Depression, happiness, life, marriage, Mental health, Motherhood

Roller Coaster

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Spring is nearly here

This past week I have been going through a roller coaster of emotions. I was missing my husband who was away for work for two weeks, nervous about being 100% responsible for my son, feeling guilty because I wasn’t having enough time to walk my dog as much as I normally do, and was also happy and excited, looking forward to a weekend away with friends. A bit sad, a bit nervous, a bit happy and a bit guilty. It’s exhausting feeling so much…

My husband came back at 5.30am on Friday morning, took our son to school and then went to work. I went away with my friends at lunchtime, so we barely had a chance to catch up. I then went to Birmingham with two friends to visit CRUFTS, the dog show, for the first time. I was very excited and got almost hysterical with happiness once we arrived at the NEC on Saturday. I absolutely LOVE dogs and this place was like the Mecca for anything dog. Dogs everywhere, stands selling stuff for dogs, arena displays, talks, the lot. I walked around all day with this massive grin on my face. We then had a brilliant celebratory dinner and Sunday was time to come home, a bit hungover.

After so much excitement, I was bound to feel down, because when I go up I normally slump down at some point. Just now, nearly a week later, I started to feel ‘even’ and balanced again. I hope that I stay like this for a while.

The sunshine and the imminent arrival of Spring is helping…

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blogging, life, Mental health, Motherhood

Dear Son

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Zanzibar 2016

Dear Son,

I would like to say that I love you and always will, no matter what.

It breaks my heart that you have no belief in yourself and no self-confidence. We really tried so hard for you to have these things. We moved you to different and better schools in the hope that they would help you. But it is not helping. It saddens me too to think that you may be a bit lazy and not have much drive. Am I wrong to think this of you? Maybe I am, but sometimes, like now, I get lost, and don’t know what to think.

Yesterday I received yet another email from your school letting me know that you are behind in two subjects and that you haven’t been handing in homework. I was furious because we have tried so many things: we had conversations, we have talked to the school, we have booked therapy sessions, we have left you alone, we have been been on top of your school work, we have shouted and we have cried. Nothing seems to work. I know it all sounds a bit melodramatic, but I constantly worry, because it goes beyond school work. It is about your attitude when facing adversity, you just say that you are never going to be good enough.

Maybe a lot of my feelings have to do with my expectations, but which parent doesn’t expect and want the best for their child? I am not sure what to do really. Is this all normal adolescent behaviour? Should I just give you bit more time to grow up?

I see your angry face when we argue about school and I hope that you don’t stop loving me.

 

 

 

happiness, life, marriage, Mental health, Resilience

A few numbers

numbers18I had my hair cut really short 3 times. Each time it marked some life event. The first time was after I broke up with a boyfriend of two years. I felt free, I learned how to drive and I started partying a lot. The second time was after I was recovering from a breakdown in New York. That was the worst time in my life, but it was also wonderful in many paradoxical ways. I had met the love of my life, my true soulmate, and was making very tough decisions. Finally, the third time was after my dad died. I just didn’t feel like the same person I was before without him in this world.

I have taken 10 different medications for depression and/or anxiety throughout life. I still take one every day and another one occasionally. According to my psychiatrist, I should be on these for the rest of my life.

I have seen 11 different therapists and psychiatrists.

I have lived in 9 different houses/flats.

I had 11 different jobs.

I have lived in 3 different countries. I have visited 21 countries.

I got married (and still am) once, I have 1 son, 1 dog and 2 cats.

I have one pretty amazing and at times scary life.

 

Anxiety, blogging, Mental health

A farce?

10417747_10152898270620733_6991419322097820910_nSo, this morning, the next  day after writing this post, I thought it was really pants and disjointed, but I will publish anyway.

I started this blog and even though it hasn’t even been a week, I have been going through a journey in my mind. It is good sometimes and other times it is scary as I remember periods when I felt so unwell, that just the memory makes my heart skip a beat.

I also have been reading other blogs on mental health and they make me feel a little bit like a farce. Other people have been through so much shit in their lives, so it totally makes sense that they end up with mental health problems. I had and have a good life so don’t really think I have genuine reasons to have depression and anxiety. But maybe these conditions have no rhyme or reason? On the other hand, I personally know people who faced awful circumstances and still remained ‘sane’ and were not afflicted by mental health issues…

Not sure what is the point of this post really, It was just that I was thinking about all that and wanted to write it down. The other reason I feel a little bit like a farce is because I am not a very good writer, and the bloggers I read are just so good. English is not my first language (I now feel more comfortable writing in English than in Portuguese), and I know that despite reading and re-reading what I write, I still miss lots of mistakes and weird phrasing. But I won’t care about this, I will carry on writing and welcome suggestions on how to improve.

I guess I better stick to the story of my life and the times when depression and anxiety manifested themselves.

The last time I wrote how I first experiences anxiety when I was 16. After getting over that, even though I didn’t know what it was at the time, my Mum sent me to see a psychotherapist. She (the therapist, not my mother) wasn’t very helpful and I wasn’t mature enough. To be honest, it was a bit of a waste of time and money. A year later, when I was finishing my last year at school, I felt anxious again. I had a boyfriend in school and he and his family were from another country and were moving back there after the school year finished. I was quite upset by it all and wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. But every time I was with him I felt really nervous and sick. The impeding doom feeling was there the whole time and I just couldn’t concentrate in the present. I was constantly worrying about the imminent future. It was unpleasant but not as bad as the previous time, and to be honest I didn’t associate one feeling with the other. When I remember it now, they were very similar feelings and they can be easily identified as anxiety. Once again, no one mentioned anxiety or anything related at the time. There was a very clear reason why I was feeling that way, so I guess it just made sense.

He left, we carried on by having a long distance relationship for a while, but university was great and I decided to break up after one year. I was free from those horrible feelings and I was happy. I would be happy for a long time. My university years were truly brilliant. I spent four years there, not learning a lot, but making some of my life best friends.

Going back to the writing thing, I wish I could tell this story better, describe my feelings better. I am also unsure on how to carry on writing, should I do it in chronological order or just randomly? I will just see what happens as I go on writing.

See you soon.

 

 

Anxiety, Mental health

The first time

So, the first time I felt quite unwell I was 16. I had moved schools as my parents and I believed it was the best thing for me before I applied for universities. Basically, the new school just trained people on how to pass the exam, rather than teach the subjects properly. Before that I’ve been on the same school for 6 years, with the same friends etc. Suddenly I was in a sort of ‘factory’ for students to pass their exams, with 60 student classes, very impersonal …

I don’t remember when in that year but at some point I started to feel sick during classes. Eventually it became unbearable and I had to run to the loo to be sick, but nothing happened. I sort of dry heaved – yuk! I started feeling worried and scared. I also felt a bit detached of what was going on, sort of floating above it all.

My Mum, ironically a clinical psychologist, had her practice near my school and I started leaving school early and waiting for her break so that I could talk to her. I am not really sure what I was expecting to happen as a result. I would feel some relief once I saw and talked to her, but it was short lived, the horrible feelings would come back again.

I didn’t have much appetite and remember eating lots of apples at that time as they didn’t make me sick. It was all a long time ago. Now, in hindsight, I realise that it was my first experience with anxiety. Also in hindsight, it is obvious to see why I felt that way, but then, even though the reasons were under my nose, I didn’t see it. A dear friend from school had died a few months earlier, I had had a serious health scare the previous year and the school move was awful for me.

I lost weight, I felt constantly tired and basically fighting against thoughts in my head and the constant feeling of sickness. It lasted a few months, but it passed. I moved back to my old school and I completely forgot about it…it would be another year until I felt anything similar, but that is another story…

Depression, Mental health

I’m ok

So, before I do my next proper post I wanted to clarify one thing: I’m not writing this blog because I’m unwell or feeling depressed at the moment. I’m ok. I’m happy and I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who love me. 

The reason to write is because depression and anxiety have been part of my life for a long time and I want to tell a bit of my story. I felt an urge to do so on my birthday. Maybe it helps me to have things down in writing, maybe it helps someone else, but the thing is that it is not talked about enough and I feel that now it is my time to talk.

Mental health

And so it begins

Today is my birthday. I’ve turned 47 and suddenly realised that depression and anxiety have been part of my life for the last 31 years! Bloody hell! That’s a long long time! I’ve been thinking about writing about it for the last couple of years but never started for lots of reasons, including the fact that I’m not a great writer. But I’m tired. Tired of not talking about it. Tired of not sharing my experience and what I’ve learned in all these years. Tired of the silence, and tired of living in a country where, despite all the blah blah blah about ending the stigma, does not accept, embrace and view mental illnesses the same way as it does with physical illnesses.

So this is it. I’ll try to post weekly. All about me. Self indulgent, I know, but hopefully my experiences will resonate with others out there, and I can help not only myself but someone else too.

Welcome. Thank you.