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Respect is two way. Thursday October 22, 2015

It had not been a good day. I had used every last bit of energy to drag myself out of bed, shower, and walk downstairs to open my shop. In between customers I had been crying behind the counter only to rise up with my happy face to serve customers. I wished the hours away so I could close up.

I crawled up stairs sat and collapsed on the bed. My partner stared at me and said 'Can you at least make more of an effort?' I was about to shout at him about him being insensitive until I loooked into his eyes and saw how tired and frustrated he was. I didn't like being and dealing with me and my irritablity, so I could only imagine how difficult it was for him.

I think when I am having a bad day I am so focused on myself that I forget how hard it must be for others who feel they have to tippy toe around me.

Instead of reacting and shouting, I explained how hard the day must have been for him and if he could just wait about ten minutes I would help him. I fell alseep and woke up a few hours later.

I want everyone to respect my moods and my limitations.

I even have a list of do's or don'ts:

Don't ask me anything that requires a decision.
Don't tell me there are so many people worse off than me.
Don't try to cheer me up by telling me jokes or being funny.
Do be there whenever I need a hug.
Do listen but do refrain from trying to fix me.

Lots more but you get the idea.(sounds very demanding when written down!!)

Sometimes I forget that I need to repect loved ones and understand how exhausting it must be to cope with me.

I am sure my loved ones lists of things they want me to do or not do when feeling low, would fill a large book!!

To be clear, I am not saying I don't want special attention and attention when depressed, of course I do, but I also want to consider the effect I may have on others.

How do you balance your own needs when you are very needy and those of others who are close to you. I would really like to read your ideas.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:26am

How very difficult for you, Leah, having to face the public in the shop when feeling so low. I really liked your blog. I do like your list, and would agree, especially with the first: I find it so hard to make decisions when having bad days. Good luck and hope your depression lifts soon.

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:51am

Sally Thanks for your kind words. Luckily, that day was some time ago and I am better now.

Sally Fri, Oct 23rd 2015 @ 7:34am

Good! So glad to hear that, Leah. Sally

LillyPet Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:36am

Morning Leah,
There are times when I just can't deal with people putting demands on me. Whether it's my teen needing me to be taxi or more work being given on top of an already full schedule.
Sometimes I snap and tell it like it is! Other times I explain patiently that I'm not their servant!
Sometimes I just let it be, I dont have the energy to respond or decide how to!
You hit the nail on the head for me with decisions. Sometimes I just cant deal with having to make a decision, the what to cook or even whether to cook at those times is so demanding.
Being invited to things is always hard. I dont like letting people down who are always there for me, but I just can't commit in advance.

I am guilty of trying to help. I do it on here all the time. I have suffered and I know emotional pain well. I know how unbearable it can feel and if I have found something that has helped me I have shared it incase it may help. Maybe it's irritating. I'm not trying to fix them, I know these things cant just be fixed, I just want to ease their suffering. It's kind of who I am. I wouldnt walk past someone in public who clearly needed help. Sometimes I offer, just put it out there that I'm here if I'm needed.

I am acutely aware of my effect on others, too much so! All I can do like many of us is keep myself to myself as much as possible at those times, focus on me and looking after myself until I bounce back.

The good thing is that we learn about ourselves a little more with each challenge and I know tgat I have come a long way.

Thanks for this blog Leah, I tend to block people out to protect myself which is fair enough when I'm feeling vulnerable, but the learning and positives that come out of it perhaps could be more for those around me, rather than just me. LP

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:54am

LillyPet Thanks for your thoughtful blog. I always learn so much from others' comments. I do hope that more we talk about what is happening the more other people will understand.

susan Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:13am

Hi LillyPet, please don't feel guilty about 'trying to help'. Certainly your comments are always warm and helpful and add a lot of value. I'm one who tries to help, too--as most of us do -- but i think there's a difference between trying to 'fix' and sharing thoughts about what has helped us personally. It's a fine line and worthy of deeper thought than this; i'm still trying to get it right. The difference may be in the energy that is used in projecting the thoughts. Thanks again. xx

LillyPet Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 9:37pm

That's very true Leah, rather than hide away we could, when we feel ready, explain to those around us what it's like , what we need and listen to the same from them. X

LillyPet Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 9:43pm

Thanks Susan, yes theres a huge difference between an energy that implies blame or a lack of effort and wants you to change for their sake and one who understands and wants to help you for your sake. Thank you xx

Leah Fri, Oct 23rd 2015 @ 12:33am

Thanks Lilypet. Sometime sit is hard for someone to explain what they need. As Gardener says the goalposts move so it is hard to know how to help at times. A learning curve for us all.

Leah Fri, Oct 23rd 2015 @ 12:35am

Susan A fine difference indeed, will think about that and sometimes it is about perceptions.

Mary Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:38am

Ah Leah - so much food for thought there. Yes, it is not just we who suffer but our loved ones too. My husband and children *know* I am incredibly grateful to them, for their love and care and (as much as they can give) understanding, but I know they have a hard time dealing with me. Leah - your words are an inspiration. Thank you.

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:57am

Mary, I think knowing how much you appreciate you appreciate your family would help them.

Ann Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 9:26am

Ooh, Leah, what interesting points you've made.
I really recognise the "don't ask me to make decisions", and listen don't fix.
And I also recognise the weary expression of spouse.
Not sure how i balance the needs... Sometimes I can bite my tongue... Other times I just bite, I guess....
Thankyou for airing....

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:55am

Thanks Ann, I like your comment about 'other times I just bite"

susan Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:31am

When depressed, there's usually only room for one person in my life...and that's me. To have someone who will just be there to give a hug and a quiet ear is such a gift. Forget making decisions. And suggestions annoy me, too...and yet...and yet some of them stick and help pull me through, so, clearly, we really do challenge those who love us when we're in the pits! I'm trying to not let being miserable override being kind. I try to stay quiet and kind until the storm passes. Thanks for another great blog and this very helpful list. xx

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:58am

Susan, Thanks for your comment. "I am trying not to let miserable override being kind"- I will write that down. I always say that being low is not an excuse for being rude.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:50am

my problem is that my husband wont tell me how he is affected by my insomnia. He doesnt like discussions about feelings unless I really make him talk. I like your blog Leah as it is good to be reminded of how our ups and downs affect our nearest and dearest. Headspace tells us that we should also think how meditation practice might help those around us;
Thanks again Leah

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 11:00am

Thanks Anon,
It has hard if those around us won't discuss their feelings. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Beth Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 11:10am

Totally agree with this Leah! I've recently been diagnosed with <a href=""> depression</a> and I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with those demanding that I just "try".

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:32pm

Beth Thanks for your comment. It is hard for you when others don't understand , hopefully this will change in time.

Beth Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 11:10am

Totally agree with this Leah! I've recently been diagnosed with <a href=""> depression</a> and I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with those demanding that I just "try".

The Gardener Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 11:37am

Leah, the fact that you are in the shop at all, maybe in tears behind the counter, must be counted as an enormous 'plus' when depressed. It was the commitment to others - husband, children, colleagues, and the fact that so many people here who are still making it which is important to all. When I wrote my book on 'Manic Depressive Illness' I quoted a Doctor who specialized in depression 'Unpleasant as the situation is for the general practitioner, it is infinitely worse for the relatives who live with them, and it is much more economic and more worthwhile to spend time on supporting the relatives, rather than on the patient themselves. The relatives must be made to realize that the doctor understands what they have to put up with'. These words apply just as well to Alzheimer carers. 5 years of Samaritans taught me, sadly, how many families just could NOT cope with the often excessive demands of the severely depressed, and the family collapsed. Another quote is the other end of the see-saw - the poet Shelley. 'When my brain gets heated with thought it soon boils, and throws off images and words faster than I can skim them off'. Final quote from Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy 'The Wisest men, greatest philosophers, of most excellent wit, reason, judgement, divine spirits, cannot moderate themselves to this behalf'. So many people this morning have talked of trying to make their 'feelings' understood. There is a lot of fear involved - as the depressive, while desperately needing a hug, will rudely repudiate help, then make a fuss because they do not get it. The 'looker on', carer, family, what you will, will become very wary, even seem cold - because the bloody goalposts move in depression. One of my great sadnesses is my son who suffers severe and terrifying depressions (since the age of 13) cannot talk to me. We have so much to share and mutual comfort to give - so what went wrong that we cannot communicate? It was nothing 'matriarchal' because he's far cleverer than me! Answers on a post-card, please.

Frankie Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 7:41pm

Evening Gardener Just to say, had my candle burning while I worked today - and I thought of you and yours each time I looked at it ... Frankie (only one more deadline to go by midnight!)

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:44pm

Gardener Once again what an amazing comment with so much to think about. You expressed my whole blog far more eloquently in two sentences. That is so true and what I was trying to say. . "There is a lot of fear involved - as the depressive, while desperately needing a hug, will rudely repudiate help, then make a fuss because they do not get it. The 'looker on', carer, family, what you will, will become very wary, even seem cold - because the bloody goalposts move in depression." That is sad about your son, maybe he felt he did not want to burden you for the reasons you gave above, maybe so much energy is taken up with the depressions there is little let for communication.I am sure you have thought about this before. I always appreciate the way you share your life experiences and I always learn something from your comments.

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:45pm

Frankie, Csndle burning at midnight- am intrigued

LillyPet Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 10:02pm

Evening TG, I enjoyed reading your comment, it's so true how we reject people but need them at the same time. It's sad that your son has suffered from such a young age, some young men just con't communicate their feelings very well. Many young people just dont communicate very much! LP x

Tim Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 11:56am

I think you've hit a nail on its head, Leah. And wrestling with whether your own needs outweigh others' is an added burden when one is low. Is "my pain" bigger than "your pain"? Who can (or should?) compromise more when at least one is unwell? What if you feel (or think) your need trumps the other, for the greater good? Who has the right to decide that? Questions, questions; democracy and faith. On we go.

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:47pm

Tim, What a lot of questions to consider. Thanks. Relationships require lots of negotiating . I think asking questions and considering the answers can only help.

Debs Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 5:34pm

Great blog Leah and has had me thinking lots today. If people are kind and patient with me when I am depressed I always acknowledge their support, tell them how much it means and also ask how they are or somehow steer the conversation away from me once they have been of support. Depression is a condition of the self - it makes a person wholy focussed on themselves, which for me is the worst side-effect. I can no longer be the person I want to be in the world and that is so tough but I do try and still put myself in others shoes and see how they must be feeling. Sometimes I'm beyond this but mainly I can do so a little and I'm grateful for anything that takes me away from myself. xx

Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:51pm

Debs Thanks for your comments. I think most people who are depressed are generally people who are often thinking of others. Your words below are true for me and many others. "I can no longer be the person I want to be in the world and that is so tough but I do try and still put myself in others shoes and see how they must be feeling."

Frankie Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 7:44pm

I agree; great blog Leah, thank-you.

Good to hear that you are in a better place at the moment.
I wonder how often any of us really look into the eyes of our loved ones and really see how they are ...

Note to self; look into loved ones' eyes and smile (and stop snapping at them for merely chatting whilst I am desperately trying to meet deadlines ...)


Leah Thu, Oct 22nd 2015 @ 8:53pm

Frankie Thanks for your reply. I am glad you found something that was useful

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