My life, designed by me.
I contemplated not mentioning this. I considered just glossing over the fact that I had skipped a promised Blog post. Ignoring the fact that I have been absent from my Blog for a week. I could have written one line about being super busy with work and kids etc and then the absence would be explained, neat and tidy. That would have been the easy option. It would have also been against the spirit of this Blog, which is MY life, in all its spectacularly complicated and messy glory. To not share this past week felt very dishonest of me. In the end, I decided that this post needs to be written. I have a feeling just the writing of it will be cathartic.
Last Thursday, quite unexpectedly, my depression thought that it might give me a little nudge, just to let me know that it is still there. To let me know that it is no longer sleeping soundly, it has awoken and is demanding attention. I started the day in a great mood, accomplished a lot, enjoying being a temporary stay at home mum during my week off work. I should know never to overdo it. However, as is my style, I like to pack as much as I can into a day. I spread my mind far too thin; I had so many things racing through my brain. I was trying to achieve 72 hours worth of tasks in 18 hours. I kept thinking and thinking, planning ahead, and in the end my mind just decided that it was exhausted and gave up. I can usually recognize the signs that I need to pull back and nurture myself a bit more. Normally, anyway. This time that ‘feeling’ of something being wrong crept up on me so stealthily and so unexpectedly that I started to spiral into a web of anxiety. Anxiety was something I had learned nearly two years ago to deal with. The feeling of anxiety was so foreign to me now that I did not even recognize it at first.
The crying started, out of nowhere. I was physically and mentally exhausted and now my brain wanted to play cruel games. At first I wondered if it was simply all the pressure I was putting myself under and the huge week I’d had. I had resigned from my job, was on a week holiday, which was way out of routine and my baby had started school. I was struggling to keep the house clean, cook healthy and nutritious meals and also focusing an enormous amount of brain power toward the large question that was looming larger and larger….was leaving my job the right thing to do??? Oh yes, somehow my self- doubt had broken free from it’s leash. As much as I know in my heart that I have made the right decision, self doubt was running around in my vulnerable brain, cocking its leg and pissing on my self-confidence.
Most disturbing to me of all was the fact that I had no desire to write. There was nothing creative happening in my mind. I did not even attempt to write at all. This caused more anxiety, as my deepest fear was that my mental illness might have stolen my ability to write. For how long? I talked myself out of following that path of negativity. I decided to just go with what I felt. There was nothing to be gained from writing for the sake of it, forcing myself to write to prove that it was still there. I had shaky faith in myself that I would write again.
In a nutshell, I was making huge demands of my psyche and should have known, I should have realized long before now that no good can come from that.
To further illustrate the disrespect with which I had treated my mental health, I had also committed the cardinal sin of taking anti depressants and reduced the dosage of my own accord, without checking with my doctor. It happened quite accidentally, I would forget to take one, then another and ended up taking them only once a week. Then I ran out. I assumed, stupidly, that I was fine. I had been on such a low dosage, surely not refilling the prescription wouldn’t matter?
Always one for action and unable to tolerate the impending relapse, I made an appointment with my Doctor. He patiently explained about rebound symptoms that can occur when one is a, well lets be honest, an absolute idiot. Prescription promptly filled? You betcha!
It has taken me a week to feel somewhat myself again. I feel blessed to have the knowledge and skills to cope, mostly, with this illness now. For the past week I have dutifully taken my medication at the same time each day. I have meditated to relax, I have ensured that I get adequate sleep. I have let everything go that was not absolutely essential. If it was essential and felt too much for me, I delegated. I now know that I MUST respect my mental health and in order to do that, must respect myself. I must ensure my needs are met, it is imperative that I take care of myself. I am not as resilient as I used to be. The thought saddens me. I get frustrated that I can’t push myself as far as I want and further and do everything I want to do. However I am absolutely thankful that I am where I am at. I am so privileged to be responsive to medication. I am blessed to have had a wonderful psychologist who taught me how to deal with the anxiety and become mentally stronger. I am eternally grateful to have a supportive family, a husband who can cope with me and be strong for me and children who just love me unconditionally, a gift in itself. My best friend is another pillar of support, without whom I would be lost. I know some people who suffer from mental illness are not as fortunate as me.
So there it is. The reason I have been away from my Blog. I am extremely happy to be back! Last night this Blog post started forming itself in my mind. For the first time in a week, my brain was creating a piece of writing. :) It was that moment that I knew my writing would never leave me.