This time of year is always a hard time for me. The clocks have gone back, which has a more pronounced effect here in the Highlands of Scotland than other parts of the UK. We’ve just started November in reality and you can see the light starting to fade by about 3.30pm-4pm already. Yes, people I am a classic case of what is called ‘seasonal affective disorder’, fondly called “SAD”, sensitively thought-through terminology of the medical profession!
But life has just been hard recently. With stress of working with Fibromyalgia, leading to increased pain, a hit on our finances and my energy at an all time low, we brought forward a week off to rest at home and try to refind myself, so to speak.
Recently fighting this invisible enemy Fibromyalgia just feels totally bleak sometimes. There is no light at the end of the tunnel and I don’t see any positives from my current health situation. This cyclical thinking is always around. A couple of years ago I had to be told to go on anti-depressants, because I could not see that how I was thinking, how I was feeling were all symptoms of classic depression.
Face the Facts: Depression is Just Another Illness
Our society has encouraged a kind of stigma with depression, the way they used to have with leprosy in Biblical times. People seem to want to steer clear of the depressed person, running away wildly into the streets yelling ‘unclean, unclean!’
Maybe I exaggerate. I use humour as a cover for what’s going on inside. Quite a lot in fact. I can make people laugh – happy even, it just never sinks inside of me. Anyhow, I had to face the fact that depression isn’t a title, it isn’t a label – it’s just another illness, another medical condition. It is not bound by logic, you can’t think yourself out of it – or ‘snap out of it’ as my dad used to say.
People try to give advice, like ‘do something for yourself’ (when most ‘things’ cost money), or ‘take Vitamin D’ (which I already do), or ‘eat more fruit’ (I eat at least 3 pieces of fruit most days) – as though somehow putting something in me is the answer. What I need is to get out of me what is in there. One well-meaning (and well-off) person I know always says ‘you need to have a holiday in the sun’. I don’t deny that, but they have the money for that and I don’t. I don’t ask for money, we have just enough, but nothing to spare. I should be grateful for that, but I’m not feeling the gratitude at the moment.
I mean it doesn’t help that I’m an introvert anyway, prone to looking inward. But the funny thing is, I tend to avoid looking inwards in case I don’t like what I see.
Our set of circumstances, plus feeling so stupidly tired and after a long week of high pain because of being ‘on demand’, I broke down last weekend. I don’t do that – at least not in public. But it was like the strong exterior I had been trying to put on – and I needed to put on – just broke into pieces. The emotional ‘armour’ I put on so I can be a boss (not metaphorically, I do employ a few people), a husband, a business-owner, a Christian – was replaced with a flimsy cloak of sadness.
As I said, there’s no logic. I’ve been fairly productive this week. The house isn’t in a total shambles and I’ve had some gaming time. But fighting Fibro and stress for so long has just meant I have no inner resources anymore. Nothing left to offer, nothing to give.
Sorry… and not sorry
In one sense I’m sorry I will publish this. In another I’m not. On my ‘work’ Twitter account I stopped saying anything about my health condition, because I lost followers whenever I did. People like positive, they like up-beat, they like motivational, they like good news and a bright outlook on life – they are also fond of extroversion. You know what? right now I’m not any of those things. I’m also taking a week off my work Twitter account – I’m sure you can see why.
But I guess, when all’s said and done and I’ve stopped fighting how I’m feeling and just wrap the cloak of sadness around me for a bit, for this week off work, maybe I will find me. Maybe I will just be how I feel. And being true and well representing myself, whether people like it or not, surely that’s a positive I can take from all this. If people stop being friends, clients, followers – because they don’t like who I am at my core, then maybe I wasn’t the right fit for them in the first place.
And if you’ve read this far, thank you – you’ve already heard more by reading than people I’m surrounded with know about me. That makes you a friend.
This brutal honesty hurts me as much as it may hurt or off-put others. But at least you know I’m being real with you.