Reflection June 2014

Hmm, as I write this, I have no idea of its title or direction. My only feeling is an absolute need to write.
As anyone who has followed my blog will know, I have battled my personal demons for many years. Sometimes I am the winner, sometimes depression has the upper hand. I find that I constantly have to consider my checks and balances and constantly have to tell myself that what I am feeling may or may not be real.

For the most part, I am going very well. I have a much lesser reliance on anti-depressants and generally am content. And after many years of wallowing, I am pleased to say that life is mostly happy!

So what brings this frame of mind? This week I have been challenged multiple times by work. Interestingly I have support, significant support for my opinions and mind-set but that has not stopped the 2AM churning of the mind, the wakefulness when all I really crave is sleep, the mindfulness when all I really crave is peace.
I have a great deal of respect for my manager, L, and have discussed the reasons for my feelings with her and she agrees with the way I feel. I understand that I should find comfort from this; instead for the most part I cannot find peace. I wake up in the morning and my face is sore; clenched teeth from thinking, the cause.
I have always called the feelings that I am experiencing now my princess genes; that is the part of me that experiences an over whelming feeling of self-righteousness, a strong sense of indignation that I am right and there is no other perspective. This ‘gene’ has gotten me into trouble for many, many years. It does not matter what evidence is presented to me, my mind has been set…

I understand that this is destructive and that just a small compromise or consideration that there is another perspective would make a huge difference to me but I can’t bring myself to accept that reality. Until I do, I guess I will continue to have a sore face. 🙂

On June 30th I will be five years since my breast cancer diagnosis. At that stage, I guess I will be considered cured. That is an interesting feeling for me. I have, since diagnosis defined myself, at least in part, as a breast cancer survivor. It is interesting as in my heart I do not consider myself defined by breast cancer, but in my head, I can’t define myself without it.

Having said that, depression defines me much more strongly than cancer ever has. Though I am comfortable to speak about cancer and my feelings about it, I rarely speak about depression. I believe that is because when I announced to the world that I had cancer, people came from far and wide to wrap their arms around me, support me, love me and make sure I had what I needed. When I announce that I have depression, I am considered brave, foolish (or both). I am considered somehow to have control. With cancer, there was no consideration that I had control over my illness or its course. But with depression, I hear people saying, “Get over it,” “Be thankful,” “Take control.” I can only say it’s not as easy as that.

I often feel judged because of depression. I consider that it seen as a weakness. Sometimes I wonder whether I am my own harshest critic and the judgement is not there at all. I understand that my desire for perfection significantly colours my acceptance of my weaknesses and that probably depression should be given a much smaller partition in my life than it actually occupies.

I now have a number of routines in place that help me to minimise the impact of depression. Each day, the first is a walk with Crash (woof) who is sitting by me now saying, “C’mon mum! Our walk is more important than what you are doing.” I think he is probably right!

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