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Being ‘okay’. Sunday February 8, 2015

It’s a funny thing, this recovery business. It makes me question every emotion.

I have a bad night’s sleep. Am I getting depressed again? I wake up feeling tearful. Am I getting depressed again? I start to stress out about work. Am I getting depressed again?
I shout at the kids. Am I getting depressed again?

But that question – am I getting depressed again? – makes me realise a very important truth. I am not depressed any more. I have come through it. Not totally. Not unscathed. Maybe I will never be exactly how I was before. But I am not depressed.

If I think about it too much, I can start to believe that I am. Because I’m not completely fine. I still have black dog days. Sleepless nights. Days when I’m anxious or ratty or tearful or withdrawn. But I’m not depressed.

Depressed was when I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone, let alone laugh. Depressed was when I barely ate for six weeks. Depressed was when I had to extend work deadlines because I just couldn’t put the words onto paper. Depressed was when my children lived on freezer dinners because I didn’t have the energy to cook. Depressed was when my baby girl asked, ‘Why is Mummy sad?’

I am not like that now. Now I can take pleasure from cooking a nice meal again and from eating it. I can defuse an overtired toddler tantrum with love and understanding, rather than panic and rage. I can put myself out there at work, feeling confident that I can do the task justice. I can play-fight with my children and make them laugh. I can feel happy and relaxed with my friends, sitting and chatting in the park. I can do favours for people because I love them and I want to, not because I feel it’s the only way they will like me back.

I am a work in progress, I know that. I don’t think there will ever be a straightforward answer to the question, ‘Why was I depressed?’ I know it is likely to bite me again, which is why I need to safeguard myself against that by seeing my counselling through, seeing my course of medication through. I know I will always have black days that make me fear that I’m sliding backwards again. But I am accepting myself more.

I am not perfect. But I’m okay. I’m not a brilliant journalist. But I’m making a living out of it. I’m not a brilliant housewife. But neither am I a complete slob. I’m not a brilliant wife. But I’m better than I could be. I’m not a brilliant friend. But I have a few people who I know are friends for life. I’m not a brilliant mother. But my children know they are loved.

I’m never going to be everything I want to be, or everything that I feel is expected of me. I’m always going to be a bit shy, a bit introverted, a bit morose, a bit temperamental, a bit lazy, a bit fat, a bit slovenly. But I am okay.

I am going to be okay. And in saying that, I know I am no longer depressed. Not cured. Not fixed. But not depressed.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 7:10am

Hi Lucy- It was so heartening to read your blog and so glad you came out at the other side.We love you for who you are not what you became when you became when you became depressed.There is one question you ask" Why was I depressed" It is my theory ( and there are people in the psychological world who believe it too) that the principal reason was that you lost something you valued and was precious to you.This loss is very individual because we all value different things differently.Look to see if this loss was physical or emotional, tangible or intangible ,real or imagined. The loss will be in the past. Once you have identified it ,to complete the healing, is to find a strategy to come to terms with it.In my case it was the loss of my hopes,my ambitions, my dreams of the things I was going to do together with my wife and the loss of a life long love and a companionship when my wife developed Alzheimer's at a young age when I was ready to retire and do those things.Now I have come to terms with all those and I am pretty confident I will not be depressed again.

Elizabeth Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 9:47am

Thank you

Beachlife17 Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 9:55am

Brilliant and inspiring. Thank you <3

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 10:00am

I am impressed - you are doing well, with insight. You are spot on, you may never be depressed again. Look after yourself well, you are important to other people too! Listening to others who have suffered, 'over doing' things and a strong sense of duty might be partly causal. If you do find yourself down you now know that you can come through, that it's not a permanent state.

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:19am

Hello Hopeful -- Between you and Lucy, this Sunday morning has been a wonderful inspiration. Depression caused by the loss of something precious? Yes. And you have evolved through the devastation which i can only imagine must have been severe. I wish you great joy going forward. susan xx

Julia Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:20am

Hi Lucy. I suffer from fear that my insomnia will return after a couple of good night's sleep. In fact I would say that I sabotage any good results on the sleep front by thinking about the next night almost incessantly. I remember when I was on anti depressants and I felt so much better but could not help thinking each day, oh this could be my last day of feeling good. Or some such unhelpful thoughts. Eventually my prophecy came true and the anti depressants "stopped" working. I wonder if it's a control thing with me. I am unable to allow outside influences to work for some silly reason. A big subject and one I could do with some help on. Your blog describing your success is very encouraging though.

Hopeful One Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:32am

Thank you.

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:33am

Lucy, i loved your blog. You say you are not perfect, but that's because there are no perfect human beings. "There is a crack in everything....that is how the light gets in". And you say that you will never be the same again. No, but what you are is wiser, more soulful and compassionate -- at least i'm sure that goes with the territory when we evolve out of something as difficult as depression. You most certainly feel to me like an absolutely wonderful person. Best wishes and thanks from another 'work in progress'. susan xx

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 12:01pm

Love this Lucy! Being 'okay'...that's just it. In so many ways. Very well done, love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 12:04pm

Hi HO :-)
That's an incredibly interesting theory. I have been searching for years to find the root of when my depressions began. In the last year it's be one clearer to me and it's really curious that it does indeed involve loss. Really interesting. Thanks. Love ratg.

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 12:07pm

Hi Julia. Why is it that loss of a night's sleep is so terrifying? I'm the same. Nothing can upset me more than lying awake all night and eeking out perhaps 1.5 hours just before the alarm goes off. I went an entire year unable, literally, to sleep and got by on sleeping pills every third night or so or when i had to function well the next day. I still use them occasionally. It's true that the fear of not sleeping will keep us from it. The fear keeps the cortisol flowing and flight mode going which defeats sleep. I started taking something to support the adrenals as the sleep deprivation had depleted them badly. That helped. I also worked with a visual metaphor that kept coming up. Or how about a mantra as you breathe into sleep. Deepak Chopra has one that is simply saying 'Just' on the inbreath and 'This' on the outbreath, thus promoting being in the now. I've not had a lot of luck with that kind of thing, but you might. There will always be some sleepless nights. Food can affect us negatively. Weather change, too. And of course the anxieties of life. Acceptance of this fact is probably very helpful -- but i still haven't quite managed to go with the flow easily. I don't think it's so much of a need to be in control....just the fear that you will return to the state you were once in. But you won't! Good luck. susan xx

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 1:49pm

Not brilliant - but yes, perfect. Because there is an infinite number of ways to be perfect. You exhibit one of them.

Julia Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 2:14pm

It's so kind of you Susan to write like this. I have suffered from insomnia for a number of years now and if truth be told, I lost my job because of it. I have tried most things. I am better now, marginally. I find Mindfulness can help although I often think it doesn't. Acceptance is helpful. Sleeping pills taken very occasionally can help too. I used to rely on them when I was working in a stressful job but not now. The loss of one night's sleep is not terrifying and if I was a normal sleeper, I could handle that; the memory and experience of not having slept well in the past is the terrifying thought. Thank you for your sympathy and help. I am sorry you are the same. But yes we will get there!

Julia Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 2:16pm

Hi Hopeful One
Did you have a nice evening last night? I hope so.(You said you were going out)

Laura Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 3:14pm

"I’m never going to be everything I want to be, or everything that I feel is expected of me. I’m always going to be a bit shy, a bit introverted, a bit morose, a bit temperamental, a bit lazy, a bit fat, a bit slovenly. But I am okay." I've never heard of it (or thought of it) that way before, but I sure do like it! "I am okay". not perfect (to me, perfection doesn't exist), but I am okay. And If I'm having a tough day, I know I *will* be okay. Thanks, Lucy

Hopeful One Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 6:39pm

Hi Julia- yes I did. And thank you for remembering!

Julia Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 6:42pm


Hopeful One Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 7:15pm

Hi Julia and anon @ 12.07 pm- disturbance of sleep such as not getting off due to a racing mind, maintaining sleep, or waking up early or rarely sleeping for hours is one of the major symptoms of depressing but not always I would thoroughly recommend Colin espie's book " overcoming insomnia" where he writes about the course they offer to people referred to his Sleep Laborstory in Glagow lasting some 8 weeks. Based on CBT techniques he will take you through each stage beginning with keeping a sleep log which he shows how to analyse. You will be told that sleep = bed and bed= sleep nothing else is allowed other than sex which as it happens promotes sleep!you will find out about sleep efficiency which works like this. If you go to bed and fall asleep immediately and wake up 6 hours later your sleep efficiency is 100% (6 hours in bed divided by 6 hours asleep x 100) If you sleep for 6 hours but lie in bed for eight your efficiency drops to 75%( 6 hours slept divided by 8 hours in bed x 100) to benefit from sleep one has to hit a rate of 90 %. So the person with only 6 hours sleep with a 100% efficiency will feel more rested and refreshed than the perso who slept for 8 hours but had an efficiency of 75 %. In sleep quality trumps quantity any time. I did the course as I was having sleep problems and discovered I had advanced sleep phase disorder where my chronobiological clock is set to wake up early.I now use a special 10000 lumens light source used for treatment of seasonal affective disorder to bring my clock forward. I am still a lark but a happy one . Good luck.

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 7:16pm

Beautifully written Lucy, and so true as all of us who have been there know! Thanks x

Anonymous Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 7:51pm

This really resonated with me, thank you Lucy xx

Sarah M Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:09pm

That's just what I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing. Xx

Sarah M Sun, Feb 8th 2015 @ 11:09pm

That's just what I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing. Xx

Julia Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 9:06am

Good morning Hopeful One. Thank you for this interesting advice. Coincidentally I did go to see Colin Espie about my insomnia when we lived in Scotland so I know what a great guy he is on this subject.Your explanation has made me think about this again and is very helpful. It is so good of you to take the time to write all this.Thank you!

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