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Sometimes we are each others pillars

Sunday, November 11

Hi all, this post is somewhat personal so if you do not like to read sob stories, I highly suggest you stop reading NOW. You've been warned.


I read this post on Mimi G's blog, and something she said touched me so much. The whole post was so inspiring to read, and the last paragraph read like it was meant for me. The exact line I have been repeating to myself since I read the post is:

 "...it doesn't matter how you started out it only matters how you finish" - Mimi G

So yes, we are all each other's pillars sometimes.


Lately I have not been posting regularly. Yes I know, you are all aware of that.



It is not because I have started work again, and work is keeping me busy. No, it so happens that I am going through a rough patch. Some call it being blue, or feeling low, others call it depression. I don't like the word depression. It sounds so negative. A few people in my life are whispering the words " postnatal depression". Hmm. I don't know.

I was not going to write anything about my feelings on this blog. No, talking about my dark feelings publicly is not something a British person would do. A British person would rather internalise their sufferings. I am totally aware of the fact that my previous statement is a generalisation which might be offensive to some people, and I am sorry if you are offended. It is not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings. I am only speaking from my observations of the British people I have come into contact with. So, yes, whilst Mr.Dibs is English, I am not, and I do not mind talking about how I feel. I spend time writing about my life on this blog, the good and not so good. To pretend everything is going swimmingly in my little universe now would be quite the lie.

I have not sewn anything. I don't want to. Even if I did, I won't be able to take pictures. Not because I don't want to take pictures of sewn garments, but because I can't fake a smiling happy face when I am the total opposite inside.

I have been functioning, going through the motions, waking up, going to work, coming home, playing with Noah, breathing, eating...I am not happy though. I am not happy, and I really don't know what to do. I keep seeing bathtubs filled to the brim, with floating strands of hair. Not healthy thoughts I know, but I have them. My sister says I should think of Noah when I have this otherworldly thoughts. I try. Sometimes it works, sometimes I just wait it out. I've finally convinced myself it can't be me floating in the tub because my kinky afro strands are most determined to remain coiled. No floating silky tresses for me there. And no, I don't plan on getting extensions any time soon.

I can't pinpoint the exact source of my troubled state. Everything just seems to be wrong at the moment. Everything. I was crying the other day to a relative, and she did not get me. She saw no reason why I should be crying about anything, and said I should think of my relatives in Cameroon who had nothing. That might sound mean, but you need to understand that in Cameroon, many people just go along with what life deals them. They complain about it though, whinge to everyone who would listen ( kinda like what I am doing now, so there..)You kind of accept where you are, and tread on, no tears. I'm not like that. I can't pretend to be ok when I am not. I can't pretend I am happy with where I am presently because I am not. Bottom line, I am kinda messed up in my afro covered head.

So while I still read your blogs, I am not in a state to write on my mine regularly. So please bear with me, while I try to out-shrink the shrinks, dissect my brain, and get to the root of my melancholy.

Peace

Dibs

42 comments:

  1. I suffered from terrible post natal depression and anxiety that I didn't really understand. It wasn't until 5 years later that I finally realized I should have been treated for it. Because I seemed very functional, very few people noticed that something was amiss. If it is depression caused by the hormones following pregnancy (and these can last a long time) or by the ridiculous exhaustion that parenting causes or by a kind of displacement sadness (being away from your family at this very transformational time), please do see someone. You will feel better again - I promise! I never thought I'd be anything other than overwhelmed ever again. Now my daughter is almost 13 and my life is dramatically different. xo

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  2. Oh, I know your feelings. Not post-natal, but the blues are really a terribl thing when you're waking up every day when nothing feels right. A visit to the doctor might do the job, and counselling really helps as well. You are so brave for coming out and saying that life's being tough right now, and I commend you for that. You will come out of this so strong, and your personal health matters much more than your sewing. Just try one little thing to make you feel a bit better each day - a bunch of bright flowers in your bedroom, a coffee with a friend, walking barefoot in the grass. In New Zealand we have a traditional Maori saying, "Kia kaha" - "be strong", and you should know that we are all here beside you :)

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  3. Don't try to find a cause for your feelings--that just leads you to conclude that you "should" be feeling some other way. You feel how you feel. Find something that makes you feel better--therapy, medication, a new hobby, exercise, riding a roller coaster--and do that. And take care.

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  4. Motherhood, hormones and a return to work...you have so much on your plate Dibs, I hope you can feel better soon. I agree that on the whole British people don't talk much about their feelings, I am not offended by you saying that - I just think it is funny. I was depressed for a long time after I had a bereavement and a toddling baby at the same time...I don't know how to advise you other than to let you know I am sending you a virtual hug.

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  5. Dear Dibs, I feel for you. We have all been there in some fashion or another.
    Every time this has happened to me, I made a few changes in my life. Big ones or little ones, warm chicken barley soup, a show, whatever, but what has consistently worked best for me was to hop on a plane and go home. There is nothing like unconditional love to sooth my ills.
    I sincerely hope you find your recipe for getting better, it might take some time, in the meantime I send you some of my unconditional love.

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  6. The relative who tells you to remember your deprived relatives in Cameroon: she is trying hard to help, but this is the wrong tack. One person's misery is not helped, relieved, or alleviated by another person's misery. It makes absolutely no difference at all to think, 'Oh, I must feel less sorry for myself, at least my life isn't a), b) or c).' Your life is your life and it's the only one you've got! If you're miserable in it, you need to do something about it, not berate yourself for feeling ungrateful. To which end, I agree with all the people who've commented so far recommending a counsellor. You need someone who isn't a blood relative, husband, friend, or fellow blogger to give you an objective listening ear. Not advice - a good counsellor won't tell you what to do with your life - but they will listen and ask some extremely good, leading questions. Plus, just the relief of having 50 minutes of your time that is devoted to you can be massive and revealing. I recommend this organisation. They even have a postcode search facility for finding a counsellor near you: http://www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk/therapists/. You will have to pay for this counselling, though. You could see if counselling is available on the NHS. Good luck, Dibs. I KNOW you are going to be okay, because of the quote you opened this blog post with: it doesn't matter how you started it only matters how you finish. You'll finish well. You're a fighter!

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    Replies
    1. i was going to write something, but really karen said it all so beautifully. your pain can't be compared to anyone else's pain!

      speaking from a hormonal standpoint, i know it can wreak havoc, and the person under siege really can't see just how much hell the little bits of estrogen and such are creating until they're out of the woods. there are so many ways to put them back in balance, heavy duty meds and natural remedies both. it's so hard to decide that hormones might be at play (or rather, at destruction). i think it's hard because you're essentially saying your mind/body is the culprit. but that's not it... the little buggers may just need attention, just as a sprained ankle would. whatever the case may be, i wish you well well well...

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  7. I'm one of those people who has no comforting words... because I wouldn't have a clue what I would want to hear in a situation like this. It doesn't sound pleasant, but I hope you are able to find completion sometime soon. All the best dibs, because you surely deserve it.

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  8. I am so sorry you're feeling this way. Look after yourself and I really hope it gets better soon.

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  9. I agree with Karen, try professional help .. I'm here for you ok. *hug*

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  10. I am so sorry to hear you're feeling like this. But it can be a hard thing to admit, even to yourself, so talking and writing about it are so important. And like generally in life, comparing yourself with others and how you are 'supposed' to feel will only make you feel worse. So keep getting the feelings out of your head, via a professional if need be, and concentrate on being nice to yourself. You will get back to yourself xx

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  11. So sorry to hear you are not happy. I don't really have any advice other than to say once you realise you have a problem, you are on the road to sorting it out. Good luck and I hope things get better for you soon.

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  12. Hi Dibz. I'm sorry you're still feeling down. It's ok to cry about it and talk about it as much as you want. I for one can't keep anything bottled in, and I'm comforted because I have people like you who don't mind listening. Like you said, it is a rough patch, not your usual state, and it will pass. If you're like me, you know something has got to be done and for the moment things are out of your hands and you don't like that feeling. Just keep good company to help you ride through it. As for thinking about relatives in Cameroon, child please... we all have enough to worry about as it is! Take it easy sweetie :-)

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  13. Sending hugs and prayers from across the pond.

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  14. Hi Dibs,

    I went through something similar a few years ago and it was really, really hard. It took me ages to be able to admit it to myself, because nothing was really "wrong" with my life, but everything was wrong. After my panic attacks started to become a real problem I saw my GP. The relief of talking to someone about it was intense - I had been carrying around guilt, thinking that there was something wrong with me for suffering when everything in my life was okay - and my GP was able to help me see that there were reasons why I was feeling the way I did. I was able to arrange a counsellor through work as I had been signed off and it was part of my occupational health thing to make work more bearable. I still get low from time to time now but seeking help at the time helped me then and it has helped me since. Good luck, my lovely xxx

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  15. Dibs, you just described how I felt when my daughter was 1.5 to 2 yrs old.. my post natal depression came every late, I also think it was my childhood depression that never showed, came out along with my post natal depression.

    I think of depression as a way my body processes stuff... when it is finally ready to do it.. when I am ready to let go... but even though i am so ready, the process of dealing with all those stuff is very difficult.

    I did not want to see a regular doctor as my body don't react well to those meds. So, I saw a naturopath who changed my life around with her all natural non addictive meds. They really made an amazing difference. My daughter is 6 yrs old now and I'm being slowly weaned off of the meds and now I'm in a really really low dose of homeopathic drops.

    I also saw a counselor/ a therapist. The first one didn't work out for me as I had to educate him about the culture of the place I grew up, how things worked there..but I was paying him to get educated. :0 The second one came from a similar country as mine and was great in helping me, even though I saw him only thrice. The techniques he taught me were very helpful in processing my thoughts.

    Do get to a doctor, Dibs and also see a counselor. Both really helps.

    Besides these, I also took up some exercise (to keep my endorphins up, which gave me some really good mood for some time), strolled in sunlight for some time everyday, also took some vitamin D drops, signed up for some very minimal voluntary work that I could do at that time, accepted some of the social invites that came my way (not all, but some), spoke to 2 of my besties and cried my heart out.. they were there to listen to the same stuff again and again and yet again...

    All these helped.. but seeing the doc, going on supplements and seeing the therapist were what helped me most and got me the strength to deal with the second step in healing process..

    Big hugs and lot of good wishes!
    Kay

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  16. Dear Miss Dibs, please see your GP or talk to your health visitor. You don't have to take antidepressants if you don't want to, but talking treatments do help.
    You don't know me, but I love reading yuour blog, and I hope you feel better very soon.

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  17. Following a hard long stint without finding work, during a long dark English winter, I fell into a bad depression. I questioned everything, resulting in panic attacks and palapitations. I did talk with a counselor but she wasn't a right fit for me. If you do decide to do counselling make sure you find the right person because it does make a world of difference.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not going to lie, it wasn't easy but once I started moving my body, getting active, I started feeling better. That was a distraction that helped me a lot.

    There are still grey days but they are never as dark as the ones from before. Don't ever think you will stay unhappy. Try different suggestions from people and see what works best for you.

    I'm always there for you if you want to talk!

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  18. Hi Dibs, I'm not sure whether I've commented here before but I've really enjoyed reading your blog over the last year or so. I'm so sorry to read how low you are feeling, but please, please see a GP and ask them for help. Depression is not about feeling sad, or a bit low, it's a chemical imbalance in the body. Don't feel like you need to suffer because there are ways you can get help, either medications, counselling, exercise etc. You will be able to feel better, but a GP will be able to diagnose the problem properly. And do not shut yourself away. Your friends, both in real life and online, are here for you. Best wishes.

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  19. Dibs, I'm so so sorry to hear what you're going through. I sincerely hope you can get some help and move onwards and upwards. I know you can, you're one strong woman my dear! My thoughts are with you, xxx

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  20. Good for you for talking about, Dibs! I know it's scary to open up sometimes, but I do think that the more open we all are about mental health the better for everyone! Quite a lot of my family and friends have ongoing depression and anxiety, and many of them are medicated for it. For me, it's always helpful to see it as a medical issue - not something that you should magically be strong enough to push through, or that you should feel guilty about!

    The best advice that my husband ever got was that all of our feelings are legitimate and real, regardless of how other people's situations are. Basically, the fact that family and friends back in Cameroon might have it worse doesn't mean that you don't have legitimate and real struggles of your own. For us, at least, acknowledging that our feelings of sadness, confusion, stress and anxiety are real and deserving of attention is always the first step in being able to sort out the root cause.

    I do hope you can get some help - For what it's worth, my doctor says that about 25% of her practice is mental health! It's a totally common thing, and there are a lot of ways you can get help.

    Hugs, and please keep us posted!

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  21. Oh Dibs, lots of us have had this kind of feeling before, I totally understand. I come into london every Thursday, if your ever feeling up for a cup of coffee or anything in the evenings let me know!
    I think your really brave admitting this! It is always the way to more positive times,
    Hope you feel better soon lovely xxx

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  22. Miss Dibs... Generally I read your blog but I just tend to lurk and not comment cos I don't feel I know enough about sewing to comment! This time though, your talking about something I know about. I live with someone with depression and I've had periods of depression myself in the past. I hope you feel better soon. Take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself. Don't worry about your thoughts - thoughts are just thoughts and don't define who or what you are. There is a brilliant website called live life to the full (sorry, I'm on my phone so I can't paste the url, but you should be able to find it easy enough if you fancy googling it), it offers a free self help cbt programme and has lots of really funny, useful content which has helped me through and has helped me understand what my other half is going through many times. All the best, it will get better although you might find it hard to see that now - the darkest hour comes before the dawn. Xx

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  23. Thinking of you Dibs. A close friend of mine was diagnosed with pnd when her daughter was a year old? It made it much harder for her to get help as you tend to see medical bods less often. She felt much more isolated when she went back to work. Hope you are able to find something that helps. Take care. Xxx

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  24. I'm sorry that you've been feeling this way. I know there's nothing I can say that will make you feel better, but I'm thinking of you. I hope you find something that makes you feel better, whether that be professional help or something else.

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  25. Sorry to hear you're feeling like this. I have been feeling quite similarly for quite a few months and that affected my blogging and sewing. I know what you mean about internalising emotions. I tend to do that and I'm not British. For me it's to do with my personality. I fear if I admit things publicly become more real.

    Lots of hugs! xxxx

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  26. I think it's great that you're expressing this, Dibs. I can't say that I know exactly what you're going through, but I have been through dark and confusing times, and would echo what Karen said above: it really does help to talk it through with someone who isn't close to you, someone objective. It can be difficult to find the right match with a counsellor, but some will offer 30-minute starter sessions to test the waters.
    I very much wish you well Dibs - I'm sure things seems pretty bleak right now, but they will get better - you recognise that, and that's really important. x

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  27. I have recently discovered your blog and I must say it makes me sad to know yourself are sad even if we don't know each other. I hope you find help and understanding from your relatives or friends xxx

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  28. Hi Dibs, I've been reading your blog now for a while and really enjoy it. I'm sorry you're not feeling too hot. I don't know how long it is since it started? Did it happen at all before you moved to the UK? Could you be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder?

    I have this and I realise years later that it was probably more of a think than than the PND which was diagnosed. These days I take antidepressants from mid-end September till Feb/March time. But this year, the weather has been so dark and dismal that I actually gave in and started them in August! Have really had a rough autumn, having got the condition fairly well under control over the last few years. I also use a lamp for light therapy.

    I have no idea whether this seems to fit timewise with how you are, but just something else to consider. Kind regards.

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  29. Hey there, Miss Dibs! Add another sewist to the roll call of dark day survivors! I had it bad after my little Noah was born. And again when I was making the decison to move up here. There is so much pressure to be everything to everyone: as mother / worker / wife. Just be kind to yourself. Take it easy. Seek help if it gets to be too much to bear. Karen had some good suggestions. Sometimes just the act of admitting you need help puts it all in perspective. Lots of people swear by exercise. Dancing round the kitchen singing your heart out may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it sometimes helps to just have a boogee. Send the men out for a walk and have a crazy half hour! Be well, honey! Hugs.

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  30. Dear Dibs,
    I'm so sorry to read about your current unhappiness. I respect you for writing about what you're feeling right now as it's clear you're in a lot of pain and I'd second other comments about talking to your doctor if you haven't already.
    I hope you start to feel better soon.

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  31. Hi Dibs, I read your post 2 days ago, but have been thinking about you ever since. I suffered a kind of depression as a teenager, and seeing a therapist helped me big time. Ever since then I've felt down and blue several times with no particular reason, but I've developed some mechanisms that helped me get better. Basically, when I feel down I force myself to leave the house as much as I can. At first it seems so pointless to me, as I don't enjoy it. But, after awhile, I start feeling better and thinking positive. It might not work for everyone, as I think everybody has his/her own rituals for dealing with depression, you just have to find yours.
    You'll feel better soon, I promise.

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  32. Hi Dibs, I noticed you hadn't posted in a while and thought you were busy with work, so sorry to hear you are not feeling your self, i hope and pray you begin to feel better soon, please sift through the advice you have been given and do what works for you, I found singing along to Gospel music( the really uplifting, clappy type!) and exercise really helps. All the best.

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  33. Hi, lady. Just wanted to let you know that you're in my thoughts and prayers. Hope you're feeling better.

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  34. Hey Dibs, you are in my thoughts and I hope you'll feel better soon... Like Mela said, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Big hugs, Adrienne

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  35. Oh Dibs! Sending you hugs...

    I've had some horrid times too, and you WILL come out of the other side, even if right now you can't see when or how that will happen.

    It might be biochemical, or mental/emotional, might be PND (which can manifest months and months after birth) or something else, but I second what others have said- your GP and a good counsellor will help guide you out of it.

    Also, perhaps try to intentionally do something every day that will give you an internal smile. And that's not necessarily something that "should" make you smile like time with family and even sewing! Where you are now may need different experiences and that's OK. You can even start small with something like treating yourself to some quality chocolate or strawberries and enjoying them slowly with mindfulness. Or painting your nails a bright colour if that will make you happy to see them! The small things that make you happy during this time are your own, and whatever they are they are!

    Best wishes to you... xx

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  36. Hey Dibs. We can all come up with our own suggestions and I dont pretend that I know any answers. But I agree, that 'D' word sometimes does nothing but to make it worse. I can still hear your laughter even if you cant. It is one of the most infectious laughs I have ever heard and it made me feel like I'd known you forever! Its not gone. I'm sure of that. Its far too deep rooted in you to ever go away. I'm pretty sure its all laughed out and taking a break. We all got to crash and burn at some point. If only to recharge. Recollect thoughts (if we can get past the shitty ones) and just rebuild our desktops so to speak. Just know that it will pass. Maybe not today or tomorrow but sometime soon. That way you will remember there will be an end to it. And it makes it easier.
    It is such an exhausting and testing time having a new baby. You are faced with such perfect images of everyone else who seems to handle every thing perfectly and still look like a smiley vogue centrefold. Its all lies. Dont believe any of it. Its bloody hard work and for the best part pushes you to breaking point. My only advice to you is to just take each day as it comes. Each hour in fact. Real slow. You'll have enough to keep you busy but make sure you get good rest too. You need some fixing lady.
    Lots of love and healy thoughts coming over right now and an offer of tea and cake when your'e next up for it! xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  37. Hi Dibs - There is not much I can add to all the previous comments. Just as you know your feelings are legitimate, I hope you know that you will get through this. We are lucky in that we have the wonderful NHS here in the UK, I urge you to use it when navigating your way out of the 'woods'.

    Another thought to consider when you are feeling more like your 'real self' - by sharing this part of you/your life, you are helping more people than you will ever know. Keep searching for a way through Dibs.
    xoxo

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  38. I know I haven't posted here, except for once before, but...
    Oh Sweetie- I've been in the same boat twice (although I've not got a child) and it can feel like being at the bottom of a well. Take care of yourself- see a doctor if need be. It turned out I needed medications and therapy- they're not for everyone, but worth a try if things aren't getting better.
    Hugs!

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  39. Hey Dibs
    People often like to call it the baby blues. Sounds less dramatic and more fluffy like that I guess. In reality it is much darker; in my experience. Since you've been brave enough to write it, I'll share with you my dark little secret in the hope that it might help you feel you're more "normal" than you might feel right now.
    The year Elliott was born was the worst year of my life. There, I said it. The year that brought me such a gift, was also the darkest of my life. Stuff happened that year that could be classed as hard. My Dad died of cancer. My partner was bedridden for 6 months.Our business went bust. But I'm not by nature a victim and I could've coped with all of that; if not for the fact that becoming a mother had turned my life upside down and left me clinging by a thread to my sense of self.
    It was so unexpected. Like someone shut the "me" I knew in a tiny room in my head, and I was behind a door screaming and banging to be let out. Then after they'd locked me away my entire life got tipped out into a big messy heap on the floor. Nothing was where it was before. I simply couldn't function how I normally would. Physically and by all appearances I was fine. But nothing was like it was before, and I just didn't get it. I would hear myself being irrational; and all the while I could hear the "old me" that was shut in that tiny room banging on the door and screaming at me "what are you DOING?!" But I couldn't stop myself. When no-one was around I'd cry at the smallest thing (like spilling washing powder on the floor), I'd stand at the back door late at night and scream at the night. I cut myself to see if that would "snap me out of it". I fantasised about getting on a bus and just disappearing because surely Elliott would be better of without me.
    Fortunately for me I have always applied a simple rule to life. Something that I kind of instinctively feel in my bones. Everything is temporary and will eventually come to an end. It helps me to cherish the amazing stuff, AND to get through the crap stuff. So I clung on, and rode it out. I'm out the other side now, and wiser for it. With hindsight I can now look back and understand, what I believe, went on in those dark days. There was a process at work. Here's what I believe is true for me...
    Motherhood makes you question EVERYTHING about who you are. Your worthiness as a parent, how much you might screw it up, every little insecurity you ever had, every relationship, every mistake you ever made. It brings all of that to the fore and mixes it with a powerful dose of hormones, makes you raw and then kicks you on the floor, tips your life out onto the floor all around you; then challenges you to get up off the floor and put it all back together again.
    What I realised was, there was no point trying to put it all back where it was. Life is NEVER the same after you become a parent. So trying to put things back as they were was futile. I had to put my life/head back together in a different order. In a way the "melancholy" that I was feeling during those dark days was "grief". I think when I gave birth to my little man, the "old me" had to die in a way. Does that make sense at all? I had to say goodbye to that old me that was locked behind the door, and embrace the new order of things. I hadn't realised at the time, but now I'm out of it, I really do feel like I'm a different person. I can barely remember the person I was before. The life I had. Nor would I want to return to it. Despite a somewhat painful "rebirth", life is beautiful now.
    That's my truth. Your's may be very different. But if there's anything in there that strikes a chord or makes sense to you, then use it. And please trust that this is temporary, and you will come out of the other side into bright sunshine.
    Big hugs
    Px

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