Report on my brilliant media career: the brief interview I was expecting to give to Premier Radio, turned out to be a one hour phone in, which involved me in talking to various sad women who called in and wanted to tell me all about their mental health problems. I felt very inadequate in my answers, but mostly they seemed to just want to talk. One of them even wanted to read out her poem, which turned out to be not at all bad. And at least the presenter plugged my book about every five minutes, which is bound to boost sales a bit. I have also kept my list of the names of all those who phoned in, so I can pray for them, which will make me feel better about not solving their problems.
Then presenter and I rushed off in a cab to the poetry prizegiving. As the competition is in memory of Jack Clemo, who was Cornish and very much a poet of the Cornish landscape (in spite of being deaf and blind), we had the Lord Lieutenant of London, who has Cornish connections, giving a long and dull speech about some Cornish event. There was also a little man from the Cornish Society, who looked like a pixie.
The buffet lunch was surprisingly good, especially the desserts of which I sampled four (in very small portions). And I think the poems were ok, though I always find it hard to tell when they’re read out, and I lent my little leaflet with the three winnning poems in it to someone else and didn’t get it back. Still, it was fun and I met several people I hadn ‘t seen for years, which was very pleasant and put me in a better mood than I have been in for some weeks. What joy it is being a literary lounger.
And today I finally went swimming, then met a friend for lunch and listened for a considerable time to the story of her husband having a breakdown, leaving her, coming back and leaving again. Which was very sad, but I hope it did her some good to talk about it.
PS Son finally did finish his Film Studies essay, going from ‘I think FS is not the right subject for me’ to ‘I think I’ll specialize in one aspect of film’, in less than half an hour.
Well, I was going to go swimming yesterday but by the time I had written my column for February and had a nearly two-hour assessment appointment with a local counselling centre, telling my entire life story and that of two generations of ancestors, there was no time left. I did plan to go to the lovely café just opposite the pool and have a naughty cake, but when I’d trekked there in the rain it turned out to have closed early for half term.
So, I planned to go swimming today instead, but having spent the morning fruitlessly trying to get son to finish his Film Studies essay, and then messed about on the computer to make myself feel better, by the time I got out of the house I was too hungry and had to go and get lunch first (at the lovely café which was now open). Then I had to sit and let lunch go down a bit, and then I walked over to the gym and guess what? The women’s changing room was closed today because a maintenance man was in there. So instead of swimming I went and bought a pair of new winter shoes which I’ve been eying for some time. Which is against my principle of always buying shoes in the end of season sale, and putting them in a cupboard for next year when the current pair will have worn out. Instead of which I paid full price, even though there were much cheaper shoes that would have done, but I didn’t like them as much. Too bad – at least I end up with shoes I actually like. And walking to the shoe shop made up for not going swimming.
Tomorrow I am not going to try to go swimming, because I’m on Premier Radio in the morning and then going to a poetry competition prize-giving at lunchtime (with Cindy who is interviewing me on Premier and happens also to be going to the prize-giving). Tune in about 11.00 and you should hear me droning on about being depressed.
PS I also put my computer glasses in for new lenses on my way out today, which means that I am now typing this wearing my varifocals, and can only see by tilting my head back and looking down my nose at the screen, thus giving the impression that I think I am superior to my computer.
I have to make an apology. To those of you who read this blog (if there’s anyone still here) yesterday’s entry must have appeared to have come out of the blue after a couple of fairly chirpy entries about our Big Trip etc. The fact is that this depression has been building up ever since we got back from America, but I was too low to blog about it. Actually yesterday I was even more low but I felt desperate to express it in some way. I have had a few bright spots during the last couple of months but they have been so fleeting, no more than a few days of finding life tolerable or even slightly pleasant. To tell the truth, I feel now as if this particular depression has been going on for years, but then in the midst of depression one’s memory is very distorted and tells one that things have never been anything but bad. If I listened to my feelings just now I would think I have been depressed continually a) for the past twenty years or b) continuously since 1972. Neither of which, I know objectively, is true.
On the other hand, during the brief periods of mental sunshine, I am convinced that I am now cured and that depression will never hit again. Which is equally untrue.
The facts on the ground, to sound like a newscaster, are that I have managed to contact two possible sources of counselling or psychotherapy, and booked myself a retreat this weekend, as well as buying my train tickets online and ringing up to book both my taxi from the station, and my return taxi on Sunday. All of which has to be better than yesterday. I just have to remember that while the retreat will undoubtedly make me feel better, it will not be a magic cure and nor will I return from it with a brilliant idea that will totally transform my life. Or with a poem I can enter into the poetry competition whose deadline has been extended. Although the latter is possible.
I have to tell myself that change comes slowly and that I can do little things every day to improve the immediate circumstances. Such as going down the road, which I did this afternoon, to buy some dental appliance sterilizing tablets. Which the dentist didn’t have but has ordered for me, thus ensuring that I will have to make another trip down the road next week. Of such small things is sanity made.
Woke at 8.00 this morning, feeling OK. Got up to go to the loo. When I came back, my bed was so tempting that I went straight back to it and dozed till 11.00 am. Another day messed up. And I didn’t manage to get out of the house either, even though I had a bona fide errand to do at the bottom of the road. Instead I had another sleep this afternoon. I am so demotivated and full of apprehension about all the things that need doing – in particular my book. I suppose this is called ‘writer’s block’, but I’ve never had it before in 30 years of freelance writing. It seems totally insuperable. However I did, by forcing myself, manage today to ring up two organizations that offer counselling, and then to book myself a retreat for the coming weekend. It will mean I miss the first session of choir, but I am singing tonight (back to my old group) so that will have to do. At the moment, giving up on belly dancing and going back to my old singing group feels like a defeat, even though it’s a choice I made when I was feeling OK.
This too will pass, this too will pass. I just wish it would pass quicker.
So I start a blog which is, at least partly, focused on depression. Trouble is, when I’m depressed I can’t face posting on it and can’t think of anything to say, and when I’m not (roughly one week in four, it seems at the moment) I’m too busy trying to make the most of the brief good time. Which usually means I tire myself out and bring the depression back quicker.
I’m coming out of a big low at the moment, which started a couple of weeks ago, so my perspective is probably distorted, but the cycle does seem to be swinging to higher highs (though not clinically manic) and what feel like lower lows, but probably aren’t, they just look lower in contrast with the greater height of the highs. Hope that makes sense. However high the highs are, I’m not yet ready for the four years’ worth of filing and ten years’ worth of decorating that are awaiting me.
Meanwhile, my husband is up a ladder at the back of the house replacing the down pipe, and having stuff transported from below in a bucket on a rope held by his assistant. I went down there to make some tea a little while ago and I heard the assistant saying ‘Would you prefer a longer screw?’. I had to laugh. Yes please…. (but not from his assistant).
PS I have just mistaken the noises my son is making at the computer, for our very vociferous cat. Perhaps my son is turning into a cat.
PPS I’ve just, via a stats search, looked at a blog post of mine from two years ago and found it refers to ‘four years’ worth of filing. That’ll be six years now, then.
I have a confession to make. This blog is loosely supposed to be about the experience of depression, yet when I am depressed I just haven’t got the energy to write, and when I am not, I am too busy catching up on all the things I failed to do when depressed, and I don’t want to think about the preceding depression let alone blog about it.
Which is a roundabout way of saying I have been bumping along the bottom for the last – oh, at least several weeks – and haven’t blogged about it. Suffice it to say that the mostly grey skies precisely reflect my average mood.
And I am about to sign a contract for a new book, which should be a cause for rejoicing, but all I can think about is that I have to somehow write the damn thing before next January.
Being at church often helps, and yesterday’s service had a number of things in it that spoke to me, but I am still struggling hard to make myself do all the things that need doing today. The fact that I have now re-read the official report into SEN at Genius Brat’s school, and that it addresses everything but the core issue of extreme understaffing, is not encouraging (of course I know that the reason for this is that the head got in a load of agency Teaching Assistants during the reviewers’ visit and sacked them all as soon as the inspectors had gone). And we have a meeting tonight at which I have to take minutes, and it is bound to be complex and my arm aches even thinking about it. I just hope the group can cut to the chase and create a strong response to the report.
Yesterday I found it extremely hard to get out of bed. But I did. Then I found it just as hard to make myself walk to the gym and had a swim. But I did. And finallly it was pretty hard to make myself go out and meet a friend. But I did. So that’s three very hard things I did yesterday.
Today I only did one hard thing, which was getting out of bed. Then later I went back. Some days are like that.
Apparently (according to my tag cloud) the most common tags on my blog are Christmas and depression. (Now I’ve written this they will be even more common.) There has been a lot of one and a bit of the other in recent weeks. Thankfully, Christmas is the one there has been a lot of, and depression only a little. On the former, it is December 14th and I have written and delivered every one of my Christmas cards and parcels, except the one where the address has to be hand written in Ukrainian script. On the latter, the new psychiatrist (who still did not have my notes, on my second visit – they appear to be lost) has signed me off and sent me in the direction of Mind counselling. And a dip a week or so ago seems to have passed over.
Now to the really good news: I just received word yesterday that The Demon Headmaster (yes, I know I said I wouldn’t call him that any more) is to leave at the end of this academic year. Huge sighs of relief all round from parents of kids with special needs, plus quite a lot of other parents and a lot of teachers, not to mention the vast majority of students.
However he still has eight months in which to do illegal things and make life difficult for our children, so the pressure from the Inclusion Group must be kept up. Thankfully this will not involve me as chair any more, though I can see a possibility of my becoming secretary. No rest for the wicked…
I’ve just had a play around with widgets (it’s legal over 21) and added a tag cloud. Not quite sure what to make of the fact that the two most frequent tags I’ve used are Christmas and depression. Unfortunately it’s not sophisticated enough to tell me whether I am in the habit of using both together…
Looking back at my last entry it really does seem a little ungracious – I can only say, never underestimate the power of a Jewish mother. Even if she is 94 – dear old lady just doesn’t describe it. I finally phoned her yesterday and she didn’t mention anything about our previous conversation or the fact that I hadn’t phoned, so I think she knew she was in the doghouse. We seem to be talking civilly again anyway.
Have just finished reading Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning (whom I believe to have been a Greenbelt speaker in the past). One scary book. I am trying in small ways to practise the kind of trust he recommends. The trouble is, my current inclinations are so bolshie that it is very difficult to trust God, or indeed to feel well-disposed towards God. Church is not a happy experience for me just now, which is such an unusual feeling for me, since I normally love my church, that I don’t quite know what to do with it. I shall keep turning up and hoping God does too, as even if I am feeling my faith to be at zero, I do still love being with the people. Even if the depressed voice inside says they all hate me (rationally I know this not to be true, but depression does these things). Off to eat some worms now…