I had no intention of writing this post, because it leaves me feeling very vulnerable.
And vulnerability is not a place that I feel particularly comfortable.
Let me be clear this in no way makes you a victim, it can however make you feel as though old wounds are on display.
This last week I have not been in a particularly great place, there are many reasons for that, none of which I am ready to talk about yet.
What does feel important to get out there is the way I am feeling.
I am pretty good at talking about how I feel, but on days like today will often choose silence as a defense mechanism instead.
I have mentioned in at least one previous post that I have suffered with depression. Well in this day and age **Yes I sound ancient** you would be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn't or hasn't suffered with some form of mental health issue, even if they don't wish to admit it.
Today is the kind of day, where I don't want to leave my bed, I don't want to drop my son to college, or do the washing or washing up or speak to anyone at all. But I have to do something.... I have to because if I don't, I risk going back into that hole that I can't **and honestly don't want to** get out of.
The one where I want to disappear into myself, I don't want to communicate and I barely want to exist.
I know it's not of my own doing, and blaming myself or others is a fruitless endeavour.
Trying to explain depression and mental health issues to someone who has not experienced it, was once described to me as asking a rational person to think irrationally. And it's true.
Depression is incredibly selfish (it doesn't really let you think of anyone else), I say that with absolutely no judgement because I understand that it is a health issue, like a broken bone. The difference is no one can see it, especially if you like me have perfected your mask. You have found a way to function, on the bad days you know how to lie your way through the day. **at least that is what I do**
My strategy for days like today is to avoid contact with as many people as I can, I don't go shopping, or call my friends. I don't really post on social media, I rarely study or read, because I can't absorb the information. I am as guilty as anyone who suffers. And any contact I can't avoid I am lying my way through. **How awful does that sound?**
Just to clarify, I don't do it to deceive anyone, often it is done to make other people feel more comfortable.
I have suffered with periods of depression throughout my teens, with post natal depression after the birth of both of my children, depression triggered by old trauma through counselling in my late twenties and thirties, and lastly with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) every winter for as long as I can remember. So for most of my life I have been fighting my way through depressed periods. Some worse than others.
Unfortunately days like today physical pain often exacerbates my low mood, and this is more than likely the cause for feeling so down of late. **Since I try very hard to not let world events make me depressed, anger is definitely my go to response to that**
So I wrote the above last week, and had no more words, I felt too down to finish, and this was a task I wasn't capable of ticking off the list.
**And this was depression light, in comparison to some of the bouts I have had in the past!**
A week on and now am feeling in a much better place, I am still in pain, but it is not affecting my mood in the same way in the last day or two.
I feel lucky and grateful that when I suffer with low moods nowadays, I am no longer in the place where the world feels completely dark and awful all the time, the place where I am plotting my own death, or simply wanting the world to stop so I can get off.
That is not to say those days will never come back.
I have to be so aware not allow myself to fall back into that place. I have coping strategies, simply for days like last Monday and weeks like the last one.
So how do I get through it?
Well at first I allow myself to feel whatever I am feeling and cry if I need to. I also force myself to talk to someone I trust, even though I don't want to.
(As I said these days my mood its closely linked to pain and often the changes in season, so I know this is unlikely to be the last time I feel this way in the coming months.)
Then I make a very short list and on the advice of a very dear friend, I try to achieve just two things on the list each day, make the tasks easy **some days getting out of bed is on the list and it counts!** On these harsh and horrid days I am often found repeating the saying this too shall pass, like its a mantra. **I don't know that it actually helps but it certainly feels like it does**.
Putting one foot in front of the the other is monumentally huge when you are struggling, simple basic task are the big things, so give yourself credit.
Once my mood starts to lift, the black clouds start to clear and I feel like I am almost me again, I swim as often as I can, I listen to music that lifts me, normally without any lyrics, (as they can muddle my brain and sometimes make matters worse)**acoustic guitar is a favourite of mine**. I pick up a book, (it can be utter drivel) to start my brain back up. And lastly I start talking to my friends and family and joking, return of my dark, caustic and sarcastic sense of humour is often a sign that I am back on track **at least for now**.
I am aware that my coping strategies may not help anyone, and I am a huge advocate for talk therapy, they do work, and certainly have got me through the much darker parts of my past.
For now if you are feeling anything close to how was last week perhaps knowing that you are not alone, may help in some small way.