I think that we’re going to be OK

Things are slowly getting better. It feels strange typing that, almost like its a betrayal. Like I should still be in morning for the life we had “before Covid” But humans are amazing, we can adjust to pretty much anything and continue on with our new normal. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, I’m still having sleepless nights and sobbing over the smallest things, but at least I am living my emotions instead of bottling everything up and making myself sick. The one thing that I’ve learnt this past year is that I need to acknowledge my feelings and emotions, even if they are dark and horrible. By acknowledging that there is a problem I can start to work through it. Instead of ignoring how I’m feeling and then having a meltdown, hurting myself and my family in the process.

Am I OK today? No. Will I be OK tomorrow? Most probably not. Will it be OK at some distant point in the future? Most definitely.

I forgot

I’ve been doing really well since I stopped therapy and anti depressants. But today I forgot.

I’ve forgotten what anxiety attacks feel like. Either I’ve gotten really good at managing my anxiety, or I just haven’t been in a situation where I felt anxious. Today I spiraled. It was a small thing, I asked my husband a question and he didn’t answer. And I stressed and fretted about the non answer till I exploded into a mess of emotions and heart palpitations. Because obviously it’s my fault that he didn’t answer me. Logically I know it wasn’t my fault, he is a notoriously bad communicator. But I still stressed and freaked out.

It sounds stupid, but it was simply the last straw. There have been a lot of things completely out of my control the last few months and the pressure has finally got to me. None of the things are particularly stressful on their own, but combined they are doing my head in.

So I’m taking a step back tonight. I’m not available. Don’t ask me questions and don’t expect anything from me. I’ve forgotten that I’m not superhuman. I’m not a one-man-band. I can’t do everything on my own and I have to remember that I’m allowed to rely on others. If they let me down it’s not a reflection of my skills, it’s them. I’m not responsible for everything all the time. Especially not tonight. Tonight I’m only responsible for me.

Progress

I woke up the other day and I felt sad. No reason. Just sad. A few months ago that would have really worried me, I would have spent ages trying to pinpoint the source of my sadness. Instead I convinced my daughter to bring me coffee in bed and I carried on with my day. Sometimes progress is big, other times it’s coffee.

A random rant

This past year has been difficult. And it’s still difficult.

I’ve been trying for a few weeks now to find the words to write this post, then I realized that I don’t need to find the words. I don’t have to explain my thought, feelings, and experiences to anyone else cause they’re my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences. I guess that my anxiety has made me so used to justifying my very existence that I can’t even allow my innermost thoughts to be my own. I have to curate them to be “perfect”. My blog posts can’t be too honest cause then people will know how messed up I actually am. Even my journal has been pretty heavily censored. All that stress and effort, just to create this impression that I’ve got all my ducks in a row. And for who? For people I don’t know and will never meet in real life? For myself? I know how messed up and confused I am, why am I hiding it?

And now that I’ve come to that groundbreaking realization, I actually have nothing to say.

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.

Farewell to Facebook

I havent liked social media for a while now.  It all seems so fake and contrived, full of posts about “fun people”doing “fun things”.  And do not even get me started about all the clickbait articles being mindlessly shared. Cures for cancer, get-rich-quick-schemes, scammy weight loss products, political propaganda…the list just goes on and on.

So about a month ago I was browsing Facebook and I came across a photo of myself in a friend’s feed.  It was a horrible photo, I looked like a potato.  The friend didn’t tag me in it either, so I if I hadn’t been mindlessly scrolling I most probably wouldn’t even have seen it.  Of course, the Husbeast didn’t understand why I was upset, he looked amazing in the photo!  What upset me was that I hadn’t been asked if I wanted my picture taken, I was told to “smile”and that was it.  I don’t like being in photo’s, they make me uncomfortable.  I really dont like it when people pressure me into posing for pictures.  This was a double-whammy.

So I deactivated my account.  And I feel amazing.  I don’t have to read people’s racist, sexist, and homophobic rants.  Im no longer exposed to super negative clickbait “articles” The one downside is that I’ve lost contact with some friends.  I never noticed how much of our interaction had been over Facebook, once I pulled the plug on Facebook I killed our friendships as well.

It is super irritating to have to justify to people why I’m not on Facebook anymore.  It’s amazing how we rely on an app to connect with our loved ones.  And how much of what we know about the world we learn from our newsfeed’s.  So now I have to connect the old fashioned way, actually reach out to people and make conversation.  And that’s a good thing, I think

 

No selfies, please.

I don’t do selfies. In this day and age not taking selfies seems a little odd.  How will people know what I’ve done if there isn’t a photo of my duck face to validate the moment? If no selfie is taken, did it even happen?

My personality doesn’t translate well on film (screen?).  I tend to look slightly stiff and awkward.  Like I don’t want to be there at all.  It’s weird how my face seems normal until someone points a cellphone in my direction, immediately I either channel a serial killer or Mr Bean. It’s all awkwardness or resting bitch-face. No in between.  I’m not even going to comment about the weird body movements, legs and arms pointing in odd directions like a doll that has been posed by a toddler.

My aversion to being caught on film is usually manageable. Except when it comes to pole dancing.  One of the easiest ways to track your progress is to have a pole buddy snap a quick pic of you performing the move.  I can’t even participate in Pole Challenges because I can’t take the bloody pictures!  Or if I relent and have a photo taken, I will simply not post it to the official challenge group.

I’ve found that the ideal way around my little selfie issue is to take selfies with my kids.  They tend to push me out of the shot so you might only catch a glimpse of me in the background.  Now I have to find a way to get my kids into my pole progress pics and I will be 100’s!