Tag Archives: depression

The Big Melt(down)

It’s been awhile since I have updated here. My life has been hectic in recent months and today it finally seems like I might have the time to sit down and have a good rest.

A lot is going on in my life at the moment…

Today I am 41 years old. I woke up this morning to Happy Birthday messages all over my Facebook. The truth is that I completely forgot about my birthday until I checked my phone this morning, which makes it official…I am old enough to not give a shit about my birthday! Yay!

Yesterday I started a new job in a familiar place. Two weeks ago my family and two very nervous cats moved into a new apartment in the city. Seven weeks ago my kids and I packed one bag each of clothing, dropped the cats off at my parents and drove 4 hours south to Toronto to stay with my husband in a hotel room for an undetermined amount of time and start over…again. Eight weeks ago I handed in my resignation for reasons I can’t talk about here.

Today I am sitting in downtown Toronto in my previous place of work, with a new job on my old team. My kids have adjusted to their new schools and being back in the city. There were lots of tears at first and it wasn’t easy, but they are happy again. Our new apartment is fabulous and HUGE and I am looking forward to hosting a dinner party for our friends. The cats were completely freaked out from the move but I can report that they are now happy and comfortable in the new pad. Actually, I was pretty freaked out by the whole thing too, but I am doing much, much better now. (Purrrrrrr)

Oreo and Luna

A post shared by Billie-Jo (@bearheartwoman) on

This past year has been a long and hard journey. I am not sure why I had to go through it or what kind of lessons I can take from it. I am sure there are many gems of wisdom to gain from the experience but for now I am feeling incredibly grateful that my family and I made it through in one piece and everything has worked out better than I ever hoped for.

Depression still lurks around the corners and threatens to slip in through the cracks under my doorway. I have random anxiety attacks which have been difficult but I am learning to manage them. Despite it, I think I am doing much better than I was earlier this year. At least I don’t feel like a cardboard cut out of myself anymore and I got my feelings back. The problem is, my feelings are BIG and all over the place and I have zero control over them. Crying in public has never been my thing and now I have random outbursts of emotion which is the worst nightmare for a super self-control freak like myself. Yes, I get the lesson here. Putting a lid on your emotions is really, really bad for you. I just wish I can at least wait until I get home to cry over nothing.

But, I am doing better. The desire to write is a good sign of my old self and I look forward to sitting down and putting words together again. I can’t say that I am completely back to normal but honestly, I don’t think I will ever be the same again. Perhaps that is a good thing.

It was a hard year and the past two months have been a roller coaster off all kinds of emotions. The good news is that I am actually feeling real, full emotions again. They may not all be pretty and some of them are downright ugly, but in the midst of the big meltdown of every emotion that ever existed, I am feeling something that is vaguely familiar to me. I think it’s called Happiness.

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Thawing out

At first, the flat feeling that comes after a depressive episode is a relief from the crushing feelings of sadness. I wouldn’t even call the flatness a feeling since feeling flat is essentially a lack of any full feelings at all.

I still have them, those things called feelings but mine are muted and unpredictable. I have to remind myself to put on a brave face most of the time and at least pretend to be happy for the sake of everyone else around me. Yesterday, which was Mother’s Day, a celebratory event, was rather torturous for me and it’s not because anything bad happened. It was a lovely day, beautiful weather at a fabulous brunch buffet with my family. But all I could think was “try to look happy, or at least try not to look so emotionless.” Having to constantly monitor my facial expressions and appropriate responses to conversation is exhausting. The day seemed like it was never going to end. Today, someone asked me how the food was and I couldn’t even say if I enjoyed it or not. I think my taste buds, along with my emotions have packed up and left the building.

My moments of just feeling normal again are unpredictable. Some days are good, others are not. I never know what the outcome of activities are going to be. Things that once made me feel good are not guaranteed to make me feel anything at all anymore. Going for a walk down by the lake and taking some pictures which was once a sure thing for me, now produces only a hint of what used to be there – it’s right there in front of me but just out of my reach.

I do still care enough to maintain. My job keeps me busy and I like it, so I know I am still capable of some positive emotions. I just wish it would happen more often and outside of work.

I have started to see a therapist who told me that this emotional flatness is a part of depression and it might take me some time to thaw out, so to speak.

Just last week the east side of the lake was still covered with sheets of ice and chunks of snow on the shoreline. This week the ice is gone, the snow has melted and the water is wide open. Hopefully with consistent self-care, plenty of patience and a lot less of being so damn hard on myself, I might start to thaw out too soon.

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How quickly I forget

I talked myself into going for a walk tonight because I was bored. Boredom tends to lead to over thinking, which leads to worry, which leads to anxiety, which leads to…well, you know how that goes.

I’m sure glad I forced myself out the door because it was a beautiful sunset tonight.

I think I remember why I love this little piece of Northern Ontario…

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All photos were taken and edited by me on my iPhone 5.

Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman

The bear comes out of hibernation

The snow and ice have melted and the local falls are roaring

The snow and ice have melted and the local falls are roaring

Depression is a difficult thing to live with and keep under control. Managing my mood is part of my daily maintenance that I have to keep ahead of. Sometimes it’s hard to wear all those hats of who I am – mother, daughter, community member, social worker, social justice advocate, writer…depressive.

I have written before about my struggles with S.A.D. but I have recently come to realize that my depression has so much more to it than just the season. I suppose moving back to where I grew up has made me see that and although it has been hard to face, I think it is better for me to deal with it and work on my personal healing in my home community.

I went through a pretty dark depressive episode this winter. I haven’t felt that way in years and it scared me. Depression is something that has haunted me since my early twenties and I think there has always been a part of me that has feared the darkness overcoming me again. I’m feeling better now, but I realize that taking care of myself has to be my top priority.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I feel like I am coming out of the other side of the depression tunnel and things are looking up. I love my new job. It took some time to find my niche and fit in, but now I am feeling comfortable and I have some great ideas and projects to work on. One of the most exciting things about my job is that I have an opportunity to write for the community newsletter and I’m hoping to get an agency blog started. It’s not a big deal really, but it’s something that makes me feel good and well, I’m a writer at heart so any chance to share my writing is welcome.

Moving my family out of the city to a small town has been harder than I thought it would be. But all in all, everything is good. The kids are happy, I have a job that I love and the long winter is finally over. Spring has arrived.

I’m looking forward to doing some spring cleaning and finding happiness in the simplicity of daily life.

Follow me on Instagram: @bearheartwoman

Staying ahead of seasonal depression

For many years I have had Seasonal Affective Disorder. As much as I love autumn, it’s actually a difficult time of year for me, particularly late autumn. The days get shorter, and nights grow longer day by day. Soon it will be dark when we leave the house in the morning and dark when we return home at the end of day. The other day when I woke up my son at 7am, he asked me why we were getting up when it was still night time, lol.

My symptoms of S.A.D are extreme tiredness, lethargy, irritability (more than usual) and a general blah feeling about life (maybe also more than usual). ;p

It’s strange because up until this week, I was good. And then it’s like someone came along and flicked off my light switch and now I suddenly can’t seem to get enough sleep or get out of bed in the morning. I suppose the one good thing about this is that this time of year is when I catch up on all the sleep I am missing the rest of the year. Normally, I toss and turn all night and haven’t had a full night of sleep since my daughter was born ten years ago. This week, I have been asleep by 9:30pm then I drag my ass out of bed at 6:30am. You would think that this would be more than enough sleep, but I still feel exhausted the entire day and I could easily fall asleep every time I sit down for more than a few minutes.

The good thing is that this generally doesn’t last the entire winter. The peak time for me, is between now and Christmas. The key is to stay on top of it and to use this time for self-care. I do more brisk walking around the city than usual, and St. John’s Wort and omega 3 fatty acids become a part of my daily routine. It helps as long as I make a commitment to myself to be consistent with it everyday.

I’ve been living with this long enough to know how to keep on top of it by now, so I’m not too worried about my seasonal depression turning into something bigger. However, my biggest concern is, will I be able to tear myself out of my warm cozy bed on the weekends to go down to the lake and capture the sunrise with my camera?

I don’t know yet, but I’m sure gonna give it a try.

Photo taken with my iPhone3Gs, and edited in Camera+, Snapseed, Photoshop Express and PicFX.