Depression for likes

Depression is tricky. It’s sneaky. And it’s all over social media.

Ever since I’ve received my “official” diagnosis I’ve really noticed how many people on social media suffer from depression. “I didn’t have my usual morning coffee, omg I’m so depressed right now” insert sad crying face emoji. It’s super frustrating cause for years I thought that I couldn’t possibly be depressed, I mean look at all these people who suffer from depression, I don’t go to the gym, drink smoothies and take selfies at the beach and magically feel better. So it must be me, I’m not depressed, I’m completely broken. I don’t feel/behave like all the memes and weird pictures of people staring off into the distance with mildly motivational words superimposed over them. So I’m wrong. This all encompassing feeling of dread, the panic attacks, the social anxiety… none of that is “right” cause it’s not what social media says it should look like.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse. All this information is at our fingertips and self diagnosis is so easy. You can type in your symptoms and and answer will appear (90% of the time the answer is cancer, wtf internet people?). But is it the correct answer? I self diagnosed, and then I tried to self treat using “that one weird trick you doctor doesn’t want you to know!” Needless to say, it didn’t fucking work. In my defense, I did go to my primary care physician when I first noticed the symptoms getting out of hand. 10 years ago, after the birth of my eldest. I was told to relax, get some sleep, go out and interact with people, lose some weight and do some exercise. Well that didn’t work! What it did do is reinforce the idea that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with me, that it was all in my head, that it was just my new normal. Being told that it was just “baby blues” didn’t help at all. Instead being sad and terrified became my new normal. A few years later the numbness crept in.

My second attempt at an official diagnosis was after my miscarriages and the birth of my youngest. I got all the same useless advice and a 6 month script for sleeping tablets and a mood stabilizer. The meds made it worse. The numbness was all encompassing and I really couldn’t cope at all. In hindsight I should have marched back into the doctor’s office and demanded a change in medication. Instead I stopped cold turkey, went through withdrawal and shuffled along, feeling more depressed than ever.

I tried journaling, meditation, and exercise. It didn’t really help my depression but it made me feel like I was doing something. I wasn’t just being swept along. And I kept on asking for help. But because I had been acting the same way for so long, asking for help didn’t work. I can’t possibly be depressed now, I’ve been this way all along!

Social media has really been a double edged sword when it has come to my depression diagnosis. At first, I doubted that I was actually depressed, I didn’t share the same symptoms/feelings/behavior as the other people on my feed. And then I found my people. Other moms, men, women, parents, normal people who said that they felt the same way I did. The people on the other side of the screen described my feelings, my life. And they all spoke about “therapists”, and “medication”. Things that I didn’t have. I read about their struggles to get diagnosed and I recognized myself in their words.

It’s been a really long journey to get an official diagnosis. I have lots of regrets, I wish I had spoken up earlier, I wish that I had taken the Husbeast with me to speak when I couldn’t. I wish that I hadn’t bought into the social media version of what I should feel/experience. But I’m glad that I had the forums, pages, and subreddits when I needed to validate my own experiences and feelings, without them I wouldn’t have known where to start looking for answers.

Asking for help

The past two weeks have been hard. The part time single mom thing has really pushed me further than I thought possible. I’ve been drowning. Not treading water, drowning. So I had to admit that I can’t do it. I can’t be the primary parent while working a full-time job and still retain my sanity. And I didn’t know how to ask for help. I’ve never been good at admitting that I can’t do something. I’ve never been good at failing. Usually I walk away as soon as things become hard, I rather give up than fail. But failing isn’t an option.

So I started spiraling into a very scary place, full of anxiety and fear. It was the Husbeast that took control and made the doctors appointment. He went with me as I had to explain to a complete stranger that I was not coping, something that I hadn’t even been able to admit to myself. My wonderful GP took the time to listen to me and prescribed a short course of medication. He will only extend my prescription if I attend counseling sessions with a psychologist. For the first time since October last year, I was being heard.

I’ve attended 2 therapy sessions. It is honestly the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Telling someone the pure unvarnished truth. No hiding, no sugar coating. Just naked, painfully scary honesty.

And I don’t know how I’m going to do any of it.

Random musings

Some mornings are made for tea, quiet contemplation while the colour and flavour seeps into the water. Other mornings are for coffee, throwing instant caffeine into a large mug and aggressively drowning the granules, not even allowing time for stirring before scalding your mouth with the devil’s brew.

I’ve had a lot of coffee this week.

The part time single mom.

We’ve had some massive changes in our lives since the last time I posted. We’ve slowly restarted with our renovation, the Husbeast and myself have joined a running club, and I’ve become a part-time-single-mom. The Husbeast was offered his dream job, international travel and problem solving, all in one easy package. It’s great. It really is. He arrived home on Sunday and he’s already gearing up for his next trip. It’s freaken great. If I wasn’t so exhausted I would be smiling right now, I promise.

I’ve gained so much respect for all the single parents out there, it’s so hard being both good cop and bad cop. My biggest struggle so far has been trying to do everything. All the chores, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dropping off, picking up, going to gym, keeping the kids occupied, going to work, looking after the dogs, wrangling the cats, trying to fit some running time in…. it didn’t go so well. It actually went better than I thought it would but it took a toll on me. I had lots of sleepless nights while stressing about getting everything done. I can’t help it, I stress about small things. And I hate feeling like a failure. Even if everything went perfectly to plan I would still feel like I let my kids down cause it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.

I guess that will be my goal this year, cut myself some slack. I don’t have to be perfect all the time, I’m allowed to fail, I’m allowed to disappoint other people, I’m not responsible for the behavior and opinions of other people. Cause being a part time single mom is hard, and I’m only human.

Peace and quiet

It’s quiet here. Almost too quiet. It’s quiet enough that you can hear your own heart beat. It’s so quiet that my thoughts sound loud. I’m so used to noise: kids, cats, dogs, cars, birds, trains, people… it feels lonely here. I was fully expecting to get homesick but I’ve been so busy during the day that I haven’t had a chance to miss home. Being able to video call the kids before they go to bed has made the separation a lot easier.

The coursework is really interesting and I’ve met such awesome people here. I’ve only been coming back to the hotel close to 11pm each night, having long lazy dinners and going for walks through the town.

But then it’s time to go to bed. And the hotel gets quiet. And the room is dark. And the bed is so big and empty. That’s when the loneliness creeps in. I remember that I was excited to get away from my “boring life”. And I count the nights until I get to go home.

I’ve been writing about my week away from home over on Run Fat Girl, Run!

Traveling blues

I’m half a world away from home tonight, I’m traveling for work at the moment so I’m currently in Zug, Switzerland. Thank goodness for technology, thanks to a data sim and some Wi-Fi I can still say goodnight to my girls. It’s weird how different everything is here, it’s hard to describe but even the air doesn’t feel like “home”.

I’ve been writing about my adventures (its my first time traveling internationally!) over on my other blog Run Fat Girl, Run!. I usually post about my weight loss fails and victories, so pop over and have a look:)

Phase 1: Lounge and Dining room part 2

So we painted. And it looked good.  Our plan was to decorate the two rooms and then move on to our bedrooms, unfortunately it doesn’t look like that is going to happen any time soon.  We needed to move bookcases from the bedrooms to the lounge (we have a HUGE book and comic book collection, even with all the extra bookcases, we are still short on space).  After we moved the bookcases, we realised that both of them had water damage, and that the carpet under the cases was moldy.  Its freaken damp.  We’ve abandoned our youngest daughter’s bedroom as it was super damp and moldy, much to her sisters delight they now have to share a bedroom.  The master bedroom wasn’t spared either, we’ve had to move our bed to the middle of the room, away from the walls as the walls were damp as well.

 

We’ve hung the curtains in the lounge and dining room and used the artwork that we already owned to try to cheer the place up a bit, unfortunately untill we sort out the damp issue, we arent doing anything further.

 

The solution to our problem is actually quite simple, we have to remove some trees in our yard.  We have been threatening for years to have them trimmed back or removed completely but have never gotten around to it.  Once we’ve removed the trees, we will have to wait a while for the house to dry out before we start removing the carpets in the bedrooms (which we werent planning on doing) and replacing all of the flooring.  So all of our timelines and budgets have been completely thrown for a loop.  At least I get to have a break from painting while I research tree removal companies.