Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Internal Server Error

I got this message on my mobile today when I tried to look at Facebook, and I thought it very appropriate.

Today has been tough. Read: really tough. As soon as I tried to start actually doing something (packing to go to my Mums) I completely broke down. I was crying uncontrollably for a couple of hours, and couldn't stop jittering - I literally couldn't keep still. I just cannot cope with having to think logically. Dom was clearly very concerned and wasn't sure what to do. I was sure what to do either.

In the end, Dom did two things, both of which were very helpful. Firstly, he rang my Mum and told her the whole story, from the beginning. I hadn't even told her there was a problem in the first place, much less that it had been going on since Charlie was born. I did try to talk to her once, and she pleaded with me not to go to the doctors and "get into all that." I assume she had problems with depression and/or valium in the past. However, ours is not a family that will discuss such matters openly. My Dad has also said to me before that he had "several breakdowns" and I do remember periods of my childhood when he acted rather oddly, but it's not something that is ever discussed. I suspect that I have a pretty high chance of hereditary depression but, as it's so stigmatised in our family, I can't imagine it's something we'll discuss.

So, now my Mum and Dad know my secret. It is a huge relief. However, I am really nervous about being away from home. I don't know how they will react. I am sure they love me and they are concerned, but as mental illness is something "we don't do," even though it has been fairly evident throughout my childhood, how will they react to my mental illness? Will they tell me to pull myself together? That it's all in my head? The other thing that frightens me is not having anywhere to go in the night. My sleep is shocking at the moment and, at Mums when we stay, someone sleeps in every single room. Now thankfully my Dad is also an insomniac and he often gets up in the night at our house, so there is something of a precedent set. However, the idea of not being able to go anywhere during those long, dark hours makes me feel very claustrophobic.

The second thing Dom did was to phone the doctors and explain his concerns and, for the first time I think, took it seriously that I couldn't use the phone. We were asked to go in for an appointment an hour later and, when we did, the doctor was very sympathetic and understanding. He said that my brain was currently liked cooked spaghetti, that thoughts weren't getting to where they needed to, they just got all jumbled up and made me confused, and would make me more confused the more I tried to work it out. He told me not to worry about anything (easier said than done, but nice to hear it from a professional) He said not to think about anything, and to go to my Mums and just have a break from life for a few days, without having to deal with anything, especially work. He has also prescribed me a beta-blocker, Propranolol, which I have to take every day for a month. It apparently works by reducing the heart rate which calms you down. I have taken one this evening, but I am not sure I have noticed any different yet. I am pleased, and optimistic, that the new medication will improve things for me. At one stage today I imagined they were going to come and put my in a psych ward and I didn't know whether I was scared or relieved. The suicidal thoughts persist and, today, I was sorely tempted to pour a kettle of boiling water over my hand. You know how it feels when you have a mosquito bite that you know you mustn't scratch, but you know for a moment it'll also feel delicious? That's the exact feeling I had. It was the first of the kind, and it frightened me. I haven't told the doctor about it.

I may not be able to post much over the next few days as I'll be away, but I will take a paper diary and write in there. Hopefully, then, I can add the words when I get back. I rather enjoy a bit of typing. Which may be the maddest thing I have written in this blog yet.....

Monday, 24 August 2009

I. Am. Not. Well.

Why is telling people about depression so tough? I've had a rough weekend, I'll be honest. I have done very little but crochet and sleep, and shout at the children. Bless him, Charlie keeps climbing all over me and trying to kiss me. He knows Mummy isn't well and, in his 4 year old way, he's trying to make me better. Jonathan knows too. I had a chat with him about the depression the other day, and he was very understanding. I explained that, since the day when I couldn't stop crying, I had been feeling very unhappy and I couldn't cheer myself up. I said that I still loved him, Charlie and Daddy very much and that sometimes I was OK and others I felt very sad and a bit frightened, but I had no control over it. I explained it's called depression and, like breaking your leg, you are ill and need to have treatment that will help you get better. He was sympathetic and really accepting, like children are. Since then he's tried really hard to help look after his little brother, he's bought be breakfast in bed and even did a bit of spontaneous hoovering (I know! I couldn't believe it either - although his bedroom still remains a pit, so normality still reigns, I am reassured.)

Work, God, work. I had an email today from work and nearly had a panic attack. I came over hot and cold, sweaty and clammy and started hyperventilating. Pathetic, isn't it? I know, in my heart of hearts, it's very unlikely I will be well enough for work in two weeks. I also know that, in the long run, it will probably be better for me if I do maintain some sort of normal routine. The problem is that my contract runs out in 7 days. Either I let the contract expire, or I have to commit to a new one. Or, I commit to a new one, and then go on sick leave. Great choice! Choice a) let my contract expire means that we will be seriously struggling financially. This is not fair on my family, and was the cause of much anxiety before I got the job at Longcroft. Choice b) means that I gamble on the fact I will be well enough and potentially put myself through panic attacks etc - none of which feels very alluring at the moment. Choice c - Dom's favourite - renew the contract and take sick leave if necessary - feels like the worst of all worlds. Banking on being well, having a public breakdown, then letting everyone down right when they need me.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to my parent's house for a few days and I really don't want to go. I don't want to be on show, I just want to be at home. However, it's the only chance the family have of a holiday and, as Dom says, it might do me good. Same dilemma, really.

I hope tomorrow I will be able to post something more positive. I feel completely lost at the moment x

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Blowing in the wind

Well hello there, friends. How are you doing today? I hope you are well and have enjoyed the sunshine as much as I have. But, blimey, I am so tired today! I don't know whether it's as a result of being up with the lark (i.e. Charlie) on Friday morning, or whether I have a cold coming (Dom's had one, and my nose has started to run this evening) but I am utterly cream crackered. Dom's gone out for a drink with some old friends tonight and, to be honest, it's nice to spend some quiet time alone - I've not had any time to myself whatsoever in about 5 weeks. I mustn't grumble though, I love having the family at home. I might celebrate by having an early night. Rock and roll!

The lady shed is coming on in leaps and bounds - I can't wait to show it to you. It now has lovely pink wallpaper up and 3 layers of white paint on 3 walls and the skirting boards. I spent 2 hours scrubbing paint off the floor this afternoon. Note to self: never assume paint will come off with a quick mop afterwards. Really, next time cover the bloody floor up. I have lost count of the amount of times I have fallen for this one, especially with tiles/laminate. D'oh!

It's been a quiet crafting time the last couple of days, I'm really struggling to keep motivated with the pink cable jacket. It requires a lot of concentration and it's something I don't have a lot of at the moment. So I switched to a lilac round cushion to go with the new Afghan in the dining room. It was done in two days and strangely satisfying.

Yesterday was a bleak day. On a scale from -5 (suicidal) to +5 (manic), I am sure it registered as a -5. I was exhausted, emotional, I had to tell a lot of clients about the failure of the business (so went the whole hog and went public with everyone) and I had to deal with some shitty paperwork. I don't know whether it was the stressful jobs combined with the low mood, lack of sleep or whether it was a one off. However, the black dog was on my shoulders the whole time. I was anxious, clingy and so depressed I could barely sit still all day. I had lots of suicidal feelings.

If there was a way in which I could simply just fade away without hurting my family and friends, as though I had never been there in the first place, that's the option I would take. If I could attempt suicide in a way that would put me in hospital and mean I wouldn't have to explain to anyone else again just how shite I am feeling, and how I can't cope with normal life, without serious risk to my actual life, then I would be tempted. But I'd hurt my loved ones, I would lose my freedom and choices, no-one would take what I said with any authority any more and I would be locked up with people I might not like and might not choose to be with. It's too much. I just want to feel very, very small. Insignificant. Tiny. As though I have no power or bearing over the world and it will just keep on ticking on without me perfectly well. Then I would just rewind privately, without having to explain to people what's going on. Stretch out the kinks and lick my wounds before I had to put myself back together. Maybe I have already crashed, maybe I haven't. In some ways I would just like to be more out of control. To sleep more. To think more. And to be much, much more selfish.

However, I am what I am. Just being is taking some accepting. Maybe that's the lesson I have to learn in all this, how to just be. I am not (yet) a raging lunatic. I can completely understand how, at this stage, people become addicted to drugs or alcohol - it's something I think about to a lot. If I could take or drink something that would relax me, perk me up or even just make me sleep, then Goddamit, I would. I am not sure whether that makes me a bad or weak person. I'm not actually sure whether I care anymore. At the moment all I know is that I love my family, and crafting quietens the gremlins' whispers. And that's it - that is what's important to me.

Sometimes I feel optimistic about the journey that is in front of me: it's exciting to be cast upon the wind of change and not know where it will take you. Other people seem to keep telling me it's an exciting and opportunistic time, but I am not sure that I believe them. Sometimes it feels very, very frightening and I wonder whether I will even survive, especially with these suicidal feelings. Mostly, I sort of feel quite distant from everything, like I am in a little perspex box that no-one else can see. It's safe and I quite like it in here.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Keep on keeping on....

I think my last post was, in hindsight, a tad optimistic. I had claimed 5 days of feeling better when, in truth, the fifth day was only a couple of hours in. That day, the next and this morning haven't been as good - although I have got a lot of stuff done.

We've cleared out the annexe and sold a whole heap of things and taken yet more to the charity shop and I feel so much lighter for doing so. Dom has suggested the annexe be my "lady shed" which I am thrilled about - a pretty little place for knitting, fabric and all things crafty. Maybe you could call it a studio - although that sounds very grand, and makes me a little embarrassed as I am only an enthusiastic amateur. I have spent most of the last two days painting my lady shed, and Dom's putting some pretty wallpaper up today. I can't wait to show it to you.

I've been up since 4am when Charlie decided he was afraid of the dark. He went straight back to sleep with a cuddle, but I am afraid I let me demons get hold of me and I have been awake since. I am panicking about all the things I need to do but haven't got a grip of, because evening opening my emails has been so frightening. I know it sounds pathetic, but I have to get it out somehow. I just feel completely crippled when it comes to communicating with others. Meeting people face to face seems fine, but email and (gawd, by far the worse) The Phone and now also, The Letter scare the crap off me and I'd rather walk 50 miles than do any of the above.

Anyway, I have to get on with it. Whilst I have been posting this I have downloaded all 127 emails that have been waiting for me and now I have the scary task of actually dealing with them. I really, really wish I could stay in my comfort zone that little bit longer.

Will update you later - but do send any spare bravery vibes you have my way, they'll be much appreciated x

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

5 days and counting...

Hi ya

I thought I would sneak on and say this very quietly, for fear of jinxing something. I have felt much better for the past 5 days. At first I thought it was just a co-incidence and the down days would grab me again soon. However, the consistency means I am starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, the additional fluoxetine is doing it's job without a horrible period of uber-anxiety. I am a bit wary of believing it yet, even though Dom keeps reassuring me it's likely to be the case, as I have convinced myself I am cured too many times only to slip back. However, it's looking good.

I have decided to make hay while the sun shines, so we're having a massive clear out. I cleared the annexe yesterday, which was a big  dumping ground. It's only tiny really, annexe is a very grand title for our little outside shed. However, we've decided it can be my Lady Shed - full of fabric, lovely wool, my music and pretty, pretty things. I am very excited. Today I will paint it.

I have 20 items + on Ebay, including one lot which is six boxes of car boot stuff. We have a boot full of stuff for the local charity shop - a women's refuge on Preston Road and a subject close to my heart. I feel so much better for having sorted it out - Dom has even started to sort out his own shed (now known as the "man hole" where he can escape and be surrounded by the things he covets, like tools and the lawn mower and other bloke stuff. I don't really go in there and it makes us both happy....)

We have decided to sort out the playroom and paint it, then move the almost empty furniture from the office to there, boxing up the books that will go into the new shelves in the lounge when they are built. That's the plan anyway, and it feels so right. I am so happy at the moment....

Craft wise, I am getting a bit bored with the endless cabling for the pink jacket, so haven't done much for the past 24 hours. However, I thought I would share a taa-daaa. It's something I finished a few weeks back but hadn't photographed yet:


Taa-daa! Project 19: Charlie's Birthday Tank Top

Cost: approximately 3 balls of Merino Wool - £12

Time Taken: about a month

Satisfaction Rating: 5/10. It would have been very high, as I loved doing the cabling as it was a something I hadn't done before. However, once knitted up, the neck of the pattern was so tight that it didn't even fit over Charlie's head. I frogged and re-did it so many times I can't even remember, but couldn't get it to work. Eventually I did a chain of single crochet and it looks fine, although the arm holes are now too big (I had to do the same for the arms to make it match). Charlie loves it, which is the main thing. And actually, he gets loads and loads of compliments whenever he wears it - I think a lot of older people like little boys to look old fashioned.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

A Change of Tone


The new shelves in my kitchen, displaying my bunting tea set, and other knick-knacks I have collected. I can't stop looking at them!

Today I made up my mind that I was going to be positive. And, do you know what? I have felt much better. Maybe it's a co-incidence, maybe the extra fluoxetine is helping, or maybe there has been an element of psychosomaticness (is that a word?)/ negative thinking. Anyway, I thought I would share.

I was woken early by Charlie, and we got up together and shared a lovely hour drinking tea, eating breakfast and watching children's television. I really love those quiet, intimate shared times when we are both tired and need not even speak. A lazy arm around each other on the sofa is just enough.

I went back to bed for a cuddle with Dom and Charlie, then we left to pick Jonathan up from football. He was tired from the sleepover but in a good mood. We decided to go out for lunch, and had a lovely drive through the countryside and watched different farmers harvesting their crops. The difference in colour and texture of the local landscape at this time of year is really inspiring. Some fields are golden-grey with ripe corn, others have been roughly ploughed and are a deep reddy brown. There are also those that have been finely tilled, with all sorts of different striped patterns that vary from field to field. Round and rectangular bundles of hay litter other fields, and yet more have stubbly 6 inch straw sticking out from them, where they have been harvested but not yet ploughed. I absolutely love living amongst all this agricultural drama. I must get out and take some photos tomorrow.

Lunch was fab - chicken kiev, home made chips and chocolate ice cream. Back home, we all watched the Hull City v Chelsea match, which caused controversy (Dom and I support our local team, Jonny is an ardent Chelsea supporter). However it was good natured and fun to do something together that Jonny really enjoyed - engaging a 12 year old boy can be a challenge.

I have spent this afternoon tidying the office and getting rid of the last reminders of Generation One. A couple of weeks ago even attempting anything like this made me cry. Now I feel cleaner and lighter for letting it all go. I am Ebaying/ Freecycling / Recycling as much as possible; it's really important to me not to be wasteful.

Charlie and I visited the local park whilst Dom had a snooze, and Charlie was thrilled that two of our cats, T.C. and Bramble, decided to join us. They loved miaowing and getting some fuss, and Charlie thought it was just hilarious. He had a good time playing on the equipment with a couple of older boys, and I sat in the sunshine and peeled bark from a stick - something I haven't done in years and years. I had forgotten just how gratifying it can be.

Today may have been an island in the storm, but it has been lovely and much appreciated. I have some pictures to share with you too, as I managed to charge my camera battery yesterday, something I haven't been able to force myself to do for a fortnight. It sounds like madness to write it down, but that's depression for you. Isn't it bizarre?

Oh, and I have bright red hair. It seemed like the best way to mark the changes. It's Ronald McDonald red and I absolutely bloody love it. I do have a ginger scalp, but I am hoping that will fade.....


This plate was a wedding present of my Nan's, and the embroidered tray cloth was made by Dom's Grandma. It gives me goose bumps that these two items look so great together on the sideboard in my dining room even though they were owned by women who never met from different parts of the country. They are our roots.

016Lovely flowers and family phoots on the same sideboard. Again, they make me smile.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Today I found my friends - they're in my head

Hello there, anonymous friends. You may not be in my head, like Kurt Cobain's friends, but you are in my computer. Why is it so much easier to talk about depression to an anonymous group of people than it is your real friends and family? I actually find talking about depression in real life humiliating.

The last 24 hours have been a bit odd. I managed a sleep yesterday afternoon and awoke feeling much, much better. This lasted about an hour before the old anxiety crept back in, like the woman behind the yellow bars. I spent yesterday evening watching television with my lovely, lovely husband and knitting, before I got an early night.

Let me digress here to say how much I adore my lovely, lovely Dominic. He always has been brilliant, but is absolutely excelling himself at the moment. I do not think it is possible to meet a kinder, more caring man than Dom. He is a gentle, reassuring presence in my life. He completely understands what I am experiencing, and is happy to let me just do what I can. He calmly but firmly encourages me to go out of the house with him a couple of times every day - usually to do chores - but never makes any demands of me that I can't fulfill. He's happy to plan meals if I cook (he can cook well enough himself and is happy to, I'm not saying that. He's wise enough to know he needs to keep me engaged with every day life. He doesn't get frustrated that I find making decisions nearly impossible, and will happily make suggestions and thank me for the efforts I do make.) I know I am leaning on him very heavily. I know that he is making all sorts of sacrifices and it must be very frustrating to live with me at the moment. But he is brilliant and just calmly says that he promised to love me in sickness and in health, and that's exactly what he is doing. Aren't I lucky? I mean seriously. I know I am seriously blessed. I love him with every inch of my being.

Anyway, pukey stuff over. I slept really well last night and got up intending to sort cupboards and do an hour of sorting work. I managed to check my emails, which for me was a huge achievement. It seems the phobia of the phone is extending to email now too.

Within an hour again I was feeling highly anxious, my heart was pounding and my mouth was dry. I suspect that it might be because my dose of fluoxetine has doubled. I know from experience that any change in anti-depressant medication seems to cause about a week of extreme anxiety before settling down to being better than I was initially. I sometimes wryly wonder whether they only work because they make you feel so shit that anything is better than the chemical low. Maybe I feel no better than I did originally at all.

On the plus side, it's a sunny day, the children have been well behaved and Jonny has gone to a friend's house for a sleepover. He was so excited. I haven't really explained to him what is wrong with me and, being an astute 12 year old, I am fairly certain he knows something is going on. I know there were times from my own childhood when I was aware that fairly serious 'grown up' stuff was happening, but I was too afraid to ask. I still don't know what happened to this day, and just assume that it was something gravely serious - although it might not actually have been. I am going to have to sit down with him tomorrow when he gets home and try to explain. It's hard to do that when I don't really understand it myself.

The same goes with our wider family and friends. I know that if I continue to avoid the phone and email then people will get cross with me and think I am avoiding them - it has happened before. But I can't bring myself to tell them what I am experiencing. It's just too personal. I want them to know, but not to talk to me about it. Dom is not keen to be the one to tell them, as he doesn't want them phoning him to check I am OK - which they will, incessantly. Dom does not like to have his personal time taken up with chit-chatty phone calls. I think deep down he hopes that my depression will go away of it's own accord before too long. I have to tell you that I am not convinced.

Knitting wise, I am doing the cables for the front of my fabbo knitted jacket. I have been really nervous about this as I've been barely capable of more than stocking stitch or granny trebles for the last few weeks. Anyway, here I am concentrating on a difficult pattern and I am actually enjoying it! Yay me! Maybe that is progress in itself. I am determined to have a 'frog or finish' week. I frogged the bamboo shrug that Charlie unpicked and changed the stitch counter on, as I couldn't be bothered to work out where in the pattern I was up to. I have the side panels and neckband of my pink jacket left to do. I have a sleeve and a half of Charlie's stripey jumper left, so I am hoping to have finished all my ongoing projects pretty quickly and then start on something new.

Off to indulge in more cabling. See you soon x

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Warning, long, theraputic posting.

"the silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence" Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I have been thinking about writing this blog entry for several hours. I have made a decision. If I am to be honest, then I have to give a warts-and-all view of my life, otherwise it will be sanitised and pointless. During the course of this depression I have typed the words "depression" into Google more times than I can count. I am familiar with the symptoms, I can't quite grasp the medical papers and I felt very vulnerable and threatened by reports that implied depressed people are idle. What I really needed was to hear someone's voice about how depression makes them feel. I haven't found it yet. It occured to me that someone who is experiencing depression might stumble across this blog and, for that person, I decided that I need to be honest. I live in full hope that I will get better, so I feel compelled to record the lows, as well as reassure myself by telling you about the good times.

I feel like a gremlin that lives at the bottom of a wishing well. Yes, it's dark and smelly and damp in here, but it's safe. I don't really have to interact with anyone, this is my space. And, weirdly, that is comforting. I wish I was more alone at times. I find other people, especially those with the best of intentions, irritating.

Lack of sleep means that there is little relief from this waking somnambulance. Yesterday I slept for 2 fitful hours in 24. The rest of the time was spent in a semi-stupour, unable to concentrate on anything for more than about 10 minutes, just passing time. At least the crafting gives my hands something to do and quietens the thundering thoughts.

I have been really worrying about returning to my part time job. If I am honest with myself (and with you) I know I am not up to it at the moment. My job is managing a big, new project and lots of people are waiting to listen to my instructions. The fear I had going into work those last few weeks of term was crippling. I would go and cry in the toilets, or sit in my baking car with the windows shut, wanting to hide away from it all. The urge to run away was overwhelming. I felt constantly nauseous, full of adrenaline and even gagged on occasions. It was suffocating and punishing. Eventually something small became the straw that broke the camels back, I came home and completely collapsed. I tried going back to a meeting last week - something safe and admin based with just the one person who has always been supportive. Even that put the fear of God into me.

Anyway, I honestly don't believe I can do it. I am on a contract which ends on 31st August but is due to be renewed. I don't think I would be entitled to any sick leave. I cannot even begin to imagine the humiliation of having to explain so publicly how I feel. I just want to hide away in my own safe space and cry.

I received a letter yesterday questioning my GTC membership. It's a small thing but the GTC was introduced when I was teaching in Further Education, so I was never asked to join until now. However, I contacted the GTC and explained my current role and, as it doesn't involve teaching, they sent me an email to say I need not be a member. However the Head of the school that employ me disagrees with them. So I paid the joining fee. It is still not showing on their system, so she has threatened not to renew my contract.

I am gutted. This is the Head who has never spoken to me, not once in 12 months. The school where I have been given no office, desk or computer and no system login. We have recruited the best Diploma numbers in the region, and one of the best nationally, as a direct result of my hard work. I am proud to say I have developed a pretty good reputation locally, and have been offered jobs by more than one other school since starting this position. Our Diploma model is currently being seen as exemplary by other authorities nationally, and we are being asked to train others. I have worked far beyond the two days I am contracted to do. Have I got a thank you? No. The only contact I have had with the Head is to be threatened, twice, with the termination of my contract. The first time was because the CRB check took too long to come back and the air was heavy with the hint of "what have you done?" Clearly nothing, as the approved CRB and the apology from the police proved. Now we have the same thing again - an admin error. But it's me who is suffering - far, far more than is normal, I admit.

I am so tempted to tell her to stick her contract up her bum. I really don't want to - no actually, that's not right, I can't - deal with this at the moment. I have no idea how to deal with this situation and keep my professionalism. I don't want to sacrifice my career but I am not sure that, at this moment in time, I can complete the new contract as they expect. And to do anything but complete the contract to the best of my ability would be to let them down horribly.

Let me tell you about feeling suicidal. It's a deep, dark and seductive feeling. It's always at the back of your mind, and it's there when you sleep. I have dreamed several times of different ways to kill myself - mostly they involve hanging or throwing myself off a tall building. I have these weird, uncontrollable thoughts, like waking flash forwards if such a thing is possible, where I can see myself doing something outrageously violent to myself. Recently it has been cutting my wrists. Today I bought a craft knife like a pizza cutter for making some patchwork cushion covers. The idea of wheeling that fresh, sharp blade across my wrists is delicious and alarming and forbidden. And I can't acknowledge that feeling to anyone.

I want to mark myself in some way to show that I am feeling different. It's partly hurting, but partly demonstrating that I have changed and that I don't want to make petty conversations and do day-to-day stuff. Instead of the wrist slashing thing, I have bought red hair dye which, I am sure you will agree, is a sensible move. I want people to know that I am different. I don't want them to actually *do* anything, I just want them to see and not to ask, or expect too much of me.

I know that if I took my own life then my darling boys would be deeply hurt and I can't do that for them. So I feel angry, as though a basic human right has been taken away from me. I am frightened by my rage. I am reminded of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper and feel like creeping too. And that feeling is so abnormal it's strangely liberating.

Weirdly I also "know", like it's printed through me like a stick of rock, that I will get better. The anxiety comes because I don't know who I will be. This is a real rebirth. And that is both frightening and exciting. I am in freefall. So I know I will not commit suicide, but this does not stop me being magnetically drawn to such thoughts, desires and frustrations.

Today I went to the doctor. She has doubled my antidepressants and has told me to contact the mental health services to ask for my case to be moved up the priority list. I cannot tell you how difficult that is going to be. I am now literally terrified of the phone; it makes me feel sick. I am becoming much more anxious about the internet too. I am also afraid of the postman. I don't know what to do.

I have been crafting and I want to post about that, but this is not the time and the place. I may post later. You mustn't worry about me, as I still have the sensible voice in my head that keeps me in check. But the sensible me really misses Claire, I like her. I don't know where she has gone, although I suggest she's lurking in the back room of her mind and is unwilling to come to the door. I apologise to friends and family who are hurt my this (and some of the things I post). I wish it could be otherwise. However, I still love you all very, very much and hope that this soon will pass. Please stick with me.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Cozy blankets and dark days

The thing with a blog about depression is the worry that for everyone else reading it, it's going to be rather, erm, depressing. This fear has prevented me from posting too much over the past week.

It's been an up-and-down sort of time. There have been good days, baked cakes, delicious roast dinners, home-made blackberry ice-cream made from brambles in our garden, two days out to the beach, feeding monkey nuts to the squirrels, hours and hours on my lovely, lovely afghan with which I am in mad, mad love, a boat trip, a day out to the farm in which I held day old chicks and made friends with an old farm cat with one ear, who snuggled into my lap like he'd always been there and promptly fell asleep - and of course, my lovely, lovely boys with whom I am so lucky to spend my life.

There have, however, been lots of dark days. That hollow, haunting fear, the anger with myself, the complete frustration with the world, lots of tears, the lack of sleep, the depressive ruminations and the people that I feel let down by, over which I have lost far too many tears. I can't get perspective on this yet, but I can tell myself that sometimes a good spring clean of one's life is necessary and helpful. I am usually an upbeat, positive, optimistic person, so I guess that when I have my down days they are going to be bad - just because we experience ups and downs equally. At least deep depths mean high highs, I guess. The worst thing for me is not lows, but would be experiencing a sort of bland, magnolia sort of life. 

I have a doctors appointment on Thursday because something needs to change. I don't know whether my medication needs altering, or whether I need to stump up for private CBT, or have my coil removed (the GP suggested that the progesterone it releases might be making the depression worse, but I really don't want this to be the case as it's so convenient.) In addition to the depression I am experiencing a lot of post-shingles pain, and it's quite excruiating at times. The thing that helps the most is Solpedeine Max as usual painkillers don't seem to touch it. These have the effect of making me feel all warm and snoozy, which is lovely. So I am trapped in a depressed, but ultimately comfortable, place and whilst I desparately want to leave it, I am also afraid to walk in to the sunshine. Any sort of rebirth metaphor would be appropriate here.

What really frightens me - and deep down what I think I need - is to be signed off work. I have no idea how it would work, it would be most incovenient for everyone involved and I am sure that my reputation would be damaged in a very public way. I went in for a day last week and it was much, much tougher than I thought it would be, and the pressure isn't on at all yet. I feel as though I am starting to get better; that the wound is covered by papery-thin new skin. But it still hurts and feels very raw, and it would be wrong to assume I am completely healed. Deep down I am sure that it's going to take a long time to get better, but I can't shake the guilt that I am lazy, taking advantage of people and not committed.

My camera battery needs charging (no metaphor this time!), so I don't have the usual raft of pictures for you. I will try to get it charged (once it has been located) and update later tonight. However, I have been overwhelmed by the desire to sit and make blankets. I have made two in the last week - and bloody big buggers they are too. One was done in a day using size 20 needles and used up a whole heap of old yarn that I'd had for a long time and wasn't sure what to do with. It looks fab, and is really squishy. The kids and cats love it. I enjoyed being lazy and watching 'Dirty Harry' whilst it was being completed, but the combination of the big needles and heavy fabric gave me chronic RSI in my hands (oo-er)

The second blanket is the afghan - it now has 12 large squares and 11 rows of edging. I haven't measured it, but it's at least single bed size. I am in mad, mad love with it. I can't say much more to convey my affection but, as with all love affairs, every time I make a change, add a square or a new colour I initially think it has been ruined, only to find it has been enhanced beyond my wildest dreams. I don't care if other people don't like it, it really is like a third baby to me at this moment in time.

I haven't done much else in the way of crafting, despite putting the hours in, because those are such big projects in their own right. However, we did get up the shelves in the kitchen to display my lovely ceramic nick-nacks and it looks amazing. It really shows off the bunting tea set well.

Will get those pictures up, and update with some of the other projects I have done this year in the meantime. Thanks for sticking with me - especially through the depressive bits, and thank you for all the lovely comments, I am so touched by them all. Bloggers rock x