Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking a "Matilda Day"

Well I had an awesome long week-end. I drove to Tottenham on Friday afternoon to pick Hayley up and bring her back here.  We managed to pack in a ton of stuff. We drove to “St. Jacobs Market” on Saturday morning and then to a mall in Kitchener so she could go “Prom” shopping. On the way back home we stopped in Elora and hung out at the Elora gorge. That afternoon we went to “The Captain’s” to cool down by going for a swim in the pool. Then a walk to Dairy Queen,… Then a driving lesson for Hayley,… then dinner,… then another walk downtown Fergus,…

Sunday we gave “Ol Bella” (my car) a good cleaning in and out. Another swim at the Captains,.. another good dinner,…. And then an evening in watching a marathon of “Celebrity Ghost Stories”

Monday we drove to Barrie so we could visit with Michelle. We went out for lunch, then hung around Michelle’s for a bit, then back in the car to drive Hayley home. I didn’t get home till early evening where I promptly plopped onto my lounge chair and didn’t move until bedtime. I fell asleep a very happy camper.

Next day was my 3 hour group therapy class which turned out to be quite intense. I left feeling overwhelmed and drained. (I usually do)

So this morning when I woke up,… late,… It was no surprise to me that I felt like I had woken up in the middle of my dreaded “Black fog”. Tired,… sluggish,…. Depressed,….  It always seems to happen after I spend time with one or both of my daughters. I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I’d like to. They are both busy with their own lives and neither one has a car so our visits tend to be months apart. When I do finally see them and we have such an awesome time,… I tend to feel let down and depressed when our time together is over.

I also tend to get very tired after a busy time. One of the frustrating symptoms of my illness is the constant low energy level. I seem to have a low stress and coping level at the best of times but when you add in a busy non-stop weekend, I really do feel it once it’s over. I almost always “crash”.  And that is most definitely what has happened today. I woke up depressed and exhausted.

So I called today a “Matilda Day”  ~ Matilda is the name I give my depression. When my depression surfaces,… then “Matilda” is back.  (Ok it’s weird,… but I just need a little humour to get myself through sometimes,…) A “Matilda” day is a day I stay in pajamas and just hang out. No stress,… Just rest,… My therapist calls it a “self-care” day.

On days like this I tend to feel very guilty and embarrassed. It’s not easy to be “less” than your supposed to be. Everyone else in life seems to lead productive lives and are all contributing members of society. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to cope with everyday life and don’t always do so well. It makes you feel like a failure. But after 30 years of dealing with said “Matilda” I have come to realize that this is my lot in life and I will just have to deal with it the best way I know how. And if that means taking time to rest up and recuperate my mind and spirit when I need to, then that is what I will do. One of the reasons I ‘came out’ on this blog was so I could talk about these issues so people could understand better the crazy good and bad days of my roller-coaster existence. I used to lie to people and make up excuses for why I wasn’t able to keep plans, etc,… But I have now decided that It’s so much easier to just admit I’m having a bad day and can’t seem to cope with life that day so I’m going to take a self-care day.

Two years ago,… everyday was a ‘Matilda Day’. For nearly 3 years I rarely left my apartment and barely existed. But over the past year I have really worked hard to overcome this. Through therapy and groups and my time at “Homewood” I am learning to push through my comfort zone and learn to live life once again. And I think I am doing well. I seem to have overcome all kinds of obstacles over the past year. I feel like I have really come out of my shell and started to live once again. I’m still not completely “well” yet. But I’ve definitely come a long way.

So, even though today has been bad. I know that I can do things to help myself overcome my depression. I know tomorrow is a new day. A fresh start. And hopefully because I took a day to rest and rejuvenate,… then tomorrow will be a good day.

I will always struggle with depression and my mental illness. I will probably always have good and bad phases. And I will probably always be in and out of the hospital. But now that I have some great therapy under my belt and some understanding and support from my friends and family, I do feel I can live a much more fulfilled life. My mental illness will always be a part of my life, but now,… I will not let if define me or hold me back. Today was a setback,… but tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let bygones be bygones

After my Mom passed away, life changed. Suddenly, the people you loved and counted on were not there. A huge chunk of your life now no longer existed. The family home,… The holidays,… The “family” was no longer there. To me,… It all just felt so broken. Because of some things that had gone on in the past, my brothers and I had gone our separate ways and weren’t in each other’s lives. It was very lonely.
But once Mom passed away, I think Glen and I realized that all we had left was each other. I knew in my heart my parents would be disappointed if the family was no longer together. My brother and I loved our parents enough that as a gift to them, we choose to put our past behind us and reconcile our relationship. We knew what that would mean for our parents. And in doing this,… we were blessed with a gift to ourselves that we didn’t realize was even there. We found a bond together. We decided to just forget the past and focus on the future.
In doing this I have discovered a wonderful person in my brother. We have reconnected and are now rediscovering each other as people. I can honestly say that I am a richer person for it.. He has carved out a great life for himself and his family. I am so proud of the achievements he has accomplished and the person he has become.
And I am grateful to him for accepting me back into his life as I am. He has totally understood my health issues and has accepted them as “me”. He encourages me to do my best but understands when there are days I can’t’.  Just accepting me as “me” has meant a great deal.  There have not been many people in my life who have done that. It’s a refreshing relief to be able to live my life honestly and not have to keep making excuses for the bad days.
I’m pretty sure that Glen and I will remain great friends for the remainder of our lives now. I consider this a gift and am grateful for it.
Happy Birthday Glen!! I love you tons,…