A Hotchpotch of Thoughts – Halloween, Fur Family and Holiday!

Happy Halloween! Having spent four of their formative years at an American international school, my children, L & S, most particularly L, love Halloween. They are Aussie kids through and through but there is something magnetic about Halloween to them. L rates this as her favourite celebration for the year. We halloween the house. We have the mandatory carved pumpkin, a singing cat, a spooky treats bowl, cobwebs and spiders and this year, a glow in the dark ‘body’ on our front wall. Yes, we like Halloween at our house.

I finished work early today as did L. I donned my witchy poo outfit and L her green lantern outfit. Later we were joined by S and his partner C. They were a cow and chicken. We enjoyed visits from probably around 100 neighbourhood children, most with parents in tow. It’s a really nice way to get to know some of the people in the neighbourhood and we obviously have return custom as a number of the adults made comments about what we had added since last year.

It’s interesting to watch the little ones. Some of them bound up with confidence: some are rather reticent. They all have the same goal, to add to their stash. Most of the kids are quite happy when we place the limits of ‘one of this and one of that’ but I’ve noticed that it’s the quietest ones who sneak back for more!

I live in a zoo, not a real zoo but it may as well be. Jemima is our black cat and clearly tonight is her night. She is quite timid and really doesn’t do social which is a pity, she would be a perfect Halloween accessory. Crash, our cocker spaniel, he is versatile, any event where there are captive people who might bestow some attention – pats, cuddles, a kind word. Crash enjoyed tonight immensely. Then there is Beo.  Beo is a bull terrier and he is completely nuts. He is as friendly as can be but he is big and rough and has no idea how strong he is. Beo spent Halloween in the bathroom so that he wouldn’t bark and wouldn’t scare the trick or treaters. Now bull terriers have what can only be described as mad minutes. They go from stationary to full speed in 10 seconds flat! So, after Beo had spent a significant time in the bathroom we decided it was time to let him out. This resulted in a ‘mad minute’ – full speed around the house, very close to collecting me in the process. He then proceeded to take on Jemima. Now darling Jemima is one of the most highly strung cats to ever inhabit the earth. And of course, cats always win. Let’s just say that there isn’t too much blood and it’s all Beo’s.

I love the zoo. All of them, despite their eccentricities are great company and very comforting to have around. We recently decided that Beo really would be better placed in a home where he would get more attention and exercise and probably where he was the only animal. We came very close to re-homing him until I realised how much I love him and how much I would miss him. I am sure that I will live to regret that decision, but for now it’s the right one.

Crash is my boy. He was here first (before L brought her menagerie into the house). He came to us at 15 months old with the name Ashley, shortened to Ash, then Crash when he crash tackled his way into our hearts along with crashing into doors, the pool, anything really. Uncoordinated is an under-statement! When we are all out the menagerie is separated. Beo and Crash each have parts of the yard and Jemima has the house. Crash’s part of the yard includes the pool and his day generally involves a dip. I’d like to have a camera on it to check but suspect that he is either dreamily looking at his own reflection and over balances or that the large water monitors that also swim in the pool are just too tempting for him!

I have floor to ceiling windows in the sunroom which is very close to the pool. Again, I’d like a camera to see how this eventuates but on most days, I come home and Crash has clearly finger-painted on all of the windows. I suspect Jemima encourages this activity but have no idea what she does.  Now that I have introduced my zoo you’ll hear more about them.

From tomorrow I am on holidays for 5 weeks. Woo hoo! It will be a balanced mixture of doing and not doing. There will be trips to the beach with Crash (I can’t manage Beo, he’s too strong!). There will be a jaunt to Tasmania and then a second one to Sydney. I have to say that this is the first time in many years that I have been feeling well when I have gone on leave. Previously I have been wound up so tight that it took me most of the break to wind down. In fact I feel wound down already. I am going to have an awesome holiday!

The Liebster Award

So, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster award by blogger paindepression. Thanks for that! It brings a smile to think that someone would take the time to do this. Who am I to do anything other than pass it on and share the smile with others?

Information about the “Liebster Award”

The Liebster Award, or “the favorite blog award”, is an internet-based award that is given to bloggers by other bloggers. In Germany, the word “liebster” has the same meaning as “favorite, beloved, or dearest.” This award is primarily given to blogs that have less than 200 followers. That way, it helps the blogger with being more known to the world as well as giving the blogger the opportunity to learn about more amazing bloggers.

My answers to paindepression’s ten questions are:

1. What is the most challenging thing in your life right now?

I am delighted to say that I don’t feel that too much in my life is challenging right now. I am truly happy for the first time in many years; my family are all well and also happy; my health is good; work is good and I have 5 weeks holiday from the end of this week!

2. What made you decide to write your Blog?

My initial reasons for writing my blog were selfish. I thought that if I put into words what I was feeling and thinking that this would help me to ensure that I did not slip up and go back to where I was previously. As I started to get feedback and comments on my posts, I realised that I was connecting with others. What is life without connections?

3. Do you feel like your Doctor listens to you?

My health professionals allowed me to find my own way to where I am now. I believe that I am much stronger for having taken that pathway. I guess that at times I felt as though I would have liked answers from my health carers but I do believe that I needed to find those answers for myself.

4. If Time and Money were no object (you have plenty) what would you be doing differently?

I can’t imagine one single thing that I would like to be different in my life right now, so I guess that if I had money I would want to use it to help others. I do not believe that money brings happiness. I believe that a significant lack of money can contribute to unhappiness when the basics of a comfortable life are lacking, so I would want to help others without the basics to have them. Sorry to my family, I am not talking about you. We all have enough!

5. Do you believe that Everything Happens for a Reason?

Interesting question. It is certainly something that I believed previously. In accepting awesome, I have had to take responsibility and control of a number of aspects of my life. Looking back on my life, I had things to learn and what I didn’t know defined the choices that I made and steered my life in the directions it went. So, the answer is yes, everything happens for a reason.

6. Who is most helpful to you in your current life?

I have a strong network of supporters; family, friends both real and virtual including other bloggers. They are all important to me for different reasons. To mention any may diminish the contribution of others.

7. Who is your favorite author?

My choices of reading material are diverse and dependent on how I am feeling. I often read more than one book at the same time. My favorite author fluctuates depending on how I am feeling at the time.

8. If you could see anyone (dead or alive) who would you go see right now?

My dad. Dad died in 1980 when I was 21. I would like him to be able to see not only who I have become but also what has become of the world over the last 30+ years. I don’t remember ever telling dad that I loved him. To be able to do that, in person, would be AWESOME!

9. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Ghandi – the ultimate quote about taking responsibility and control.

10. What is the Most Important thing in your life right now?

My family and my health. I could not imagine life without my family and cannot imagine going back to where I have been from a health perspective.

The ten questions for my nominees are:

  1. What motivates you to write your blog?
  2. What are your three most favorite things in the world?
  3.  If you were to write a book, what would it be about and what would it be called?
  4. What comic book character most closely represents you and your life and why?
  5. Who, in your opinion, is the most inspirational person ever to live and why?
  6. What is the greatest challenge that you have ever undertaken?
  7. What brings you peace?
  8. What memory, event or achievement gives you the greatest sense of achievement?
  9. If you were not called by your own name, what would you want to be called and why?

————-

My 10 Nominees are:

Weathering the Storm

Thorn Diaries

Born by a River

Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork

Morning Coffee Bliss

Kendall F Person

The War in My Brain

The Odd Spot

Yellow Mum

Andrew Hines

 

Now that you are nominated, here are the 5 steps to accepting your award:
1. Link back to the person that nominated you to recognize them.
2. Answer the ten questions I have asked of you.
3. Nominate 10 other Bloggers
4. Create ten questions for your nominees
5. Notify your Nominees!

Superman Syndrome

Over the years I have often described myself as someone who could leap tall buildings in a single bound. When asked what my life time plan was, the answer would invariably be ‘to take over the world’. Now each of these answers would bring a smile to the person who was listening to those responses. Looking back now, I wonder whether that smile was a smile of support or whether it was a sad acknowledgement that I was setting myself up to fail.

The overwhelming feeling that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound was yet another example of the fact that I bit things off in big bites, too big a bites for anyone without super-human powers. I look back on many examples of things that I didn’t start because the light at the end of the tunnel was too dim too provide a guiding light.

My house and the disarray in which I lived for the best part of a decade is one example of failure to start. Looking back, I can’t remember how I got into the mess that I did or why, in the early days, when the light at the end of the tunnel was bright that I did not walk towards it and regain a level of control and order but suffice to say, I didn’t. I’ve talked lots about blame and responsibility in previous posts and I can definitely say that I blamed G for the mess (because he didn’t live with me and help me to control it) and would never admit responsibility either for the mess or for doing something about it. There are a number of things that I would not start at work because I was not confident that I could do them perfectly or because the overall task was too big to be able to see a way to the end of it.

I set my sites at work high, to the point of expecting that I could just jump up the ranks and ‘take over the world’. I never really knew which part of the world that I wanted to take over and never made any sensible plan about how I was going to do it; I just knew that I wanted to do it. Looking back now, I can see that without any concrete plans, I was doomed to failure. I need to clarify that my version of failure was not abject failure. I certainly progressed in my chosen field, command respect in some circles and feel that I can make a difference in the role that I have. It’s just that through the eyes of my Superman Syndrome, I never recognised that anything other than being ‘numero uno’ was good enough. The most ludicrous part of the whole situation is that I would now be way better equipped emotionally and physically to take over the world but I no longer want to do it!

These thought processes are very counter-productive and very self-destructive. Those around me who have noticed the ridiculous extent to which I celebrate small wins (since I started to view the world in a kinder (to me) and less extreme way) would be nodding about now if they were reading this. It’s not that I was never introduced to the idea of biting off small, chewable pieces. In fact, I can picture my current manager gently asking me to make a start on things. There was always a road block in my mind, a road sign that said, “Do not enter. If you can’t see a clear path to your destination, do not undertake the journey!”

Sensible? Of course not! But then thinking sensibly and depression do not generally walk comfortably hand in hand.

Challenge and Confidence

This morning I took the train from the Sydney Airport to Milson’s Point (Sydney north shore). Now city dwellers will be thinking, “So?” But for me that is a biggie. I would say that in many respects, I would always have appeared confident and in a lot of ways I was. But the prospect of taking a train across Sydney, even the last time I came here several weeks back, was so daunting that I took a cab.

Thus, today I had an immense sense of achievement by training it to my destination. Like everything that has challenged me recently, I broke it down into baby steps and celebrated at each step – found the platform, on the right train, off the first train, on the next right train and off again at the correct station.

There are a number of reasons why, without my health, this type of exercise was challenging. Physically stairs were a challenge. I could exhaust myself with minimal effort on stairs! When I was very large, I had a number of falls. The humiliation of falling in public is more painful than the physical effects though, I must say, I have managed some very impressive bruises; fortunately no breaks! It is much easier to stay within your comfort zone when you are feeling miserable and looking back, I believe that the most significant factor lies in the fact that I did not ever take responsibility for where I was. This meant that it was significantly preferable for someone else to take responsibility for everything, even down to getting me from one side of Sydney to the other.

There have been in my life a number of light bulb moments when it came to confidence and realising that I could do things. When our children were around 5 and 7, I took them from Saudi Arabia to Florida for a holiday without G. I can’t remember the why’s anymore. I have no idea why he didn’t come with us. What I do remember is that when I left Saudi, Gus had made all of the arrangements, booked us into the Hilton, worked out that there were shuttle buses to get to theme parks and organised tours to Cape Canaveral and anywhere else we could want to go.

I was chatting to an older couple on the bus to the hotel and they made mention of the fact that the Hilton was very expensive and that we would be very restricted as far as time goes if we were to rely on the public transport options. Well after one night, I had moved out of the Hilton and in to an alternative at 1/3 of the price (the only thoughts I had were that the Hilton had an ice machine and that the towels at the Hilton were fluffier!).  I then hired a car and proceeded to drive L & S and I to anywhere that we wanted to go. I didn’t get to do the ultimate in proving myself because of the cost of changing flights (it was going to be $US 1500.00). The newer confident me had wanted to stop in New York and take L & S to the top of the Empire State Building. That’s still on the ‘to do’ list! I just remember though that I held my head a little higher when I returned from that holiday because I had proved myself to me.

That’s what the train did today. I don’t believe that I can under-estimate the importance of proving myself to me in my journey towards accepting awesome. I actually now believe that challenging myself needs to become a way of life. Clearly, if I get a sense of satisfaction out of train travel, then I don’t have to look to the highest mountain or the longest marathon; I just have to recognise that challenges allow growth and that both can be achieved in baby steps.

Self Evaluation

As G inches his way the last few steps on his journey to obtaining his PhD and prepares to undertake what can only be considered a huge challenge for a scientist (I can’t think of a bigger one in Australia), I look back at our careers and the evolution of our relationship through those careers.

Now G and I were either blessed or cursed to both be in the same very narrow field from a professional perspective. I say blessed because that fact has afforded us opportunities to travel together, work together and understand totally where the other person is at a particular time. Cursed, I guess because I couldn’t help but compare myself to G at various stages of our careers.

When G took on his first senior role, I was pregnant with L and willingly embarking on a journey that I was excited and happy to be taking. But there was a green-eyed part of me that was always jealous of G’s appointment. I felt that I could have done it better and that I deserved it! I am not proud of those feelings now and can’t imagine how I ever felt that way.

This was well before the time that I recognised any depressive tendencies in myself. In fact it was one of the happiest times of my life. I had a good balance between work and home life and enjoyed the support of my mother in caring for L when I returned work. I doubt that I have ever discussed my feelings of that time with G, I suspect that if he reads this, he will be surprised.

From where I sit now, as far as G is concerned, there is a huge amount of pride. L, S and I will be cheering loudly from the audience when he is awarded his PhD and, in his career choice, the overwhelming feelings are, “What can I do to make this work for him, for us?”

When G first left Brisbane 10 years ago, I was already significantly down the foggy path of depression. I remember thinking how much easier it was going to be for G if he didn’t have to live with me. Now I guess that it some ways that was true. G had the opportunity to re-charge and was not subjected directly to my foggy interpretations of life. I guess that it was easy for me to say that G didn’t want to live with me because that was my way of moving the responsibility for living apart onto him. I remember one recent conversation with G about depression and how hard it has been on him. I asked him whether he had ever considered leaving why he had stayed and he looked shocked and said, “It’s called love, pure and simple. Love, that’s the reason why I have always stayed.”

Disposability

Disposability – is that even a word? I marvel at the recent evolution of the English language. I think that what I marvel at most is that there actually, but for recent technological advances, were plenty of words before. I remember when the computer department at work started talking functionality. Now, perhaps I am missing something, but function without any ‘ality’ can be used perfectly in place of functionality on every occasion. Is there a computer geek somewhere in the world who introduces himself, “Good morning I am Xxxx Xxxx, I coined the term functionality.”

Anyway I digress and I am fast realising that this blog is evolving (not evolutionising, which, incidentally, spell check does not like) into journeys of the mind. I am not saying that I won’t bring the thought processes back to the initial reason for the blog, but the focus is shifting away from the thought processes and on to simply living, as is my current and future focus. I reread all of my blog this morning because I was contemplating deleting it. I went so far as to discuss deleting it with two of my friends. One said that she had wondered whether I would regret starting on this. That was a tick next to the delete box. The other friend, L2, gave me such encouragement that I decided on the re-read path before deleting. The blog remains. Like many aspects of life, sweeping it under the carpet potentially allows it to fester and festery (another new word or so spell check says. I guess spellcheck would prefer festering, I prefer festery) thoughts are destructive thoughts!

Now, 270 words into this post, I will get back to disposability. Today I am back into reclaiming my house. Yes, it’s taking a bit for me to reclaim and I realised that my issue with disposability is the crux of the difficulty. I was brought up by careful, respectful parents who had a very good grasp of the value of a dollar and of the value of ‘things’ in general. As my children grew, I was often mortified by the lack of care that they showed for the things that I would imagine they should treasure. Now, I have found multiple cameras during the clean-up, some I have no recollection of ever being brought into this house, (but of course, not the one that I have previously mentioned as the cause of a level of angst!).

About 10 years ago I led a group of twenty eight 13 and 14 year old boys to New Zealand to play sport. At the time I bought a very expensive digital camera so that the families left behind could share our adventure when the boys returned. It was beautiful camera, 4.5 megapixels and every possible feature at the time. I think I paid around $2000.00 for it. About 4 years later the batteries stopped holding charge and I steeled myself as I walked into the camera shop to buy a replacement battery (I knew they would cost around $130.00 each). So I walked up to the young man at the counter, produced my camera and asked about batteries.

He started to scratch his head and look in catalogues. He came back and said that he thought that, given some time, he could probably find a vendor and that the price would be around $150.00 each for these batteries. He looked genuinely baffled and picked up a small camera that was around $200.00 and said something like this, “This camera here is 6 mega-pixels and has far more features than the one you are holding. Why would you want to buy new batteries for that one?” At the time, I took this on board and did not replace the batteries.

However, the little girl in me that had been brought up to value, treasure and respect things put that 4.5 mega-pixel camera into the top of my cupboard. I found it again yesterday whilst tidying and I still can’t throw it away. Now I believe that some things (and I mean values, not cameras) are really worth holding on to. I will work on the camera. As my mind races forward, I am wondering whether the lost camera that I really do value can be placed into the category of being ‘cleared out’ before its time in order to save me future angst. I think not, but I momentarily enjoyed the thought!

By the way, I love the comments that people leave that let me know that this is being read. I’d love to hear your thoughts on disoposability!

Shades of Grey

Today I saw the movie ‘About Time’ and if ever anything made me think about living with regrets and the destructive aspect of doing so, that movie was going to do it. I loved the movie and yes, it made me cry but more so than anything it made me think. The stated take home message was to live each day as the best day it can be, which in itself is an excellent sentiment but as well as that it made me think about the fact that if I could go back and change things, then likely the future would be different. And in my life, there are some very, very good things that I would not wish to be without.

I used to think that I would never have gotten depression had I not left Tasmania (one of my many flawed thought processes because of course, I would likely have gotten it anyway; the triggers may just have been different). For a long time I blamed the frenetic pace of life that we lived for my mental health issues. I have no doubt that they were a trigger, even a major contributor, but the cause definitely came from inside of me. The cause was my reaction to what happened in my life, not what happened. And in baby steps, I am working on controlling those reactions.

The train of thought that I followed after watching ‘About Time’ was to count my blessings, blessings who or that would never have come into my life without leaving Tasmania. I have an awesome network of people in my life throughout the world who I would likely never have met without leaving Tasmania. I have very special friends in England, Canada and Ireland, other friends and acquaintances literally all over the world and some of the people that I feel closest to are the network that I call my friends here in Brisbane. We have the best neighbours imaginable here in Brisbane. I don’t dare list the important people in my life for fear of missing someone out. You know how much you mean to me, I’ve told you!

As well as people, my blessings include life experiences, places I’ve been and things I’ve done and seen. My life’s tapestry is rich. It has colour and depth, light and shade; it has smiles and laughter. In fact, sitting here and writing, my head is literally bursting with thoughts of the good things in my life.

I believe that part of the reason why I was depressed for so long was that I was viewing the possibilities as limited, that is, I was imagining that there were only two possibilities, one was to be depressed and the other was to be happy. Because I imagined that something that I didn’t have or couldn’t be was stopping me from being happy, I had to stay depressed. I remember doing some wonderful, wonderful things during the time that I was depressed and although there was a level of enjoyment, there was always the fog that dampened the enjoyment. I am not sure how to explain this concept clearly, I guess it is best put into context by thinking black and white or perfectionistic tendencies. The perfectionist in me believed that everything had to be perfect for me to be happy. The black and white was that if I wasn’t very happy, I had to be very sad.

I have to say that the balance and shades of grey that I now feel is an immense relief. The pressure of trying to be constantly upbeat and outwardly happy has, at times in my life been absolutely exhausting!

Light Bulbs and Laugh Out Louds

It is interesting when you are participating in an activity or a conversation and you step back from what is going on and just watch. Over the past couple of days I have been doing this a bit and what I saw made me question the fact that I question myself and my reactions to the extent I do.

Today I walked across to the on-site Pharmacy at work to check my blood pressure. I went cold-turkey on my blood pressure meds after my last visit to my doctor as was her recommendation and again as per her recommendation, I got it checked today. The manager of the pharmacy took my blood pressure and said, “Wow! I’ve never seen that blood pressure before.” So I’m thinking, “OK, what does that mean?” He turns the blood pressure reader around and says, “Look, 120 over 80. That’s the perfect blood pressure!” Now I wasn’t surprised by the fact that I took an absolute perverse pleasure in this; but the fact that he was impressed with HIMself for getting my blood pressure perfect, that was a light bulb (that we all take delight in perfect) and a laugh out loud!

Yesterday I bought my team mini packets of Smarties (to celebrate my 20 kg milestone and, I told them, to make them fatter and consequently make myself look thinner). There were 4 packets left and I had a meeting to attend so I took the four packets and placed them on plate in the centre of the table to share. Now I think I have mentioned before that I work with scientists and you probably won’t be surprised to learn that scientists order things. So the first person randomly took two Smarties but from then on, those of us eating them ‘bags’ed our colours then sorted and ate the Smarties in order. There were four of us doing this and by the end, I was again laughing, this time at how easy it is to ‘encourage’ people to demand order.

I have recently been enjoying daily lunches with one of my very favourite people, A. Now A and I have worked together for around six years now and a short time into that period, I became her mentor. This was an easy ask as A was awesome. She embraced everything that was happening in our workspace and enjoyed the challenges I presented. Looking at A, I have to say that she reminds me a lot of myself but she has much better developed self-preservation and self-evaluation. We have been chatting about this blog on and off since I started it and today I realised that she was turning into my mentor. I have to say that it takes a mentoring relationship to a new level when you swap roles, a level that I appreciate and value.

I was discussing with A today that I had always considered that I was very much a shades of grey person rather than black and white. Now in some respects I still believe that this is true. I can generally see the good in others and in most situations but when it comes to other things, I am seriously black and white; I have, “Don’t mess with me,” firmly tattooed on my forehead. In speaking with A today, I realised how stressful and personally destructive it is to be so unbending, so black and white and have made a personal commitment to myself to try to be more pliable and accepting that other people have their own perspectives, I don’t have to consider them to be right but I do have to acknowledge that they are not necessarily wrong!

Baby Steps, Giant Milestones

So I have now been travelling along the pathway to awesome (health, fitness, joie de vivre) for around 24 weeks. I was just doing some gentle walks for the first 2 weeks but 22 weeks ago today, I signed onto my 12 week weight loss programme.

And what a 24 weeks this has been! From a depression perspective, my improvement has been mostly highway driving, though I have gotten lost on side roads on a couple of occasions. The side roads have been meandering country roads where I just lost track of time and myself through to a couple of trips down dark windswept cliff top roads where all I could hear was the sound of the wind.

All of those roads have led me to today and today is a day for taking stock, recording a few KPIs and celebrating!

Today at work I took a photo of myself with a 20kg box of reagents. Now, WH&S says that I can’t lift that box. It is simply too dangerous. Today at weigh in, I had lost exactly that box in weight. So, although today I must not risk injury by carrying that weight, six months ago and for the best part of the previous 10 years, I carried that 20 kg with me everywhere, every second of every day. Now  I had suffered joint pain, stiffness, difficulty in walking up and down stairs and reconciled living with this ‘arthritis’ because my mum had arthritis and clearly that was my cross to bear as it had been hers. Surprise, surprise, as the weight loss continued my ‘genetic’ condition has disinherited me.

This week I passed the 300 kilometre mark from where I started. When I shared this with G, he likened my journey to a trip in Tasmania. “Well that’s Hobart to Launceston and on to Devonport.” he said. “Soon I’ll be right off the island,” I said. That is very symbolic for me as the further I travel, the harder it is to find my way back, not that I want to!

What an AWESOME day!

Hasty

So I’m thinking that I was a little hasty in thinking I was cured of depression. I have to say that a lot of my motivation to write as I have done was to put my feelings and perspectives into a box. It seemed that by doing that, I would be able to control them. I have lived for several months with a heightened sense of awareness and a buoyed mood that had me hoping, wishing, convincing myself that depression and cure really could co-exist in the same sentence.

I now realise that depression commands respect, not respect in the true sense of the word but respect in so much as, having been there, I will always need to be mindful of the need to question my thought processes.

I have always believed that once you have or have had depression, life becomes a journey that you no longer take alone. Depression is always there, if not present as it was for me for many years, at the very least lurking, waiting, opportunistic. I can liken it to cancer for me. I am not sure that I will ever feel cured of either!

What prompted me to write the above? Simply this last weekend. Let me tell you about it.

My man, G came up to Brisbane on Wednesday night. I looked forward to a long weekend together as I had organised to have Thursday and Friday off as well. Thursday and Friday were good, great even. G and I went to a lovely restaurant and enjoyed a date. Now this is not something we normally do, so I bought a new dress and we both went to lots of effort. The evening was well and truly worth the effort, great restaurant, lovely food and superb company!

Now on Saturday, my daughter L and I went out to do some shopping and as we were coming home we witnessed a dog hit by a car. We were the first there as the driver initially did not stop and we raced over to do what we could for the poor animal. Now, L was fantastic. She comforted the dog, organised someone to direct traffic and generally took over. The driver of the car, a young man returned (he had just gone to u-turn) and was very visibly distressed, the dog’s owner appeared (more distress) and several others who had stopped (including myself) witnessed a whole lot of grief and pain and could not help but be affected. There was no blame. The dog had run across the road but that did not lessen anyone’s feelings.

I felt my buoyed mood slip away. Now it is normal to feel distress at these times, I understand that, but I don’t understand how that event had such a profound impact on my overall sense of wellbeing.  Over the next 24 hours I could feel myself sinking and sinking back into the fog from which I had emerged. I was working at home. I have been clawing my house back from the clutches of my depression (accumulated ‘stuff’, mess, disorganisation) and I threw myself into it to try and improve my mood. So my mind then progressed down a pathway of beating myself up. I went through, “We’d be rich if I didn’t spend so much money.” (I make jewellery and have quite a lot of materials.) “I am useless” (I have been unable to find a camera for several months and was sure that I would find it in the weekend clean up). Now instead of checking my thought processes, I became overwhelmed by negativity.

Now G of course thought that he had done something wrong. I tried to brush him aside and assure him that he was not at fault but he would not accept it. He kept asking and asking until in floods of tears, I told him how useless I was, how I was sure that if he didn’t have such a ridiculous wife, we would surely own our house by now and how angry I was with myself over the camera.

He then started to talk to me. I’ve never spoken with G like this about my thought processes before, but since he has been reading my blog, we’ve had a number of very frank discussions about depression and the impact it has on me. I guess that I have basically been afraid to tell him how I felt because he always coped so well and I did not want to be a burden.  He started with a dissertation on all of the people in the neighbourhood, their hobbies and the costs of them. He pointed out the old car that sits in our driveway because he has never quite been able to sell it (we still register and insure it). Then he said to me that he is incredibly proud of where I have come from and the progress I have made over the past 6 months and that if we never find the camera then that is a small price to pay.

His words immediately lifted my spirits and I suggested that I should just talk to him and never go back to my psychologist. Head shaking, “Ah, ah”, he said and we both laughed.

I am now working on early recognition and intervention to stop myself from getting into that state again. Sadly, at the moment, I am not sure what all of the triggers are, but I will get there! I have no doubt that you will hear from me again on this subject. I aim that the posts will all be ones of triumph!