Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

How Are You?

It’s been a few months since I was diagnosed with depression and I’m still on the medication although hopeful the doctor will reduce or end my time on them next week when I am due to see him. I’m feeling much better and with the aid of the medication can actually understand the difference now between “normal” rubbish days and depression. It’s hard to explain, but we all have down days, I thought I was just having a run of them back in the autumn, but now I see that what I was feeling was completely different, it was a constant fog of numbness, with frequent bouts of feeling insecure, inadequate and lost. I’m feeling like me again now and when I have a bad day, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and I am positive I can get through it.

What I have found though is the way some people talk to me and also the way I have been now I have been officially diagnosed with depression. Before my diagnosis I have worked with and known plenty of people who suffer from depression of some sort and I do think that it depends on who the person is and the reason for their depression as to how to speak to them. It does take an understanding of depression to be confident with those who have depression and I think sometimes that’s what our society lacks. So here’s my take on depression and what you can do for friends and family that suffer!

First of all, there are 2 types of depression. There is circumstantial depression. (These are my terms not medical terms). This is when someone is depressed because of an event that has happened in their life, death of a loved one, break up of a marriage, being made redundant.  This is the kind of depression that has a trigger, it can usually be managed by counselling and may require medication. Then there is the other type of depression, which whilst has a trigger, it is sometimes seemingly out of the blue. The type I am talking about here would include Post Natal Depression, SAD and in my case, a bout of depression that seemingly came out of no where. I said the whole way through, that I am happy, work was good, me and Mr D were all good, nothing had happened to act as a trigger. From talking to the doctor I would say I have suffered silently since I was a teen, but mainly since B was born 9 years ago. I’ve managed it myself but this time it was worse.

The most important thing though, is that in all cases depression is an illness, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain – whether this imbalance is caused by a specific trigger or an underlying possible genetic tendency (again, this is not based on medical fact, this is my view), it is an illness. If I had tonsillitis I would expect to be asked how I am but not the in’s and out’s of why I have it and what the prognosis is. Yet I have found that when people know I am being treated for depression they talk to me different, ask me how I am a lot, tip toe around speaking to me in the normal way in case they upset me. I don’t know if it is a conscious thing but all I would say is, talk to me how you always have!!

As for me, I noticed as I started to feel better I felt guilty for laughing. As the medication kicked in I reached a stage where i could hold it together in public or with friends and then let go when I was on my own, the tears were still there but they were once again hidden. To me inside that was a sign of being on the way back up as I have this stage on the way down too. Yet I found myself laughing or being daft with the kids and then pulling back from it, as if I had no right to laugh because I have depression. I guess this is part of the way depression takes hold. It does sometimes feel like the devil on your shoulder saying you are not allowed to enjoy yourself!

I am now back at work, hence the lack of posts on here for a while, and things are going well. I’m doing everything I have always done, the only difference is that at the moment I still need that tablet each morning. Oh and I still can’t drink yet, had a glass of wine on Christmas day and honestly forgot things I had said!!! It was a weird feeling, like being drunk without the slurred words, like flying without leaving the seat! So I am not going there again!!! I hope my little insight will help you to understand depression more, and remember, it’s still the same person inside so treat them how you always do and that’s the best way to aid anyone’s recovery!

I love this advert, sums it up great – this is a longer version of the advert we see on TV and brings a smile to my face every time!!!

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January 27, 2012 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , , | Leave a comment

Back to Work

This time five weeks ago I had made the decision to see the doctor about my depression and signed myself off sick for a week. Little did I know that would turn into 5 weeks off sick, but today I return to work!

I’ve come a long way in five weeks. I’m feeling much happier in myself, I’m not in tears at the littlest thing and I want to get back to normal. Five weeks ago I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I didn’t think anything could lift the fog of depression. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “fixed” yet. Recovering from depression takes time and I know that tomorrow morning I may wake up and want the world to go away. The difference now is that I have the ability to make myself do things no matter how hard it is.  So watch this space on how my day goes!

I am worried, worried being at work will knock me back, worried I’m not yet ready and so will mess up and effect my confidence. As the doctor said though, it is a case of trying it and seeing how it goes, the reassurance I can go and get signed off again if it gets too much is like a crash net beneath me so I know I won’t hit rock bottom again. I’ve also got the benefit of it being almost Christmas, so with bank holidays and annual holiday already booked, I’m pretty much only working 7 days over the next 3 weeks. So a slow steady return to work will hopefully be the best way to ease myself back to normal!

My biggest fear is not how I will be round my colleagues, but how I will be working with the families I work with. I’ve noticed lately I will panic uncontrollably over silly little things, like being in a very crowded room for H’s Christmas Concert, or meeting friends for a meal – what if they don’t turn up, what if the food is awful as I suggested the venue, what if they ask how I am and I cry…………..

Watch this space!

Step one – shout help ~ check

Step two – take some time ~ check

Step three – back to work ~ here goes!!

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , | 2 Comments

Exciting News

Last week I received some really exciting news. What that news is I cannot say because it’s not my news – but the news itself is not important for the purpose of this post.

Regular readers will know that I am going through a pretty rubbish time at the moment. I’ve been off work for almost 3 weeks and I am back to the doctors on Wednesday to see what the way forward is. I’m very much living in my own bubble at the moment and as much as I want to get out of it, for the way I am feeling it is safe to stay in this bubble. Looking forward is really hard at the moment. I can’t see past the day I am in. I’m trying to look forward to Christmas but even that is happening on auto pilot.

So, last week, I got some news completely out of the blue that I never expected to get. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time but for purely selfish reasons. To say it made me smile is an understatement. It brought tears to my eyes for a good reason. It’s also made me look forward to the future, which is less of a blur now. I wrote the title to this post meaning it. I haven’t felt genuinely excited for a long time but about this, yes I am.

Life is still hard day to day, I’m sat here writing in my pyjamas, looking and feeling a mess with no motivation to get showered and dressed because I know it won’t make me feel happier. I’m not looking forward to 3pm when the girls come home because I have to paint on the smile for them. I’m not looking forward to the doctors on Wednesday as I have blood results to get which have been giving me nightmares and I’m scared of what he might tell me. Suddenly though I can look forward to the mid term, the not so distant future. To get there I have to get through today, tomorrow, Wednesday, next week, Christmas etc. So in a way, the news of the future is getting me through today – and hopefully by then I’ll have found me again too.

Oh and a message from my depression…………

“The exciting news won’t happen. Something will change and it’s not going to be. Then you’ll come running back to me with open arms because I am safe, I’m the only thing you can depend on for the rest of your life.”

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , | 3 Comments

Christmas Spirit

I love Christmas. I love the carols, the excited children, everyone talking about their plans, I love Christmas shopping, putting up the decorations and the tree. I am really looking forward to Christmas this year. It will be the first for many years that I wake in my own home and hopefully Santa will have been. The girls can open their pressies before going to my parents for dinner. Santa has been good to them this year because they have been good and their lists were done on time for once!

Thing is though, I’m missing the Christmas cheer this year. Today Mr D has put up his tree with his children and I have joined in but really not got excited about it. My tree will need to go up too, but I can’t find the enthusiasm in me to do it. My tree always goes up before the end of November but this year I am wondering if that will be the case. The Christmas shopping is almost complete, the wrapping is well on it’s way to being done but I just want to pause things until I find me again.

Tonight I should have been on a night out with my work colleagues for our Christmas night out. As I am currently off sick and the destination meant an hours drive, I made the decision that I wouldn’t go. I can’t drink on the medication I am on and with how drowsy I get in the evenings didn’t think the drive was a wise idea. I know I’m not myself though because the “real” me would be gutted about missing a night out and right now I’m not bothered!

Mr D said to me earlier “You don’t want to be here do you?” and I replied with “Right now I don’t want to be anywhere!” That shocked me, but that’s how I felt. I didn’t want to be here with them, I didn’t want to go home or to my parents. I just wanted to hibernate and wake up when I feel better! It’s a weird feeling. I say I have felt like this for years on and off, but I most definitely feel worse than I have ever felt. I have lost all motivation and operate on auto pilot and I really want to feel better for Christmas!!

So that’s my goal, I have decided no matter what happens on Wednesday when I go back to the doctors, my goal needs to be slightly longer term. I was thinking my recovery would be a couple of weeks but that just hasn’t happened. So my aim is to be able to enjoy Christmas as the “real” me. Here’s hoping!! I have 4 weeks, the search continues!!

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , , | 3 Comments

Had Enough Now

On Monday i blogged about the fact I was starting to feel better. Oh how I wish I had kept my mouth shut! Tuesday and Wednesday I had that awful numb “I feel nothing” feeling. Then yesterday the tears returned. I don’t like to cry although I do cry easily. I find it’s a release if I am angry or upset about something, but when it is just uncontrollable crying for nothing I feel like a complete idiot, even when I am sat here on my own!

I have a week until I see the doctor again for a chat about how I am getting on and how to move forward. I know I was told that the side effects would last 1-2 weeks and I would start to feel better in 2-4 weeks but I was possibly kidding myself last week that the tablets were kicking in. I think as it turns out, the drowsy side effects were just meaning I switched off from my feelings for a while. The side effects are now wearing off, I no longer feel sick when I eat and I’m not yawning as much, but emotionally I feel back where I started! I am due to go back to work next Thursday and whilst that is a week away I am already getting panicy about it – not that I don’t want to get better or go back to work because to be honest time with my colleagues is something I do miss. Yet I’m convinced that going back to work is going to knock me back again. I know it’s a week away though and hopefully I will be feeling different though.

Thing is though I am really conscious that the people around me are fed up with it too. B keeps asking me if I am ok, to which I always say yes, so she asks why I am not at work! Mr D comes round in an evening and I can be happy and chirpy one minute and in tears the next, with no explanation. As for my family they are there for support but I don’t think any of them really get it. I don’t want to talk about it all the time but it’s always there.

I’ll keep on going, I am fed up big time of feeling this way. I wish I could just pull myself together and cheer up, but it’s really not that easy. I really feel like I am loosing me at the moment and that’s the scariest thing!

November 25, 2011 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , | 9 Comments

Light at the End of the Tunnel

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I have been feeling lately and I got some fantastic responses, not just through my blog, but on twitter and email as well as plucking up the courage to let Mr D in on just how bad I was feeling by getting him to read my post! I did wonder whether to follow up on this because it is a pretty personal thing, but figured that 1. I found it quite therapeutic to write how I was feeling and this may be of help to me and 2. It may well help someone else out there who is going through similar issues to do something about it.

Two weeks ago I went to see the doctor, I walked in the room and burst into tears. I felt stupid. I thought I was wasting the doctors time. I was expecting to be told to pull myself together and get on with it. He requested blood tests to rule out any physical issue that may be making me feel this way and gave me a questionnaire to fill in and bring back a week later. I then drove to work and told my boss how I was feeling. Thankfully I work with people who understand all about mental illness and I was advised to take some time off, because although not physically ill, it was clear I needed to get sorted out. I shared how I was feeling with my family. I had my blood tests done and I waited for the results.

On my return to the doctors I was told my blood tests were fine and although I have to have one of them redone due to a borderline result, there was nothing there as cause for concern. I handed my questionnaire to the doctor and he said “Hmmm yes”. That was the moment I heard the words, “You are suffering from moderate to severe depression.” I wasn’t surprised, to be honest I was relieved. I wasn’t making things up. I wasn’t just in a bad mood all the time. I had an answer.

I have been taking anti depressants for a week now. The side effects are pretty yuck. They make me drowsy and so my doctor has signed me off for another 2 weeks, by when the side effects should have died down. I feel nauseous when I have eaten and my concentration isn’t what it normally is. Doesn’t paint a great picture I know, but, I am now starting to see the light. Yesterday I woke up with a smile. I still didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did. I dropped off the girls, went to Tesco without feeling paranoid about people watching my every move, I wrapped a load of Christmas pressies and I cooked a lovely tea for me and the girls. I’m getting there. I’m starting to feel like me again. And I can honestly say I am now so glad I posted that blog post!

Depression effects 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives, yet so much is still not understood and accepted. For a long time I have gone through hard times and been scared to talk to anyone for fear of being judged as inadequate as a mother, a partner and just in general as a person. Truth of the matter is though, depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and whilst can be brought on by trauma, is not something anyone should be judged on. I know I am lucky to have a supporting partner, family and boss, but I would urge anyone fighting with depressive symptoms to ask for help. I won’t sit with regret that maybe had I spoken up sooner I could have got through this without medication, with counselling and other drug free remedies, hind sight is a wonderful thing. I would however, love for the prejudices and lack of knowledge about mental health to change!

I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to get there!!

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , | 4 Comments