Monday, 1 September 2008

Descent of the Black Clouds

Depression that taboo subject that no-one mentions and I have to live with, but I'm about to break this particular taboo. I first started to suffer with depression around the time I had a nervous breakdown that had everything to do with my job as a teacher and the end of my previous marriage. I'm not sure which came first, the depression or the nervous breakdown, but at that point in my life I wouldn't have recognised either of them for what they were, luckily for me my doctor did.

In many ways I'm very lucky after several years of living with it I recognise the signs that I'm about to disappear into that world where on a very bad day getting dressed can be a major challenge. I'm also lucky in that I now live with a man who understands it, knows when I'm in that place where he can't reach me and handles it so very well. I'm also lucky because quite by accident I discovered how I can best prevent it.

For me a bout of depression is caused mainly by not enough time outdoors but also by starting to feel like jobs are piling up on me, a reaction to when teaching was causing me an unimaginable amount of stress. I only discovered the main cause when I set up my walking website and realised after a few months that I hadn't had a bad bout of depression for quite a while. This makes me very lucky as my hobby is my best method of prevention.

It isn't always possible to get out walking and so once or twice a year I will feel the warning signs of my head feeling very woolly, like a thick cloud is descending around it and the all too familiar feeling in my stomach. Sometimes at this point I can stop it developing by forcing myself to start to tackle, what appears to me at that point in time, an impossible amount of jobs. Usually they are nothing of the sort but by now my ability to tackle even the simplest task is disappearing fast so even the washing up feels like a form of torture.

Now as much as I loved every minute of the Olympics I knew towards the end that I was starting to feel ill and managed to pull myself back from the brink, so to speak, but last week the clouds descended again. The problem then becomes one of breaking the cycle of I'm depressed and therefore struggling to do the simplest things, when, of course, what I need to do most of all is to get outside go for a walk or start to tackle the jobs. This is usually where Husband comes in because at some point I will become capable of saying to him I don't feel great and then things start to come back into perspective.

So the middle of last week I disappeared, thankfully only briefly, but enough to mean that things that should have happened didn't. Needless to say I didn't get to the gym, the pool or out walking all of which would have helped. In my depressed state I seriously thought after I'd washed up for 3 days in a row that if Husband didn't wash up the next day I'd go on strike. Not that you'd have noticed I'd gone on strike as it wasn't like I was doing a lot anyway!! There really is nothing logical about my thoughts when I'm depressed.

Strangely this time it was sewing and cricket that brought me out of the latest bout of depression. I started working on the Jayne's Attic Monthly Challenge on the day England absolutely stuffed South Africa at Trent Bridge and as I did so I felt myself return to normal. So who knows maybe now I've started stitching again I've found another way out, which will be great. Of course first of all I will have to be capable of picking up a needle but anything that helps is fine by me.


Anonymous said...

HUGE HUGS!! I can so relate, it is great you can recognise the signs and that you have a wonderful and supportive DH. I agree getting out is such a (pardon the pun) breath of fresh air.
Stitching is my saviour!! Glad that you are finding ways of coping.

Karan said...

My teacher friend has also been through that hell. Recognising the onset & finding coping strategies are huge steps forward (((((hugs))))). You are lucky in your DH - unfortunately my friends' OH isn't as supportive as he could be.

Redwitch said...

I've been there, it was my job that did me in and at the time it had a lot of teaching/training in it. I was lucky I was able to take advantage of cognitive behaviour therapy in counselling. It gave me coping strategies and I would def. reccommend it, there are books written about it which you should be able to get hold of through your public library. {Hugs}

Sally said...

Lots of hugs to you. I can relate to this as I have had depression both postnatally and other. Unfortunately I have been told it can run in families and my Mum suffered later in life ( my sister moving to another town seemed to be the trigger there). Getting out is a wonderful thing and this is what I am planning on doing but it's not always easy getting yourself out of that sitting in rut. I find my stitching is a huge help and without my DH and children I truly don't think I'd cope at times.