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Saturday, 3 December 2011

An unwelcome guest returns

Ah...I bet you thought that father-in-law had turned up for a surprise visit?

Fortunately not. 

Although an equally unwelcome guest is with me at the moment....Depression.

I've talked about my depression and mental health in general in previous posts HERE.

The black cloud of gloom descends without much warning.  It brings with it extreme anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, and a great feeling of isolation.

There are triggers of course.  I can glance back over the past few weeks now and recognise little incidents that have contributed, but at the time they go unnoticed.  As anyone who suffers with this debilitating condition will know, it can be terrifying.  For me the worst symptoms are being exhausted but unable to sleep, waking in the middle of the night and bursting into tears.   Feeling like every innocent comment from those close to me are a personal attack...and worst still no communication at all which leaves me thinking that my loved ones have deserted me.  This is paranoia at it's worst of course.  And it's important to keep telling oneself that this is exactly what it is.  And that's the first small step towards recovery.

I was awake most of last night and an email from my brother popped into my inbox at around 4.00am.  It was 2.00am his time and he was up waiting for a call to collect his daughter from a function, so dropped me a line or two.  He made some comment which would normally go straight over my head, but I took it as an attack, and responded badly.  He replied saying that he wasn't attacking me...and what was I doing up at this time?  Was I depressed again?  He understands.  He has occasional bouts of depression too.  It's hereditary in our case...my father also suffered.  So my brother said all the right things.  He told me that it was OK to shout and rant at him whenever I felt like it...he doesn't mind because he knows that sometimes it's necessary to have someone you feel safe enough to do this to.  He knows he can do the same to me whenever he's down.

It takes an enormous amount of effort to drag oneself out of this bottomless pit.  Something I have had to learn how to do for many years.  Writing about it here really helps.

 It's essential to drag yourself out of bed...and this is really hard at times...get out, and do something for yourself.  I forced myself to do this today.  I caught the bus into Milas to get my hair cut and coloured.  I can't explain how difficult it was to do something so simple...but it worked.  It's another small step.

It's important for anyone who has a depressive personality to find someone to offload to.  My brother was there just when I needed him.  He reminded me that it's only a few weeks until I will be in England to hug my grandsons.   My brother will also be getting a huge hug from me too.

26 comments:

  1. Thank goodness you have family who understand what's happening to you...and my hat off to you for recognising what you have to do nomatter how hard it is.

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  2. Thanks Fly. I think it's recognising that you can't force yourself to feel well but knowing that it won't last forever. Accepting that small slow steps are much better than trying to go too fast.

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  3. Illnesses like depression so often run in families and I'm sorry that this is true of your family, Ayak. Two of my sisters suffer from (now well-controlled) bi-polar disorder and a niece has just been diagnosed, so I know how hard coping with depression can be. I do hope you have appropriate medication which can help with the symptoms until the black cloud lifts again.

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  4. Bi-polar is very hard to manage Perpetua. Your sisters and niece have my sympathy but I'm glad to hear that they have it under control.
    I have managed without medication for years now...coincidentally since I moved to Turkey, so living here must do me some good! However, when it does get really difficult to manage (thankfully rarely these days) then I go back on Prozac for a few months...the only medication that works for me.

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  5. I am fortunate that I don't sink too deep but I do recognise what you describe and sincerely empathise with you about it. And Mr A too...I expect it's difficult for him to do right at times.
    I'm glad writing helps and hope you turn the corner again very soon. I expect you've tried everything you can but I do find St. John's Worts absolutely crucial, but then I have never needed anything stronger, thank goodness.
    I have been down myself recently and wish I'd stuck to a cut and colour, rather than the perm I now sport, which is possibly enough to sent even the most stable of folks into a spiral of self-loathing. (I am getting used to it now and at least it's long enough to wear up!)
    Hugs
    Axxx

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  6. Oh, Ayak...... I am really sorry.
    I have a tendency too and can understand what you are going through.
    Think of those lovely grandsons that you'll soon be hugging.

    I wake in the night & start to worry. It is exhausting. I am trying to live in the here and now, but living with uncertainty is not easy.

    Hoping you get over this bout very fast.... and don't forget.... you have got over the other bouts so you'll get over this one.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  7. I'm so glad you have your brother to help. I suffer from it as well, and it's very very hard to get out of it when it hits. I've tried different medication but never found anything that really made a difference. Just a few days ago a local weatherman/newscaster committed suicide. He had a 2 year old little daughter and a loving wife. They tried to help him, his co-workers tried to help, but in the last days of his life apparently he became unreachable. So sad. He was hysterically funny and so very kind. What a tragedy. Depression is so misunderstood and so often not talked about but it's really an illness just the same as any other, cancer, or diabetes. Like those its impossible to get over just because a person wants to. SO glad you have support!

    Terri

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  8. I'm sorry to hear the black dogs were returning Ayak, but glad you had your brother to talk to!
    Sending you lots of virtual {{hugs}}
    (love the octopus picture)

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  9. Annie: Recognising the symptoms is half the battle. Oh I'm sorry you're unhappy with your hair. I bet its not as bad as you think it is. At least you can as you say put it up. Mine is so short if I have a bad cut I just have to live with it.

    Maggie I'm not surprised you wake in the night feeling all this uncertainty. You've had an awful lot to cope with. Living in the here and now is easier said than done.

    Terri: It's the silent illness isn't it? It should be talked about more because people who suffer need to talk. It's one of the reasons why I talk about it here. It helps me but I hope it helps others too. That poor man must have been very ill.Sometimes even support from everyone around you doesn't make a difference. How dreadfully sad for his family.

    Deniz: Thanks for the hugs. I stumbled across the pic on the internet and it seemed strangely appropriate.

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  10. I think you are immensely brave to be able to get out of bed, let alone get out of the house. When It hits me it just feels impossible to get out of the bed, eat or even wash and then I feel full of self-loathing for being so lazy. It is great that you have the courage to force yourself out and do something for yourself because in the end that is the best way out. Hope the haircut helped. Five stars to you and also to your brother who said the right things when you needed it.

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  11. Vicky I certainly know that feeling. It is extremely hard to get out of bed at times. I think I've had this illness for so long now that I know the only way out is to push myself...no matter how hard..and sometimes it doesn't work so I'll let it go and try again the next day and so on.

    Support from someone who understands and reassurance from others who don't necessarily understand but who gently encourage anyway, can gradually spur you on.

    It's amazing how blogging about it really helps too. The encouragement I get from my blogging friends really helps enormously.

    Hugs to you xxx

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  12. Ayak, I hope you feel better soon. You're lucky to have an understanding family who loves you. Stay strong and keep moving. Enjoy your morning coffee and take it from there each day.

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  13. Good day Ayak, I saw your blog mentioned in comments on another blog...depression was the subject for the day on that blog too! As a fellow sufferer I decided to come over and met you! Depression is genetic in my family also, my mother and several of her siblings battled with the blackness. How wonderful that you and your brother can help each other out of the pit! I found your blog address here:
    http://haydonhill.blogspot.com in the comments on her post for December 4, 2011

    Theanne from Theanne and Baron
    http://www.theanneandbaron.com

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  14. So sorry for what you are going through (((HUGSS)). It's good you have a brother there to support you...and most of all you know what you have and that it won't last forever. Just think soon you wil be home hugging and squishing your Grandson's with such love. I think that will make you forget everything.

    I go through the same symptoms all the time......I'm lucky I don't work outside the house. Otherwise it would be a HUGE chore to get my hair washed.

    I'm not on any meds....but I went to this Dr. one time and told him my symptoms and he told me go stand in the room and jump up and down and sing 'I'm depressed and stressed' and see if that works. He wouldn't give me any meds. Said too much of this is being given out. This was years ago....and I don't jump but I try and snap myself out of it and most times it works and then most like he said, just think of your daughter and that you have to be there. Maybe I'm not that badly depressed thats why it works for me....but trust me I have all the symptoms.
    I trusted him b/c he's trained at The Edinburgh University in Scotland and hospital for mental health but lives in Toronto now.

    I know it's hard for you but just hang in there soon you will see your grandkids and Mr. A needs you.....look at the lovely things he did in the garden for you two to enjoy in the summer.

    Take care and bye for now.xx

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  15. Erin thankyou for your kind words x

    Theanne...Hi and a warm welcome to my blog. I haven't come across the blog you mention but I'll have a look. I worked for years in the mental health field and discovered that depression is often hereditary. How we cope with it really varies from one person to another.

    Hi Erica. I'm pretty anti-medication myself and will suffer a headache rather than pop a pill. I'm not sure jumping up and down and singing would ever have worked for me, but if it does for you then that's great. Thanks for your good wishes x

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  16. Dear Linda: I haven't been a very good follower for some time now but came by today and what do I see: you are not doing well by all accounts. And all you others who suffer too. I am so very sorry and hope that bit by bit you manage to get yourself out of this. Good that you got that email from your brother and that he understood. Take care, get better soon xx

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  17. Awww hugs to you Ayak, hope we get to have a bit of a chat soon, I miss our chats putting the world right xx

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  18. Hi Claudia...and Bomb

    Thankyou both for your kind words.

    And thankyou everyone for making me feel less isolated. You have no idea how much your comments really help xxx

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  19. Aww hon...depression is such a horrible thing...I'm so sorry to hear you have boughts of it. Just know that you are not alone and that you are very much loved by those that surround you. *hugs*

    C x

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  20. What a shame it has returned and as you say it is always good to write about it here and try and offload some of the feelings. It has been much in the news lately with the death of Gary Speed - a lot of sense has been published and it seems that more and more people are saying that they too feel this awful thing sometimes.

    I hope it leaves you sooner rather than later and you know that lots of people love you and want you to be happy. xx

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  21. FF: It's known to be a particularly bad time of year for people with depression. Since I wrote my post, I've been reading about it everywhere.
    Each day gets a little better. The support I get here helps enormously.
    Thankyou for your kind words..your sensitivity and understanding has always been something I've appreciated since we got to know each other xxxx

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  22. Hi Ayak
    Finally got around to reading your blog.
    I'm so glad you have an understanding brother to talk to, it is very valuable not just to be able to off-load, but to know you can trust the person you open up to.
    My youngest brother is the only person I ever allow in to my worst days, and sometimes I can't even phone or email him if the 'black dog' is in charge.
    I know with me the natural reaction is always to shy away from people, but I know that is the opposite of what is needed.
    Loneliness is a curse and also a danger.

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  23. Hi Ray, and welcome at last! I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about shying away from people even though it's the worst thing to do. I would also not have even talked to my brother the other day if he hadn't emailed me and I hadn't responded in the way that I did...which resulted in opening up the conversation. Isolating ourselves at times like these just makes everything so much blacker. I have a feeling that your blog post had the same effect on you as mine did on me. A sense of relief? To offload and then to get reassurance from people who care really helps doesn't it?
    I hope you are feeling better. I'm improving day by day. It's an uphill struggle at times isn't it?
    Sending you love and hugs xxx

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