Counting Clouds

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Depression is so dreary. I’m sure everyone is bored with it.

When I share how shitty I  feel, people try to cheer me up (thank you! I appreciate you want me to be happy!), or help me reframe so I can concentrate on positives (yes – excellent advice!), or tell me this too shall pass. It isn’t acceptable to be depressed. I feel as though I’m not supposed to talk about it – it makes other people uncomfortable, or unhappy, or something.

Is that fair? I don’t think so. I’m sure I do the same thing – try to cheer friends up and help them see another viewpoint. I think it’s like having a cold. You can rest and look after yourself and it takes seven days to get better. Or you can go overboard and take every bottle of vitamin C, echinacea and all the cold and flu tablets in the world, and it lasts about a week…

When I have a cold nobody tries to cheer me up – they sympathise, hope it passes quickly and that I’ll be back on my feet in no time. Then they give me a wide berth so they don’t catch it too! This is what I want when the malaise of depression weighs me down. I don’t need to be argued with and told my mood is wrong – I’m already telling myself that. I know it will pass, I know I’ll survive. I also know pretending to be cheerful won’t help – it makes things worse because it’s exhausting. I know reframing may or may not be helpful – depending on what it is I try to reframe. But all in all, when the dark clouds descend, I need to accept them – not expend every ounce of energy I have pointlessly puffing them away. It doesn’t work.

Today has been interesting. I definitely notice myself weighed down heavily with what feels like a very depressed elephant parked firmly on my chest. I am mind numbingly exhausted. I have been really teary – every little thing sets me off. I’m overly sensitive to the slightest remark or look in my direction. I’m seeing all the negatives and dismissing the positives. I feel no sense of hope, joy or optimism. My future feels like an endless grind of same-same-same, and that I’m put on this earth to do things for other people.

I also know this feeling will pass. If it doesn’t pass in a reasonable time frame, I can (and would) seek professional help to consider adjusting my medications. My over sensitivities at the moment make me want to throw the towel in and give up on everything, so I am doggedly sticking to my cardinal rule – never make a big decision in a time of high emotion.

I’m also conscious negative moods are like that nasty cold virus – contagious. I had been sharing a lot of feelings with my recovery group but it dragged the overall tone and mood of the group down which is not helpful for anyone. So I’ll just keep to here – and private journalling.

I can analyse the why’s of this current mood, but at the end of the day, does it really make any difference? No – of course not. It is what it is. I can monitor and make sure it isn’t getting worse or going on for too long. I can try and nurture and protect myself. And with a little bit of luck, it will turn around quickly and I’ll be back to my normal self again.

Although I’m starting to wonder if this is my normal self, and the cheerful energetic Simone is the aberration!

With depression snugly wrapped around my shoulders like a faux-fur stole, it is difficult to tell the difference between negatives and positives.

I won a partial scholarship (50 per cent) to an eight week online writing course today. A week ago I would have been beyond thrilled. The course looks amazing and would firmly steer me into a new direction in my life with the guidance and support I need to quickly get up and running. It also doubles as therapy, as there is so much personal development involved. I have been desperately hoping I’d win a scholarship – I desperately want to do the course! But as it’s only half a scholarship (only?! I feel very unappreciative… I am incredibly honoured and grateful for a half scholarship!) but it does mean I still have to fork out quite a sum of money and we will have to draw down on our mortgage to do it – so I am torn. Do I put us into greater debt to pursue something I would like to do as my new career path? Do I accept my life as is and stick to writing as a hobby? Am I being greedy and self-absorbed wanting to do this? Or is it an investment into a new career and my mental health improvements? I just don’t know… I need someone to tell me what to do! But that’s not helpful either… I need to ponder it and see what happens. I have until 3pm tomorrow to decide…

And I will decide – one way or the other. I am incredibly privileged to be in a position where I can think about it at all. I have given all the information to my husband and I may perhaps just leave the decision in his hands – then I won’t feel regret if I turn it down, or guilt if I accept it. Hopefully!

Anyway – the past few days I’ve been counting clouds. The dark clouds of deep depression. They seem to be swarming around and I can barely focus for the whooshing sound they make as they get closer and closer.

Depression – it’s a bugger of a thing. Once it’s bitten you that first time, you’re forever susceptible to little relapses here and there. This too shall pass. I know it shall. In the meantime… Whoosh – there’s another cloud…

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