My recent appointment with my counsellor, was really just a catch up. She wanted to know how my anxiety had been, and I was pleased to say, it was almost non-existent. Whilst I’d had moments where I felt it could spike, I just took a moment to practice my breathing, and my new thinking techniques. Overall, I’m really pleased with how much calmer I feel.
Although my anxiety has been ok, my counsellor had noticed that I looked very tired, and asked if I was ok. I explained that I’d just been feeling really down the last couple of weeks. I was then asked if I knew why I was feeling this way, and honestly? No. I had no idea. I just know that I don’t want to get up the mornings, I’m forcing myself to go to work, I’m procrastinating more. I’m just all over sad. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, well not consciously anyway, I was just feeling sad. I did explain that I get like this sometimes. I just get really down, cry a lot, don’t want to do anything, see anyone, speak to anyone, and I just want to be left alone to wallow. I figured this was just the joys of depression.
I was asked if I have anything to look forward to. I told her no. She then said “Well, if you have nothing to look forward to, and all you’re doing is working or being Mum, that can make you feel a bit sad right? That can make anyone feel a bit sad. We all need something to look forward to”. Then I was asked “What do you do for yourself? Do you have ‘me time’? Do you talk with/meet up with friends?”, to which I just said no. Myself and my friends are always too busy with work and kids, that arranging time to see each other is hard. We literally have conversations like “Well, I’m free on the 17th of July, how about you? Oh right, you’re not free then, well how about the 5th of August?….” and this can go on and on, until you’re looking at seeing your friend in like 6 months’ time. Hardly something to look forward to, right? We then discussed how my husband and I don’t do anything together. This is something that bugs me, and he knows it. We never go anywhere, or do anything, unless I’m the one planning and suggesting. If I raise it, I get 101 excuses, that cause me to roll my eyes, because none of them are good enough. If you want to spend time with someone, or do something, you make time.
We spoke about the fact, I’m a single parent for 6 months of the year. I’m working full time, definitely more than my contracted hours too. I’m in work for before 8am most days, and I’m never out the door on time. I’m usually still in the office, doing something at 5:30 and by then I must leave, because I need to pick up my youngest. Then it’s home, to make tea, do washing, and any other cleaning I can be arsed doing. To go to bed, to get up at 5am the next day, to do it all again. My weekends are spent doing shopping and deep cleaning, and maybe, if I’m lucky, getting to play a game or two on my PC. I was at my happiest a couple of weeks ago when I was out socialising, and since then I’ve just slumped into feeling depressed. After discussing this with my counsellor, it seems to be because I know I won’t have it again for a long time. I need it. I need to go out and not be bogged down with work, kids and cleaning all the time.
There were other things that were discussed, that I’m not comfortable sharing, but it was something that I genuinely didn’t put much onus on. Something I’d chosen to accept as ‘it is what it is’, and convinced myself it doesn’t bother or affect me. Well it does. A lot in fact. I’m really not happy, and I need things in my life to change/improve. As my counsellor said to me, “You have a right to be happy too. It can’t always be about everyone else’s happiness, and you cannot feel guilty for wanting to be happy, or for considering decisions that may upset others, but will benefit you”. You see, I always put myself last. Always. Being a parent, you become accustom to just always putting your kids first. Their happiness means more to me, than mine, but why is it I then put absolutely everyone else’s happiness above mine?
We also spoke about how harsh I am on myself for feeling unhappy. After talking about everything, I was saying things like “I have no right to feel this way though. I mean, whilst things are not all rosy, I still have a good life. I want for nothing, and I have a good family etc…”, to which I was asked to just stop. Just stop and think about what I’m saying to myself. I’m telling myself I have no right to be sad, because on paper my life looks like it should be fine. I was then asked to imagine I was talking to myself, and hearing this being said to me, what would I say? I told my counsellor that I just felt stupid doing that, so then I was asked to imagine that one of my children were in my situation, and they were saying the negative things I was, what would I say to them. I just sobbed. I would absolutely hate to think that my children ever felt this way, or that they felt they couldn’t be sad, or that they felt they weren’t worth consideration.
Talk is cheap as they say. I find people do a lot of talking, but their words are never backed up with actions. People throw around the word love, and the words ‘miss you’, but they never show that they love you, and they don’t act like they miss you. This is not aimed at any one person by the way, this is aimed at most, if not all my personal relationships. I don’t feel like I have anyone, and that is sad. This is what makes me sad. At this very moment, I don’t feel like I have a single soul in the world that actually gives a shit. I feel like people just go through the motions with me or say what they feel they have to say. Now, I know this may not be true, someone out there, maybe even you, reading this now, cares. You’re maybe thinking “What a load of shite, I care!”, but this is how I feel. I’ve tried to use my rational thinking for this feeling, you know, what are my facts to back up why I’m feeling so lonely? but this kind of thinking just doesn’t apply to depression. Depression is a feeling, while anxiety is a response, and whilst it would be nice to rationalise it, to make it go away, it’s just not that simple.
When I start to feel depressed, I force myself to get up every day. I put a smile on, and in all honesty, you probably wouldn’t have a clue that anything was wrong. I’ve gotten good at faking happy. Why do I fake it though? Well, that’s simple. I don’t want to be sad, I don’t want anyone else to know I’m sad, and I definitely don’t want anyone’s pity. So, I just get up and get on, in the hopes the feelings pass, as often they do. Although, I’m not sure the feelings truly pass, not after our discussion, I believe I just suppress it. But, here I am being told I’m ok to feel this way. That I should let myself feel this way. As my counsellor is telling me this, I was just sobbing. I couldn’t stop sobbing.
I cried all the way back to my car. I cried all the way back to work. I sat and tried to compose myself before I went back to my desk, but then I burst into tears again. I found myself sitting in the loos, bubbling, trying to find some composure. Even as I’m typing this I’m crying again. It’s like I just cannot stop being sad to the point of tears.
The positives of this session are that I now understand that I don’t need to suppress how I’m feeling. It is OK to not be OK. It doesn’t matter what your life looks like on paper, if you’re not happy, you’re not happy! What I do need to do is have a real think about all the things in my life that make me unhappy and try to find a way to improve them. I also need to start finding a happy balance between work and my personal life. No more early mornings and late finishes. No more burning the candle at both ends.