“You? Depressed? What on earth have you got to be depressed about?”
Yeah, well, you see, it doesn’t really work like that. Those of you who’ve suffered Black Dog or ‘fallen into a black hole’ will know exactly what I mean. You don’t have to have been made redundant or to have realised the marriage you thought was forever, isn’t. You don’t have to be suffering empty nest syndrome or the loss of a beloved pet (although both of these can trigger the most awfully sad feelings); anyone can have depression. People who’ve taken their own lives but have been seemingly outwardly ‘fine’ and ‘normal’ are usually depressed and just can’t find the way foward and tragically, some simply don’t have the will to carry on.
I once told my GP (many years ago) that I’d had suicidal thoughts. He didn’t even look up, he just carried on writing out yet another prescription for my grotty skin tablets and said “Hasn’t everyone?” I felt surprised and also, slightly relieved to know he thought it was almost normal for me to have had such black thoughts. Of course, I have never really planned anything so dreadful but there have been moments when I’ve been so down, so confused and so depressed, I just couldn’t work out how to move on, how to get well or how to be happy. Then, as suddenly as it had descended, it went. That’s how it is with me. I get depressed and then, I’m not depressed any more. I never know when it’s going to happen and I never know when it’s going to go away again.
I’ve never asked my GP for anti depressants but you’d be amazed how many people I know who take them. They work for some people but not for others. Personally, knowing what an addictive person I am, I worry I would depend on them and never be able to give them up so if things are very bad, I buy St. John’s Wort tablets and take them twice a day until things seem a little less bleak. Bleak? Fiona? What on earth does she have to feel bleak about? Nothing really. I have a handsome, loving husband, two fabulous sons, three gorgeous ex racing greyhound girls. Both my albums are in this year’s Classic FM ‘Hall of Fame’ Top 300 (woohoo!). My parents are still alive and kicking and I have lovely friends. I don’t see them all the time but I know they’re there and I also know they would help if I needed help. I’ve never failed to feed my dogs or make dinner for my sons. I’ve never caused Zachary to miss his school bus. There are some things which HAVE to happen in my life; it’s not their fault I’m depressed after all. I have, however, been known to let the dishes pile up for several days at a time until we simply don’t have enough plates left (yes, we do have a dishwasher, don’t nag) or go back to bed after I’ve served up the dinner, pull the duvet over my head and block out the world until I get up, put the dogs out, clean my teeth and go to bed again. I have the Gift of Sleep, no two ways about it!
I am in a bit of a ‘black hole’ at the moment and the only reason I can think why is that I worked so hard to get my music voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame (and managed to get both albums in) and now, that’s all over and I’m not sure what to do next. I don’t actually need to work (how many people would love to be able to say that?) but there is something which drives me on to be better, to achieve things, to work at something special until I feel it’s done. The two classical albums are done and dusted and both are in the Hall of Fame so now what? I’m half way through a book called ‘Hero the Greyhound’ and I know it’s a lovely story so I do need to finish that. I have started a memoir about Zachary, his autism diagnosis and our lives during the first ten years of his school career. I started it in the mid 2000s but it just fell by the wayside. That’s also a typical trait of mine, I start something and then, it peters out before I finish it. I am feeling a bit off kilter, a bit ‘spaced out’, a bit ‘what’s the point?’ and ‘why do I bother?’ at the moment and so, I know, when the time is right and things are right, I’ll get back to it. Being older means knowing my limitations and just going with my body/mind until it all feels right again. Nevertheless, I have had those moments where you stand, staring at the skirting board, not knowing which way to walk down the hallway as you can’t think what to do next. These lines from the very sad and lovely Stephen Sondheim song ‘Losing My Mind’ say it all…
“Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor, not going left, not going right…”
I seemingly have everything; a comfortable home, a gorgeous family and a lovely life and yet, there are times, I just want to get under the duvet and sleep until things make more sense. If you know how this feels, then I’m glad you understand. Of course, I like being happy, cheerful, upbeat and I like achieving things but just sometimes, it’s all too hard. Those who don’t know me well will be amazed to hear any of the above stuff. I’m told my Facebook posts are funny and people enjoy reading my blog. I’m good at sounding upbeat even when things are not quite right and that is no bad thing.
So, what do I do to make things ‘better’? I eat. In days gone by, I would probably have put away a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but these days, I know the effect it will have. I will feel rotten and ill the next morning and nothing will be any different. So, I raid the cupboards. We keep a large bowl of cereal bars (to all intents and purposes for John. He has MS and needs to snack/eat regularly or he falls over) but once I’ve opened that cupboard, they often disappear a whole packet at a time. It doesn’t help. Well, it does but not for long. I need to shed at least a stone (or even two) and when I’m in this black mode, even knowing eating will make the problem worse, it doesn’t stop me. That’s the joy of depression, there is no rhyme nor reason to it.
It will pass. It always has and I’m sure this time is no exception. I slept for a few hours this afternoon which is a bit of a waste of time but clearly, my body needed the rest or I would have just lain there with my eyes wide open. I will now go and make dinner and then, maybe John and I will walk the poochies around the village.
Life is good, there is nothing really wrong. I just get depressed sometimes. I hope it goes away soon.