Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

Fear of the fog

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It doesn’t take much to worry me when it comes to my mental health.

Today I feel low. I feel unmotivated, unable to concentrate, like I’ll never manage to achieve anything that’s of worth, and altogether too exhausted to go up to bed. Staying awake into the night and writing long diatribes is a key sign that Churchill’s famous black dog might be following close behind me. I find myself too scared to stop writing and go to bed, because then I might think, and that could lead anywhere. Or I might find myself completely unable to think, which is even worse.

The thing is, the fear of it can be just as bad as the actual thing. The memory of having been so ill not all that long ago (eighteen months can feel like forever or yesterday) makes me hyper alert to any possible symptom. The thought of being that unwell again induces a level of anxiety I normally only experience in an episode of depression, so I end up on a roundabout of doubt – am I anxious about becoming depressed, or anxious because I’m depressed?

As is always my key tactic, I try and work my way back to see if there is an actual cause for feeling low. I search the calendar for hormone surges or forgotten traumatic anniversaries. I look back over Facebook and Twitter to see what might have nudged me off kilter – social media can be cruel in its reminders of what I haven’t done or become. If I can find a solid reason why I might feel like mud, then there’s more of a hope that it will pass without effect, that it is just a normal bad day, like normal people have.

There’s nothing like experiencing what normal people experience to remind you that you’re not actually normal. In a bad few days a normal person can curl up, eat chocolate, and watch a movie that provides an excuse for a good cry. For me, any longer than a couple of days and I start getting antsy.

So, I start putting things in place. I stop listening to the news, and exchange sad Joni Mitchell music for something brighter. I make sure I go out, even if it’s just to the supermarket cafe, so that my four walls don’t become overbearing. I get up, I get dressed, I eat – I make myself do all the things that most days I hardly notice myself doing. I talk to friends – if my best friends don’t hear from me for a day, they come knocking.

It’s an effort trying not to get depressed when depression is one of the things you most fear.

But who knows, it might all be better tomorrow.

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Friends

Sometimes it takes a true friend to know what it needed in a situation. I think I got it right today.

I brought my friend these:

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and these:

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She is one of the most fabulous people I know, and she has given me permission to play a part  in so much of her life. She has helped me get out of my pyjamas on my very worst days and I was there when she gave birth to her daughter, so there isn’t much that’s sacred or too much information.

She is suffering from depression, and every day seems like hard work for her. She needs to talk sometimes, but actually there don’t always need to be words. Sometimes talking is too much, especially when the only thing that’s different is that nothing’s changed. Today didn’t feel like a talking day. Today seemed like a flowers and salty snacks day.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to let you know they’re thinking of you, standing ready to remind you that there is hope.

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Storms

This is an oscillating internal dialogue between suicide and hope. You’ll be glad to know, it ends with hope. But if it’s a subject likely to trigger you in any way, please open another tab and find something – anything – supportive and uplifting.

There are times when I feel like I can’t carry on. Depression is so wearing, and the side effects of the drugs supposed to control it make me wonder why I bother with them. MiniMe and MicroBob – those two amazing little people I gave life to and would give my life for – hardly raise a smile, and grate on my nerves, driving me to distraction and causing undeserved shouting in their direction. My darling Cable guy stands alongside, knowing and worrying without really understanding, and wonderful friends do chores and provide tissues, hoping this is a phase that will pass soon. I hope too, but the world is just too painful and life is just too hard. Sometimes life feels like death, and death seems like peace, and all I want to do is quietly slip away.

Of course, there is no quietly slipping away – however you go, a huge tidal wave follows in your wake. It’s not like a party where you can sneak out the back door and nobody notices. Making an active decision to ends one’s own life has repercussions that go far beyond the black suits and eulogies. As much as you try to persuade people that there was nothing they could have done, and that you love them and don’t want to leave them, at the end of the day they are left with nothing but guilt and a tear stained note. Suicide is messy.

But the idea of death runs amok in my head. I sometimes wish that I could die in some completely blameless way, so that everyone around me can grieve and move on. And there are times when I feel angry at my wonderful little family, because they are the reason I can’t end it all now. I have to tell myself constantly that it will get better, that it’s worth fighting through the dark days.

But although there is one aspect of all this which seems like pointless semantics, it is actually more important than it is possible to state: There is a difference between wanting to die and being suicidal.

Not wanting to face the world tomorrow isn’t the same as actively wanting to end it all permanently. That isn’t to say that things aren’t bad – life feels hopeless at the moment, and I can’t imagine it ever changing. I feel hemmed in and trapped, and feel like a small child wanting to throw myself on the floor and say “I just can’t do it any more!” But while I can keep the difference in my mind, there is hope.

There’s this story I know. It’s about a man who had to do something he didn’t want to do, despite knowing that it was his very purpose. His name is Jesus, and lots of people who talk about him will tell you about a Sunday, when he rose from the dead and made sin a thing that never need stain us again, and provided the gateway to a Heaven unimaginable and a Father infinitely loving. It’s an amazing story.

But how many people hear the story of the Thursday before, when this man threw himself down and wept and sobbed and shouted “I just can’t do it! Please don’t make me! I can’t face it!” Even knowing that his next action would save every single person from death, changing the world beyond recognition, doing away with all that comes between a sinful people and a holy God, this man Jesus said all the things to his father that I am saying every minute of every day.

Jesus didn’t want to carry on with the Father’s plan for his death, but he did it. I don’t want to carry on with my Father’s plan for my life, but each day, hour, minute, second, I do it. Likening my situation to that of Jesus feels like a huge supposition, but I can carry on by telling myself that, if nothing else, He knows how I feel.

And after every Thursday, there always comes a Sunday, however long it takes.

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