Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Mother's joy and despair
I had a lovely Mother's Day on Sunday. Ben spoilt me with flowers, and cooked my favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then washed up, too! The children showered me with special gifts of photo frame, bracelets (2 the same from the primary school stall!!), a jewellery holder and a funny smiley flower that bobs up and down!
It was very cold and windy outside so we spent the afternoon indoors watching 'Nanny McPhee'. My idea of Lovely.
Then I woke up yesterday and I felt as though the world was ending. The low mood I had been trying to ignore for a few weeks, fell heavily and held me captive for most of the day.
I thought about just writing a simple entry today about the joys of Mother's Day and how it all went tickety-boo, but it wouldn't be very honest and I know that most people have a Depression story, or at the very least know what it's like to have a Bad Day.
A lot of people know that I have been battling Depression on and off for the past 20 years. It is an unwanted but constant companion and most of the time I manage it pretty well. I was diagnosed as Bi Polar a few years ago after experiencing a couple of distressing highs which manifested as periods of great irritability rather than a pleasurable elevation in mood.
I like to think that after all the support I have had and the 'work' I have done to help myself, including therapy, that I have it beat, but then days like yesterday happen and it feels like I'm back at square one and I feel very defeated. But everything feels grim on these days, and I am nowhere near square one, it just 'feels' like it. And my 'feelings are not facts'. Feelings pass given enough time and when they are not invested in. I find I need to acknowledge them and then let them go.
So I realised yesterday that I had to cancel some of this week's appointments, I had to walk in the sunshine with Annie and Charlie every day, I need to do some knitting whilst watching some tv (yes this means sitting down and stopping for a while each day). I had to give myself a week long Mother's Day - looking after myself, putting myself first and even pampering myself a little. I need mental space to not get dragged down by those bleak thoughts so that means that study and Mother Bond business activities have been paused for at least a week. If I were physically ill I would have to stop as my body would insist upon it. I can no longer pretend that nothing is going on when my mind has been a battlefield for a couple of weeks now and will be if I dont STOP!
I do feel a bit better today because of the things I have put into place to care for myself and so that the Depression doesn't take over my life as it has done in the past. Most of all I hate it when the children notice my Black Dog, I really resent it and can sink further into the black mood, rather than out of it. But I have to make sure I dont feel guilty that it happens, just to take notice so that I can stop it from getting worse and too invasive.
The experience of depression and anxiety that I have had for most of my life at least gears me to be a somewhat empathetic mother of a child with Asperger's. Ned often finds his experiences in life mentally overwhelming and he can become anxious, or at times very bleak about aspects of his life. It's hard to see your 8 year old go through these intense periods, however I can honestly approach him with absolute understanding about how real his feelings seem. Then I reassure him that 'this too will pass'. And they do, and the sun shines again and he forgets like 8 year-old's do and gets on with the important things like soccer and computer games.
I really hope that if you are reading this and going through a black and bleak time, you can see that you are not alone. Even when our lives look perfectly happy and normal, it is not always the case. I am very happy with my life, I do not get depressed because something is terribly wrong, but there are times when I 'feel' that this is true. Feelings can be so strong and so persuasive, they can make us believe ugly menacing thoughts, this is something I struggle with often. But with positive thinking, the help of medication and a loving, devoted husband (who is very clear-headed and just about as persuasive as my feelings and thoughts), I find I get by OK.
I hope you do, too.
I read this yesterday and it helped me decide to write about my Bi Polar:
"Those that matter don't mind, and those that mind, don't matter'.