Saturday, 21 September 2013

What it feel like to have depression - Conversations with my brain

Me: What a nice party.  I wish i'd seen S before she'd left though to say goodbye.
Brain: She didn't come and say good bye to you because she doesn't really like you.
Me: No Brain that's not right.

Me: hmm that craft project didn't really turn out as well as i'd like.
Brain: That's because you can't do anything right.
Me: No Brain that's not right.

Me: Damn, i forgot i to send that birthday card.
Brain: They'll think you are selfish and stupid when it turns up late.
Me: brain, that's not, not right.

Me: I have that party tonight but i really don't feel like going.
Brain: Everyone will think you are a loser and no fun.
Me: No...well maybe they will.
Brain:  They will and you are.
Me: No Brain that's not right.

Me: The world is a terrible place with all this war and starvation and poverty.
Brain: The world is awful, people are selfish and lots of them are bad.
Me: But there are some good people.
Brain: but look at all the misery
Me: *sigh* ... No Brain that's not right.

Me:  Arg, i can't do anything right.
Brain: No you can't you are useless.
Me: I am aren't i.
Brain: Yep, and everyone knows it.  They all talk about it behind your back.
Me: No...No they don't.
Brain Yes they do and they hate you.
Me: *sad face*

Me: I texted R two days ago but she hasn't replied. I don't know why.
Brain: Yes you do, it's because she doesn't really like you.  She only pretends to because she feels sorry for you.
Me: No brain she does like me, maybe i've just upset her.
Brain: Yeah that's it, she's mad at you because of that thing you did.
Me: What thing...when i forgot to send her card?
Brain.  That's right.  She thinks you are selfish and stupid and she doesn't like you any more.
Me: No...that can't be true.
Brain: It is.  Everyone hates you.
Me: *sad face*

Me: I messed up the order at work and not enough stock came in.  I really am useless.
Brain: I told you so.  You should believe me when i tell things.
Me: I should, People at work are mad, they hate me.
Brain: Yep, everyone does.
Me: Arg, I am so pathetic.
Brain: Yep.
Me: *crying*

It's a slow constant process.

What it feel like to have depression

I haven't done a what it feels like post for a while so i thought i would do this one.  I was inspired by reading The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida.

Depression is very individual and not everyone has the same symptoms.  That is why there are so many types of medication, therapy, etc.  Some things will work for some and some for others.  

Below are a list of symptoms that Mind class as symptoms of depression I have marked the ones that i feel:

My feelings
  • I am low-spirited for much of the time, every day 
  • I feel restless and agitated 
  • I get tearful easily 
  • I feel numb, empty and full of despair 
  • I feel isolated and unable to relate to other people 
  • I am unusually irritable or impatient 
  • I find no pleasure in life or things I usually enjoy 
  • I feel helpless 
  • I have lost interest in sex 
  • I am experiencing a sense of unreality
My behaviour
  • I’m not doing activities I usually enjoy 
  • I am avoiding social events I usually enjoy 
  • I have cut myself off from others and can’t ask for help 
  • I am self-harming
  • I find it difficult to speak
My thoughts
  • I am having difficulty remembering things 
  • I find it hard to concentrate or make decisions 
  • I blame myself a lot and feel guilty about things 
  • I have no self-confidence or self-esteem 
  • I am having a lot of negative thoughts 
  • The future seems bleak 
  • What’s the point? 
  • I have been thinking about suicide 
My physical symptoms
  • I have difficulty sleeping 
  • I am sleeping much more than usual 
  • I feel tired and have no energy 
  • I have lost my appetite, and am losing weight
  • I am eating a lot more than usual and putting on weight 
  • I have physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • I am moving very slowly 
  • I am using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
But what does all this really mean?  What does it really FEEL like?

When I am having a depressive episode it feels like, imagine you have been taken hostage, and have had your hands and feet bound so you cannot move.  Your Hostage taker then starts shouting at you:
  • "Remember when x did that?  It's because they don't like you"
  • "Remember when that happened?  It's because you are useless"
  • "Remember when Y said those mean things to you?  Well they are true.  You are stupid,useless, and rubbish at everything"
  • "If you were dead no-one would miss you, they would be relieved"
They shout this over and over again.  How long would you be able to listen to this before you became quite upset and distressed.  Before your brain would start to question if what your hostage was telling you had any truth in it.

Well that is just the start.  It would keep going even after you were upset.  Your brain would keep saying "NO, that's not true" but the hostage taker can shout louder and for longer and keeps going.  This continues for hours or days depending on how unwell you are. 
The hostage taker keeps looking for chances to take you, so you have to constantly be on the look out to deal with His attempts.  This is exhausting.  When i am well I can see Him and knock the Him out then carry on.  When i am not well He takes me and the torture begins.

It is easy to see how this exhausting and upsetting treatment can make the symptoms of depression appear.  For me the two worst things about this are:
  1. It is my own brain doing this to me.
  2. This is something i will have to deal with for the rest of my life.
The constant attempts to take me are exhausting and i have to be on my guard all the time. It makes me tired but i can't sleep, I comfort eat because of the stress, I feel too tired to do things or see people and i can't concentrate on what is happening "in the now".  The weaker i get the more likely He is to take me.

With the help of medication, CBT and family and friends i can head Him off and stay safe, but sometimes, even with all of this i get caught.

So there you go.  That is how it feels (for me) when i am depressed.  It is a slow process of wearing down and eventual despair. The conversations with my Brain go something like this

(I am sorry if this has bummed you out.  If it has here are some pictures of cute animals to make you feel better)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Inspirational Women #4 Waris Dirie

I have started an Inspirational Women series on this blog and on Pintrest because women are great and sometimes we forget that and try to act like men, which we suck at.

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie was born in Somalia in 1965.  She was 5 when she went through a female circumcision (or female genital mutilation).  At the age of 13 she escaped from a forced marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather.  On the way to safety she had to stare down a lion.

Every day, women move mountains. It is an insult to have an international women's day.

She managed to escape to London where she got a job as a house maid and then in Mcdonalds.  At 18 she was discovered by a leading fashion photographer and became a supermodel (traveling on a fake passport under the name "Marilyn Monroe").

I love the truth. Tell the truth and live the truth, because we've seen enough lies and look what it's doing.

In 1996 Warris was apointed a UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by Kofi Annan.  She has been awarded “Women’s World Award” by President Mikhail Gorbachev, n 2007 the French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented her with the “Chévalier de la Légion d’Honneur”. The ‘World Demographic Association’ nominated her as the first woman for the ‘Prix de la Gènèration’ and the ‘Martin Buber Foundation’ nominated her as the first woman for the ‘Martin Buber Gold Medal’.

Female genital mutilation targets little girls, baby girls - fragile angels who are helpless, who cannot fight back. It's a crime against a child, a crime against humanity. It's abuse. It's absolutely criminal and we have to stop it.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Inspirational Women #3 Katherine Graham

Katharine Graham-publisher and head of The Washington Post.

Born in 1917 Katherine Graham grew up in the washington suburbs.  She attended Vassar and the University of Chicago and began writing lifestyle pieces for various magazined.

Her Father had purchased the Post in 1933 when it was on the point of bankruptcy and in 1945 Katherine's husband, Philip Graham took over.  Katherine had stopped writing to concentrate on raising her family.

“The longer I live, the more I observe that carrying around anger is the most debilitating to the person who bears it.” 

When Philip committed suicide in 1963 Katherine stepped into his role and took control of the paper.  In 1971 she made the decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.  The Post played an integral part in unveiling the Watergate conspiracy with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting for them.

She took an active interest in making the Washington Post a more diverse workplace hiring more black and women reporters.  When she handed the reins over to her son in 1979 she had turned it into a vibrent modern newspaper.

“A mistake is simply another way of doing things. "

She won the Pulitzer prize in 1997 for her autobiography "Personal History"

In 2000 she was named one of the International Press institute's 50 World Press freedom Heroes in the last 50 Years.

And, in 2002 She was posthumously awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Happiness Project - September


September Resolutions

  • Write a novel
  • Make time
  • Forget about results
  • Master a new skill
I have bought a beautiful notebook to write my novel in.  I thought it would be easier and i'd have a better chance of doing it if i hand wrote it.  This way i can make use of my free time at work and not be distracted by pintrest / facebook / ebay.

I am also going to try and master crochet.  I have wanted to learn for ages but i find it really hard.

I read memoirs of catastrophes and really enjoyed them I am going to try and read one a month from now on.

I read about Mata Amritanandamari Devi but i don't know how much i was able to imitate her.

Also my gratitude journal fell by the wayside but here are the ones i manage to do: