Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Living alone and remembering small achievements.

I’ve been slowly trying to think more positively* over the last week or so, and something struck me about being someone who lives alone.

A few years ago I realised the obvious: all the jobs in my house – washing up, laundry, vacuuming etc – if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.  On one hand, that’s clearly self-evident but, on the other hand, it’s not true for people who live with others.  For them, at some point, someone else will probably do at least one of the jobs, at least once.  In my house, that will never happen.

When I first thought like that, it was quite a depressing and tiresome thought.

But I realised the other day that, because I have to take care of everything in my house/life, I am able to take care of everything in my house/life.  Take yesterday: I had a flat tyre, which I had to change and get repaired.  I then had to cook a meal, and do some laundry and ironing.  Later on, I had a problem with my electrics: something blew and tripped the fuse-box.  So I figured out which appliance was faulty, and of course located the fuse-box to trip it back.  I also found time to pick up my guitar and play some tunes.

I’m not trying to make any of this sound more than it is; I realise none of these things are rocket science.  But, the point is, I suddenly became quite pleased to be someone who can do all those things.  Without meaning to be sexist or anything, I don’t think every man knows how to use a car-jack, play a musical instrument, and how to make a decent meal.  (I can even cook quite well when I put my mind to it or there’s someone to impress!)

One of the things I learned in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) a couple of years ago is not to downplay the positives in life.  Suffering with Depression usually means it’s easy to believe the victories in our own lives are in some way less than those of everyone else.  I have made progress over the last few weeks – I’m no longer sat in my GP’s office in tears for starters; I can do quite a lot of things, some of them even pretty well.  Sure, I’m not yet ‘happy’, or even ‘okay’, but it’s a start, and that’s worth recognising.

Stopping to remember the achievements or progress we have made – though they/it may be small – can be an important step on the long road to recovery.  It even starts to breed hope of further improvement/achievement in the future, and that really is something to feel better about.

*The small print for this post is that all this has coincided with the sort of time we’d expect my increased medication to have started having an effect ... It seems The Verve were wrong...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hitting 'rock bottom'...

I haven’t posted for a while, because I haven’t known what to write.  I’ve written a couple of posts, but not uploaded them, mainly because I haven’t known how I would feel the following day and didn’t want to say anything I might not agree with later.

Life has been very hard lately, and I’ve been more ‘down’ than perhaps ever before.  One thing after another, after another hit me; just when I thought I’d hit the bottom it was as though another, unseen trapdoor opened up and I plummeted further down still. 

As Rachel said in Friends: ‘I really thought I just hit rock bottom.  But today, it's like there's rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.’ (Friends, Series 2, Warner Bros, 1995)

Suffering from Depression makes life’s difficulties that much harder.  Such a mind is weak to begin with so, when a trauma strikes – whether that’s something like my redundancy last year, or work-related stress, or the loss of a relationship – it hits all the harder.  And when more than one big event comes along at once, the mind cannot cope.

Which is how I find myself here.

I’ve investigated suicide sites; I’ve cried until I had no more tears, or gave myself a headache; I’ve slept (or tried to) for more time than is probably healthy.  But, somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to finish my novel.  I’m taking little pleasure in it, and finishing it probably won’t make me happy either, but I do want to finish it.  So, word by word, sentence by sentence, I’m writing it.

The other thing I can say is that time does help.  I saw my GP today and we agreed that I am better than two weeks ago when I sat crying in her office, even though it might not feel like I’m better right now.  And I'm getting the help I need with increased medication and referrals for pretty much every talking-therapy there is.

Going right back to basics is the only way to survive, I think.  Basics such as: ‘What am I living for?’  Finding things to live for is easy: my writing, my music, things in the future I don’t yet know about.  Finding things I want to live for is harder.  But I’m trying to work on that part...and we’ll see what happens.

Thanks for reading.  It’s not my usual, positive, optimistic style, I know.  But then life doesn’t always have things to be positive and optimistic about...