when I am poorly (and unable to talk about how I’m feeling) blogging is a very cathartic process.

Truth be known I’m not finding it easy to share with anyone how unwell I am at the moment. Even for those that do know I’ve hardly spoken a word. With a friend (who is also my boss) I wrote a list, unable to speak. She then contacted (with my permission) two people who she knew could help. Others I have either not said a word and hidden it perfectly or I have just said very little.

Honestly I don’t want to share because I’m scared. I truly believe that people are completely fed up of this endless cycle of depression that I never seem to get out of. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be felt of as a waste of space. Mostly because I already feel that of myself!

Currently I’m doing a good acting job most of the time. For many reasons, which are deep and subconscious and which I will not go into now, work is impossible; but I am hoping that most wouldn’t realise it. I’m still teaching with enthusiasm and vigour. I’m still managing my job (mostly). I’m still making conversation and smiling politely.

In the last week 3 different people, once knowing how ill I truly am have urged me to get signed off. But I am clinging on desperately. Being off ill in the past I currently don’t want to go down that road. Why when even though those who know are urging me to for my own health? For a few reasons 1. I don’t want to be a let down at work again 2. I am scared of being off because sometimes the loneliness of it can lead me to spiral 3. I want a new job and being off sick is not a good selling point!

I’ve even been lying to my counsellor and telling her everything is well. Next Friday is meant to be my last session after 18 months. Last session when I’m at such a low point, I know madness. I think the only sense I have reasoned right now is that after cancelling yesterday’s session, next week when I go I will be honest and extend it for now.

I’m not sure where this current depression will lead. I know it’s really bad in my head right now. I know all the worst bits of the past are very real. I know isolation is not a good plan for I’m scared to do anything else. Perhaps this blog post at least stops the isolation a little.

Depression turmoil

My head is spinning it’s turning me in and out,

I don’t know whether to hide, cry, scream or shout,

Even writing is hard right now a desperate release,

I would love to escape it all, forever or for just one day please let it cease.

I’ve been poorly for weeks now laryngitis, chest infection and now my ear is sore,

It’s left me tired and broken, I’m not sure I can take much more,

The pain is now increasing, but when to fit in a doctors visit I can’t think,

Life is too full, too busy there is no time even to blink.

Being poorly has stopped the exercise my way to stay sane,

The weight is piling on again, all I seem to do is gain,

The pounds increasing are making me low,

Every time I try to crack the weight something sends another blow.

Work is exhausting, especially when feeling ill,

I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on till,

Each day anxiety is there, the self doubt creeping in,

In front of 30 students anxiety can quickly mean the lesson should be thrown in the bin.

Outside of work other things are playing on my mind,

I’m worried about my eldest boy at school I don’t want him to be behind ,

What can I do to help him, being a mum is a constant worry

I don’t want the lines between loving mum and teacher to be blurry.

Other things are hurting me more than I can express,

Alzheimer’s is the cruelest disease it’s hard I confess,

Watching parts of my Dad disappear before my very eyes,

Hard to be the rock for my mum and hear her cries.

Right now life is really overwhelming me,

I’ve come off the antidepressants leaving me alone and free,

No counselling for 4 weeks my lifeline missing at this time

I think a new strategy shall come to play … bedtime!

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.

Please don’t worry.

The last few days have been horrific for my mental health. Primarily a lack of sleep have compounded the fragility caused by recent counselling sessions. It’s still staggering to me how quickly I can spiral into darkness.

The self harm has returned to its worse. Last night I went out with a friend but came back and couldn’t stop. My mind was racing with the conversations and anxiety for today. Self-harm used as my comfort blanket.

The suicidal thoughts are back. I’m honestly not about to go and do anything at this moment. (Husband…take a deep breath and calm down). But the ideas are certainly flying around my mind. Walking past a previous precarious location at the weekend sent my mind wandering where it is not wanted.

The lack of focus is really bad. I haven’t really got back into reading since this episode of depression started 18months ago. But a tell tell sign for me right now is that I can’t even focus on anything to watch. I can’t make a decision even about that.

Another sign I’m doing the pushing people away thing. At work I’m too scared to talk to some people because they will immediately read how unwell I am. Other friends I’m putting off and not wanting to see because I’m just too tired and can’t face company.

And the sleep completely gone to pot. This never helps and makes me feel perhaps much worse than I would if I had some good sleep.

But please don’t worry. I haven’t shared this to get you all running. I haven’t written this because I’m in crisis. I haven’t written this because I want any different treatment.

There is a part of me which is trying to hold onto the message that it will get better. There is a part of me which is trying to hold onto what a good friend said yesterday “the tiredness is making this so much worse”. There is part of me which knows it will hopefully turn a corner again sometime soon.

I can still function. At work today I sat with colleagues as the directors spoke to us and I felt comfortable and at ease. At home this evening I played with my boys like I didn’t have a care in the world.

Let’s hope a good nights sleep helps.

P.s. I went for watching the film nottinghill on Netflix as I can just zone in and out of that I have seen it so many times!

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.

What’s going on in my head?

I’ve been very distant recently. Distant from family. Distant from friends. Distant from colleagues. Distant from my blog. I’ve been living in my own bubble of depression.

Things have got really bad the last few weeks. Progressively worse. Going downhill. Whatever you like to call it.

For the first time in quite a while work seems to be the trigger. There is an awful lot going on. It’s a stressful time of year what with exams for the students coming up. But it is more than that.

Essentially work becomes the problem when I feel like I’m not doing a good enough job. As soon as I feel questioned. As soon as I have to justify myself. As soon as relationships become strained. As soon as there are problems that can’t be solved.

One of the problem areas for me at the moment is exam results driven. Personally I have/am doing everything in my power to help the students achieve the top grades. For many reasons my department is struggling to meet their targets at the moment. I feel judged. I feel inadequate. I feel like leaders want more.

There is no more I can do! Revision every night. Intervention sessions at lunchtimes. Revision materials. Carefully planned lessons. Contact with parents. Practise questions. Additional mock exams.I even wrote a whole 150 page revision guide myself!

Yet I feel seriously under appreciated. I feel like I am expected to do more. I feel like there are so many factors out of my control that no one is prepared to accept.

Last year when I was off work for 6months I promised myself I wouldn’t start thinking like this again. I promised myself that I would keep doing my best and not care what anyone else thought. I promised myself I wouldn’t care about being judged for what is out of my control.

But it’s hard when judgement seems to have become a part of the main stay in many schools. It’s hard when my whole personality is about pleasing people. About making others happy. About doing my best.

It’s catch 22. I feel like I’m completely stuck in an endless loop. I try my best but my best just isn’t good enough.

So yes work is a major factor of what is going on in my head. This week:

  • I can’t sleep
  • When I do sleep I have anxiety led dreams which mean I wake up panicked
  • The self harm is out of control
  • The suicidal thoughts are back
  • The isolating myself is a problem
  • The deep self loathing is there
  • There is a lack of energy
  • There is over eating
  • I can’t concentrate for long
  • I lack enthusiasm or energy
  • I’m snappy and rude.

What’s going on in my head?

What I am most proud of in 2017.

It’s been a pretty difficult year in many ways so this is quite hard to write but I want to try and end the year on a positive note. I have been inspired by many people who I follow on twitter who have been doing posts of what they have achieved in 2017, so here I am following suit. So here are the three things I am most proud of this year.

1. Still being alive. At the heart of it this is my major achievement. In 2017 the depression has hit its lowest ever point. Earlier in the year suicidal thoughts became the norm. Planning ways to commit suicide gradually increased. Finally three visits to a location where I could commit suicide occurred. A multi-storey car park was very appealing. I have explained about suicide in previous posts so I won’t go into much detail here. But certainly I have fought a war with mental illness year and my biggest achievement is I am still alive.

2. Holding it together for my two beautiful boys. Of this I reflect and feel so proud. Never have I been so ill as this year. Lucky to be alive. But despite the illness I have managed to still be a mum to my boys. Most of the time they wouldn’t have known anything was wrong and I have fought so hard to get well for them. They are beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful and very loving. I am proud of the role I have played in their life this year.

3. Returning to work and enjoying it. Back in May/June time I was looking for a way out of my current role. I was so poorly I couldn’t consider going back. Unfortunately money wise I needed to look for an alternative, something that perhaps would cause me less stress. My union representative and I discussed getting a settlement with my employer so that I never had to go back. This was so appealing. So what I really needed in many ways.

But come June I returned to work. Come September after the long teaching summer holiday I returned back to my normal hours and responsibilities. There have been some ups and downs but mainly I have coped and I have actually enjoyed my job. I am proud that I have managed to not let the illness completely overcome me. That even though the illness tried to persuade me to quit my job I listened to friends who advised me to take my time when making important decisions.

So what are you most proud of 2017? Please feel free to share.

P.s. I’m also very proud of publishing my first book on kindle. From tomorrow -2nd January it is reduced to 99p. Please take a look buy and share. Becky x

Be there for me-my book on kindle

End of term compassion

The marathon has nearly been run,

The Christmas fun is yet to come,

The term has been long and tough

I love my job but right now I’ve had enough.

My mission this week has been to ease the ride

I’ve tried to support my colleagues, taken their side

Covering lessons, setting work, being there

Taken assemblies, lent an ear, trying to show I care.

Tonight it’s taken its toll

I’m feeling exhausted, right now I couldn’t support a soul

It feels good to have made a difference to you

I hope someday you will pass it on too.

What I gained from taking the biggest risk of my life (so far) part 3 of 3

So both back at our old school as teachers. Two friends. We hadn’t been in contact much over the past few years. The early months I was in complete denial that there was anything between us. A feeling of I’ve been there done that arose. He had asked me out 3 times in sixth form and each time I had turned him down.

Then it all started to change. Yes I have to admit it was his obvious love and affection for his nephew that did it. A family man he was. 5 months after we started going out we were engaged. A year later married. 2 years after that two children! The biggest risk of my life was worth it…I found love.

So reflecting back am I still happy about taking that risk? Going into the unknown was scary. I was always certain I would go back to primary. But after the latest bought of major depression I am not sure.

Whilst unwell and off work I went for and was offered 3 different teaching positions back in the primary classroom. I was drawn to those happy times in my memory. I am so glad I did because it made me realise I don’t want to go back at the moment. Never say never but it’s not an option right now.

Never make major decisions when you are ill with depression. I always advocate that. I was about to do that when my wise friend offered me some amazing advice. Go back to work first. See how it is before you make a decision to leave.

It wasn’t a smooth ride going back. The anxiety was through the roof but I knew I shouldn’t rush into another career move. I was too poorly.

I had always planned to go back to primary at some point. I certainly couldn’t see myself in leadership in a secondary school. I also couldn’t see me doing my current job much longer I needed a new challenge. But another wise friend said stop planning too far ahead and enjoy the now.

So where does the risk I took 9 years ago leave me now? I currently love my job. I love the people I work with. It’s stressful and hard work but it’s rewarding too. And it has taken nine years but for the first time I’ve come to accept I might even like it enough to stay longer. There may even be options to progress or look at new avenues in this job. But for now I’m just going to accept the present.

So think through every risk. But don’t be too afraid to give it a go. The rewards are unknown but they could be amazing!