depression

Mental health is important but it’s so widely misunderstood, and mental illness is so misrepresented. I know there have been campaigns recently about ending the stigma, about opening communication. And as Bob Hoskins would tell us – it’s good to talk.

I have personal experience with a number of conditions, namely depression, schizo-affective disorder and ADHD. I am not an expert on any of these illnesses and nor will I ever claim to be. This is purely based on my own observations and interactions with the people in my life.

I have had depressive episodes in my life. I have been depressed, generally for a period of one to three months and I generally don’t realize that’s what the problem is until I’m out the other side. Based on my current feelings of the universe hating me and desperate need to keep Jack & Lucy safe, I am most likely in the midst of one of these episodes which is undoubtedly brought on by stress and major change in life.

I am fortunate. I am surrounded by those who are not as fortunate. I watch my girlfriend doing battle with her mind everyday; every single day for the last 8 years she gets up and fights. I am awed by her strength, by her will to survive, her will to live.

For most, depression is a chronic condition. It is something that you live with daily. There are times when it flares up and overwhelms you. And there are times when you’re fairly functional. You can have depression and be happy at the same time. You can have depression and no one know it.

Depression isn’t just being sad. Obviously, it encompasses that, but it includes so much more. Your body slows down while the brain monkeys get to work feeding you lies and pressing all the buttons that fill you with fear and sadness and loneliness and anxiety. Depression is a hole that gets darker the deeper you fall into it. It strangles your view of the world outside as well as your view of who you really are.

Don’t expect people with depression to be able to reach out for help when it gets really bad. They can’t.

Instead, it is our responsibility, our societal contract if you will, to be the ones to check in with those we love, to not let them skate by with “I’m fine” when you know they aren’t. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Just reach out, remind them of your love, that you care that they exist, that you are glad they are alive and in your life. Don’t expect them to just get better, just get over it, move on, be happy, etc. It really isn’t something they can control.

For most, there is no “reason” that they are depressed, other than their brain chemistry. So put down all the platitudes and inspiration quotes. Stop assuming that if you leave them alone for a few weeks, they’ll be all better the next time you see them. Let go of the idea that all they need is a little sunshine or a walk in the woods or a day at the beach or a night out with friends. None of those things fix brain chemistry.

Do reach out to them, especially if their pattern of behaviour changes or they go radio silent unexpectedly. Don’t judge how they look (many folks with depression can not do the simple tasks of showering, brushing hair, getting dressed, etc) or the shape of their house (if they can’t clean themselves, they likely can’t clean their house). Do come over and sit with them, yes, even in the mess. Talk to them and keep talking….TO them, not AT them. Get them talking, GENTLY. Make them a meal. Help them clean (don’t do it for them, that will just reinforce what the brain monkeys are telling them about how worthless they are). Offer to take them to see a doctor. Offer to go get their meds refilled.

Above all, just check the judgemental ableist attitude at the door. And love. Love deeply, warmly and without condition.

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Ouch!

Dear Physiotherapist,

There is only one sadist who enjoys making people cry in my life – and that evil bitch is me!

Whilst I appreciate your tough love approach, the ‘no pain, no gain’ aspect of this regime is not one that I am a fan of.

I would suggest you inflict the pain on my husband since he enjoys that but… he’s mine and that’s my job.

As I have been informed that inflicting any form of violence upon you would be frowned on, I shall instead take it out on both Jack and Lucy’s asses. At least that way some fun will had from the doling out of pain.

Regards,
Samantha

Hurrah!

Today is a wonderful, fabulous, amazing, brilliant, utterly wonderful day. Today… Today the cast came off my leg!

The surgeon said everything has healed nicely and is ‘looking good’. I’m not sure we’re looking at the same limb – it looks pale, scaly, scarred, hairy and withered. This afternoon there was a bubble bath, veet and ALL the moisturiser in Wales.

I’ve still got to use the crutches and physiotherapy starts on Monday. But for now, I’m focusing on THE CAST IS OFF

All Gold 80s

One of my current favourite things is Spotify. Specifically the pre-programmed playlists which make listening so much easier. A nice 50 track playlist that I can put on for a few hours and get on with whatever it is I may be doing. Right now, that would be posting and reading on DW.

I’m a fan of 80s pop music. I was in my late teens/early 20s during the decade and it really influenced me, it definitely formed the soundtrack to my formative years. My favourite artists include Prince, George Michael, Madonna, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Queen, Spandau Ballet and Elton John.

Spotify UK has an absolutely wonderful playlist that I am completely in love with All Gold 80s. All gold, all day – unforgettable 80s hits It’s a 100 track playlist lasting 6hr 49min. It includes Fleetwood Mac, Eurythmics, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Toto, Paul Simon, The Buggles, a-ha, Whitney Houston, Bryan Adams, Tears For Fears… I am in heaven1

1 My leg is aching, my butt is getting numb, I’m putting weight on, I’m bored, I’m hungry, I’m home alone , I’m horny and I’m fed up. But at least the music is good…

youtube, film trailers and strapping young men

Today I have mostly been indulging in cuddling with the cats and my favourite humans. I also had sex for the first time in about a month and god was it good. I’ve just not been feeling in the mood because of pain, side-effects of painkillers, exhaustion and frustration.

I want this damn cast off my leg. It’s been a month and I’m tired of it. It itches and aches and it’s cumbersome. I had an orthopedics appointment yesterday and I’m healing ‘nicely’, whatever that means – both the bone and the operation site. I’m blanking on the medical term. I’ve still got at least another month before he looks at taking the cast off though. I’m getting more stable on crutches, less worried about falling over, taking less painkillers so while I am frustrated, things are all moving in the right direction which is always good to know.

So yes, cuddling, kissing and shagging – a wonderful way to spend a chilly, rainy, Welsh summer morning. I have discovered the joys of youtube, and have been enjoying watching Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna & Queen videos.

As well as 80s pop music, I’ve been watching trailers for some upcoming movies that I was already eagerly anticipating. If I wasn’t already excited for Justice League or Thor: Ragnarok, I am now beside myself. They both look like so much fun, don’t they?

It’s also worth noting on a purely shallow note, that both Jason Momoa and Chris Hemsworth are both deliciously strappin young men who I would not kick out of bed for eating crackers! (Sorry, Jack!)

It’s now time to move to the couch where there is a chicken salad waiting for me for my lunch and continue watching some Harry Potter. Lucy and I have been rewatching the movies this week, and we’re about to start The Order Of The Phoenix. A nice, comfortable, enjoyable Thursday afternoon.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, shall we dance

It’s all very rock & roll here in the Anderson household.

I spent most of the day napping, painkillers making me drowsy – joined at various points by one or more cats and/or dogs. At no point were husband or girlfriend invited, I’m sadly still hurting too much for that. Napping with either/both of them tends to be less napping and more… ahh what was that hilarious term I heard yesterday? Oh, I don’t recall but there’s generally not much napping to be had! They understand but still pout at me.

Friday nights are normally date nights and we tend to go out for a meal and then to the cinema because we’re all big film buffs. I’m nowhere near mobile enough on crutches for that right now which is disappointing because I was looking forward to seeing Transformers: The Last Knight. Instead we ordered pizza in, stuck Ant-Man in the DVD player and had a few rocking games of Monopoly.

All that excitement has worn me out so I’m back up in bed (one cat, one dog) listening to music, reading both your posts and my book, although I don’t think it’ll be long before sleep claims me again