Intentional Recovery

I love how these twigs are holding on.

So I dipped for a bit again and I noticed I was dipping and before I knew it I was struggling to get my head above water again. There wasn’t enough money, or time or energy in me to put up with everything life needed from me to keep things going, and this was all I could think about. I had to keep rewinding the TV, because my mind kept wandering and I kept missing whole chunks. I was ignoring pressing tasks at work for fear of failing at them, avoiding anything challenging or new for fear my in-competencies would be exposed, and I was struggling to empathise with colleagues or over-empathising with them and making their worries my own, too.

I’m well-versed enough now though to know I couldn’t let it continue. I had to lead by example- I tell people to seek help without shame when they need it.

I knew it would take a while to get some therapy to help me through so I asked the doctor to put me back on my beta-blockers.

I didn’t even hesitate, because I remember how they rescued me last time. I’ve done my research on it, I know how my body takes to it and it is helping. I’m finally able to have decent stretches of time that aren’t pestered by panic and anxiety. It’s amazing how quickly I just accepted the state of panic that was taking over my days and didn’t check myself until…I was going to say until it got too late, because that’s what usually happens; but I didn’t wait until it was too late this time. This time I got help in time.

This is why active reflection like this, in writing, is so much better than just letting my mind wander. Normally, I would have accepted that my response wasn’t good enough again this time and punished myself with guilt, endlessly.

So things are improving. I’m holding on. Intentionally.


Derren Brown is making me Happy

My partner is treating me so kindly (featured image displays one of his many spontaneous gestures of love) and I have a meaningful, rewarding job I love, yet the depression monster has been coming back to bite lately, hence why I haven’t been writing.  As ever, depression made me bury my head in the sand and let things get to crisis stage before I finally stuck my head out for air.

But depression didn’t do it to me; I did it to myself…without the added weight of guilt, that’s what Derren Brown’s heroic book ‘Happy’ (2016) reminded me of.  Derren’s book covers all key areas so well that in true agnostic style, I’m temporarily appointing it my bible.

As I do every year, I started getting into resolutions mode when New Year was coming round last December.  This time, I was so deep in depression and desperate to get out of it that I had written out my resolutions (the usual lose weight, meditate and exercise daily, be more productive, make more money, go on holidays…) and actually started sticking to them before Christmas day!

Predictably, I burned out before the first week of January was through.  I went back into decline and not coping with basic daily tasks, forgetting to take medication and refusing to step back for a minute…going from task to task to task with the constant nagging anxiety that there was not enough time to do anything.  I became irritable and angry inside and as always, my reflex was to take it out on my partner.  Mostly, I didn’t, but instead just screamed at him in my head for the stupidest things.  He hadn’t done the laundry or he’d only washed half of the dishes, etc.

This screaming in my head made me so miserable that one day I inexplicably burst into tears in the kitchen and sobbed into his chest, while telling him that I was angry at him although I knew I shouldn’t be.  I told him I wanted him to do stuff and he wasn’t doing it and it was making me so frustrated…but really, he wasn’t causing any of my anguish…I was.  This isn’t something new to me.  I’ve heard this a million times and recognised it to be true but at times either chosen to ignore it or simply forgotten it; acknowleding this has been so freeing for me.

As I’m reading Derren’s book (I’m about half-way through) and as I go back to re-read it, I hope to delve deeper into some sections and explore them in detail.  I also strongly intend to adopt some of the philosophies and practises he analyses and recommends.

I hadn’t touched my bike in over a year.  It’s a bit rusty, the brakes aren’t great and there’s no rubber left on the handle-bars, but I love riding it.  I was avoiding social situations at all costs and had restricted my life to home, work and the compulsory family visits.  After I started reading Derren’s book I cycled round the village green for hours, started being kinder to my partner, attending social events and even began to feel a little happy sometimes.  I knew happiness wasn’t this fireworks sensation, but I just needed reminding…thanks for putting me back on the path to peace Derren!