A few weeks ago I had a full on meltdown because I hadn’t refilled my bird feeders since before Squidge was born and now all the birds would have forgotten about our garden and they wouldn’t come back even if I did sort the feeders out.
Not having done them meant I was lazy and useless, that I’d wasted money buying them and all the bird seed and that I was completely selfish and ungrateful because the bird table was a birthday present from my brother.
And so on.
All of this was blurted out in one big breath, through sobs and hiccuping and the occasional foghorn type noise which is the result of me blowing my nose.
My dad and brother refer to me as the Queen Mary and if he thinks it’ll make me laugh (or at least smile) the Northern One will pretend to be pulling an air horn as I blow.
At was a completely disproportionate reaction to something that wasn’t remotely important in the great scheme of things and could be easily fixed when I felt up to doing it. Equally, the birds are not remotely fussy about who puts food out for them and are hardly going to refuse to come into the garden because I’ve neglected to fill the feeders for a while.
In my slightly unhinged state I think I had visions of the local birds spurning my offerings entirely in favour of gardens where the feeders were replenished regularly and not subject to the owners mental health.
This is something that happens to me quite a lot.
The Northern One has learned to deal with it taking whatever I am upset about completely seriously but also calmly explaining why I don’t need to get so worked up about whatever it is while I insist that it’s the worst thing in the world and how doing/not doing/forgetting/remembering makes me a terrible person.
It’s exhausting but I suppose it’s a coping mechanism of sorts.
I get completely worked up over something minor, have a great big cry, feel better and then I usually go and do whatever it was that felt so completely insurmountable a few hours ago.
Getting upset (not that I do it on purpose) means that unless I’m completely on my own someone will help me realise that I can do the dishes/update my portfolio/ring the health visitor and will also help me to work out what I need to do in order to complete the (usually fairly minor) task.
I could just ask for help but if my brain worked in a completely logical way then I wouldn’t be taking tablets that (on occasion) make my brain feel like it’s melting and I probably wouldn’t be sat here writing this blog. I suppose being upset shows people how much I need their help and gets the message across that I’m not being lazy or just a bit whimpy; I’m honestly struggling and I need someone to help me work out what to do.
It’s also a safe(ish) way to let out some of the emotion that has inevitably built up for one reason or another without getting too bogged down with what the real problem is.
I know what the actual problem is but there isn’t an awful lot I can do about it apart from continuing to get up every morning, take my tablets as prescribed, engage with the available mental health services and try to do the things that I know are supposed to help deal with depression.
Eating healthily (nope)
Sufficient sleep (getting better)
I remember reading a blog post where the author had turned up to a counselling appointment in a complete state because her takeaway coffee was in the ‘wrong’ colour cup. They both knew that it wasn’t the colour of the cup that had upset her but that thinking about the real issue and working through it was just too difficult.
The post could have been written about me, apart from the fact that I don’t drink coffee (urgh). We both know that the alternative to getting upset about something as unimportant as the colour of a cup is to look into the dark and bottomless pit that is a life lived under the shadow of depression.
The idea that I might have to live like this for the rest of my life is just so overwhelmingly terrifying that I just can’t think about it and I know that thinking about it doesn’t actually change anything. There isn’t going to be a light bulb moment when I realise how to live my life free of depression no matter how hard I think about it.
I know I have depression.
I know if affects my entire life and will probably do so forever.
I know that it’s not just me affected but everyone who cares about me.
It’s such an enormous thing for one person to try and work through.
So instead I end up in bits about the fact that I haven’t cleaned out the guinea pigs or the amount of baby weight I’ve put on or the fact that I haven’t felt well enough to blog on a particular day. These are all things that I can actually deal with despite there being days where losing weight or tidying the house or trying to write something useful seem incredibly difficult.
So if, despite getting so upset I do actually manage to fit back into the clothes I was wearing before I started eating for two (three) or clean the fish tank so that the front isn’t streaked with limescale; if I can do these things and beat the voices in my head that insist that I can’t then maybe, just maybe I will one day walk in the sun with the shadow of depression a distant memory.
But until then I need to work out how I’m going to (in the space of 24 hours) get the house sorted and packing done for the three of us so that we can go and stay with my parents for week.
Without losing my marbles