How Depression Crept Up on Me and Advice

This time two years ago I posted the photo below to Instagram and said I was having a girly-night to myself and made it sound so positive.

What I didn’t say was that I’d had to go on Just Eat to find somewhere local which sold food and beer/wine because it felt like an overwhelming physical AND mental impossibility to go to the local shops. I was so hungry and really needed something to cheer myself up too.

I’d gotten into the habit of not getting (dragging myself) out of bed until 4.00pm (sadly after it had gone dark) so I hadn’t seen daylight for five days. I’d stopped being bothered to get dressed or comb my wildly frizzy hair or to tidy up.

The bloke had to be elsewhere and he was so stressed and busy he really needed to get on with it and I was trying to be as supportive as poss. But I was on my own all week, until weekend and felt really lonely. But I also felt guilty and silly bothering him.

I realise looking back that the Depression had crept back but at the time I was kidding myself that I was having fun enjoying not having any responsibilities or structure.

Ironically that is exactly what helps me, as it stops the endless days and nights all blending together. Plus someone to bounce my thoughts off so they aren’t swimming around in my head and growing more negative and repetitive is vital for me.

I wish I’d put an honest caption on Insta about how I was feeling at the time or told my Dad or my bloke how I felt. BUT I’d been fighting for decades to have my disabilities and chronic illness recognised and to get on ESA benefit so I could rest at home all day. I felt guilty that I wasn’t now happy and thought I must be being ungrateful or overly-dramatic. But actually, when you can’t or aren’t doing much, whole days and nights alone can seem like an eternity.

After doing this on repeat for about a month (literally just living for the weekend when my bloke would be able to come back basically) I phoned him in floods of tears.

We talked for an hour and worked out a better way of doing things and it made a vast amount of difference to my mental health.

———-

There isn’t always a reason though. Sometimes clinical depression can hit you for no reason at all and that’s perfectly normal, not your fault and just as valid.

If you are feeling crappy or apathetic to stuff you normally love doing or are struggling to keep your head above water, please don’t fool yourself you are ‘fine’. Admit to yourself that you aren’t feeling okay and then tell someone else, even if it’s just one other person (i.e. a considerate family member, a friend, an empathetic friend of a friend or your GP for instance) IRL or online.

You don’t have to be fine all of the time and forcing yourself to try can do more damage than good. Being open and honest about your feelings can lift a huge weight.

It’s ok not to be ok 🙃

✨✨🖤Chrissie🖤✨✨

How Not To Be Late All Of The Time

  • I’ve struggled terribly for years with keeping track of time, planning my time and executive functioning (getting around to doing tasks). For me, this is due to my Autism and Dyspraxia but I know it’s a general problem for so many people. Do you often get so (hyper) focussed on doing a single task that you loose all sense of time or often get too distracted by irrelevant tasks?
  • Here are the coping strategies for being on time, that I’ve learned over 30+ years:

  • Get everything ready the night before by putting all of the essentials in your bag or together in a pile (which you have to walk past on the way out).
  • Plan your outfit and/or make sure your shoes/bag/coat are clean and presentable beforehand.
  • To figure how long it will take to get ready break down your daily routine into tasks, then assume each task is going to take a few minutes longer than you would think.
  • At the start, factor in ten extra minutes for zoning out or hyper-focussing on something or for one of those ‘Oh crap, I’ve properly arsed this up’ sort of moments.
  • If you are able, get into the habit of agreeing on a time to meet up a bit later – even though (in your head) you are still aiming for the original time – to give yourself a margin.
  • Set an alarm or a timer to go off half way through the time you have left to get ready, to give you some perspective on how you are doing.
  • Don’t rely on public transport/a lift/taxis to be on time either and allow for rush hour traffic.
  • Now you should fall into the middle of the time slot you’ve mentally and socially allocated yourself.
  • If you are still late sometimes? Try not to stress. Shit happens.
  • 🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤
  • You Don’t Have To Hide Your Disability Or Condition

    I have what is referred to as an ‘invisible disability’ because Dyspraxia is part sensory, part co-ordination and part comprehension/attention/memory related, it’s not always an obvious physical thing. Invisible Disabilities have their own problems when it comes to mingling with the general pubic (yes, I know). I’m going to list them because I like lists!

    Lazy But Frequent Assumptions People Make About You

    1. People loose patience with you because they think you are being lazy or just taking your own sweet time.
    2. People think you’re just a big weird goof and make tactless observations or find it easier to avoid what/who they don’t understand.
    3. People scowl at you for using things/spaces for disabled people because you aren’t in a wheel chair or you don’t have a big neon “DISABLED” sign hovering over your head.
    4. People think you are acting precious or being a bit of a diva because you’re asking for special attention or more frequent attention compared to everyone else, who’s just ‘getting on with it’.
    5. People think you are being an ignorant arsehole. Yes, I just love loosing the plot of our conversation about your baby who’s just started walking (and who’s name I can’t remember) or literally bumping into you on the street when we’re the only two people on the pavement or over compensating and giving you a ludicrously wide birth (hilarious to watch apparently!) or struggling to join in a group conversation and then blurting out what I want to say when it’s not even relevant anymore.
    6. That you are just plain stoopid.

    Talk About Your Condition/Disability! Tell people!

    Don’t stop strangers in the street and regale them with details of your latest Dr’s visit like, but do get a dialogue going with people you are going to be spending a lot of time with.

    In hindsight I would have found it so much easier in every college, every job and every new circle of friends I’ve made, if I’d have just had ‘the talk’ with them. Alright, back then I had no understanding of why I struggled so much but I knew which things I struggled with.

     

    Yeah, I know it shouldn’t be up to the disabled person to set the standard and to feel like they have to justify their actions but explaining them might possibly make it easier for said person in the long term. Your disability shouldn’t be something you are ashamed of either.

    Why Covering For Your Disability Won’t Always Work

    I did an Office Administrator apprenticeship in my 20’s where I wasn’t much older than most of my colleagues kids. They noticed straight away that I wasn’t coping very well but falleveryone was lovely and they all really helped me. After a year the apprenticeship was over and I had to find a new job.

    I fell in with a group of people that had started a month earlier and had bonded with each other quickly. After 6 months I still felt a little like I was ‘the new girl settling in’ and had an uneasy feeling I hadn’t meshed quite right with them. I automatically assumed it was down to my wonky social skills. Other people in the office had previously dropped subtle hints to me about ‘knowing who your friends are’ etc. but subtlety isn’t my strong point and anyway, these people were doing just enough to con me into thinking they genuinely were my friends. I think that they knew I was (intentionally) hiding something from them and something i_m_fine__by_halliova-d5jex0lwasn’t quite right, so they all thought it gave them the right to treat me like shit. I ended up leaving because of it, with no other prospect of employment on the horizon but that’s not the point. They were a bunch of knobs, obviously, but that’s not the point either….

    Accept It And Own It!

    The point is, I was trying to hide my condition in plane sight and failing miserably. One minute I was chatting a mile a minute and the next I was being evasive and not making eye contact. Fine not fine. Basically I was really embarrassed by my ‘weirdness’ and was bright enough to quickly be able to come up with a vaguely plausible excuse for every symptom, while t the same time feeling really rather stupid. We need to remember we aren’t wrong or broken, we just function differently. We shouldn’t be making excuses for being who we are or acting the way that we do regarding being different.Every single person on the planet has things they are good at and things they are crap at. The only difference with us is that we are more determined to give the things we know we’ll struggle with, a try in the first place.

    If people notice you are acting or doing something that’s a little different don’t try to hide it,uniqueness-quotes or make excuses for it. People will see through you and wonder what on earth is going on. If you continue to behave like that, it’s pretty obvious people are going to get tired or even annoyed. It’s not fair I know but there you go. Either find a quiet time to have a casual chat or wait until someone brings it up and then just be open and honest with them about it.

     

    Even if you only make your lecturer/manager aware so that they can make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you cope. For instance, amassing angrier and angrier warnings from your boss for being late, when you struggle with time management and planning might actually be avoidable! Maybe you could start and finish slightly earlier/later to avoid rush hour?

    What To Say About Your Disability or Condition

    Maybe talk about specific things you struggle with, if you’ve been diagnosed with a certain thing or the reason why that condition effects you (if you are lucky enough to know) or how long you’ve had it. Go into as much or as little detail as you want but try to keep your sense of humour. At the very least it gives people a better understanding of you, and why shouldn’t they!

    Admit If You Need Help WithA Task

    I know with invisible disabilities it’s possible a person can keep on scraping by and covering up their mistakes or their needs but that knotted stomach feeling of dread can lead to anxiety and depression. It’s much better to ask for help or clearer guidance from your teacher/lecturer/manager/colleagues/friends from the start, even if that help is just a little more patience or understanding from them. Absolutely everyone needs help sometimes so if you are really really struggling with a task don’t feel embarrassed to ask for some!

    _________________________________

    Being more open about it might make you feel vulnerable at first but as I’ve learned, hiding it can make you just as vulnerable. They are some awesome people out there with more empathy and understanding than you might first realise.

    The more people talk about disabilities, the more people get to hear about them and gain a greater understanding of them :o)

    Chrissie xx

    Weird & Wonderful Links #5

    Louisville Leopard Percussionists (4th-6th graders) cover Led Zeplin – Incredibly talented kids wow!

    Shirt Woot tees for geeks, gamers or people into clever kawaii.

    Teepublic my fave tee of Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon done in the style of Le Chat Noir by Rodolphe Salis

    Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 15.09.43

    The Flash Season 2 first look – Their not giving much away but it still looks epic.

    Marvels Deadpool trailer – One badass superhero!

    A Guy Is Leaving Funny Tips In Shops Disguised as Information Boards For Shoppers

    hilarious-prank-fake-shopping-tips-grocery-store-obvious-plant-jeff-wysaski-5

    An Unusual Friendship Between a Bear and a Wolf – Awww!

    Back To Nature Part Three: The New Forest – I love nature but don’t get out in it nearly enough. This is a blog series by More Than Greens which covers her visits to some wonderful places in the UK.

    Struggles Only Geek Girls Understand – Frustrating and funny at once.

    26 Truths All Gamers Know – I’m not an obsessive gamer but I’ve played regularly all of my life and I can definitely identify.

    19 Amazing English Words We’ve Totally Forgotten About Why is there no interrobang on a keyboard!?

    17 Illustrations That Anyone With ADD Will Identify With – This is so on the money.

    Dyspraxia and Autism – The Overlap – Natalie explains everything perfectly and in a really comprehensive way.