Now

The tears just want to bubble out. And I let them come. I’m tired of pretending in this-corporate-circus-of-life.

‘Lady, let me take a look at you now’. (It does appear that the soundtrack to my current depression will be exclusively the Little River Band.) The mirror tells me I am now looking much older than I was last week. He wouldn’t love me now. Not anymore.

My niece calls me, husky, chuckling and nearly 12. I pray to a god I don’t know exists that she’s somehow spared this.

Forgiveness

I’m on the chambray sofa (yes THE fabric of 1995). Little River Band’s Greatest Hits are on the stereo. ‘Baby, you’ve got a man on your mind’. HE is on the sister single armchair far away.

It’s a teary night. That would be another one. Though I won’t talk to HIM by phone tonight, we have text messaged and we will again before we go to bed. It is OUR way. People disapprove and some tell me.

‘Someone will get hurt.’ (And that should most fucking-certainly-if-there’s-any-justice-in-this-world be me.)

But I had to go from there. And come back here.

I believe HE has forgiven me. But have I forgiven myself?

Vulnerability

It has been some time since I blogged. The reasons for not blogging have been many. I think I found it difficult to keep sharing once I had shared about my depression. I felt (and perhaps still feel) watched and ‘judged’ by those who know me. I felt vulnerable.

I know I’m on a quest to the heart and soul of me and my part in the world. And that requires me to be authentic. I admire those who are authentic and flawed and vulnerable in their blogs because that’s who they are in life.

I certainly haven’t been away from the blogging world because I’ve been reading many blog posts from other people. There I’ve found joy and solace and developed more questions to ask of this universe I’m a part of. I’m asking ‘What should I do with my life?’ ‘Why do I feel so frustrated and trapped and what can I do to change those feelings?’

Lately, reading these blogs have been of great comfort to me.

http://aplacetodwell.wordpress.com/

http://kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.ordinarycourage.com/

The last blog is from an amazing academic called Brene Brown.

Watching this presentation she did back in 2010 has made me aware that I’m not always willing to be vulnerable. That I want to control things that perhaps I can’t. But the way she explains it makes me realise how not alone I am on this one

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

 

So this is where I am now

Day 5 of the new anti-depressant and of course it’s too early for it to have improved how I feel. (I typed that as ‘fell’ first time…)

I have five gym sessions under my belt and after each one there is a fleeting feeling of elevated mood. I’ve done a decent walk on other nights and there is a flicker of something positive in a few of my strides.

I’ve had fewer of the high GI carbs that can make me feel ratty afterward. I’ve had a few glasses of alcohol but never more than one in a night and they’ve been well spaced across the weeks.

I just have to hang on and keep doing more exercise and hope I notice some improvement soon.

My partner asked me to explain something of what I was feeling and I found it hard. Here and now, I’d say that I feel pain. It’s emotional pain but there is a sensitivity on my body. It’s sore to touch. My eyes are dry (I don’t know if this has any connection to depression) and I feel hollow. Everything I look at appears hollow. My future looks empty of pleasure. I long for something that doesn’t look empty and meaningless to me. Other people look like haggard empty shells.

And yet I’m functioning like people all over the world with depression do.  I’m working. I’m living in a family. I’m putting on a brave face for my partners’ children. I’m taking the train and I’m driving on the roads and I’m participating in this rat race we refer to as civilisation. I’ll go out to dinner tonight and I’ll look around the restaurant at the other diners and if I’m feeling a little lighter in mood I’ll wonder about their stories. But perhaps I’ll just see them as outlines.

Have you ever felt…?

Have you ever felt that you’ve lost a sense of yourself? Or that you never knew who you were? Depression does that to you.

I’ve found myself thinking recently – and this was before the big wave of darkness hit –  about people who were important in my childhood. I thought of old neighbours, former teachers, my fellow primary school students who I didn’t continue onto high school with. I felt like I wanted to go back to them and say ‘Who was the Karen you knew?’ I felt some need to find that Karen because she might very well be the real me and I feel I’ve lost her on my way to pleasing the world and presenting them with the Karen I thought they wanted. 

And I really want to be that real me. Not the me who I think my partner wants, not the me who the stepkids ‘need’, not the me the job calls on me to be, not the me who my mother wanted and never got, not the me who some misguided friends think I should be.

I went into therapy to find the real me and at times I really think I did. But I feel as if I’ve lost her all over again lately.

This is how it is…

I’ve been avoiding blogging. I’ve been avoiding it because there’s one thing that keeps coming up for me to blog about. And I wanted to avoid blogging about it … for a number of reasons.

But I’m going to blog about it anyway.

I suffer with depression. I am depressed.

I was first diagnosed 18 years ago. And in that time I’ve had some success with psychotherapy and anti-depressants. I’ve considered my depression as ‘moderate’, at times even ‘mild’. There’ve even been times when I’ve thought I was ‘cured’.

But now it’s back in its blackest form and I feel I’m in a real battle for quality of life. Some days I believe I’m in a battle for my actual life because some days I just don’t feel like living anymore.

It’s been a patchwork few years. Living in Sydney and single for a long time, I met a lovely man and fell in love. The lovely man lived in Melbourne and has his three children part of the time. After less than a year I decided to leave inner city Sydney and go to live with the lovely man and his children in the suburbs of Melbourne. It’s been tough making big changes as it would be for anyone in the same situation. I’m still trying to work out whether this life will support me in the way I need.

I don’t write this without hope. At the time I drafted this I was having a small window of feeling quite good. And in that window I planned and strategised.

I went to the GP and was prescribed a new anti-depressant that I’ve read good things about. I’ll begin that in a few weeks — after first having to ween myself off the other one. Uuurrrrgggh …

 But what I really want to look at this time is if improving diet and starting regular exercise can help me. I want to cut down on processed foods because I think sugar really affects my mood and I’ll eat more fish for their Omega 3s, Brazil nuts for their selenium and more fruit and veg in general. I’m working up to leaving alcohol out of the equation altogether by cutting down to a couple of glasses on a weekend.

I’ve been to a local women only gym for an introductory visit that went rather well so I have my first session there tonight. I’m committing to doing the required three sessions a week and a walk each day in between.

 It’s a start. The start of a fight back.

The wind

Malevolent, it circles the house. Thrusting trees against the fence and the walls. The creaks are urgent around me.

The tiniest of sparrows is swept to my window and pleads to be let it in.

The wind doesn’t howl, it taunts ‘Who, who’ or is it ‘You, you, you’?

There is a slippery sadness inside me. I feel it under my eyelids and in my lungs it suppresses my will to breathe again.