Thursday, 17 October 2013

Sorry






I'm using this blog today for the purpose that I created it. A cathartic space to document how I'm feeling and to dump stuff that may, or may not prove useful to other people. I do apologise for rambling and divergence.

For the last twenty years of caring for other people, in ways that I've talked about and ways that I haven't disclosed, I have experienced crying days.

Usually two or three days every couple of months which I've viewed as a pressure cooker valve for my mental health.

In short I've felt sad and let myself be sad and his cycle has resolved and I've moved on.

Sadness is a crucial emotion for life but we are sometimes quick to replace it with cod diagnoses and the fear fuelled responses from others around us.

Often times sadness is indistinguishable from depression and must never be ignored or belittled but equally sadness has a value which mustn't be negated.

In my life there have been things over which I've had no control. Events which have needed resolve and energy and adrenaline has made my dealing with these events possible but this has necessitated the shelving of my own sadness as it got in the way of what I needed to do. When you are a carer there isn't any additional space for you to fall apart.

This is how I know that what I was experiencing wasn't depression. Unlike those who cruelly stigmatise mental illness, I know that you can't "choose" depression, it chooses you. Aside from a panic disorder which can manifest, and the side effects of stress I haven't experienced depression but it can happen to any one of us at any time and we need to have a huge reservoir of empathy and compassion for those who live with it.

There is at play a harsh and demeaning attitude to "faux " conditions which dovetails with a hardening of hearts and an overwhelming cynicism which is a historical imperative seen in times of austerity. I feel we need to fight this everyday.

Perhaps by not giving those people like Katie Hopkins, airtime. But that may be a big ask in the Punch and Judy arena which passes for debate these days.

To stem the times of acute sadness deteriorating into depression I've visited the Dr regularly over the years and seen a counsellor and would never fight medication as an option, if I needed to take it. Exercise is my friend in the worst of times and the benefits of regular exercise are equal to those of a low dose anti-depressant.

This week I'm sad again. Very sad. I'm wading through metaphorical treacle, and wonder again if the cumulative impact of the sadness I postponed, is once again backing up.

The league table of perspective we all live by determines that my sadness is as nothing to the suffering detailed in African migrants drowning in the Mediterranean in desperate pursuit of a life away from horror. As nothing to the suffering of 30,000,000 enslaved people of the new millennium and as nothing to those people, beaten and broken by abusive partners everyday. The list of genuine suffering is long. As long as the queues for the foodbanks, which we are seeing the Red Cross championing in the UK.

Britain isn't looking very great at the moment.

I have the capacity to understand this and recognise my luck in life too and I'm ashamed that I feel sadness at all. No one is less tolerant of my mood than I am.

But irrespective of my own frustration, it's stalking me everyday this week, like an unforgiving enemy and it's capacity to be diminished through reasoned explanation and comparison of suffering, is equally absent.

I suspect it's part of a process of moving from being a carer full time for 3 people which involves letting go and falling down and moving on.

It involves grief, loss and fear of the unknown and like stepping off a fast moving carousel, re-acclimatising myself to the stillness and working out how on earth I can be useful, or productive is tricky.

It's a work in progress as ever.


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