Tag Archives: depression

It’s easy to lose your marbles in the loony ball pit of depression

There  is something so therapeutic about the ocean. A powerful ebb and flow that serves to remind me just how unimportant I am really am in the greater scheme of things. I am humbled and captivated by the sea – it’s actually the right scene for the space I’m in. Nature has a way of pulling me closer to God, and the sea and surf in particular seems to nurture my inner peace when I find myself in personal chaos.  With what has transpired in the past two weeks, I needed to reflect on events and I needed time to appreciate life in general.

Since my last blog post, “What’s in the belly of the monster?”, I was drawn further into a depressive darkness that swallowed my hope and joy.  I almost left my husband, I contemplated how much better people’s lives would be without me, and a friendship of over 20 years terminated in a spiral of unfortunate events. Additionally, a perception of being unappreciated in my career and the fact that I could actually lose said job, was the icing on the cake. 

I found myself in a down-slide that gained momentum with every day.  Between seesawing episodes of tearfulness and anger, I visited my doctor, changed my anti-depressant medication from Zoloft to Wellbutrin XL and was booked off work with a depressive episode. Unfortunately for me, my depression actually worsened and I experienced several bad side-effects, amongst others, insomnia, increased agitation, and aggression.  All this culminated in a mini breakdown of sorts.

Toes in the sandAfter a second visit to the good doctor and a diagnosis of burnout and anxiety, I was changed back to my former medication and given another medication on top of that to help me cope. Now, after strict instructions to get some rest and relaxation, I am at the coast doing just that!

I’ve found that my toes in the sand, a salty sea breeze in my nostrils and the soothing sound of breaking waves in my ears are the best prescription. I feel happier and more at peace than I have felt in a while! It’s a first step to getting back on the wagon; and since I’m taking this whole ‘getting better’ thing day by day, that indeed makes it a very significant step.

What’s in the belly of the monster?

There is a time for everything:  a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to grieve and a time to dance, a time to love and a time to hate, a time to embrace and a time to turn away.  Where are you in your life? 

We live our short existence in seasons, and that’s ok, because there is a time and place for almost everything under the sun. But for some of us, we find ourselves ensnared in one never-ending season:  winter.  

I think back to my days as a younger woman in her early twenties. I had lost my father to depression and alcoholism and was left alone to my own devices.  I had no siblings and a dysfunctional relationship with my mother. I found myself in a place filled with turmoil and unhappiness. I even tried to end my life.  But eventually I found God and was pulled out of the muck and mire.  I was happier again – for a short while – before slipping back into the arms of a former lover, that is, the comfortable misery I had once known.

I can truly imagine how Jonah must have felt when he was swallowed by the whale!  In my opinion, the belly of the monster [depression] is a dark, cold and desolate place to be trapped in.  Yet, I’ve been in this place before; I’ve actually come full circle! While crying helplessly in the shower yesterday, apparently for no reason whatsoever, it dawned on me that I’m familiar with this feeling of despair.  I am also concerned about how much of the so-called depression gene I have inherited from my father. Perhaps I really do suffer from dysthymia?

Melencolia I. Print of Albrecht Dürer

Melencolia I. Print of Albrecht Dürer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to research, the Greek word dysthymia refers to a ‘bad state of mind’ or ‘ill humour’.  It is characterised as one of the two forms of clinical depression, although it apparently has less serious symptoms than major depression, but lasts longer.  The American Psychiatric Association defines dysthymia as a depressed mood most of the time for at least two years, along with at least two of the following symptoms: poor appetite or overeating; insomnia or excessive sleep; low energy or fatigue; low self-esteem; poor concentration or indecisiveness; and hopelessness.  Some experts surmise that dysthymia ‘runs in families and probably has a hereditary component’. Other proposed symptoms of dysthymia include ‘a strong tendency to be critical of oneself and others, pessimism, guilt, brooding and gloominess’.

Where I am, I don’t want to be. I feel as if I’m mourning the life I wanted to have. I know I have so much to be thankful for, so much to celebrate – right now I’m just in the belly of the monster, and I can’t find the exit sign!

Related articles
Related links

Down the depression rabbit hole

I’m not in a good space right now. The positive spin on this is that I know rough times foster the need for change, the need to do and act differently, to challenge the status quo and cross over into a better situation. That’s apparently where I am – on the pathway to something better.

Despite knowing this, I of course, still need to get through this bad patch. I fully realise that I can’t keep blaming my past on how I feel today. I know that my reactions and feelings stem from my insecurities and my innate inability to believe that I can be loved. Yet, acknowledgement and awareness is not actually helping me to change how I behave.

I am trying so hard not to be sucked further into this black hole of depression and this pit of self-despair.  I try harder to keep a smile on my face and to appear happy.  I’ve even started to keep clear of confrontation.  Me? Steer away from confrontation? That, in itself, should be a warning sign!

On the Threshold of Eternity

On the Threshold of Eternity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Based on past experience, I recognise all the warning signs:  the hyper-sensitivity, the tearfulness, the feelings of being unloved and being unworthy, the increased shopping expenditure and consequent credit card debt, the need to look and feel more in control by focusing on my physical appearance – and yes, shying away from confrontation because I know I’m not emotionally strong enough to handle it at this juncture.

Am I bipolar? Apparently, after chatting to a friend that is bipolar (and doing a bit of ‘google-ing’), I’m not. Is my life, my job, my lifestyle, my relationships, so bad? No. There is no logical answer for my destructive behaviour – except that I do still feel this way. Previously I turned to antidepressants as a miracle cure for my depressive state of mind. I can’t do the same now – after all, surely 50 mg of Zoloft a day should be doing the trick?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers. I am caught in a spiral and I am trying to claw my way out.  Hopefully, dear reader, I will succeed, because there is one huge difference between now and the depression I suffered in the past:   I can now write about it and openly share my feelings without fear of admonishment or undue remorse. I can draw on the strengths and experiences of other writers and bloggers who are, or have, gone through the same trials and tribulations. 

I am not alone.

Ten things to do when your heart is breaking

I had to re-home my baby girl last week. I have two beautiful, majestic Dobermanns of which Hayley is my youngest. They are my fur-children.

When I longed to fall pregnant and have children, they filled the emptiness in my heart and gave me renewed purpose. Through my divorce, they gave me a goal to work towards: find a place of my own with a garden big enough for my girls.

They’ve stayed by my side when they sensed how alone I was feeling, they’ve licked my tears when I cried myself to sleep, and they’ve sat calm and still while I hang onto them in times when all I needed was to be loved. They are my babies, and I’ve lavished them with all my attention and affection.

Now, the time has come for me to face the fact that I just can’t offer my youngest Dobe the mental, emotional and physical stimulation she so deserves. As a result, I have had to make the hard decision to find her a new home where she will receive the training and attention she needs to be a well-rounded and happy dog.

My heart is breaking – even though I know, in the long run, it’s for the best. This has led me to explore the things that make me happy and take my mind off the heartache. So here’s my highly recommended list to sooth a sore heart:

  1. Play that favourite feel-good song again, and again, and again … and again! My choice: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.
  2. Swipity swipe that shiny piece of beautiful plastic called a Visa credit card, and buy a new pair of sexy stilettos.
  3. Then take those leg-elongating heels out for a night of dancing and cocktails.
  4. Ah, cocktails! A superb Cosmopolitan cocktail poured by a handsome bartender will help ease the pain. Or you can learn how to make a Cosmopolitan at home.
  5. Have a good cry and put that box of tissues to good use.
  6. Run a hot bubble bath and lie in the bubbles until the water is cold and your hands and feet not only look, but feel, like withered prunes. Don’t forget the cooled teabags on your eyes to ease the puffiness after having a good cry (see point 6 above).
  7. Spend a day lounging around home in your pyjamas playing on your iPad or your Playstation while eating chocolate and ice-cream.
  8. Schedule a movie marathon, make a massive bowl of buttery popcorn and settle in for a late night of watching your favourite movies. Tonight, I’m planning to watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as a start to my movie fest.
  9. Learn and perfect the dance moves to PSY’s Gangnam Style.
  10. Do high tea the Queen’s way: unpack your finest china, brew a teapot of decent Ceylon tea and serve piping hot with a plate of scones topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and strawberry jam.

While not a cure for my underlying sadness, I hope that my list of activities will help to occupy my time and thoughts. After all, whether I wish it to or not, the sun will rise again in the morning, and life will continue … with or without me in tow!

Related articles

%d bloggers like this: