‘Any time spent on me is a complete waste of time!’ ‘Do you really believe that?’ the psychologist said. I let out a deep sigh and shake my head. This woman does not get it. Of course it was true; I was shocked that she even questioned it. In my mind I no longer deserved sleep, rest, food or water. I would make amazing home made food for Joseph and survive off a coffee and a Greggs pasty. I was running on adrenaline and caffeine and my blood sugar was like a roller coaster. I felt that anything that was just for me was a complete waste of time and energy. I believed this so wholeheartedly and so strongly that I was sure I would feel like this forever. I even felt guilty taking the phone call and I was most definitely pouring from an empty cup.
Looking back at this memory I do not really see myself anymore only a very scared and very tired new mother. I took the call as Joseph was sleeping and I was pacing the hallway in tears. Why didn’t I sit down and rest? I want to go back and give her a big hug. I would tell her that she was doing a great job, that her baby loved her and I would tell her to sit down and eat some lunch.
It has taken me months of hard work to get to this point of recognition. I can now finally see the illness and myself as separate entities; I no longer have the blinkered vision of depression. Long may this continue! This is a break though but only really signals the start. I am very grateful I have felt like this. It might sound strange but I am starting to view my depression as a gift. My darkest moments were horrific but I needed it. I feel that sick child or not this was always going to happen. This depression has given me the permission I needed to find my true character and be my true self. My whole life I have tried to fit into boxes and be the person people expected me to be – I say a very firm and friendly NO to this now.
I find myself faced with an even more important question…’Who am I anyway?’ I am working with a life coach who has asked me to try and be completely vulnerable. The aim is to feel and express my true feelings without the fear of other people’s judgements. If I am sad – be it. If I am in a bad mood – be it. If I am feeling reflective – maybe write about it. I initially thought this would be really difficult but I have found it liberating. I don’t need to be who people expect me to be – I can just be me. My first questions after a social event are always…’Was I OK?’ ‘Was I chatty enough?’ ‘What do you think people thought about me?’ If I ask these questions to my husband he is under strict orders to ignore me! I am very much enjoying not thinking about other people’s opinions.
One thing I have noticed is that you first need to get the basics right. All this development and spiritual awareness stuff is great but if I haven’t eaten all day and surviving on coffee I am doomed to failure. I can very easily slip back in to my old ways of thinking which although uncomfortable are still very much the comfort zone.
I have decided to start small…eat, drink and sleep…every day! I am starting a 100 day self care challenge of ensuring I am looking after my mind and body. You can not pour from an empty cup and my cup really needs filling back up!