Sleepy Sunday

Walter had us up loads during the night. It’s a good job he is so damn cute!

   
  

 

Walter had his last injection yesterday morning. We can finally start taking him for walks next Saturday!!! I think he was unsettled because of his injection. He is normally fine at night but we had to take him the toilet a lot more than usual. We are having a lazy day as we are all really tired. 

I was surprised how much easier I found the gym yesterday. Reducing the number of classes I go to each week has possibly helped. I really enjoy my Saturday mornings at the gym. More so now then when I was doing more classes.

I’m back at the doctors tomorrow morning. Although I am doing a lot better, I am still struggling with the occasional suicidal thoughts. 

I’ve not got much planned this week. Got the usual stuff like the gym and Dom. My sister might be coming round with her friend and her friend’s 5 year old daughter at some point. Our friends are coming round next Sunday with their dog. So happy Walter can be around other dogs next weekend. 

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From the other side (guest post)

Below is a guest post by my husband Dave:

My wonderful wife has asked me to write a post about our current situation. I have not read her previous posts so if I go over anything she has already said I apologise.

I do want to point out I have not read her blog because I see it as her space to get her thoughts and emotions out. I wouldn’t want her to have to censor it just because I might read it. She is entitled to her privacy and our situation does not change that. I imagine it’s great for her because it means she can use all manner of four letter words to describe me!

You may notice I referred to my wife’s depression as our situation. That may be selfish of me as she is the one who is battling this illness but I view it as something we are dealing with together. I say depression specifically in this post however I am speaking both about my wife’s depression and her anxiety. I see them as one and the same as one will usually trigger the other but for ease I have solely referred to it as depression.
In terms of my perspective on it, I won’t deny it is a struggle. Probably sometimes more than I let her know. One of my biggest struggles is how can I expess my anger at the illness but not my wife? How do I show that I am angry that I feel my wife has been robbed from me without taking it out on her? She did not do this to herself or by action cause this. It is something out of her control. So I cannot be angry at her. But ultimately I want to be angry that depression has invaded our lives.

This then links in with one area I feel my wife and I still don’t handle very well. Communication. How do you talk about depression without assigning blame? How do you try to encourage someone to get better without making them feel like they aren’t trying hard enough? I try my best but I know that I use the wrong words and fumble to explain my thoughts. This then makes me scared of saying the wrong thing. So I do the typical male thing; I say nothing and walk on egg shells trying not to cause upset or hurt. This is especially true if my wife is in a good mood since I am desperate not to ruin even the smallest break she gets from depression.

I imagine quite a few of you have thought saying nothing is the worst thing I can do and sometimes it is! My not saying anything can mean so many things to her. It could make her think I don’t care, that I am upset with her or that I am pulling away. All the pain that comes with those thoughts would be caused by the fear of doing exactly that! What a minefield!

The element of trying not to upset her also extends to our normal lives. I try to micromanage as many elements of our lives as possible to prevent upset. I put a barrier up around her trying to stop negativity getting in. This is not realistic. This is not practical. It is not real life. But I try in the hope of getting my wife back even if it’s just for 5 minutes.

I am naturally a positive person (I think so at least) and I am quite a controlled person in terms of my own behaviour. So a lot of what I have described comes easily to me. However sometimes I get low. Sometimes I feel it impacting on my mood. I have days when I struggle to see the positive. Some days I can’t see where we are going. On those days I am at my worst because I am a planner. I am always thinking a year, 2 years, 5 years ahead. I will likely have my funeral planned when I am 40!

Our situation has meant I can’t plan because depression has no plan; it has no reason, no rhythm. 

All I can do is plan how to help my wife get through the next day and sometimes I don’t have the strength to do that. When I get this bad I retreat into myself. I have always been a man who needed his cave so I could hide away, recharge and emerge normal again. I probably do this more than I should. Sometimes because I get caught up in my own things which is a nice distraction for me but that does make me feel guilty though. I can distract myself, I can escape it. She can’t do that.  

When I talk to my wife about her depression I often talk about it in terms of combat because I see it as a war. We are fighting the depression, some days it wins a battle and my wife struggles through the day. On the good days we win and we are able to live a normal day. This is a war that will never end and I know that. My wife will fight these battles everyday for the rest of her life. I plan to be right next to her helping push depression back, to give us a breather, a chance to stop and enjoy the good times and go back into battle again when it returns.

My wife often says to me that I didn’t sign up for this when we got together. I am ending with this so she can read it back as many times as she needs to until it sinks in.

No I didn’t sign up for this. I was drafted in by circumstances, but I will never stop fighting this war. Because the reason I fight is you and it’s you that’s the most important thing in the world to me. I promise you that on the days we win you will see it’s worth fighting for.

Goal setting

Depression and anxiety affects my life in a number of ways. During a recent counselling session I was asked what I would do if Dave surprised me with tickets to a gig this weekend. I would out right refuse to go. Even thinking about it makes me anxious. 

As mentioned in my post about this in February, I have missed out on seeing some of my favourite bands live over these past few months. One of the bands was Halestorm. 

When I was checking my emails today, I had one about Halestorm playing at a small venue in Liverpool. It turns out that this gig is during the week of my 30th birthday in August. I messaged Dave about going. He did talk about whether I would be up for it. We decided we would go and we have got tickets!

This might not sound like a big deal to most people. Going to a gig is not something out of the ordinary. But depression and anxiety can make the ordinary things seem impossible. Setting goals is something I feel will help aid my recovery. With it being just under 3 months until the gig I think it is achievable. I’m going to bring it up during my next CBT session on Tuesday.

Lovely, long weekend

I had a really enjoyable long weekend with Dave. We chilled out, took Walter in the garden and spent time with our friend and my brother and sister. Dave and I went out for tea at a local pub on Tuesday night. We had a nice time. 

I had a CBT session this morning. It was a lot more productive compared to my last session a fortnight ago. My homework is to think of things for my ‘toolkit’ for when my depression or anxiety are bad. Essentially, anything that I can do instead of ruminating on things. 

Walter has been such a help to me. He is always so happy to see me when I come home from the gym or an appointment. I love coming home to him; his tail wagging loads and his gorgeous little face. 

   

 

Dave and I have nothing planned this weekend. Walter is at the vets again for his last injections. So we will be finally able to take him for walks soon 🙂 We are intending to do some work in the garden. The grass grows ridiculously fast so we need to keep on top of it for Walter. 

The darkness is lifting

Either my increased dosage of Citalopram has kicked in or the devastating low of depression has started to lift. Whichever it is, I am so grateful. 

Bodycombat on Wednesday was more enjoyable for the first time in two weeks. Dominic really lifted my mood later on that day. His sense of humour is really coming on and so he had a few jokes he couldn’t wait to tell me. We had a fab time singing songs in the car and at my house while playing with Walter. Dominic totally adores Walter. He can’t wait until Walter can go for walks and has suggested a number of different places we could take him for walks. 

Now that I am in a slightly better place, I have been wondering if Walter was picking up on my low mood these past two weeks. I’ve been emotionally vulnerable and so I took it to heart when he was having an off day. The rest of this week has been much better with Walter. He has been a lot more playful and responsive. 

   
 

As each day passes the black clouds of depression are lifting. With that I become more fearful. Due to the nature of depression, I will experience the unbearable low again. I’m scared of its inevitable return. The hopelessness, helplessness and negativity I experience when my depression is bad are overwhelming. I guess I just need to learn to ride the waves of depression. 

Dave is off work all weekend for the bank holiday plus he has Tuesday off as leave. I can’t wait to spend some proper time with him. The last two weeks have been such a struggle. As a result Dave and I haven’t had much quality time. I’m at the gym tomorrow morning. It makes a nice change to be looking forward to it instead of huge levels of anxiety. Our friend is coming round for the day to meet Walter on Sunday. Apart from that, we don’t have any definite plans. Dave has suggested going out for tea on Tuesday. Possibly for a Chinese which we haven’t done in a long time. 

Thanks again for all the encouraging and supportive comments on my posts recently. They gave me hope that things will get better. 

Still struggling

You know things are bad when your doctor asks you to come back in again in two weeks. 

My doctor was really sympathetic yesterday. I didn’t want to be at the doctors. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I still don’t. My medication has been increased to 40mg a day. I am being referred for CBT on the NHS. The NHS counselling is really not helping. Talking isn’t helping. I need more than just talking. I told my GP this. 

Normally I am asked to come back in every four weeks when I am struggling. I was told to come back in two weeks. Maybe because I was honest and said that I am suicidal. 

Trying to articulate what is going on in my head is a struggle. So I always come home after a GP appointment feeling quite emotional. Walter was in a funny mood when I got home from the doctors. He wouldn’t stop barking regardless of what I tried. I was at my wits end and ended up in tears. Pathetic huh? 

Depression likes to tell me that I am shit at everything. The latest thing it likes to tell me is that Walter hates me and I’m shit with him. 

I’m at the point I was at the beginning of the year. I don’t want to leave the house or do anything. I am still going the gym as much as my head tells me not to. I’m not getting much enjoyment out of it. 

I’ve just got to keep going and believe that things will get better. Even if depression and anxiety like to tell me otherwise. 

Nothing seems to be helping

I am managing to lift my mood slightly at times. This is only a small reprieve. My mood then comes crashing down again. 

I really am trying to keep my mood up. I am going the gym, opening up to those around me and trying to relax. The gym anxiety is still there. I don’t like leaving the house. I spend the entire time outside the house convincing myself that I am doing the right thing. That the gym is good. Yet there are more times then not when I cannot wait to be back in my house. 

I’m struggling to relax properly. The suicidal thoughts feel like they are dominating my head. I really hope my GP can help me on Monday afternoon. This low spell has lasted nearly a week now and it shows no sign of ending. 

What if my depression and anxiety has such a hold on me for the rest of my life? One of the cruelest things about depression and anxiety is that I feel like I’m making great progress and then the bubble is just totally burst and I don’t know why and I can’t make sense of it. I try to help myself constantly even when all I want to do is curl up in bed. I get out to the gym, we got Walter and I am opening up even though I find it so difficult. At the moment it is such a dark and daunting task to even get up each day. I really don’t see the point in putting myself through all of this if I spend most of my time trapped by my depression and anxiety.