Note to Self

You are all lovely.

Thank you so much for your comments. They have, as most things do at the moment, made me cry, but in a good way.

This post is mostly to reassure everyone, including myself, that I am alright. I am still here. I am buggering on.

My period started, and lo and behold, my mood began to lift. In fact, on the first day, I felt terrific, until I got a migraine, and then I felt less terrific. I’ve been dealing with that and my moods ebbing and flowing since then.

My goal for the week was to be well enough in body and soul to go to the Peter Kay dance-a-thon I had booked tickets for months ago, and which was last night. At the beginning of the week I just did not want to go at all. It seemed too difficult in every conceivable way. It felt pointless and terrible and stupid and scary. Really scary. I mean, how would I get there? What would I wear? How would I talk to the friends I was going with? How would I talk to anyone? How would I dance when I was so tired? What if I cried? What if I had to go and my friends had to take me home? And dancing was the last thing I wanted to do. I could barely shift myself out of bed.

And I felt sad because I love dancing. I really love it, and I was feeling so down about something I had been looking forward to for months. I could not conceive of how I would take pleasure from it. I decided very grimly that I would try to go because it would be ‘good for me.’ Like medicine. Then I cried because I didn’t want the rest of my life to be a series of once enjoyable experiences that I was now having to ‘fake it to make it’.

On Thursday, when my mood lifted I began to feel more optimistic, but concerned about the physical side of things. What if I bled everywhere? What if I fainted? What if I was in too much pain with cramps? I decided to use copious amounts of drugs and hope for the best. Then the migraine kicked in on Thursday evening and I decided that this was some kind of punishment for even daring to think I could go.

And in the night, nursing my poor head I decided that it was obviously retribution. I mean. I’d told everyone I was suffering from depression and then I was daring to go to a disco? You don’t go to a disco if you’re depressed. That’s cheating. That’s not in the terms and conditions. Everyone would demand their money back. It served me right for thinking I could do normal things like normal people do.

On Friday morning, when the migraine had receded to a mere thumping headache I was able to get more perspective on things.

I decided that I could do this. I could go and it was alright to go. I was allowed to do nice things, and if I couldn’t cope my friends, who are my good, kind friends, would not kill me if we needed to leave.

I decided that I could manage all the difficult things by just doing things slowly and being kind to myself. I took myself off for a sleep that was not hemmed about by the anxiety of acute pain. I made myself eat. I took myself for a bath. I spent ages getting ready to go out, not because I had lots to do (I am a twenty minute maximum sort of getting ready woman), but because I did everything in stages so that I didn’t get too stressed about everything. When I got a bit anxious, I took myself off and read a chapter of my book.

I got frustrated with myself at times. I was making such a big deal of out this, why couldn’t I just be ‘normal’ about it? Why had I not chosen to do work instead of something silly? What did that say about the kind of person I was? The ‘cut your hair and join the army’ speech, effectively. And I was still afraid that something that was once so joyous and colourful and life giving to me would be flat and monochrome, and instead of lifting my mood it would only confirm that this bout of depression was worse than I thought.

And after all that, I went, and I had a great time. My friends were, as expected, completely lovely and did a fantastic job of looking after me. I didn’t cry. I didn’t bottle it. My painkillers worked and I danced for three hours to cheesy tunes, and I felt good. I let go of all the worries and all my thoughts were drowned out by the music, and it was good. It was good to have a few hours off from myself.

And today? I should be on a march to save the NHS in London and I am not. I made the trade. I decided to try and enjoy myself yesterday and not to do this today because I knew that I couldn’t do both. Not at the moment.

I feel guilty. I can’t say I don’t. But I also know that it’s ok for me to do this and that the guilt won’t kill me. I do my fair share, and life is not supposed to be a long round of hair shirts and penitence any more than it is supposed to be about 24/7 decadence and parties.

And I’m writing all this down because it helps me to get all this stuff out of my head and into the light of day. I want to mark the progress and the process because one of the things about depression of any kind is that it lies to you. It lies to you about all sorts of things, and it’s easy to forget in the midst of the bleak times that it does, because everything it tells you seems so real and more true than anything else you’ve ever experienced and sometimes it’s good to make a reminder that it can lie and it does lie.

24 responses to “Note to Self

  1. Hurrah for you! Six cheers because three just aren’t enough. I’m so glad you went and danced the night away. Music, any music, is so life affirming and can change you. Keep dancing, and one day soon you’ll go marching again because that’s life affirming too.

  2. Strange that although I was hoping to see you (and give you à hug) at THE March, it Ends up with neither of us going. We could not find affordable transport. Sad to say several local Union members could not be bothered to return my calls, e-mails, Facebook Messages. Perhaps another time, xx

  3. I am so glad to hear things are improving and even gladder you made it to the disco! Music heals the soul and as far as I’m concerned dancing runs it a very close second, therefore cheesy tunes and dancing like a maniac is very potent medicine indeed.
    There will be other marches and this one will be well attended I am sure, as you say you do your fair share for the NHS (and many other good causes) and sadly it is a problem that ain’t going anywhere soon.
    I could write a book on guilt, a very catholic upbringing does that to you, but the abridged version would be that, like most negative emotions, it can be used to encourage you to do better or differently where appropriate/possible, otherwise it should be comprehensively dismissed. I don’t always practice what I preach but I most definitely know of what I speak…

    Keep buggering on and be comforted by the fact that you would be very much missed if you stopped Xxx

  4. Have you tried feverfew for your migraine? It often works amazingly well and reduces the re-occurances too. X

  5. I went on the NHS march today – my first ever – and you were one of the inspirations. So you just look after yourself and see me as your stand-in for today!

  6. Not sure what’s worse about Depression, the way it lies to you, the way it flattens everything, or the way your ‘sane’ mind and your ‘Depressed’ mind argue all the time!

    Glad you had a good time Friday. I did wonder whether you’d be in Trafalgar square, but completely understand. I wasn’t either!

  7. Trade offs, yes. We have to make them, and sometimes they have to be in favour of going dancing. I’m glad you enjoyed it. xx

  8. Never miss an opportunity to dance, sing, laugh…all excellent therapy.

  9. Have you read SUNBATHING IN THE RAIN? Xx

  10. Katy please please please don’t feel guilty. You are doing what you need to do to heal yourself. I was on the March, proud to be there, but there chiefly because I have found you so very inspiring, as I am sure many others do. You have given me the confidence to stand up and fight for what I believe in, instead of being a frustrated onlooker. As I said before, be kind to yourself. That way you will live to fight another day!

  11. jenny Bertenshaw

    Oh lord Katy you remind me so much of me,a zillion yrs ago. I went through all of this in a foreign country,having to describe it in a foreign language. (no this is not to make you feel worse) My panic and fear at getting off a plane and thinking I would bleed all down the stairway. It doesn’t help to know it’s pretty normal for many women at the age your at..It might help to know so many of us survived it and came out the other side. It does and will get better. Just hang in there Hugs

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