Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Journey

I've just been extremely moved by a friend's blog - one of those that seems to reach in and drag out some of my deepest feelings. I'm quite emotional, and realise that I haven't yet blogged about the stuff that's been happening to me recently.

I'm getting more exercise, am on a diet, losing weight; I'm told that I'm much calmer and funnier, and I'm looking forward to and getting excited about stuff for the first time in a very very long time. And the reason this is so important to me, and the thing I am most proud of dealing with, is that I suffer from depression.

I have done so since a child, although wasn't diagnosed until my mid-30s, and even then I could push it to the back of my mind and my life and ignore it. Post natal depression - which should never be patronisingly reduced to "baby blues" - got me, but with the help of temporary hormone supplements, I beat it. Then as Young Master progressed in years, I started to have physical problems, and I coped; with help, with support, and with some very good friends, and the unstinting love of my Big Chief White Hair and Young Master, and my beautiful wider family, I adapted - we all adapted.

Then I ended up back in hospital with yet another auto-immune problem. This time the decline was slow - the physical problems took precedence, learning to walk with aids, gradually getting together the stuff that made life do-able again, didn't really give me much time to think. But eventually there was nothing between me and an overwhelming agglomeration of guilt, frustration and self-loathing.

It's always been there, but like a tide it ebbs and flows. I'm so lucky, normally it's only in full flow for a matter of weeks, but this time it drowned me, and trying to swim just made me sink faster. "I'm better than this" just led to another wave of frustration, more tears to more self-hate, and all the time seeing what effect all this was having on those around me, feeding the guilt that dogs my every breath.

Gotta love mixed metaphors.

I even beat myself up over the D Ts that accompanied withdrawal from tramadol. Tramadol's not supposed to be addictive, it's not supposed to cause problems with long-term use... but it did for me. And following it up with morphine patches wasn't the best idea.

And wanting people to ring, and begging people for coffee - well that's what it felt like to me; every text that wasn't answered, every date that was broken, was the knife that said "see you're really not worth knowing", cutting with the blade of knowing that however much I told myself I was hateful, I was clearly much, much worse in reality.

Depression really is evil. It twists your thinking and you can't see it unless someone points it out to you. The people who look at you in a funny way - how was I looking at them? When two people cancel a dinner date within minutes of each other - have they been talking about me behind my back? Insecurity leads in other ways - if the coffee date does happen, then you're just the object of someone's pity, don't tell them how you really are, talk about nonsense; or else the floodgates open and they get rather more dire gloom than they bargained for.

I don't do the "oh there are so many people in the world worse off than you" line to myself. There most certainly are, but there are also plenty who don't have to face what I do each day. I'm not jealous, I celebrate their fitness, health, and seeming lack of worry and self-examination. I wish that more of my friends and family were as fit and healthy. I don't look back on my childhood and think it was unhappy, although undoubtedly parts of it were, extremely so; it was what it was, and is now in the past. I just want to switch off the part of my brain that looks in the mirror constantly. I am getting better at reversing the language of hate I use to myself daily - I haven't yet put a stop to it, even while typing this, part of my brain is going "I I I, me me me you selfish cow" - but this is MY blog and I write about what I know, and what I know is me myself. So no apologies, no awkward pauses, just the truth.

I talk about my family all the time, in real life and in virtuality, and when I'm not talking about them, I'm talking about my friends, especially those in virtuality. What I've learned from them, how they make me laugh or cry, how there is always a kind word, or comfort, or a hug, if I just ask. And whatever people say about the internet not being real, or being full of people showing only the side of themselves they choose to reveal - hell, I know all that, but if so many people can be kind to me, then maybe there should be a tiny voice in my head saying that maybe I am worth knowing.


  1. Thank you, Jenny. Love you.
    Peter XXX

  2. Been sat here for a while trying to think of appropriate things to say. Should it be 'thank you'? 'So sorry'? But none of them really work. So a massive 'good luck, friend' will have to suffice.

  3. Tried to reply but it didn't work:-( Pete it's me who should be thanking you. This stuff should be shouted from the rooftops. I still didn't get to the heart of what it's really like.

    All I can say is, it's a road that we travel, one that stops us travelling together; we can't reach out to others on it, nor let others reach us, although it's not for lack of wanting or trying, in either case. Talking about it is all the travellers can do, if they can even do that. But however isolated those travellers are, at least they share a bit of that road.

  4. Oh My Giddy Aunt!
    You have definitely got a way of taking what's in the head and heart and translating it into language that 'speaks' to me. I can associate with so much of what you've written I wonder whether you have been spying on me somehow. Obviously we suffer from different physical conditions so no comparisons to be made there ... BUT the emotional fragility and paranoia, the constant questioning and insecurities etc... sheeesh! "Nail and head" spring to mind. Oh ... just to clarify, that is not a suggestion that you put a nail IN your head BTW!

    Max's Craft Creations
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