Depression

Regretful

Stoneycroft

Painting by my mother

I don’t know that I really have a topic today, other than I just haven’t been feeling well.  I have been moved for six weeks and I still ache thinking about what I left behind.  I still don’t feel settled in.  I have been working for a month and I am tired all the time.  We are still living at my mom’s but we have bought a house.  I am exhausted from all the work that entailed.

I keep having this nagging, pervasive feeling that I made a huge life mistake.  We moved back to my hometown, which is in a really economically depressed part of the country.  Part of the reason we moved was so that we could do more and give back to the community that raised us.  But I worry that the poverty and lack of education will take too much of a toll on me.  Almost everyone who graduated with me is gone, moved to greener pastures like I was for the last ten years.  Everyone who is educated eventually leaves.

It is just a really depressing situation.  In the place I just moved from, I was always jealous of the people my age who had all their family and friends with them and almost no one left.  I did not have the privilege of being raised in such a town.  In the town I grew up in, the reality was that everyone leaves when they graduate.  Canada is peopled by the scattered population of the Maritimes.

I know there are lots of good things about living here, but right now I am in a funk.  I have already started to help people in my new job, but I worry I have given up my dreams of adventure and success.  I just wish I could feel settled and content.

I am turning 35 next month.  I don’t want to be old.  I don’t want to have made the wrong decision and doomed myself for life.

Anxiety · Healing

Journey off medication

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I have been trying to write for ages but I can never seem to steal the time.  Between my new job and house-hunting, I’m exhausted at the end of the day.

I have been trying to go off my anti-anxiety medication for good now.  Partly because my worries have subsided somewhat since I moved, partly because I’m on a waiting list to get a new doctor so I have no idea how long it will take to get a refill.

The process has been really frustrating because there is just so little information on what to expect going off the medication.  I went to a half dose for awhile and then a half-dose every other day, then (mostly) cold turkey the last week or so.  Some of the side effects are annoying but expected, like brain fog, irritation, dizziness, some anxiety, etc.

The biggest difference I’ve noticed is a huge weight gain.  This is what makes it so frustrating, because I can’t find anything online about if this is a side effect of going off medication.  I just know I’ve had a huge appetite the last month or so, like nothing I eat is satisfying me.  I’m trying to get more nutritious food and I’m actually exercising more than ever, but I can’t seem to curb my appetite.  I am trying not to cry every time I can’t fit into clothes I’ve worn for years or see the extra layers of fat in the mirror.  But I’m a small person and every extra bit of weight shows on me.

As a perfectionist this is so hard on me.  I’ve been doing so well fighting my negative thoughts and adjusting to my huge cross-country move and my new job.  But if one thing is off, like my weight, I obsess about it and feel like a failure.  I usually start the day with good intentions, but after a long day of work I inevitably crash and just want to gorge.  I’m not in my own house so I don’t feel like I have any control over the kitchen.  I am still settling into a whole new daily routine so it does through one’s food habits off, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  Still, it’s one more thing to deal with emotionally that I wish I didn’t have to.

Sensitivity

On place, time and feeling

Having moved, I feel in tune with the way places affect me, the way I feel in tune with how certain times of day influence my mood.  Maybe my sensitivity is what causes my brain to connect the two (synesthesia).  I love making these connections.  For instance, when I was younger I thought certain years had colours.  1991 felt pink, 1993 was green, and 1995 seemed yellow.

Walking through my mom’s suburbs the other day, I felt the same heavy, draggy feeling that I get whenever I walk through suburbs.  It struck me that it was similar to the feeling I get during slow afternoons.  And it occurred to me that my feelings about place mimic the feelings I have about time of day.

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Saint John River, August 2007

Mornings are like nature.  Fresh, new, and ripe with possibility.  There’s a quiet energy about them, and a sense of restorative hope.  It’s no coincidence that humanity’s “morning,” their beginning, also took place in nature.  Nature and mornings both give me creative inspiration.

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My old house in England, May 2006

Afternoons are the suburbs.  It’s no secret that I dislike both.  At best, they are a place/time to retreat and relax from the world.  Mostly they feel stuffy and confining.  There is little energy about them, just weary resignation.  It feels like nothing can change, and everything must conform.  It is like having a crappy filling between two delicious slices of bread.

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New York from the Empire State Building, April 2008

Evenings are the city!  I absolutely love evenings and the city is my favourite place to be.  After supper everything comes alive again, shaking off the doldrums of the afternoon.  Work is over, now it’s time to play!  It’s all about socializing with friends, having dessert, going to the theatre or movies, or enjoying a concert.  In ancient times, this is when we would cluster together around the fire, telling stories.  Laughter, friends, and fun, what could be better?

Disagree?  Have you own time/place associations?  Let me know!

Anxiety · Depression

A new place

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It has been a very long few weeks, but we have moved.  My mind and body are still in shock.  Having a mental illness adds another dimension to the confusion and chaos.  There are times when I really struggle to remember just why we did it.  It was in part due to my mental breakdown.  We wanted a slower pace of life, and we knew we’d find it in our old hometown on the other side of the country.  But ooh boy, has it been rocky.

Moving out of the place I lived in for the past ten years has felt gut-wrenching.  All the people, routines, places, and a million different memories, have suddenly vanished.  I feel like an exile on a distant shore.  The place I am now is both physically and culturally very distant.

We are staying at my mom’s house until we find a place of our own.  Being back in the town where I grew up feels freaky.  Everything is familiar, yet different.  I am trying hard to reconcile the place I remember with the place I see before me.  There are so many things I recognize, and yet I marvel at the things I never noticed when I was younger.

It is stunningly beautiful here.  Like, knock-you-over, jaw-dropping beauty.  Just across the street from my mom’s house is a gorgeous lake set against a backdrop of evergreens.  In Ontario, this place would be overrun by screaming kids and parents carting gigantic strollers, Tim Horton’s cups, and dogs.  But here our only company is the ducks.

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Our bedroom overlooks a forested ravine where trains regularly run by, so close you can almost touch them. The deer are abundant too.  They wander almost up to the house.

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The pace of life feels much slower.  There is almost no traffic, and people will stop for you when you try to cross the street.  We are just a short drive from the ocean, which I have always found peaceful and restful.  When the stress of moving is too much and I start to feel derealization, this setting helps combat that.

Fundy Trail

Work is my biggest worry right now.  I have no idea how I am going to feel moving from an incredibly busy, hectic, fast-paced environment to a much more sedate one.  I have another week before I start work.

I am trying hard to combat feeling like a failure, that I somehow couldn’t take “real” life in the busy world.  Any move is a trade-off, and what I lose in amenities and access to things I make up for in nature.

Time will tell how things go…

Healing

Peace

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Friday was my last day of work at my old job, and I can’t say the day went well.  I started crying before I left and didn’t stop all the way home.  I bawled all through supper, and it didn’t end until I went swimming with my husband.  Even on Saturday, I felt extremely anxious and depressed.  I honestly had no idea how I was going to hold it together with not working and the stress of moving on top of it.

On Monday we had my good-bye lunch with my co-workers, and afterward my husband and I went for a walk in the woods.  The temperature was perfect, breezy and sunny, and the woods were so peaceful without a soul around.

As we started walking I could feel my thoughts start to race again.  Fear, self-doubt, and negative thoughts crowded around.  But the day was so pretty and lovely, I told my mind to stop talking.  I forced myself to pay attention to my surroundings and only my surroundings, and let my thoughts be carried away on the wind without holding onto them.

It was perfect.  It was lovely.  We saw birds, and chipmunks, and frogs.  I breathed in the scent of pines (trees are known to help reduce stress).  My husband just stood and held me for awhile.

It wasn’t everything.  It wasn’t forever.  But just for that afternoon, I felt peace.  More than I’d felt in a very long time.

Anxiety · Depression

Not What She Seems

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This week has been terrible.  Last week was good, this one is awful.  It is my last week of work before I fall into the abyss of not working, and I am a nervous wreck about it.  My good-bye party was held on Tuesday and I left it in tears.  My mind keeps spinning around and around, racing with all sorts of terrible thoughts about the immediate and distant future.  Even though I am moving back to my old hometown, even though I have another job lined up, I can only think awful things.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking about suicide a lot lately.

Nobody would ever, ever, ever suspect that I think these things.  Everyone keeps saying how nice I am, how happy I look all the time at work, how wonderful that everything is working out for me and how excited I must be to move back home after ten years.  How fortunate, they say, for my new workplace, to have someone like me, who loves their job so much and never misses a day of work.  How lucky that I have a husband who adores me and takes care of me, and friends and family who love and support me.

They don’t know that in the cracks between my day, the moments when I’m not doing anything or just driving or on the treadmill at the gym, all I can think of is, maybe I should just cut my wrists and be done with it all.

And honestly, after nine months of this shit, of looking forward every day to crawling into bed at night for the sweetness of oblivion, it is goddamn tempting.

That’s me.  The luckiest woman in the world.  The happiest woman.  The one you work with, your best friend, the one who seems to have her life completely together.  This is what she thinks.  This is how she lives her life inside, every minute of every day.

 

Anxiety · Depression · Sensitivity

A (negative) HSP week

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Source: Introvert Doodles

I really needed this comic this week.  It has been a bad few days, where nothing seemed to go right.  It rained all week, everyone called in sick to work, library patrons were extremely demanding and I felt miserable and full of PMS.  I am back to having an upset stomach and tight chest at the end of the day now.  I found the noise from people just unbearable: the screaming, whiny kids, the obnoxious teenagers, the loud cell phone talkers, the constant allergy sneezes.  I just wanted to stuff cotton in my ears and retreat to a private, quiet space.

I am really looking forward to leaving this all behind.