Another anniversary

Another anniversary

Five years ago I went to work for the last time. When I left work this day, I knew: This is it, I can’t do this anymore.

I didn’t feel much, emotions would come later. On this day, I just felt numb.

On this day, I finally admitted to myself how strong my depression was.

On this day, my new life begun.

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My heart…

My heart…

… feels like it is torn apart today.

The In-Laws are celebrating my parents-in-law’s gold wedding and the first birthday of their grandchild.

I can’t join them. The little one brings up all kind of painful feelings, because we don’t have children.

My psychiatrist says this will pass, and that time is on my side.

But it doesn’t feel this way. Today it feels like the pain will never stop, and depression and the thought I am a failure are all that’s on my mind.

It’s a good thing the furbabies are with me. I took them for a short walk and fed them, they are with me in the living room and anchor me to reality.

Getting my priorities straight

Getting my priorities straight

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Right now we are working on our terrace, so the basement doesn’t get wet. My husband suggested I clean the decking tiles with a high pressure cleaner before he takes them down. I liked the idea very much, because it gives me the oppurtunity to contribute to this project – with many things I can’t help because of my back.

Turned out it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Standing for a long time bent over is not very comfortable for my back. Soon I realized I would need many breaks and time, and that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the chores. This annoyed me, but I couldn’t help it.

Somehow I grudgingly accepted I can’t do everything, and my husband agreed as well. I will just do the basic chores and clean everything thoroughly next week. We want to finish working on the terrace as soon as possible, because we want to sit outside this summer after all!

As you can see in the picture above, cleaning the decking tiles was absolutely necessary. It was hard work, but it was fun as well. So it was absolutely worth to change plans and get my priorities straight.

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I’d like…

I’d like…

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… to blog more often. It’s not that I have no ideas. I started several entries, but they were not good enough in my opinion. Someday I will hopefully edit, like and publish them.

Right now I am struggling to keep up with my daily chores and I am relieved when they are done. I am glad I still get some things done – it could be so much worse. I hope “so much worse” will not happen.

These slumps are probably normal, but it’s never easy for me to just accept them and go on. I very easily start to panic, because I know how bad things can get.

So I try to stay calm and avoid collateral damage. Lows aren’t pretty, but my mind knows they will be followed by better times. Now I just need to convince myself and feel like it.

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Social contacts…

Social contacts…

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…are most affected by my depression.

When I stopped working, I quickly recognized how much I missed being together with my colleagues. This was not about deep conversations, but very mundane things – those little snippets of life we shared, like “Are you feeling better?”, “How is your move from A to B going?”, “What about the software problems?” Every day I was part of a community. This stopped suddenly.

Aside from that, not many friendships withstand long, chronic illness. Surely I became a different person through the years as well: Weary, tired and sometimes just sad or cynic. Sometimes I have to postpone or cancel meetings at short notice, or I can’t chat on the phone for hours. I can’t go to hobbies on a regular basis and maybe meet people there.

And if it comes to a meeting, what can I tell about my life? What Sam did on our last walk, how the last OT session went? That can be very uninteresting for people about my age, whose life is full of work and/or family. I can listen, but not tell about similiar experiences. Same goes for my conversation partner. This requires tolerance from both sides.

Result: Not many relationships survived the drastic turn my life took five years ago. On the other hand new people came into my life as well through our engagement in animal protection and my OT groups. These relationships are very different from the old ones, because those people don’t know the old me. I also profit from my husband who is a stable link to the normal world. So I am lucky – it didn’t happen to me what happens to many people in my situation, who kind of lose touch with the outside world. So I may miss the former relationships, but I am still well off.

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Depri-versary

Depri-versary

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Spring always is the anniversary of my psychiatric inpatient treatments. Mostly my mood got worse during winter, so many of my inpatient admissions happend in spring.

This spring means, my first inpatient treatment in child and adolescent psyciatry was 31 years ago, and my first inpatient stay as an adult happened 10 years ago.

What upsets me most today is the fact, that I was always told I would be fine again. Of course I believed this and worked hard. And I always was better for a few months, but then things always took a turn for the worse again.

Yesterday my OT therapist said, there must be people who found a way out of depression even after such a long time. She meant well, but I want to be realistic. I don’t expect to be cured from depression anymore. I just want to live my life as it is, the good and the bad times and all.

Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up, but other people often think it is. For me acceptance means to live according to my possibilities, and to stay on the golden middle course most of the time.

On the other hand, these anniversaries are a reason to give myself a pat on the shoulder, because I am still alive and kicking. This coin has two sides, as always.

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Try and error…

Try and error…

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… was my husband’s comment on his birthday party.

I would have called it a disaster. My sister-in-law entered the living room, her six month old baby on her arm, and I just broke down. I waved goodbye, said I would be upstairs, and fled – into the arms of my dubious friend, the razor blade. After that, I took my as-needed-med and went to bed.

Later, my mother came to check on me and suggested we take a walk. So I changed and we walked through the rainy night for about fifteen minutes. This calmed me down. Then my mother went back to the party and I went to bed.

On Sunday I just felt miserable and stayed in bed.

Yesterday I felt at least a little bit better. But I knew I need some rest. So I cancelled the OT appointments for this week. I just want to calm down.

Today was even better. I put on make up, went grocery shopping and took a break having coffee and cake, before I drove back home.

It also helps that I started my usual “tour de chores” yesterday, like I do every Monday. With every room I clean, I get a little bit of safety back.

And to come back to my husband’s comment: At least I know for sure that I still am not ready to have contact with the baby. The uncertainty before was way worse. Everybody in the family knows where we stand. Everybody knows I need more time. This clarity is a good thing, despite all the pain.

But right know, I need some rest to regain my equilibrium. I have no doubt I will get better, but I need to take it easy this week. Wish me luck!

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