Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sometimes

I'm feeling happy, and have been for a quite a while. 

OK..

I say those words with some trepidation because I’ve implied similar before, and then the balloon bursts with a bang.  I’ve said it here, that to name the emotion you weaken its power. Is this the same for positive emotions? I hope not, but I feel robust enough right now to take the risk. 

My dark episodes never seem to last less than a year.  I’m grateful for the bludgeoning lack of self-awareness which makes me forget this in between times. Perhaps depression is a bit like childbirth (ponders the mother of five children all born naturally) only you don’t choose the triggering event and are without the brand new human at the end of it.  Hmmm... 

What I DO know without resorting to clumsy analogies, is that because it lasts so long my perspective is skewed.  I find I can’t remember what ‘normal’ I supposed to feel like.  I think I’m me again right now, but my responses don't seem the same as before.  Perhaps episodes of depression change you, like other big life events do.

Nothing special has happened to make me feel better.  Well, perhaps that's disingenuous of me seeing as I've had a full year of no-expense-spared therapy (thank you, years of Steph's BUPA premiums for finally becoming useful), plus drugs and the unspeakable luxury to navel gaze.  I nearly wrote "naval gaze," images thereof making me giggle. This is new, that I feel like laughing again, and want to make other people laugh too - a key, and a little chink of light that's given me hope that this state might last. 

I'm looking outwards again. One of the killing things I find about depression, is how ruthlessly introspective it makes you.  You're self-obsessed but it's not selfishness.  Selfishness suggests some pleasure in the state, but in depression there is none.  Being depressed, for those lucky enough not to know is like being trapped in a self-conscious hell which you yourself have created.  All of your worst nightmares are there. You can’t remove yourself, and as much as you want to be interested in the world, your black ego turns you inwards. Depression strips you back to the dullest, most paranoid parts of yourself.  If you’re lucky enough to have help, therapy examines the carcass, picks the bones clean and then painfully, makes you rebuild the flesh.

That's where I am, fleshed up - oh, literally, I have put on a heap of weight - and metaphorically.  I feel like myself again.  I love my family, I feel creative again.  In a couple of weeks I have an interview for a job I would adore. I lack obvious relevant experience or qualifications, but I know I could do it. Six months ago I would not have had the confidence to apply - hell, six years ago I wouldn't have had the confidence either.

It helps that I have fewer things to worry about.  Elodie is managing so much better than I could have imagined at her new sixth form.  She has difficult times and doesn't have anything like as much energy as previously, but she's missed a total of only seven days this half of term.  I'm so proud of her determination to overcome this horrible condition which has laid her low for so many months, and that she wants to get on with life. I can't fix her, and I need to respect her enough to trust that she will work her own way through.  I never imagined that this would be one of the toughest things to implement as a parent.

As for me, the message that has been hammered home is that I’m utterly powerless to prevent things happening, and sometimes the sh*t will hit the fan despite my best efforts. The only thing I can control or at least be aware of, is how I react.  This is principally in relation to my long term loss of Juliette, but really it’s about everything else too. 

I spent the first eight years after Juliette died inventing another life, where things were wonderful despite her leaving, and then the past year longing for an alternative reality where she was still here. It’s tough to admit that I can’t make either of those lives, but there’s peace in accepting my own fallibility and to realise that all I can do is incorporate her loss into the huge amount love I still feel for her.  She'll always be part of me.  I just have to keep on growing to hold her, as well as everyone and everything else.

Most of all, I feel hopeful that there’s more good to come. 


Sometimes 

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
 
Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

6 comments:

  1. I was initially concerned this was going to be a post about Erasure! What I got instead was a lovely little warm post that'll keep me cheery as me and mine drive up to Liverpool!

    I'm glad you're happy and that typos make you laugh again(me too). Let's hope the next year will be even better with more creativity, more love, a new job!

    Sending you all my love, have a great time in the land of tulips!

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  2. Geves, is that your poem? It's amazing. The whole post is great news too. I feel like putting on a great big sticky up thumb and a smiley face on here - so unlike me that you must have filled me up with positivity. Hope you have a marvellous time in Amsterdam!!!!! Love, Pxxxxxxxxxxx

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  3. How wonderful to hear you so happy, Geves. No - shout it out - don't worry about weakening it. It's already made at least three of us happy - naming it does the opposite - it magnifies it. Hope Amsterdam was fab. xxx

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  4. What a lovely positive post and a beautiful poem. I am so glad to read it Geves.
    Love, Sally xxx

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  5. "The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow", and it looks like the sun is casting its rays down on you, too.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and thought provoking heartfelt post. xxx

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  6. Thank you for all those lovely comments GK, SC, Tricia, Sally and JJ.

    The poem isn't mine, Petra - I wish! Can't write poetry...

    Amsterdam was amazing - lots of art, history, beer and walking. Not meaning to lower the upbeat tone but we went to Anne Frank's house - starkly simple and I found it utterly harrowing. Unlike Otto Frank, we didn't lose our daughter to hatred. J knew we were with her and she wasn't afraid. That probably sounds a bit desperate but it is a huge blessing.

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