Tag Archives: depression

Enough

I think it’s time to accept reality.

I’m not a disciplined person. I cannot stick to a routine to save my life. Organisation skills? MIA: presumed dead (possibly imaginary to start with).

I just can’t do it. The chaos is too much a part of me; my energy levels – mental, physical and emotional – are too erratic, too impossible to predict. As soon as I get momentum going on a change or new habit something comes up to blow it out of the water again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty chuffed that I managed to post something for 20 out of 30 days in November. That’s kind of cool.

But then I slipped up once, which made it easier to slip up again, and then my oldest daughter turned 8 and I promised her a Minecraft party, so I had to focus on that, and then I was dealing with a bunch of fatigue due to depression and/or highly fluctuating weather and/or the extra effort needed to do my work experience for my Education Support course (which I really enjoyed!)…

And then and then and then…

This is LIFE, Meg! It’s chaotic and random and busy. Especially with little kids to care for too. And you know what? Maybe you can’t just let go of your interests and daydreams and intentions. And maybe you can’t reconcile your desire for order and serenity with your broken brain that insists on skittering after every shiny thing and living in a perpetual state of “what if..?” Maybe it’s just not fucking possible.

Maybe you’re just going to have to accept the mediocrity of spreading yourself too thin and never really getting the hang of anything, rather than the mediocrity of an average, predictable life where you feel more in control.

I don’t know what that means, or how you can find a way to be happy with that path. I just know I’m so tired of striving. I’m tired of breaking baby steps down to the smallest possible increment – and still failing to meet my own expectations.

I’m tired of being an adult. I’m tired of feeling like a loser because I can’t keep my living space clean or manage to NOT end up with an empty bank account within days of receiving any money. I’m tired of having to keep track of who’s eaten what and constantly thinking about what to make next (since I can’t get the hang of meal planning). I’m tired of feeling gross and itchy from all the dust everywhere – and then feeling worse when my kids wake up sneezing from the dust in their room – and I’m tired of always being too tired and stressed to play with my kids!

I just want someone to swoop in and tuck me in bed and take care of everything for me!

But yeah, that’s not happening any time soon. So what do I do next?

I need to find a way to work with the chaos, to make it so I can still cover off the essentials without driving myself crazy or breaking under the pressure.

Any ideas?

13 days into November

And I’ve managed to post every day.


I’m on FIRE baby!

Where I’m at right now:

– Still horribly depressed and honestly just so over it. Sick of doing the bare minimum each day! Sick of spending so much energy fighting the urge to curl up in bed all day! Sick of being a grumpy mum who says “No!” all the time!

– Managing to stay on top of my health apart from that though. I’m doing my first grading for karate this Friday. 😀

– Had a bit of energy this afternoon so managed to get some cleaning done in the living room. We still have way too much crap, but a nice clear floor in the main living space really does make all the difference.

– Had a great chat with my in-laws after dinner this evening (we’ve started a regular dinner at their place on Sunday evenings, which I LOVE) and I’m feeling more relaxed about our financial security.

– Have my first session of work experience as a Teacher’s Aide tomorrow afternoon. 


I haven’t managed to finish my assignment for class on Tuesday though. It’s a big one, so I’m going to put the rest of it off until next weekend, as my husband has Thursday and Friday off work. So long as all assignments are in by the end of the course I won’t get penalised.

– I have fresh sheets on my bed this evening. They were dried in the sun today and smell soooo goooood!

– Have I mentioned how sick I am of being depressed? Look at this list! Things are going great right now. I wish I was biologically able to enjoy everything properly. *pout*

– My kitty was sleeping like this on my bed earlier today though, so that makes everything feel better…

n00b

I really cannot tell you how much I hate being “the new guy” at anything.

No seriously, I can’t. I don’t even consciously know myself, apparently…

As part of my certificate in Education Support I have to do at least 10 hours of volunteer work as a Teacher’s Aide. Of course I decided to do it at my daughter’s school, to keep things simple.

What I should have done was go straight to the front office and ask who to speak to and tee things up that way. What I actually did was dither and freak out for a bit, then get one of my friends who is also doing the course to introduce me to the lady she organised things with.

Sweet! No fronting up to people I don’t really know on my own and describing what I needed to do when I had no idea what sort of script to follow (sure, I’d figure it out and they could no doubt fill in any gaps, but the anticipation of looking like a yammering idiot is a real mental block, yaknow?).

It all seemed to be progressing well, until I turned up yesterday like I said I would and my liaison had the day off.

Oh.


The other ladies in her office explained that I really needed to speak to the Assistant Principal, and took me along to meet him. I’m sure my liaison would’ve done that too, but I still felt kind of foolish for not double checking exactly who I needed to talk to.

The AP is a friendly, jovial kind of guy who confused me with two other people at first before he worked out we’d never met before. He then checked that I’d given them my letter of enrolment like I should’ve.

Um.


Heheh…

No problems. I just needed to get it to him ASAP so he could sign off on all the paperwork and I can get credit for my hours. Anyway, he was assigning me to the class next door to my daughter and took me off to meet the teacher right then and there.

So I had to walk past the windows of my daughter’s class (distracting a bunch of the kids in there) and interrupt another class in progress so he could introduce me to that room full of kids and arrange for me to meet up with the teacher later that day to work out when I’d be coming in to help. Why he had to do that in front of the class is beyond me, but that’s what happened.

I think I managed to come across as warm and friendly rather than shell-shocked and in need of a brown paper bag.


Long story short, everything’s sorted; everyone was friendly and excited to have an extra helper; I’m excited to get stuck into helping kids enjoy learning; some of the kids have already started waving to me in the playground; I got my paperwork in. It’s all good. It’s all fine.

I just wish I could get through all the introductory stuff with more grace.

Rationally I know full well that everyone struggles with these sorts of nerves to some extent, and nobody’s going to actually think I’m an idiot for not knowing EVERYTHING, ALL AT ONCE! And in all honesty, I handled things pretty well in the moment, asking questions, clarifying things, ensuring I’m across everything I need to know.

Truth be told, I was quite happy overall and felt good about having my work experience locked in. Another thing to check off my To-Do List! Phew!

But then early this morning I had the most intense dream I’ve had in ages, where I had a full-blown, sobbing, shaking, uncontrollable panic attack.

Like, I’ve never experienced anything like that in real life. My brain just saved up all that social anxiety and stress to sucker punch me right in the subconscious. POW!

On one hand I’m grateful I’ve never dealt with anything like that during waking hours, but on the other hand I’m now annoyingly drowsy after feeling so refreshed the last few days.

Just another irksome quirk in the show that is Meg’s Brain, I guess…

Feeling Better

The emotional roller coaster continues.

Not that it’s really a roller coaster: more like a carousel that’s on a slight tilt, where your horse not only bobs gently up and down but also traverses a larger undulating orbit of dips and peaks.

Turns out my last bout of the sads was due to me coming down with something. Nothing major, just a grumbly tummy and general achey weakness that left me with hot flushes if I tried to do anything too active.

I was actually kind of excited when it started showing up on Friday evening as it meant I could spend all Saturday in bed without feeling guilty or triggering my husband’s anxiety too much (I do love him to bits, but he takes on the stress of being the sole income-provider as a great burden and as such is a little bit rubbish at switching to parent-mode if there’s a lot on at work. Even he says I’m the linchpin of the family and they completely fall apart when I’m not around – which is incredibly sweet, but also incredibly aggravating! No pressure or anything…)

Anyway, I got to laze about in bed dozing all day Saturday without feeling too strong a compulsion to give up and go intervene when the kids got ratty and hubs started barking at them – because, well, I couldn’t. I tried a couple of times and ended up shaky and clammy and weak so they all just had to work it out themselves.

It was glorious.

I woke up on Sunday very much refreshed and although I was still a bit weak I felt like a million bucks.

But wait! On Sunday I got an added bonus when the kids asked if they could hang out with Nanna all day – and she said yes. 😍

And grumpy hubs went off and did the grocery shopping solo (and came back much refreshed himself), so I got the house to myself for a good hour or so.

Granted, I spent much of that time working on an assignment, but DAYUM! It was nice being alone in my own head for a while without talking or playing or screens blaring in the background.

So here’s to taking the time to relish unexpected breaks! Now to find a way to make them happen more frequently…

(Juuuust scraping it in under the wire for today’s Daily Prompt. And that’s 7 posts in 7 days. BOOYAH!)

Sad

Down. Glum. Despondent. Melancholy.

Depressed.

Oh how I wish I wasn’t such a one-hit-wonder.

Two days ago, when I did my stocktake, I was on the way up. I was still waking up in the mornings wishing I could hide, but once I got going about my day I could feel my brain unclench and relax and allow my natural optimism to take over.

Like that moment when you settle into a soft bed with clean sheets after a particularly exhausting day.

“Oh good,” I thought, “my meds are finally kicking in properly! I should find everything easier now.”

Plans were tackled, commitments made. Some momentum was finally happening as I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in to pulling my life back together.

Then, last night, while my girls were in the bath and my husband was flaking out in bed feeling unwell, I noticed how hard everything was feeling and how tired I was.

I felt my brain and body powering down, collectively saying “Nope!” and letting the dark cloud settle again.

Fuck.

I love this image, even though the words don’t really apply to me (I’m pretty open and vocal when my depression gets this bad!). It really captures exactly how much of a heavy, all-consuming weight depression is when it gets you in its clutches; how much effort it takes to simply hold on; how close you feel to losing your grip and being completely enveloped.

It’s relentless. And vicious. And blunt. And ugly. That overwhelming need to ball up and hide from the world. It’s like having a really bad cold but without the outward symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat – and with the added bonus of a nasty voice in your head telling you how much you suck and making you feel like you need to put on a brave face because nobody else will understand and they’ll hate you for being flaky and unreliable.

Man I’m over it. So much. I wish there was some way I could just make it bugger off for good, but if anything it’s getting more tenacious and nasty with age. My coping and management skills have improved, but it just keeps getting sneakier.

I’m tired. I wish I could just give up somehow and let it win without that affecting my kids. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not even slightly suicidal. Never have been (seriously, I am almost offensively optimistic by nature and have some pretty rock-solid self-esteem once you scrape all the muck of depression away). I just want to hide and sleep and eat junk and not have to care about anything for, oh, I don’t know – a year or so? That would be rad.

Instead my days are consumed by bracing against those relentless blows, and constantly re-prioritising plans around what I’m actually capable of dealing with on any given day.

Remember that stocktake from two days ago? Well I’ve managed to follow the Daily Prompt two days in a row now (yay me!), but my plans to get into a daily cleaning routine have stalled pretty hardcore. I need to pare it back even more.

So my new daily goal on the “treating cleanliness as something you just fucking DO as an adult” front is simply to make my bed, clear my bedside table, and keep my bedroom floor clear. THAT’S it. For realsies this time.

Then at least I have one tiny oasis in my life where I feel centred and in control. Hopefully things can seep out from there.

Craziness

There’s a lot going on in the land of Meg right now.

I’m doing fierce battle with my depression while trying to keep my kids adequately fed, watered and entertained.

I’m trying to keep the momentum going on my diet (basically calorie counting and keeping active: I’ve lost ~6kg in the last 6 months with my sneaky, it’s-not-really-a-diet-it’s-just-a-few-days-without-treats-here-and-there approach) and sporadically attending a drop-in karate class around the corner.

My husband is helping a friend start up a virtual storefront business that I will assist with admin/marketing/content writing once it takes off (which hopefully it does! Ka-CHING!).

I’ve started a partial certification in Education Support that is looking fun and promising, and I hope to be able to take the rest of the course next year so I can eventually get a casual job during school hours.

My dabbling in flash fiction is going well: not only am I judging this week’s Microcosms contest (seriously, it’s an awesome prompt this week – go enter!) but I’ve found this curated list of writing competitions and signed up to enter The Great Flash Fiction War over this weekend. First prize is $2000. Bring it!

And then the girls have two birthday parties to attend this weekend. Plus the school fair.

Oh, and I have a weird, exhausted-but-not-symptomatic head-cold thing going on.

I’m not freaking out. YOU’RE freaking out!

Anyway, none of that is the “craziness” I’m referring to.

No, the crazy part happened this evening.

Lately my youngest miss (who turned four just over a week ago…) has been asking me to stay in their room until she’s asleep. I find it draining, but considering I used to cosleep with both girls all night every night I can deal with this little bit of neediness with grace. I just play some meditation music on my phone, fire up my kindle app (set to white writing on a black background) and read in the dark while she settles next to me.

On a whim this evening I decided to start rereading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I read it towards the end of last year and found it quite inspiring, with its approach for identifying and dismantling Resistance in your life. 

Near the beginning, in the introduction, this section fell really heavily into my brain, like it was important that I paid attention this time:

Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still, small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times before, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

I read shit like this All. The. Time. I love that inspirational stuff. But I generally say “Psh! Whatever. It’s all well and good if you HAVE a single, driving passion but what if you don’t? I’m passionate about everything – but nothing ever seems to be truly passionate about me…”

This time, though…

I don’t know if it was the quiet, meditative setting, or the wine I’d drunk with dinner, or the culmination of my incessant ruminating on what exactly will keep me happy at the moment (or, more precisely, what will keep the melancholic lethargy at bay) – or possibly a combination of everything – but I stopped for a moment to dwell on this passage.

I took a good look at the gaping, craggy pit that’s been squatting in my chest lately and sucking the energy out of everything. I peered inside and saw a little, brow-beaten Meg at the bottom. She’s been there before – many times – and almost feels at home there. In the past I’ve thought that the way out was through singing, or saxophone, or DJing, or writing, or working with children in some capacity.

This time when I leaned into that cavern of yearning listlessness and whispered “What will make you happy?” she stretched a hand up my spine and whispered back:

I want to be a dancer.

*record scratch*

wut?

She twirled and struck a pose.

Dancing is what makes me happy.

Holy shit.

She’s right.

I’m never happier than when I’m in a crowd on a dance floor losing myself in the music. It’s why I was a goth for so long, and why I fell into DJing: I’d go clubbing AT LEAST once a week if at all possible and dance my heart out.

I freaking HATE “exercise” with a fiery passion – but I can dance for hours on end. As a kid I avoided all sports but took several types of dance class a week, right up until puberty kicked in and I had enough of the bitchiness and competitiveness.

Last weekend reminded me of this, when I went to my 20th reunion for my old school in Dubbo. It was a super fun evening and we ended up at a nightclub. I had the weekend to myself so I got quite drunk and danced my butt off. The music was amazing, with a really skilful DJ beat-matching and mixing like a champ. It was so much fun that I almost started crying.

So now what?

I’m a frumpy mum in the country. How the heck can I use this passion to drive my life down the right path? I can feel in my bones that I’m onto something here, that I need to incorporate the freedom of dance more deeply into my life. But how?

It’s a tough one for sure.

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s back on meds we go…

Remember how I weaned off my anti-depressants? And how it was “mostly great?”

Yeah, that didn’t last long.

The ratio of good days:bad days ended up tipping too far to the “bad” side of the spectrum and everything in my life began to suffer.

So, I’m back on Team Lexapro. GO TEAM!

I can feel the loss of creative passion, but as my brain chemistry readjusts I can also feel my ability to just get on with things gently floating back up to the foreground. At the end of the day, that will help me be more creative than unbound – yet ultimately unfocused and paralysing – passion.

And so I find myself sweeping aside the mental clutter, taking a good look at the fraying edges and half-baked ideas, and working out where to go from here. 

Funnily enough, the Daily Prompt for today is “Unfinished.” I just had to laugh.

Story of my bloody life right now.

Including this post, TBH. I have no answers. No strong, satisfying conclusion. Just a bunch of notions, “if only”s, broken commitments, ignored tasks, and a whole lot of clutter.

I just knew if I didn’t sit down and post something RIGHT NOW I’d put it off for another day. Like everything else.

Gotta start the change (again) somewhere. Even if the last thing I feel like doing right now is dancing.

Bloooooock block block block!

I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger.

I just can’t seem to make it habitual. And the fact that I left things hanging with the first instalment of my bike riding attempt is definitely weighing on my conscience. I had hoped by adding a little pressure I could force myself to be more consistent – but no. Instead it’s just made me curl up and crumble and become victim to the part of my brain I’ve recently started referring to as the Chicken of Self-Sabotage.

Source

“Oh, you want to make progress on that piece of writing? It’s going to take WAY too much effort – why even try? You know you’ll never be happy with it anyway. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, you’ve offered to do something for someone? If you complete it you’ll set up the expectation that you’ll always be this available, thus setting them up for future disappointment; but if you don’t, it’ll be yet more proof that you’re flaky and unreliable! Let’s just freeze up until the time pressure destroys you. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, the house is so messy that you can’t think straight? Cleaning it will be a mammoth task. Let’s just go out and spend all the money you don’t have to distract yourself instead. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh hey! After weeks of calorie counting and forcing yourself to be more active you’re finally back under 80kg for the first time in years! Let’s celebrate by drinking half a bottle of wine! Oh dear. You’ve gotten the munchies and devoured the rest of your chocolate biscuits too. Whelp! May as well just give up now. Eat this bag of chips! Blooock block block block!”

Inhale. Exhale.

This voice has gotten quite loud recently, as I’ve kind of fallen off the mediocrity wagon and started getting lost in my own head again – daydreaming of future glory while conveniently ignoring the hard slog needed to get there. I weaned off my antidepressants a couple of months ago and although that’s mostly been great, an unfortunate side-effect is all the “unhelpful” internal monologues becoming more insistent.

Getting my brain back to its natural state has unleashed a flood of creative urges. An idea for a screenplay that’s been kicking around for a while suddenly coalesced and threatened to explode unless I started putting it on paper. So did a speculative fiction novel idea. And I’ve come up with two other blog ideas (which are totally laughable notions considering how poorly I maintain this one!).

I’m bursting at the seams with music ideas too: just listening to the hum of the fridge and the tick of the clock prompts my brain to start weaving a melody into it. I actually went to a music workshop with my sax a month ago where I jammed with an AWESOME group of people with an eclectic mix of instruments. It was so much fun. One of them has since tracked me down to see if I am available for regular gigs. YES! But also NO – that would need for me to: practise every day to maintain technique and stamina; rely more heavily on my in-laws for childcare; rely more heavily on family and friends for lifts everywhere OR get my driver’s license sorted ASAP. 

And don’t even get me started on all my crafting urges…

Inhale. Exhale.

It’s been hard not to get swept up in it all to the point where I fall in a heap and let the Chicken of Self-Sabotage peck me into submission. At the end of the day, though, I still need routine, patience, and self-discipline if I have any hope of achieving the barest minimum of these dreams.

You’re not quite there yet, Meg. Chillax, stick to the basics, and throw all that Chicken-feed to the other side of the barn. This will only work from the ground up.

You have the luxury of time and space. Keep making the most of it!

(Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt)

A Sense of Urgency

In case you hadn’t noticed, things have been hard for me lately. The grind of daily life is bringing me down and my depression is flaring up something fierce. Something has to give.

So we’re moving.

It’s not 100% (but it probably is) but we are going to move into the house next door to my in-laws (it belongs to my grandmother-in-law who is now in a nursing home and loves the idea of having family in there).

In the country.

In about 12 weeks.

I grew up in the country (albeit a very different part) and swore I’d never go back. But I’m sick of the struggle. I’m sick of the loneliness. I’m sick of the noise. I’m sick of the rats and cockroaches!

I’m kind of terrified of living amongst country folk again – but then it’s not like I get to go out and make the most of Sydney anyway. Plus, country life has clearly changed in the two decades I’ve been gone (hello Internet!) so hopefully I won’t be trading surrounded-by-people-yet-lonely for actual-isolation. Plus it’s only a 3-hour drive on a well-maintained, scenic highway away, making weekend trips a possibility.

The clincher for me is the grandparents next door though. They’ll help my husband feel more socially connected and be extra hands to help with the girls. I may actually be able to carve out time for myself regularly and help the whole family achieve more balance and joy.

I just hope there will be enough of a life for me to enjoy there, with people I can actually relate to…

Anyway, before that can happen we need to get rid of at least 50-60% of our stuff (more if possible). We’ll be moving into a slightly smaller house that already has quite a lot of furniture and supplies we can use there, and we would love to keep moving costs down. I need to marshal all the resources and techniques I’ve been dabbling with since I started blogging and Get. It. Done.

Now.

*meep*