The Cinnamon Trust.


My heart, is melting πŸ’”
Rufus 🐢 (!) and I volunteer through The Cinnamon Trust (http://www.cinnamon.org.uk/). It’s a charity which looks for volunteers to support “the elderly, terminally ill and their pets.” I have volunteered to walk dogs should their old/terminally ill owners be unable to walk them any longer.

Weirdly, I discovered around 5 months into being with The Cinnamon Trust that my dad also volunteered with them many years ago. Talk about keeping it in the family! πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
It took a few months to first find suitable “client(s)”. Cinnamon Trust tries to find and match people that are close to each other so expenses are kept minimum; as you’d expect for a charity.
A month or so ago I began walking Jaz, a sweet little Jack Russell-Staffy cross belonging to an unwell June in my local village/”small town”. June is lovely – so sweet and incredibly grateful for my help. 
But I don’t do this just for June and others like her – I also do it for me, because I am a typical millennial in every sense and I just have this need and desire to help people – yet being too scared of blood and gore renders me useless to train as a doctor or nurse (as if I was even clever enough!*) and I [currently 😬] do not have the self esteem/confidence/belief to look at training as a therapist {a suggestion from my current therapist}.. Volunteering doesn’t often seem to me as that much of a real nice and decent thing to do – it is essentially pretty easy for me to do this and I enjoy it. I believe I am a mostly (!) decent human being, and it’s my opportunity to give a little something back to society; I believe we should look after each other. πŸ’•

I – like many – HATE(D) paying tax (as it so often seems to go towards those who don’t need or are undeserving) but I am more than happy and willing to help out those who are really in need.
Today, June presented me with this adorable bunch of flowers, hand picked from her own garden, πŸ’smelling – and looking – wonderful as a token of her appreciation for me walking Jaz. Just for me doing something that I feel like is just common decency for me to do! And not only that – I think due to holiday, I have only walked Jaz 4 or 5 times so far! 

I don’t need, or want, or expect any thanks – from anyone – for walking Jaz; she is super sweet and very easy to walk. And, like I said, by volunteering I am already part doing this for the good feeling I get back for helping. It is really no hassle for me to walk Jaz – and most of the time I actually feel like I should be doing more – and even though it’s against Cinnamon Trust rules – I always ask June if she needs anything etc. before I leave. I can’t help it – to me it feels like human nature to do so; to help. I was so touched and, as standard Karen, could have cried! We all know I love flowers 😍! Imagine the sheer elation I then felt when the bee 🐝 landed on the orange blossom as I walked home! It really felt like the world was going round harmoniously in one big hug of humanity. Simple acts of kindness really, really make big differences. I had been feeling stressed (thanks to the idiot bank) and anxiety has been creeping it’s way back in, but after receiving this lovely bunch of appreciation, I felt kind and happy and willing and able to engage in conversation with strangers again on my walk home. I am only sorry I didn’t give June a big hugπŸ€—; next week I will ☺️


I feel sad, and worried, as I often always do when I think people might be lonely. I know the feeling all too well and I hate the thought of others being alone and lonely. I suspect it is more often than not why I reckon I am (self diagnosed!) as quite intense sometimes (soz-not-sozπŸ’πŸ½). Why I feel like I’m harassing people sometimes (some of my closest friends may even join me with in a good laugh here about me not being a “manageable relationship”!!!!!!!!!🀣🀣🀣) – because I worry about them being sad and lonely more so than the fact that I’d appreciate the company too! I am not saying June is lonely – I don’t know her well enough to know if she is or isn’t. I – as I am so often – still feel that awkward stage of being unable to ask people more about their lives. I know – from having seen when collecting/dropping Jaz – that she certainly has an array of visitors; which puts my mind at ease. I really am just a worrier. Often unnecessarily! I just hate to think of people being lonely. Ironically, I am then pretty awkward and apparently incapable of simple conversation which would mean I could make others less lonely…. hashtag, lifeπŸ™„/irony or something along those lines!
Anyway, thank you to June – I really, really love flowers.❀️

*My therapist has asked me to notice when I am being self-depreciating, and I expect a few people that read my blog/posts also feel I should just stop being so negative; but on this occasion, I genuinely am not clever enough! I am not stupid, but not clever enough to be a doctor or nurse πŸ‘©πŸ½β€βš•οΈ! BUT, I do later give myself some credit for a change πŸ˜‰ – it doesn’t come easy to me to do so. It feels weird and big headed. I remember an old Primark colleague once saying to me something along the lines of “if I don’t “big myself” up; you can be certain no-one else will, as everyone else is too busy “bigging” themselves up” – so you need to fight for yourself! πŸ‘ŠπŸΎ

Fat.

We all individually think we are fat. Beyond Gordon hits the nail bang on the head with the hammer when I read ~ just yesterday ~ her words in “Mad Girl” {and oh, my, gosh do I resonate with SO MUCH of this book..!} of 

“For young women, fat is more often a mental state rather than a physical one.” 

We all individually think “others” are perfect.Why do we judge ourselves so harshly when we wouldn’t judge others this way? Alright, I know theres a few nasty bullies out there who judge others instantaneously – not gonna lie; I’ve probably definitely done it in the past… we all have… but I have noticed myself more and more following “kindness is magic” because you just don’t know what others have/been/are going through and thus don’t judge a book by its cover.. but by and large, we are extrodinarily self critical whilst viewing others in this positive glow of perfection that simply isn’t true.

Why do we see ourselves in one light and others in a more positive light?

We are πŸ¦„.

I’m noticing this a lot recently. It’s good, because it’s what I’m meant to be doing as a result of therapy; catching myself thinking negatively about myself and really assessing, well, me. Not just in terms of “I’m fat” but generally under this all round umbrella of “not good enough” that I’ve placed upon myself; but there is no upper limit to what is “good enough” so I am constantly a failure to myself; because myself doesn’t even know what is good enough… genius, right?!

In a group conversation with two of my bestest πŸ¦„ girlfriends the other day, we were all individually berating ourselves. Calling ourselves fat, or flabby, whilst the other two said “you’re not, but I…” etc, etc. We do it a lot – not just us 3; women in general. But we aren’t. We are all different and unique. I have bigger thighs. Francesca is just all round tiny [Well Rosie and I think so at least ☺️]; and we don’t know how because my-unicorn (don’t believe in god πŸ˜‰) she is one hell of a baker, and if I baked like her I’d be absolutely enormous from taste testing the goods/licking ALL the bowls πŸ‘…πŸ€£ . Rosie, on the other hand, is “top heavy”: she has bigger boobs (guess the guys/her bf are/is happy πŸ‘€πŸ˜‚), and she’s dubbed her “belly” “Krispy Kreme Castle” and butt πŸ‘ “Mars Bar Mount” which is so cute and funny, and made me laugh out loud that I can’t help but join in with her on it. She’s still tiny. Her legs are long and slim and her butt looks pretty good to me and not so Mars-Bar-Mounty… me? Well I have tiny hands and feet and I’m warming to the rest of me. My stomach often looks reasonably flat despite ALL the food, and I prefer my smaller boobs (although they never feel so small πŸ˜’).


So here we are. Krispy Kreme Castle bellies and all; terms of endearment. I don’t think we really care anymore though; this is just who we are. We exercise/don’t exercise as and when we want. I run; I love it. Francesca doesn’t; because her asthma is waaaay worse than mine and she doesn’t so much love it 🀣. Having said that; she was pretty good running in France this week and has seriously good form! Rosie does ALL the gym classes and has discovered that if we play the 90’s Christina Aquilera “Fighter” then she totes adores the boxing even more!! The funny thing is – we all wear pretty much the same size clothing..!

I’m Karen. I’m 29 [fighting 30 in a few months.. 😱] and I’m 5ft 5″-ish.. and I tend to sit at around 9 and a half stone. Sometimes just over (ugh) and sometimes just under (yay!). I’ve fought that for years, I’ve fought and continue to fight the anorexic thoughts that have been present within my mind for more or less 30 years. I’ve said before I don’t truly believe they will ever completely go away; they may come back stronger than ever, but right now I am learning to appreciate what I’ve got and live, love and laugh with it. Clearly 9 stone 7 pounds [ish] is where I’m meant to sit. And you know what? That sits right smack in the middle of “healthy” for my age/height/sex. That is, those magic words; “good enough”. As I’ve typed that I’ve realised it’s a classic time for me to “catch myself” again. That is good enough. I am good enough.

Obviously (“ugh”) I am not ok with the ‘slightly’ over 9.7 stone, and ideally I’d maintain the 8 stone I was at around 2-3 years ago, but I can’t. I can’t maintain 8 stone or just under. I can’t even seem to maintain just under 9 stone. And I think I’m learning to deal with it. If it’s unmaintanable then it can’t be right, right? I want to live and be happy: not fight myself day in day out. I’m not gonna lie – This isn’t easy for me to say or deal with, but I’m trying to for the sake of life and happiness which is super important. The most important. I am learning to be ok with it. I am living; eating and drinking and moving as others do. For the first time since I’ve had the t-shirt, my “running = more cake πŸŽ‚” tee is actually more truthful than laughable. Running used to equal more running.. running used to equal allowing myself dinner..

I have stretch marks too from puberty. I hate them – but actually they are mostly faded now and, you know what? I was so, so relieved when Francesca said to me the other day that she “hates these stretch marks on her thighs” because I’d never noticed hers. I’d have never said she had any until she told me. We home in on our own “faults” and fail to realise that actually they are just part of being human, they aren’t abnormal, we are NOT all perfect, photoshopped images, and they/we’re ok.

I’ve noticed this last week I’ve got the beginnings of some tiny varocous veins forming… not best pleased for not-even-30… but maybe, just maybe, by announcing this “out loud” will make someone else who is struggling with noticing this in themselves be ok with the fact that I too, am not yet 30, and not best pleased – but what am I to do?! They are forming. I don’t know much about them as they aren’t something I’ve spent years worrying and pouring my soul into researching like every other aspect of me – but I know my mum has them, and I’m sure the googling will soon ensue…

Something inside me is changing. Maybe its age/maturity. Maybe it’s the amount of beautiful weather we’ve been having (/I’ve taken myself to!). Maybe it’s the Cognitive Analytical Therapy [CAT]psychotherapy that I’ve been undergoing, or the citalopram I’ve been taking, or because I ran a marathon, or been talking to therapists/everyone and anyone who will listen about everything and anything. Or maybe even the amount of doctors/nurses that have had probes/cameras/catheters/speculum’s up my vagina in the last few years. Who knows – whatever it is [& I do suspect a strong element of maturity; perhaps induced by the citalopram] I’m changing. Topless in front of friends/my Mum? Don’t care. Or one of my besties, Rosie “I’m-not-going-to-walk-in-on-you-naked-in-the-shower-oops-I-just-did”… I just don’t seem to be fussed. I just don’t seem to care anymore: we are all human. We all have bodies. We are all different but we all have our pros and self-perceived “cons”. And more and more of us are realising this, and that life is just too short to not enjoy it…Man I wish I had felt this age … 0 onwards….

MHAW2017

Poignant, I think, for the last day of mental health awareness week.. 

I think I scared a few people earlier this (last) week.. had a couple of calls (although I will say I’m not adverse to calls rather than the usual epic texts conversations I’m normally involved with!) and texts I wasn’t expexting, even James was worried I was having “naughty” thoughts… that’s what we call them.. the worst kind of thoughts.. no one can bring themselves to say THAT word, can they?

 I won’t mention names, and I hope she’s ok with me referring to her, but I had a friend who took an overdose earlier this year.. in talking to each other now, the word “suicide” has never really been mentioned – it’s like the word depression [and anorexia]; for me it’s hard to say – I struggle to say them even now. Only in the last year have I ever referred to myself as actually having had/have anorexia and it still feels like the most impossible word to say. It sounds alien and wrong coming from my mouth. 

But it also doesn’t quite fit for me: suicide. Just like the word depression doesn’t quite make sense. I – and my friend was the same – don’t want to die. I don’t want to kill myself and I don’t want to cut this already short life even shorter, but sometimes, the will to just stop having to think is super strong, and you will clutch at anything to make that stop. That’s what my friend said to me; “I just didn’t want to think anymore”. And I got her. I got her like I felt like I had never gotten anyone before. I’ve had suicidal thoughts when I was at my worst, but really, it’s just the desire to not have to think any longer.. that surging panic within you consuming every ounce of you that you just want – need – it to stop.

So, I’m ok. I am not suicidal. Obviously the early part of last week was a bit of a shocker. It was hugely disappointing, frustrating, upsetting and stressful to find out that [not only are we still not pregnant – but] we have yet another month where we don’t even get a chance to try to be. It did make me think “what is the point” again but – although it sounds it – not in a suicidal way.. the only thing I have ever known I always want to be was a Mother – so every set back along that way is literally like another giant step backwards, and leaves me seriously questioning yet again what I am here for.

It’s only now, in the last few weeks or months, for the first time in around 2 years that I have finally started to feel truly like the “old” Karen again. Even despite the days flying into weeks flying into months and the dreaded build up to my birthday rapidly approaching (getting older is a huge, huge anxiety for me, usually one of my lowest points in the last few years!!) The smiley karen that loves to be around people, always laughing and chatting, happy and just living; because life is too short as it is. The karen that craves the comfort of others, chatting and smiling to everyone and anyone. I’m chattier, eye contact and engaging is easier, conversation flowing easier, listening to others and taking in their lives and concentration (almost!) seems to be improving. Being kind and friendly and wanting – needing – to be around people and engage with them is returning. Because, while the general public can be full of idiots, I like to think I’m good at dwindling out the decent, like minded ones πŸ˜‰  My love/hate relationship with people in general becoming funny again; because people are annoying but people are also brilliant and I love being around people!

I’m on meds. I’m back in therapy. Holidays and fun plans are on the horizon. The {standard British} weather is slowly starting to pick up to give us some kind of summertime and I’m running and moving reasonably well.. so it may be one, or a combination of all these things, but one way or another, I’m doing ok right now. 
And so, I guess, I am a prime example of what mental health does to you. What it looks like and feels like. It’s dark. It’s horrid. It isolates you, without you even realising, and it will always be with you. Mental health illness isn’t just something you suffer with for 8 weeks or so and then you’re fine forever; throughout your life it will come and go. Sometimes you’ll be aware of what’s triggered you and others you’ll have no clue as to what’s going on or even why now? But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It might be just a pinprick to start. You probably won’t even be able to see it at first. But somehow, somewhere, you can and will get through it. There will be bad days, and there will be good days, and slowly the good will increase and the bad lessen. Always look up. 

So..!

So – the 2 pages I did actually manage to read yesterday:


Relevant. So relevant. Especially that second to last paragraph on page 16… I have lost count of the number of times ignorant* people have said to me “but you’ve got everything! You’ve got a lush house, job, car, husband, dog, good figure, fit, healthy” blah-de-blah-de-blah… are you for real?! I mean cheers – that makes a mental health sufferer feel 150 bazillion % WORSE. And guilty. SO GUILTY. I know – believe me I know how bloody lucky I [mostly!] am – I am fortunate. I am physically (mostly) and financially wealthy and comfortable. That doesn’t mean my head isn’t fecking mental, and thus I do not need reminding why I seemingly have nothing to be “anxious” or “depressed” about. 

It. Is. Not. A. Choice. 

I wouldn’t wish the hell I have been through on even my worst enemy – and believe me I can be pretty mean like that, so: why on earth would I then choose it for me?

Sometimes, I do think mental health is more important than physical health – because the state of your mental health can dramatically impact on the state of your physical health. I keep going back to this recent saying from my primary school teacher – Mrs Cooke you have really got me thinking here!! “mens sana in corpore sano” ~ “a healthy mind in a healthy body” 🌚🌝

*if you actually say the words “I don’t understand it” or “I’m bored of trying to understand it – then, I’m sorry; you are an ignorant plonker. Sorry, not sorry. But I’ve heard it and its just absurd. Do you understand Cancer? Me either. Parkinson’s? Same. How about Poverty? Aids? World hunger? Human trafficking? Nope, nope, nope and nope: me either. Do you try to understand, and empathise? Yes. The world is full of shitty things no one should have to go through; mental health illness is no different. 

It isn’t easy to help someone. I see that now in me in hindsight, and in desperately wanting my friends to feel better now. A typical reaction for someone struggling with mental health is to entirely withdraw and isolate themselves. It’s not obvious to the sufferer at the time, it just happens. You think you are screaming out for help, but in fact you are withdrawing and quietly freaking the hell out. Just be there for people. Listen if need be. Be nice. Be patient. Give hugs. Or flowers. Love. Be kind. I like all of those things…. there really is something about this kindness being magic which makes everyone feel better…
Couldn't agree more!
^ couldn’t agree more!

IUI. Cancelled.

IUI Cancelled ❌
I am gutted.

In all of my being open and honest and talking (because it helps & because none of us are alone in this world) about all of this – never in my wildest dreams (& they get pretty insane…!) did I think I would be posting this message, of all messages.. it was literally the absolute last message I expected to be telling anyone.

I really, honestly believed this was the time. So many little signs and signals, marathon done, dusted and achieved. It felt like it was right. Now was our time. We were undergoing treatment and definitely going to conceive this time..

I more or less hyper-stimulated. Not so badly that I’m in danger or pain. But enough to have to cancel the treatment cycle. Instead of the maximum 3 follicles of a decent size, I had 5 ranging from 12-17mm (& increasing), alongside tonnes of smaller ones also still growing. I’m gobsmacked. I have been using the same medication (gonal-f) on the exact same dosage for seven cycles now and whilst I always reacted pretty well and quickly, I never had this many larger follicles at once.. I don’t understand how or why. Every women can react differently on every cycle – but previously I’ve been pretty steadily similar! I am just lost for words. I’ve somehow barely even managed any tears (I suspect that’s the citalopram?!), and somehow I am yet to have a hug from anyone. And I really need a hug. I’ve had a couple of hugs wrapped up in text messages from lovely lovely supportive friends, but I could really do with the real deal now. I’m looking forward to James getting home, and mum and dad arriving tomorrow. Big thank you to Lesley at upholstery class as well taking some extra time to listen (again) and join in my being gutted! I am so, so glad I hadn’t quite given up running; as now I just want to run and run – and I wonder how much further I would have hyper-stimulated had I not carried on.

For those that don’t understand all this {because unless you’re some kind of fertility expert/going through this yourself, you’ll have about as much clue as I did (J is still often playing catch up to understand!) when we started this process 18ish months ago} – 5 follicles means 5 eggs. Ideal size is 18-20mm before ovulation & turkey basting {insemination!} process would then be given the go ahead. If they allowed me to continue with 5 (& who knows if the others would also keep growing; likely) and then ovulate, and be inseminated – that could mean 5 fertilised eggs. 5 babies at once. And that’s if none of those eggs then split… I’ve always dreamed of [identical – I’m obsessed!] twins, I’ve always wanted 4 children, but 5 babies at once is just too risky to their health. That’s why the cycle is cancelled. In regards to the running – on the cycle where I did my first long marathon training run, progress slowed/stopped over the weekend I did that run, suggesting running hinders follicle growth.. I suspect OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome) would be a lot worse …

As is tradition, I now just want to avoid food and move more. You’ll find me running. Thank god for running (and Bec, don’t worry, I’m eating anyway). The extra irony being that I was quite looking forward to a (minimum) little break from running during the tww.. πŸ˜’

πŸ˜ͺ

“DIET”

{Full posting, including from Instagram..}


LOL. S U B T L E as always, thanks mum.. she absolutely cracks me up.. 🀣I’m obviously no expert, and I’m STILL πŸ™„ not pregnant🀰🏽 😭 BUT, I really think just eating sensibly, a mix of everything (obvs veg, πŸ₯•πŸ₯πŸπŸ† vitamins & minerals are most ideal, but don’t JUST eat them!!), listening to your body and not denying yourself anything, is the best way to live.. ttc or not πŸ’πŸ½ obviously, following my own above advice is easier said than done…

I have a soon-to-be 20 year, on/off battle with anorexia.. I didn’t have “treatment” as a “child” and I probably won’t as an adult. It seems virtually impossible to “treat” now; it is engrained in every part of my being. It is almost all I have known/can remember. I have had it for longer than I have not. I have grown up (!) with it. It is also probably the biggest route cause for my infertility.. I have to work SO hard to maintain eating sensibly: a healthy, balanced diet. I generally eat quite well/clean, but sometimes, like today, I allow myself a break; I’ve had a huge brunch of waffles and milkshake πŸ₯ž (& boy has it kept me going all day! And.. err.. let’s just say “dinner” hasn’t exactly been too “healthy” or “sensible” either… 😝). In the 18 months-ish I have had to battle myself many-a-time to NOT cut carbs, NOT avoid certain foods, NOT make myself sick, NOT track every single calorie, NOT undereat/burn more than I consume, NOT take 1/2/3/4/an-entire-pack of laxatives, NOT over-exercise and generally, all round, avoid the dreaded word “diet”.. and no, I don’t have a 100% success rate. I have had to gain weight, and I’ve been told I need to maintain it, for a prolonged period (ever), in order for my body to conceive… and then it still doesn’t and it is seriously hard to not go back to that tiny person I much prefer. 

I honestly, (despite needing glasses at times again) can spot the word “diet” on the front of a newspaper/magazine/book from a mile-off and every, single time I make a beeline 🐝 straight for it. I seem to be utterly programmed to just make myself diet constantly.

And let’s not even get started with the “eat well. Cut stress” tagline there, right? Even my (male!) psychotherapist rolled his eyes in disbelief when he heard a doctor had recently said something to me along the lines of “just cheer up”!! I have never felt particularly stressed when undergoing meds, or all the appointments associated with trying to conceive under the bracket of “infertility”, the biggest stress is discovering every month it still hasn’t worked. That is never going to change, no matter what! In fact, I was the least stressed I’ve ever been about it this month, as it meant I can run the marathon; but instead my husband took it worse than me.. I expect to be back to “normal” and stressed and destraught when I discover in approx 3 weeks that once again I am not pregnant; even though I’ve been under no medication or treatment whatsoever to enable that, and obviously running like crazy! πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ

I love my Mum with all my heart. I am not getting at her, or anyone. I’m not ranting at anyone. As always, it’s just my thoughts over spilling (perhaps getting them all out this week means I’ll actually sleep tonight?!). I want/wish more than anything to start my own family πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ‘ΆπŸ» with my fab husband, and I really wish we had been lucky enough for it to “just happen” – yet still I find it incredibly difficult to not “diet” one way or another, and to be ok with this (perfectly healthy) “weight”. TTC or not, whatever you’re doing, just eat a healthy balanced diet. Just use some common sense and be sensible! Believe me; I know better than anyone that it’s easier said than done, but if I can work at it and battle it, we all can. Have an apple. Have chocolate if you want it. Eat your veg, but if you fancy a burger, then, that’s what you need. We really need to STOP ❌ with the word “diet”, with what you “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing; WE.ARE.ALL.DIFFERENT

 #reallife 

x

World Health Day 2017

I’ma just leave that ^ right here.. sometimes, I think, it can be even more important. I am physically fit, healthy and able (mostly), and yet, if my mental health isn’t up for it, then all of the physical health crumples too.
Today is #WorldHealthDay – with the focus on #depression – and so… time for another blog!
As always, depression never feels like the right word to describe that black cloud hanging over you for no reason. I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have said to me – or my husband – “Karen doesn’t look depressed” or “but you have SO much/you’re SO lucky” … you get the gist, right?!
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because anxiety is my biggest problem, sitting alongside as depression’s BIGGER, brattier, harder-work sibling.. BUT, what exactly does depression look like?! Seriously! Before reading the rest of this blog, comment what you expect depression to look like in a person; I am honestly keen to know.
Do you expect me to turn up to a birthday/wedding/house warming/hen do/child’s christening dressed all in black with tears streaming down my face?! I cannot even begin to express how much I 100% HATE how often I do cry. I try my best to not, but it happens, a lot. (Although generally these days in the surroundings of Doctors/Nurses/Therapists.. at least they’re half expecting/trained for it..!) It washes over me like a tidal wave for absolutely no frigging reason whilst I’m in the middle of a conversation [with anyone] and suddenly there I am going beetroot red/purple, fighting and blinking back the tears welling up in my eyes, loosing my train of thought and ending up being handed a box of tissues, seemingly constantly. I feel like an over-sized baby. Generally, I seriously try to avoid this happening – particularly in public! How many people do you actually see, “depressed” and walking around in public in tears?? Not many, right? What about him? Or her? Or that child over there? Or that 90-year-old? Race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion; mental health illness doesn’t discriminate. Personally, I find it {my own crying} embarrassing. I sure-as-hell wouldn’t know what to do if I came across someone crying, or if someone broke down in front of me like I so often do to them.. And the worst part of those tears that are associated with “depression”? It’s normally anxiety that causes them in me..
And, I know. Believe me I know. I know how damn “lucky” I really am. I guess I wasn’t born into that surname for no reason, eh!! I have a generally all round brilliant life. The best, most supportive husband, family, friends (having dwindled out those who aren’t really..). I am {reasonably!} fit, and mostly {physically} healthy. I can see, speak, listen, smell, think, read, run, dance, learn, live, breathe, travel and do on a daily basis… if my mind allows.
All of this doesn’t make me feel any better. Telling someone how lucky they are or how they don’t “look” depressed simply adds this kind of “guilt” pressure and, for me, when I am left alone to think (often) then it gets to me and makes me feel worse and worse until in the end it’s spiraled out of control; and I end up at utter breaking point. And I do get to breaking point. I have, I really have. Several times. Almost 20 years of guilt carried around on my shoulders. Years of self-punishment; starving myself, making my self sick (even swallowing a small amount of bleach in a desperate bid to make myself sick; my crime? I ate an apple), over-exercising, over-dosing on laxatives, cutting myself, and all for what? For some brief relief and element of “control” over myself, but years of further pain; knee pain, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, insomnia. And the worst, the one I can’t just battle through and live with; infertility pain. I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again, but for anyone that thinks this is a choice; why would you choose to suffer like this?
I am no longer “tiny”, and I miss it. Boy, do I miss it. I look over old photos of my tiny waist, tiny boobs, thinner, toned, legs and thigh-gap thighs, smaller bum, flat stomach, thin arms, prominent collarbones, hip bones and sometimes even rib bones and I miss looking like that. I miss the scales saying my “magic” number. I miss being told I have “no {brown} fat” by my [wedding] dressmaker. I miss being the smallest, tiny, invisible. Because that feeling of invisibility makes me feel better about how often I am overlooked/called the wrong name/forgotten about/left out/alone. I feel very much like I am only managing the (healthy, very healthy, “must stay at this weight” [thanks, doc]) weight that I am now just so that I can conceive, and yet, still not conceiving no matter what meds I seem to be given.. No matter if I run or don’t run, eat sensibly, R E L A X…
I now spend a lot of time alone. And on those days that are increasingly becoming more common – when I actually want to see and engage with people – it makes me miss Clarks and working full time like that. But deep down I know, I remember (because I was), that I was surrounded by people there yet feeling more alone than I do when I am physically alone now. And yet being alone is scary, it allows me time to think, which can be dangerous in plummeting myself back into that spiral of utter panic; anxiety with depression. And yet, on better days, even I wonder what all the fuss is/was about. Even now, I find this blog harder to write; the sun is shining, I’m on a small amount of medication for my mind, I am undergoing therapy, I am eating well and running really well; I am excited for events to come. I struggle now, to think back to those bleak days that I last fought only a few months ago. And it can be quite a scary place to reside; you feel fantastic, but after the first few times of it happening, you start to almost not be able to enjoy that feeling of happiness and feeling “high”, because you worry for when the negative thinking and behaviors will return, because they will, they always do.  But I cling on to memories. I over-take photographs and I look back on them fondly; it makes me sad for life gone, but reminds me of life and more excitement to come… So sorry, not sorry for the oversharing/posting πŸ˜‰
I really thought – I was convinced in fact – that at the ripe old age of 26/27 (when I was wedding planning/got married) that we had whittled out all the fake friends. People that wouldn’t be there for us but seemed to expect us to be there for them. I was wrong. Really wrong, and it will probably always annoy me that those people got to be guests at our beautiful wedding. The “best wedding ever” (& that quote is from a friend, not either of us, although we believe it to be true!)
I just don’t understand people. I will go out of my way to help, to be there, to do anything I can and fight your corner (unless you’re in the wrong, in which case, I’ll let you know). And I have never asked or expected anyone to give me the world. I’ve never asked anything of anyone, but I guess a tiny part of me thinks – hopes – that if I’m there for you, you’ll be there for me… I guess not.
Sometimes, I just don’t know what to think, or what to feel. People really mess with your emotions and it’s outrageous. A subject of being “overlooked” comes up consistently in my therapy sessions, and it is so, so true. For my entire life I am constantly overlooked. From doing readings at assemblies, for being picked in sports teams, from accidentally being called “Kate” or “Lucy” or anything other than my actual name. From sitting down with me as a child/teenager/adult with my teachers/colleagues/friends/family and getting to the real bottom of why I constantly resort to harming myself one way or another. To desperately reaching out to therapists only to be turned away, or worse; forgotten about once again. Blood tests missed. “Friends” letting me down or cancelling on me last minute or finding something better to do.
It all adds up, and meanwhile, that girl(/boy) that you think has everything, is surrounded by infinite walls of loneliness. All the love in the world to give, to be, to do, to make a difference, but no longer the energy to keep constantly getting rejected.
So, depression. This is my account. Everyone is different. We are all different; it is part of the beauty of the world in which we live. But depression is not a choice. It isn’t something that you “had once for 8 weeks”. It doesn’t go away. You learn to manage it. To live with it as best you can. As you start to understand your own experience, you begin to realise what works for you; you do what you can to make yourself feel happier, be it eating a certain way (3 decent meals/6 small meals/more vitamins/vegan/vegetarian/etc.) exercising a certain amount/at a certain time of day, or even just a certain exercise (guess what, mine’s running 😝🀣!!), taking medication, undergoing therapy. All of which I have done, and continue to do. It isn’t easy, but it appears to be an ever-increasing problem as we create more and more generations. We aren’t really sure why, but it is, but we can work with it, we can manage it, and we can live with it if we just take some time to understand, listen and, always; be kind. πŸ’–
x