Catharsis

This is going to be a bit off the beaten track around here; no sewing, baking crafting to speak of.  It’s likely going to end up being a stream of consciousness because sometimes you have to get things out of your system.  In this particular case not only do I need to write I also need to know its going to be read; so I’m afraid you guys are my audience.  Feel free to skip if you want as I’m probably going to follow some paths that aren’t too shiny or pretty.

September is a weird month.  It’s back to school time (even though I am a decade or more past that stage in my life) and kinda has that new page feeling about it.  In a lot of ways its like new year without the resolutions.  It represents to me a time to start over, try again.  In other ways it absolutely sucks.  With absolutely no grace summer just ups and walks out, the weather turns and its suddenly dark.  And quite often that’s the route my thoughts take too, although September and early October now also completely suck as they remind me of what could have been and haul the loss of my tiny tiny baby up to the surface again.

What makes it harder is that September and October are full of family wedding anniversaries and birthdays.  So whilst I’d quite like to crawl under a rock and hide the mask goes on and I pretend everything is ‘fine’.  Whilst the remake of the Italian Job was not overly my cup of tea, the definition of ‘fine’ has stuck with me: Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.  Yup, that’s me.  I’m fine.

Depression sucks.  I could use a hundred and one different expletives but it wouldn’t come close.  Before I suffered from it I thought I could imagine what it was like; you know feeling sad and flat.  I was wrong.  So, so wrong.  It’s more than feeling sad and a bit flat.  The sadness is there all the time, it becomes (I’m not sure how to describe this) a sort of filtered window.  It distorts and colours what you see and you feel separated.  That separation makes me feel flat, two-dimensional.  But all the time my head is buzzing and it’s never in a straight line.  I constantly feel like I’m on the outside looking in and the longer it goes on the stronger that feeling gets.  I make the problem worse by putting on the mask and pretending everything is OK.  I don’t know what else to do though.

I can’t let the mask slip as I have a gorgeous Boy who needs me.  So I go through each day working on presenting myself the way I think I’m supposed to.  I know that sometimes my temper is too short and that I lose it at situations that really don’t warrant that response.  I try to explain to him that sometimes I get really really sad and it makes me grumpy and short-tempered.  I know I don’t hide it all the time as there are times when I’m lost in my thoughts and he’ll climb up into my lap to give me a cuddle because he says I look sad again.  It’s the use of the word ‘again’ that breaks my heart.  He deserves better.

Over the last year I’ve had different coping mechanisms.  Some work better than others and some are actually pretty destructive.  Suffice to say I’m on meds and they seem to have lessened the peaks and troughs.  What does help is being fully absorbed in a task as when I’m concentrating completely on a task the negative committee in my head sit down and shut the f**** up.  There is no floor space for them when I’m working out how to construct a collar or making sure some topstitching is even or a sleeve goes in smoothly.  I think it’s also the positive action of taking something and turning it into something else using my hands.  The restlessness of my mind also affects my sleep.  I’m tired, I want to sleep but my head will not shut up.  I’m very familiar with my bedroom ceiling and the way the bedside lamp creates shadows on the ceiling.  So I read (often what other bloggers have written), or I get up and sew, or in this instance, I write.

I also know that I’m an emotional eater and my comfort food of choice is something sweet.   That’s the start of a big nasty circle for me; feel rubbish, eat, look in the mirror, not like the reflection, feel like a failure, eat something to make it better…  It’s text-book and self-perpetuating.  I know that and in fact knowing it makes it worse.  There’s a lot going on over which I have absolutely zero control.  There are some things I can control though and what goes in my mouth and what I ask my body to do each day are things I can act on.  I can change what I eat and I can get off my backside and move more.  So I’m going to.  I’m not as brave as Evie and heading for a crossfit gym (although I’m intrigued, inspired and slightly terrified of the idea of it… One day…  Especially as I’ve found a box near me…) So I’m going to become a Nerd.  Not just a sewing nerd but (and here’s the plan) a fitness one too.

In the early part of the summer I started to eat a more natural diet with less processed anything in it.  I felt and looked a lot better.  And then something happened and I went back to comfort eating and that familiar circle.  Somewhere along the line I found Nerd Fitness and I’ve been reading the blog and it’s archives for a while now.  I’ve even got one of the ebooks in my reader and tentatively started doing the body weight workout.  On the 23rd September Steve Kamb and Staci opening an online fitness academy just for women.  I’m going to sign up.  I’m going to give myself six weeks to see what I can do in that time frame.  See if taking a bit of control and doing something positive for myself helps with the rest of it.

I’ve got a 3/4 of the year resolution I guess; do something for me that helps make me feel better.  You never know, if I can make the fitness gains I want then a better looking bod may come with it and a whole reason to sew some more!  But I’m going to keep sewing in the mean time, it’s my meditation and brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction so there’ll still be sewing going on around here too.  You never know, I may get in front of that bl***y camera and photograph the 6 (or is it 7?!) items that have yet to be blogged!

And apologies if there are any adverts spamming up this (or any other) post.  They’re not there through my choice but are a way for WordPress to keep this a free blogging platform which you can read about more here if you want.

28 thoughts on “Catharsis

  1. Hey my dear! Oh man, do I recognise EVERYTHING you are describing! My better half is just the same. We’re working on developing better habits over time, but still forgiving ourselves when we fall back on old coping mechanisms. Big hugs to you, and good luck on your fitness endevors! And thanks for writing about this!

  2. The cycle you are describing is so familiar to me. I am totally a comfort eater and especially so when under stress. The one thing I have to say is that, in my humble opinion, you are taking steps in the right direction: I find that if I stick to a fitness plan (be it walking to and from work or hitting the gym three times a week) I immediately feel better about myself and the comfort eating falls by the wayside. It’s not that exercising makes me lose weight because of the exercise itself, but because of the side effect of making me feel like I’m doing something good for myself, which makes me feel in control, which makes me forget about comfort eating, which makes me trim down. A different, yet more positive cycle, if that makes any sense. In any case, kudos to you and may the power be with you in kicking depression right on the behind.

  3. What strikes me about your post is the truly positive thinking – you are no longer wallowing but actively doing something about it – that’s great. No doubt it’s an effort but a little bit of contentment/happiness/joy soon spreads.

  4. another vote here for crossfit. i’ve been doing it this year (although i’ve always been doing one thing or another, before that it was muay thai for 2 years), and it is GREAT! you don’t need to wait or get more fit or anything to start. everything is scaled to your level and that’s fine.

    everyone will be so much better than you (or at least, everyone is at my box!) but ignore that and focus on you, on yourself getting a bit faster, on lifting a bit heavier, on finding a WOD a little bit easier. i’m usually at the bottom of the class in respect of everyone else, but in respect of me, i can see so much improvement.

    much like how sewing makes the mental chatter shut up, so does intense training. and there is something about lifting heavy things that grounds and centres you like no other (including yoga which i did for 2 years). much like how finishing a sewing project makes you feel supremely clever, lifting something that you couldn’t lift one or two weeks ago gives you a profound sense of achievement.

    regular exercise genuinely makes you feel better. i say this through experience. i structure my life in particular ways because i know what happens when i don’t. just start. get yourself through the fundamentals programme and just do it. eat well (have lots of advice here if you need it but this free e-book says almost everything i would: http://www.stumptuous.com/fuck-calories) and get to it. it actually really is that simple and i say that with experience.

    other resources: stumptuous.com, gubernatrix.co.uk (she also runs a ladies who lift course in london: http://strengthambassadors.com/courses-and-classes/ladieswholift/) and breakingmuscle.com.

    (((hugs to you.)))

  5. Hugs….goodluck. Sometimes I used to snap at my OH just because he had the audacity to ask me how I was. Its something we can’t control, but you are being really positive about it all, and I suppose that is the best way you can help yourself.

    • Gah, I know that feeling and Husband has been on the end of some pretty nasty barks. No one else is going to sort this so I’ve got to do something and something positive is better than the other things I’ve tried!

  6. Didn’t want to just read and run. You’re doing all the right things, but it’s a long road, I know. Just want you to know you aren’t walking it alone. Sending you a virtual hug and good vibes.

    • It was the hardest thing to write but also putting it out there means that I don’t have to pretend to you all anymore. Life isn’t perfect and sometimes it’s a very long way from perfection. All we can do is try. Thanks for the hugs too, sending some your way as well xxx

  7. Oh, lady, this must have been hard to write, but we’re all pulling for you! Before I got to the part where you mentioned your resolutions to exercise, I was going to suggest that to you! I’m no fitness expert or junkie, but there really is something so positive that happens in your brain after you exercise. Exercise kind of occupies half of my brain or something and helps to take my mind off of other things. Something else that helps me is just to get out of the house to take a walk. It sort of resets my brain a little. I sometimes just want to barricade myself in the apartment when I’m feeling down, but it’s not good for me.

    You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, girl. Know that you’re not alone– we’re all cheering for you and are here if you need us.

    • It was hard, but also a relief to get everything out in the open. I’m one for bottling stuff up so it really was a release to be fairly honest (I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve spared everyone from some of the gory details). It just means that I don’t have to pretend that everything is perfect which takes some (self imposed I know!) pressure off.
      I’m really looking forward to starting the 6 weeks. I want it to be a permanent change but that’s too daunting whereas saying 6 weeks is manageable.
      Thanks for being such a sweet heart and listening to me rant on. I must get pretty boring sometimes! Thank you too for the thoughts and prayers. It means so much.

      • You’re never boring! You shouldn’t have to pretend to feel a certain way if you don’t! I’m glad you’re able to get some of this ugly stuff out of your system. Hopefully things will look up soon!

        And you’re right– it’s so smart to have a six-week plan! Generic, sweeping goals never work for me (“I’ll exercise more” needs to be “I’ll run in the morning three days a week” or I drift away from the goal). See how you feel after the six weeks are up and go from there!

    • Thank you. In real life I think I sometimes risk straying into TMI but with blogging I can say what I want to say and edit it if need be. It really helped me get this out in the open and if it helps others realise that they’re not alone that can only be a good thing.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment and the good wishes!

  8. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us – it’s not easy being vulnerable, but I’m sure it helps to know many of us have experienced depression in some way, shape or form, and you are not alone :) I, for one, completely understand the battle with depression and self image – I’ve struggled with it all my life. Making positive changes in our lives is a journey, and it can be hard. It’s like trying to knock over a pop machine in some ways – it takes a few pushes but eventually it gains momentum and then that thing is going DOWN!! LOL.

    Because of that, I totally get needing to find ways to calm your mind. For me, one thing that has helped greatly is yoga. I find it is one of the only things I can do that will quiet the incessant chatter in my head and even the screaming in there some days (gosh, i kind of sound like a nutjob… maybe i am LOL). Anyway, I think you are on the right track, and I pray you find a reason each day to keep trying :)

    If you need to talk, anytime, I’m always an email away :)

  9. I’m just now catching up on my blog reader… Even if I’m a bit late to catch up, I am so glad I didn’t miss this post. I am really pulling for you, and I love your plan to action. I’ve had my own battles this year – two miscarriages, a crappy end to a crappy job, what feels like it must be PTSD still lingering from said crappy job (which feels so lame since it was just a job, not real combat or something serious like that), a move to a new city that has felt very lonely at times… the list just goes on and on and on if I let it. But, I try not to look at all that and see the bad. You learn and grow and gain from everything. I know your silver lining is coming. And, I bet it will be here sooner if you get out there and exercise your little booty off. I have a good friend who went from being clinically depressed (the really serious kind that ended in a hospital stay) to being manically happy by deciding he was going to start running ultramarathons. He still has his lows, but he now has way more level-to-high days. His silver lining gets even better – he got so good at telling his story that he got a book deal out of it. So, keep yourself busy and active and it will show. Especially to that little boy of yours!

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