I am absolutely blown away by both the private and public messages of support that I am getting as a result of these blogs, both from people I know and some I have never met. I overwhelmingly feel the need to share a little more of myself to those who have never met me. I am a scientist and manager with qualifications in both areas, far removed from anything to do with what I am writing. I have over the years relied heavily on health professionals, both my doctor and my psychologist and cannot underestimate their importance in my reaching where I am now. The roots of my issues lie in flawed perceptions. I would always have called myself perceptive and compassionate and both of those factors contributed to my problem. I actually visited a number of psychologists before I found the one that helped me and I can’t over estimate the importance of finding someone who ‘speaks your language’. This last paragraph is the only ‘advice’ that I will ever post. The rest chronicles my journey and if you take some solace or inspiration from it, that’s great. Please let me know as your encouragement keeps me going!
I firmly believe that only ‘nice’ people experience depression; that is not to say that there aren’t nice people out there who do not suffer from depression. It’s simply that people who are not ‘nice’ do not care enough to experience depression.
G and I have been together since 1979, and married for more than 30 years. He has never once told me that I was too fat, difficult to live with or drunk too much alcohol. In my depression I interpreted that this meant that he didn’t care. I also interpreted that as my doctor did not tell me I was fat, she didn’t think I was worthy of health. I now see with absolute clarity that they both realised what I could not see myself, and that was that I needed to realise my worth for myself. I have a lot for which I have to thank S1, my psychologist. She too never said that I had to sort my other issues out, she just said that I needed to work on my depression before I would be able to work on anything else that needed attention.
Over the years of dealing with my demons every aspect of my life has fallen further and further into disarray. It’s not worth worrying about…. because I am not worthy of……. can be applied to almost any area of life when looking through eyes that are looking through the fog. This was applied to my health, weight, fitness level and home.
G and I have lived in separate states (of Australia) for the past 9 nine years. G is also a scientist and about to submit his PhD. I am immensely proud of him and his achievements. I have written before that G is my ‘ballast’ and I can’t over-estimate how important he is. Since living principally alone, G has become more and more ordered (he hangs his shirts in colour order which prompted me to buy him a multi-coloured one that he would have to hang…who knows where?) Sorry, I digress… As he has become more ordered and structured, I have become more random. I used to think that these differences represented our different personalities but in fact I now see that my randomness was a symptom of depression – lack of concentration, lack of motivation, lack of direction. As I feel better, a level of control is necessary to feel even better.
The only aspect of life over which I managed to maintain a level of control was my work. I was acutely aware that I wasn’t as sharp as I had previously been, that I reacted badly to people pushing my buttons much more readily than I had at other times of my life and that the efforts of work exhausted me. I’d come home from work and reach for the wine bottle basically before I had put my keys down. On a bad day, I would drink a bottle of wine by the time I had cooked dinner. I would eat dinner then generally go straight to bed or fall asleep in front of the television. I know now that I am well that my family was hurt by my actions and for that I am sorry, no recriminations, I did the best that I could at the time but I am sorry. Giving up alcohol was a relief. I now no longer have to pretend that I have it under control. Every night as I started to drink I would say to myself, “Tonight I am going to stop at one glass.” I would then drink the bottle in no time, wake up the next morning saying, “Tonight I am going to stop at one glass.” I think that you get the picture.
Now that I have clawed my physical side back, I am starting to work on my home. This is an absolute example of baby steps to success. I had lost every room under piles of accumulated ‘stuff’. I feel a sense of pride in getting it back but it is still totally overwhelming. I cannot believe that I could ever have accumulated what I did. I believed that ‘stuff’ would make me happy. I will never be a minimalist but I have expectations that I will be able to use every room in the house. Then my children who since the age of about 17 have both come and gone from my home several times will be ‘invited’ over to clear their ‘stuff’ out – not negotiable!