I am writing this because I feel ill and haven't felt well for a while. I feel like my brain is somehow deteriorating because I feel so strange and terrible. Depression has never affected me in a low-mood sort of way, which has puzzled many doctors! I don't have any symptoms of 'typical' depression, yet I get the physical side of it: wanting to sleep all the time now, feeling disorientated and a loss of connection between my eyes and reality; most of the time I feel really unwell, exactly like having flu.
Recently it has triggered a lot of health anxiety for me. I don't often write about my struggles with depression/anxiety; I guess blogging can often be a form of escapism and a chance to feel normal for people who often don't feel normal - but part of me would really like to share more about how I try to tackle it on a daily basis. I really love this saying at the moment, that it is often the most creative people that are haunted by some kind of depression or anxiety and whose lives are deeply affected by them.
After having a baby:
The first few weeks were a whirlwind of desperately seeking sleep and adjusting to life with a baby; this gradually got easier but it was about late July when I started feeling unwell and like I was in a dream state every day. Oscar had started sleeping about 6 hour shifts then and it felt so much more intense than the jarring feelings of sleep deprivation I had encountered during the early weeks. It was about then I started having health anxiety - something I'd never had or even dwelled on before. Suddenly I find myself ravaged with a fear of being ill and I don't even like to write about it: I feel desperately scared of feeling sick, of having a headache; I don't know what I'd do if I did. I feel woozy and dizzy and can't relax because how can I? All these things feel dangerous; I need to feel normal like everyone else and be able to look after Oscar.
I am also living in a world that stings my eyes and makes them hurt, as though I am trying to see underwater. They feel so tired and strained and I feel I could sleep for days at a time. I want the world to look still like a photograph because all my surroundings are colourful, changing, pulsating and constantly going in and out of focus. The most overpowering thing is the unwell feeling: as if I've been going round and round on a roundabout for hours: disorientated, spaced out, half there and queasy. From what I can understand, there are many dimensions to depression and anxiety; mine is only one of them. It's often so difficult to describe but I think it's tied to migraine-like conditions. It's a kind of endogenous depression - completely of its own accord and not triggered by anything external. Enjoying moments with your baby at such a precious time in their development isn't always easy for many and I'm still hoping to try and find some medication that might help me before Oscar reaches the age that requires my full attention all the time. It is very true for me that every time I hear of someone having the blues I just wish I could be normal like that.
Things that are helping:
. My family: my mum's saying to 'just go with it' is so reassuring. It reminds me that there is nothing more I can do and to stop fighting any uncomfortable feelings. This lessens the anxiety impact and makes some of it easier to bear. Oscar loves spending time with other people in his family, although he always likes to come back for a cuddle. It takes such a strain off to have help sterilising his bottles and helping here and there. Still, even after having some tests, I can't stop imagining that I have some kind of horrible disease instead.
. Sometimes I have some relief: Some days I have felt better and I keep trying to remind myself of this. There have been instances where I have felt awful and then had a better period and it helps to remember this.
. Keeping a diary: I didn't feel much like writing about it at first but started to make a few notes on my phone: I didn't ever predict how useful they would become to look back on and see how I felt so bad, but then felt better again. I try to write down and record my feelings as much as possible now!
. Reading other peoples' experiences: I love reading peoples accounts of how they are feeling; it's my favourite thing to read about
I have written much more the about depressive side of my condition but I think it all ties in together so much! Having health worries definitely complicates things but I am starting some citalopram and am interested to see if it will have any effect on how I am feeling. Thanks so much for reading! :D