So, this is my first ever post! Here goes…
My name is Roo, hi, but you probably already know that if you’ve found your way to this post. Anyway, a warm welcome- and don’t forget this is new for me too…
I’ve set this page up for a few reasons; I wanted to share recipes, ideas, my crafts and artwork, but also, the main reason is due to something that has happened relatively recently to me, and has, in my opinion, drastically transformed my life as I know it.
So, I’ll give you a countdown, just so we all know where we stand. Let’s go back a year from now, that seems like an nice cyclical amount of time.
Just over twelve months ago I co-directed a hugely successful and incredibly creative student theatre production. Eleven months ago I fell in love with my best friend and we began our glorious relationship (which is still going strong by the way!). Ten months ago I graduated from university with a first class degree in drama. Nine months ago I was working for my favourite charity on the sun soaked beaches of Wales.
And then the crying and exhaustion really began.
Eight months ago I became bed bound with a kidney infection. Seven months ago I was at the point of setting up my very own theatre company, when, without knowing why, I panicked and backed out. Apologetic, I had to return all of the funding and the paperwork to my relative sponsors. I was contacting the same people I had been begging a year ago to fund my company to say sorry, but now I couldn’t go through with it. I began looking for part time work, planning to apply to drama school, or perhaps to teach. I kept crying. I kept panicing. I got a job. Things got better. Things got worse. I went to the doctors.
It’s hard to say how long I’ve been living with depression exactly; I’ve been officially diagnosed for about half a year now, but I have had depressive ‘episodes’ since I began university. In hindsight, I’ve probably been living with the tell-tale signs and symptoms for years. I’ve tried all sorts of different treatments, taken up meditation and mindfulness, changed my diet and exercise routines, seen a small army of doctors and specialists, and probably been through a whole cabinet of various medications. I’ve lost all interest in what were my favourite hobbies, lost my inner drive, lost my confidence, and had my future dreams torn away from me. I’ve even had to alter my whole outlook and philosophy on life – which, to be honest, I had always thought was pretty healthy and wholesome before. On top of all that, as my depression grew I developed a crippling anxiety, making it near impossible for me to function normally in any situation.
Winter, 2014. I felt myself sink lower and lower. Until finally, in November, I went to bed one day at my boyfriends, and just couldn’t get myself back up again. I stopped working, abandoning my new job at a lovely little independent bicycle & repairs shop. I became unable to leave the house, and lost almost all of my independance. I couldn’t go out with my friends- I couldn’t stay in with my friends. Weeks and weeks passed before I could even summon the energy go further than the bathroom. I skipped Christmas with my family, exhausted and terrified of breaking down into hysteria infront of cousins, and even more worried about eveyone’s reactions to me wanting to just hide away and stay in bed all day. There was nothing I wanted less right then than a day of manic excitement and energy. So I gave it a miss, much to everyone’s horror. My friends had gone home, the house was empty, and it was Chrismas. The last time I saw my parents was on Christmas Eve, when I shouted them out of the house in a tearful rage. All I wanted to be was left alone.
Everything and anything became mountains of impossible terrifyingness. I was losing grip of reality. That was in December.
But now, I’m ten long therapy sessions, three exhausting effort-filled months, a million hot cups of tea and toast, phone calls home and a couple of dogs later. And I am where I am. I’m not ‘better’- there is no ‘cure’ to this and my mental health has not and probably never will be ‘fixed’. But I am ok. And I want you all to know that, above all. I may not always be in control; I may have hiccups and hard days. My life may never be what it once was- but I am working on it, and I am doing fine.
And that’s what this blog is going to be all about. Not my low days, and everything I can’t do- there’s no point focusing on that- but on my recovery, and what I’ve learnt. I want to share all of the little tips and techniques that I have picked up, things that have helped me, things that have given me comfort. And my new lifestyle- how I have learnt to live with anxiety and depression. Not against, and not in prevention of, but with: in harmony and in acceptance of myself, as I am, in the present; which is of course the only time any of us can live.
I guess you could consider this blog as a little insight into what helps me get by day by day while living with this (what I really consider to be) life changing condition. And so for anyone else out there who is feeling really low, and stumbles upon this blog by chance, I hope you might take some comfort in the company, or even try applying some of my techniques yourself. Feel free to do so, but do keep it unique, as you are. Something that works for me will be a totally different experience for someone else. And that’s life. And that’s discovery. And that’s what keeps it interesting and different.
And that’s what makes life worth living, every day.
Please feel free comment below and I’ll do my best to respond to each one personally 🙂
(Just to let you know I did get taken in for Christmas Day, last minute, by my loyal friend and brilliant housemate, who was able to give me a peaceful environment with just her and her wonderfully understanding parents. And I will never forget the generosity she showed me then)