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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Tired and stressed

Tired and stressed

This Saturday our house will be full of family (including the baby), and we will celebrate my husband’s birthday. I was hoping my anxiety level would go down, but this didn’t happen.

When I talked to my psychiatrist a few weeks ago, we agreed I should try a new as-needed med to calm me down (it’s an antipsychotic and not habit-forming).  Right now, I  couldn’t do without it. I am still trying to figure out with dose works best for me. It doesn’t help when I feel “comfortably numb”, but can’t get out of the bed.

If I could make a wish, tomorrow would be Sunday, but of course it doesn’t work this way. I also am afraid that I crash hard after the party, but of course I don’t know that yet.

Right now I just try to keep going, but it’s hard.

Rising anxiety level

Rising anxiety level

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My husband’s birthday party on March 2nd is approaching. I feel more anxious and tense every day, and I am getting more and more insecure if I can deal with it.

I try to distract myself – and it works for a few hours. On Sunday I went to a charity event for listed dogs (potentially dangerous dogs of certain “listed” breeds) with a friend. The weather was nice, we met friendly people, I got to understand our dog Sam a little bit better, and we just had a wonderful girl’s day out. Spontaneously we agreed that I will accompany our friend and her dog to a training session tomorrow and film everything. This will be a great day as well. Sitting on the couch thinking won’t help me, this much I know.

Next week will be busy. On his birthday my husband wants to take cake to work for his colleagues – these guys always are hungry, so I will have to bake three cakes. On the evening of the birthday we will eat at a chinese restaurant, this is our date night in Februrary. At this day I will skip OT, it would be too much.

The rest of the week will be filled with chores, shopping, OT and preperations. I hope, a little distraction will keep my anxiety at a reasonable level. Because somehow I have to pass the time and keep my inner demons at bay.

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Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place

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Planning my husband’s birthday party caused many emotions to come up. Of course my biggest concern is meeting the baby.

I discussed this issue several times with different people. Basically, it comes down to this: Nobody can predict what will happen, and it is my choice. I can’t rely on my gut feeling – my anxiety disorder often tricked me into thinking things were much worse than they turned out to be in reality. My depression whispers in my ear that everything will go wrong. And my Borderline personality disorder laughs in my face and says I am just a little piece of shit anyway. Another part of me is tired of this negativity and doesn’t want to believe everything is so hopeless.

My idea was that I prepare everything for the party, stay at a hotel overnight and come home again when everything is over. This isn’t what my husband has in mind: He doesn’t want to have a birthday party without me. When I am not able to attend, he doesn’t want to have a party at all. And this a terrible thought for me – he didn’t have a birthday party last year, because I felt so depressed. And I know how much he enjoys to have his family around.

So we had to find another solution. My husband asked, if it was enough for me when I retreat to the rooms upstairs in case I feel overwhelmed. I said: Yes, but it has to be clear that everybody has to leave me alone when this happens.

“Your mother will want to check on you”, he said.

“That is something different!” I said, because my parents really have seen me at my worst by now.

“And I also would like to check on you”, he added.

“This is something different as well!” I replied, because… well, see above

One thing is for sure: I felt my husband tried to understand me, and we tried to find for both of us. This is how it should be in a marriage, but it wasn’t always for us, because I often wanted to solve everything by myself. That it was different this time is progress, I guess.

But I am still afraid that I could be absolutely overwhelmed with this siuation. Crossing this bridge takes a lot of strength from me.

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Christmaschaos

Christmaschaos

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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.

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