If I had a little welcome mat, I'd put it here (actually, I Googled and found a funny one that made me smile. And smiling is positively encouraged around here. In fact, I might actually buy one of these for my hall!)
Welcome back friends, I have missed you. I am touched that so many of you checked in whilst I was away in Bromsgrove - I usually convince myself that the page opening figures are actually just mine, but I didn't check in at all for the whole time away, so I am now *finally* convinced that other people are reading. I am getting quite a few people come from Google and other search engines - if you are Googling depression, then please let me send you my love and warm wishes ((hug))
It's been a really weird week, bloggers! But, before I start to talk about the depression, I want to show you what I am working on at the moment:
Aren't the colours an absolute joy?! Now for some, admittedly, they may be a little migraine inducing. However, I have so enjoyed working with colour this week. I'm crocheting the Babette Blanket, inspired by Kaffe Fassett, whom I love. Every second of creating these brightly coloured jewels has been enjoyable, even in the depths of depression. I started by doing a lot of plain black and grey squares and they didn't help my mood any. The colour, however, has worked it's magic. I wonder whether there's anything in that? I don't know much about colour therapy, I'll have to do some research.
The blanket is for the playroom. My boys both really love blankets and are as tactile as I am (as in, we enjoy the feel of things as much, if not more than, the look of them. Not that we invade your personal space, no sir. I hate that too.) The other fun thing is that, as this blanket is for the kids to play with, and will hopefully be dragged on the floor, into the garden, be played on and under, be made into a den and so on, I've not felt bad about buying cheap acrylic wool. In fact, it's perfectly sensible. Which is a let up from the cost vs provenance yarn debate that wrangles through my head most days. Please tell me I am not the only one that has this?
So, the weird week. I have felt quite unwell all week, which was strange and uncomfortable at someone else's house when all your behaviour was observed. I slept as much as possible during the day - but the beta blockers helped, as I felt tired and dizzy at first. I also had chest pains, dry eyes and headaches, although these have passed now. Nights were difficult as I didn't sleep - the first night I got up, and my Dad was most concerned at I sat on the floor and not the chair. You could see that neither of them were in their comfort zones.
Dad was lovely. He didn't say too much, but he did offer to sit with me at night if I couldn't sleep (which, although a lovely gesture, felt horribly intrusive.) He conveyed his love with the odd look or squeeze of my shoulder. He respected my space, didn't ask questions and, on the odd occasion he noticed me looking lost, he silently offered me one of his toffees. He's ace, my Dad.
Mum, on the other hand, found it much harder to deal with. She was clearly irritated at times - she rolled her eyes and chewed her finger and tutted under her breath, and made comments about women who had everyone "run around after them." She was convinced that I don't have any sort of mental illness, that it's a thyroid problem. Sadly, it isn't. Clearly, though, the belief that it was a physical illness rather than a mental one was easier for her to deal with - or, as she suggested more than once, it was just a few "down days" that everyone experiences, including her. She really found it hard to accept that I couldn't use the phone and, when I said I didn't feel up to meeting certain relatives, she was incredulous. However, to give her her credit, she didn't force me to do anything at all. She looked after Charlie, and she cooked us all meals, and generally gave everyone (especially Dominic) a break. I am very grateful to her.
I had a lot of strange feelings over the time - and felt quite seriously suicidal each day. I even worked out how I would do it. However, it still felt like a detatched part of me thinking these thoughts, so I didn't take out any action. I do wish this part of the illness would pass; I frighten myself.
I re-read an amazing book - The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. I originally read this when I was 21 and at university. I related to Esther Greenwood on a very deep level and found it a powerful read. What was especially interesting was re-reading the notes I had made at 21 and realising that I had completely missed the point, in a blithe and rather arrogant fashion. I critiqued her rejection of the female roles offered to her (housewife and mother, fashionable young thing, bad girl, lesbian) and didn't realise that I was critical of her opinion of the roles of women because I was still full of optimism about them. I thought I would be enhanced, saved by motherhood. Actually, much as I love my boys (very much) I have found it the opposite. I have felt restricted.
Moments that stick in my mind are when Esther tries to drown herself, but she keeps bobbing back to the surface; wearing the same clothes and not washing for three weeks because 'what's the point, we're all going to die?' (I completely relate to this: I do wash, however, dear reader, but no longer wear make up or make any effort with my clothes, or shave my legs etc etc.) I was appalled when Esther's boyfriend, Buddy (a rather flaccid but ultimately all-American boy of social standing) asked "I wonder who you will marry now?" (that she had been into a mental institution.) It still shocks and upsets me. I cried when Joan hanged herself and Esther sat in church and realised that it could have been her. I was also grateful that there was no obtusely happy ending; I realise that success is choosing to survive rather than to die and working at it. More than anything, I was amazed that someone was experiencing something so close to what I am.
I recommend it as a thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking read about mental illness, although it is extremely dark and deals frankly with mental illness, prejudice, expectation and suicide.
I'll see you tomorrow. Take care x