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Monday, 19 August 2013

Constant Quest for Positivity

Whew. It's been a crazy few months. Some of you may have noticed my radio silence. I imagine those who follow my blog or twitter feed are not surprised I needed a break from social media. The break has been necessary as I work hard to be the best me I can be. However I will continue to write. Here's a tidbit of my focus as of late.

Recovery, as I have mentioned before, is a process that is not always linear, often takes steps backwards, has an indeterminate length, and requires a tremendous amount of patience. Once I began to get stronger, it also required (requires) a tremendous of work from me. 

So that, in a nutshell, is where I'm at. Facing my emotions, looking into my heart.

Taking one day at a time (sometimes one moment at a time) but trying to remember to live it, not just survive it. I am getting better and have been equipped with the tools to make the final steps. As the depression wanes, it's up to me to discover happiness again.

This means not listening when the thoughts creep in that I don't know what I'm doing, wondering what the hell I was thinking to make such a major change, thinking that I am not cut out for this. It means taking each and every one of those thoughts and turning it around.

I do know what I'm doing.
This change is a step forward.
I am cut out for this.

Reframe it.
 Accentuate the positive.

Keep on the sunnyside.

There have been times when I think of it as "fake it till you make it" but it's not really faking it. It's just grabbing hold of that little thing and holding on to it with all I've got so I can get to the other side of the darkness. 

How can I make this feel okay?

What can I do to make myself smile?

To breathe?

My runs have become my meditation. I breathe in for three steps and out for two. Three strong words are picked each day and I think them as I breathe in, breathe out and start again. A mantra. 




The words change but it fuels my run and cleanses my soul.

Each and every night, I lie in bed and list the things I'm grateful for. Often they are not about at me, but the loving friends and family I have surrounding me, the amazing people I have come in contact with, the beautiful weather I've been living in. I drift off to sleep holding these thoughts in my head instead of turning over and over the things that went wrong.

Sounds cheesy. But it's working.

The last bump I had was a doozy. I was in town, on my own, and as I hung up from a difficult phone call, I could feel the anxiety closing in, my chest tightening, my eyes glistening. 

***annnnnd breeeeeathhhheeee*

in for three, out for four
in for five, out for six.

***annnnd wallllkk**

'positive positive positive'

It'll be fine. It'll work out. It is not in your control.

Focus on what is.

I ran errands. 

One. at. a. time.

Each check mark, I stopped, reminded myself that it was a step forward, and continued to the next one.

The anxiety didn't magically disappear, but I kept it at bay. Not in a masking, ignoring, I'll have a total break down way, either. (believe me, I've been there) I was aware of it constantly. I had to stop and breathe a lot that afternoon but focusing on what I could do, what I was doing, helped me get through. I made it.

The day was good.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Preaching to the Choir


I started writing to reduce it.

But for who?

One thing that I have learned, through this journey, is no one really gets it unless they've been through it or going through it.

I'm not sure that can ever change.

I mean really, honestly, I've spent hours thinking "why can't I just snap out of it?" and I've got the damn illness.  Of course someone who has never experienced it would think the same thing.

But that's where empathy comes in, I hear you say. That's where it's our job to explain support.

Yeah. Support. What is that for someone who doesn't truly get it?

They read the literature that says understand. Listen. Be there.

So they pay the bills. They do the housework. They listen to you say you can't. They are there. And all the while? They wonder why the hell you can't.

And frankly, it's a perfectly reasonable question.

If you've never had depression.

Admit it.

Before you had it, did you get it?

Did you understand that some days you can get dressed and put a smile on your face for the outside world but inside be crumbling?

Did you understand that some days you'd wish you'd never been born yet still laugh at something on TV?

Did you get that sometimes doing dishes was an impossibility because? Because you? Because you had no idea why?

Would you have imagined that you'd fantasize about running away all the while going through the daily routine?

Would you have imagined it possible to smile at that happy baby even though you felt nothing?

Of course not.

That's why I preach to the choir.

The choir of women who think they're alone.

You're not.

Changing the stigma to those who have never felt the crushing blow of depression is something I no longer think is possible.

I want to change it so those who feel it ask for help.

So those who think they are alone know they are not.

Depression sucks. It is debilitating, but from the inside.

We put on our masks. We know the stigma is alive. We don't tell our co-workers. We are sometimes afraid to admit it to our partners. We are even more afraid to admit it to ourselves.


We are not alone.

It's dark. It's hard. It destroys things that sometimes can't be put back together.

But it is not our fault.

It is an illness.

It is silent.

It is deadly.

It is scary and unknown to those who have not felt it.

But we can persevere.


I am sometime quiet, but

I am one of you.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The End


I had planned on asking for my wedding ring to be re-dipped and cleaned for Christmas. I don't like to admit that I'm superstitious but it was beginning to look a little dull and disheartened and my gut feeling was that it reflected how things were going. The last few years had been a hard slog to say the least. The recent move a set back instead of the step forward we had hoped. Life had been on hold for too long. We needed a fresh start. It was time to start moving again. 

I'm in the kitchen and the dreaded words are like a haze.

"I think we might need counselling."

I scoff " Counselling is a sign of last resort. Surely we should try first...Surely you think we can get past this." 

He sits on a nearby stool and stares at the floor.

My voice rises. Squeaks "Do you think we're at the last resort stage already? Do you think we need a...."

I stop myself.

He finishes.

"I don't love you anymore. I haven't for a long time."

It's over.