I look fine in most of these.
And I probably was,
but I'm putting on my 'cheerful' face in some,
and many times in between, I wasn't fine.
Since starting on my new medication combination of Venlafaxine and Mirtazapine (known in the biz as California Rocket Fuel *chuckle* ) five years ago, I gradually grew calmer. Less frenzied about everything. Less hysterical (historical, I called it!). Life gradually became lighter, better. I became excited about some things. My new medication brought me to a happier place.
The next step...
I was given Cognitive Behavioural Therapy by my brilliant mental health team. My psychologist took me, over a period of months, through thoughts that had been distorted over a lifetime of negative thinking, and challenged them. Husband saw my bedtime reading for this and said: 'Makes absolute sense! We can do this!' Apparently I was the right 'candidate' for this. I responded well to this therapy, as well as the medication. (Although, it has to be said, there is a downside to the medication, and that's how it can effect the love life, as it has mine. We're working on that as we speak.).
Psychologically, the great big factor that caused my general moody state of mind over the years, apart from one's hormones (*so we thought - more on this below), was my upbringing. My parents and siblings. My parents - the practical wartime generation - had no clue as to how to bring me up. Depression and anxiety was something to either 'pull yourself together' like a pair of curtains (our words) over, or to be patronised over: 'Ah, you'll get over it.'. Or to be teased over. I grew up being judged and lectured, particularly by mother. *Years of this drip-fed treatment had highly likely changed the chemical make-up of my brain, causing depression in later life. We discovered this from the mental health charity, Mind, .
A year after my medication crisis my parents died within days of one another. Their deaths precipitated a major decision. Sadly I had to 'divorce' my family, but because I now felt better than I'd ever felt before, I decided that no-one was going to ruin my new found happiness, something I'd never felt before, and I would be at risk in their company. No-one needs negativity in their lives.
Our own family - daughter and her family, and our son - Husband's family and various friends, have been fabulous, sympathetic and understanding about my depression and Husband's welfare. We have had nothing but support from all of them. This has contributed hugely towards my healing. I can't state that too highly. Now I'm able to pursue, or work towards, all those activities Husband and I want to do, and enjoy the process.
How do I feel today? One enormous change was my mornings. I was never a morning person. *Bluurgh...* I gradually - I use that word a lot because that's what it was - began to feel good on waking up. I'd never had that experience before. Of course, not having to go to work helps, because, even after the kids grew up, I was never well enough to go to work, although I did a lot of voluntary work and part-time jobs. But, being of retirement age now, we're free to do as we please, more or less. Today I'm able to get up reasonably early (8am? That's early for me!) and not mind, even feel perky. Poor Perky. Such novelty!
Two of the last issues I had to get to grips with was a) being at home for any length of time and b) My novel. Both would depress me. I'm slowly getting to grips with them, with the help of Husband and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Being at home for lengths of time left me with past associations of being trapped in the home, caring for children, which I'd hated. It's taken time to convince my sub-conscious (because that's what it is) that being at home now is actually safe, pleasant and pleasurable. Gardening always helped initially, but I'd grow low being inside. So, I am growing happier in the house - any part of the house - at any time of day. It helps that we're redecorating virtually the whole house. Hooray!
My novel. We know all about that. Again, cognitive behavioural therapy, with Husband's help, is getting me through it. I can report that some day sooner rather than later - don't ask me when! - I'll have the first three parts finished and self-published. Again...hooray!
So, here I am, bang up to date. Obstacles remain, but not insurmountable ones. We're working on them as I type.
Today I feel better than I've ever been. Yesterday I helped Husband vacuum bilge water out of the engine bay of Dotterel, our narrow boat in Warwickshire. I enjoyed that and felt productive. He said: 'Great! That's definitely a two-wo/man job!'
If anyone else has a similar story, I'd love to hear from you!