Christmas is almost here, and with each passing day I am feeling worse. I am angry with myself.
I spent a great deal of this year working on my issues concerning involuntary childlessness, which were triggered by the pregnancy of my sister-in-law. But to be honest, I am still not ready to spend Christmas with the in-laws.
My biggest fear is pushing myself too far and undoing months of hard work in therapy. When I told my psychiatrist and therapist about this, both told me this is a possibility, and that I should be very careful.
Today is the 18th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. She died of cancer in the same year I was diagnosed with melanoma. I will never forget our last meeting, in which she looked already very ill.
When I talked to my mother earlier today, she told me my uncle (her brother) died yesterday. He had been ill for a long time, and his health had been worsening for months. We weren’t that close, but it hurts nonetheless. I am very grateful he left this world in peace, and that he was loved and taken care of by his wife and his daughter until the very end. And I am grateful that my mother copes quite well for now: Of course she is sad, but she is also relieved that her brother doesn’t suffer anymore, and that the two of them had a good relationship for the last decade (what wasn’t always the case).
But nevertheless we will gather together tomorrow and celebrate life.
When I filed our documents last week, I noticed how much depression changed my sense of time in the last year.
I had presorted the documents in a folder, but that was all I did – I didn’t touch them again for a year (!). I wasn’t aware how many time had passed, but the facts can’t be denied. We were really lucky nothing really bad happened – it was annoying I forgot to arrange the advance payments for our income tax, but the only consequence was a late payment charge. Apart from that, all bills and direct debits were paid, and our bank accounts never were overdrawn. Sometimes my husband nudged me and told me what to do. I know people who completely lost control over these matters while they suffered from depression.
When I was really bad, every day went by in a grey haze. I have a hard time really remembering events and not just read my calendar.
Now everything is different, not always pink, but colorful at least. Nevertheless I feel like I lost a year in the fog of depression. As if there were times in which I haven’t really lived.
…is an important thing when it comes to handling the rough parts of life. Acceptance also is one of my biggest challenges. I rarely take life as it is.
During the last days I wanted to finish decluttering my clothes. As shown above, there were lots of clothes that I had to admit I will never wear again. Because a) they don’t fit anymore, or b) I won’t have an opportunity to wear them anymore. The clothes still were in good shape, so I donated them.
I had hoped for relief. Instead, I felt sadness, despair and hopelessness. I was sad, because I never will dress up in the morning and go into work. I felt despair, because I am so limited due to my physical and mental problems. I felt hopeless, because I can’t plan ahead at the moment and have to take each day as it comes.
I will have to deal with these issues in the next weeks, and hopefully finally find peace. But the most important thing: Everyday life still runs smoothly. I walk the dogs, do chores and go to my therapy sessions. This gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
…was one of those days that just become worse and worse. Everything started normally, I walked the dogs, did chores and had my single OT session. When I was on the way home, my mother-in-law texted me and sent me a picture: She is over the moon, because her grandchild spent the first night with them.
I wasn’t prepared for this, and it hit me hard. When I finally came home, I was a mess and had very dark thoughts in my head: “I am a failure, because we have no children, I just want to die”, “The pain inside me is so strong, I want to hurt myself.”
Listening to music and cleaning dishes didn’t distract me enough. Finally I took my as-needed med and went to lie on my bed. One of the dogs stayed in the bedroom with me, and the cat lay down on my tummy. My husband came home, I talked to him, prepared dinner, went to bed again, had a nap, watched TV – and I still felt bad. Took a nice warm shower before turning in for the night – didn’t help, it took me a long time to fall asleep. I didn’t dare to take more from the as-needed med, because I didn’t want to make getting up in the morning too hard.
Woke up today and didn’t feel any better, but I somehow managed not to hurt myself. Took a very long walk with our dogs and thought everything over. I knew I had to tell my mother-in-law how her message yesterday made me feel. This wasn’t about blaming her or explaining myself – I just don’t want this to happen again. So I texted her that my pain about not being a mother was triggered yesterday, and that I am still busy with finding a way to manage my new everyday life. And that her son and my new everyday life are most important to me right now, but that my days are full with that.
I don’t know what her answer will be, but I finally felt better. My therapist in the hospital told me I have to let the people around me know how they make me feel – if they don’t know, they can’t help me. I don’t like that, it makes me feel very vulnerable. On the other hand this can help me to get some of the weight of my shoulders. It seems this was what I needed today.
…since I have been released from the hospital. On one hand my time on the ward has become a distant memory, on the other hand everything I learned and experienced has become a part of me.
Today I had to get up early, because I was due for my quarterly blood sugar test. I came home from the doctor’s office and decided to keep the ball rolling: Walked the dogs and did an hour of chores. After that I took a shower and cooked lunch.
Sounds normal? Maybe, but I still remember the times I couldn’t get out of bed all day.
My inner demons anxiety, depression and pain are still there, but I handle them differently. When they make an appearance, I greet them, we have known each other for a long time after all. I even offer them a seat, but then I go on with whatever I have been doing. Later I will notice that the space where they have been sitting is empty again, my demons never say goodbye.
This way we get along quite well.
I am aware of the fact that I am very limited in what I can do. I was reminded very clearly of this in the first days at home, and a few tears of frustration have been shed over it. But I try to fill this limited space as good as I can.
Even though I came home Thursday, it felt like some part of me was still missing. Somehow I still felt like I was on a visit.
Yesterday I had my first appointments. The day started quite badly, I turned the alarm clock off after the alarm and fell promptly back asleep… Our cat sleeping peacefully next to my pillow didn’t help. When I woke again, I really had to hurry.
While sitting in the bus, I suddenly felt very anxious and down. The last time I was at the podiatrist, I already was very depressed, and I know my body has its own memory. I thought, “Wow, did I really feel this bad?”
The next appointment was in the afternoon, so I drove home in between. My energy level was still good, so I squeezed in a hour of chores.
A few hours later I went to OT. Once a week they hold a group that specializes in PMR according to Jacobson. I was introduced to this in the hospital and wanted to keep it up, because it helps me a lot.
I really feel blessed when I can spend a whole hour on relaxation. My body felt like it was lying on a cloud, and my thoughts just came and went. And then suddenly there was this feeling: “Yes, I am home again!” Finally. I can’t say what brought this on. But it feels very good. Since this moment, this feeling stayed with me. I hope it’s here for good!
Friday I started to make appointments. I was afraid this would make my agenda very full. But on one hand, my GP, pain doctor and therapist are on holiday. On the other hand, one group at Occupational Therapy was cancelled, and there are no single OT sessions availible until November. So I will still have a little more time on my hands for now.
I am enjoying these wonderful sunny fall days. The good weather makes it easy for me to use my new all-purpose weapon walking. To keep moving helps me fight depression, anxiety and back pain. But right now my main concern is getting fit again. One year almost spent lying around didn’t help.
I noticed that I am a lot more active than before my hospital stay. Getting up in the morning is quite easy, and I manage to stick to my goals. If that means I have to take a break, so be it. And my goals are realistic.
So I had a good start. Now I have to keep it up to get really used to my new routines. I hope I have enough self discipline for that.
Tomorrow I will see my podologist and go to an OT group that practices relaxation techniques. This should not stress me out, and I should be able to squeeze in an hour of doing chores. And that will be all.