When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Drizzling in my Heart…

It’s turned out a lovely sunny autumn afternoon. But I’m feeling a little flat. Drove down with partner at the weekend to see my Mum. We went for a walk along the coast  between Folkestone and Dover which turned into a hike, mostly in the dark along slippery and sometimes ill-defined paths, through what’s known as the Warren. The next day we drove out to a lovely old country pub (my Mum lives near the Kent coast) and had a very good vegetarian pub lunch.

All of which was fine enough. But I was aware of my mood slipping slowly downwards toward Sunday evening. That familiar sense of things not being quite as I want and/or need them to be. Rightly or wrongly I often think it’s about my partner and me. Or whoever else I happen to be around at the time. It’s hard to tell if that’s me projecting my malaise onto a convenient scapegoat.

Yesterday I had to stand in for my friend in leading our DRA (Dual Recovery Anonymous) meeting, as she is away with her partner in the Lake District. I felt nervous, though it was really no big deal. Afterwards some of us went for coffee.

In the evening my son called. He sounded on excellent form, and wanted to discuss birthday presents and such like, as he will be 13 soon. We had a lovely long chat and he was very chirpy and chatty, more than usual. I stayed in and didn’t go to my Arabic class, because I felt exhausted from that hike on Saturday plus all the travelling and missing out on some sleep.

And today I’m at work. Bit bored, bit low-key, feeling a little frustrated with life. But hell, that’s no big deal. As they say in AA, these are high class problems. Take care all. Love, Zoe.

…and Friendship with Kittens…

Regarding kitties…thank you La, they are fine. Merlin the kitten is now about seven months old and is a fine physical specimen. He is also a good laugh. When I wake in the morning, around 7.30, he is there, sitting always bolt upright on the corner of the foot of my bed, to greet me. It’s a happy thing to have a soft, warm kitten to stroke and cuddle first thing in the morning.

The situation with my friend that I described in the last post is no longer playing on my mind. I managed to have a talk with her. It was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say to anyone. I felt I was risking losing her friendship or alienating both of them for good. Sadly it would not have been the first time a friendship had gone down as a result of me speaking my mind.

But all that said I did feel it was something I had to do. And she took it incredibly well. Not, of course, that she was pleased and happy to hear my words of wisdom! More like shocked, upset and angry…which was entirely natural. But she said she would go away and think about it. In a way I must admit I almost did want to shock her, so as to shake her into waking up to what was happening. But I knew I was testing the friendship by saying this stuff, and it was excruciatingly hard for me to take that risk.

Anyway I saw her again yesterday and she was quite normal with me. Which was a huge relief.

Blogging from work. Not a very busy day in the office. OA this evening. Lots of love…Zoe.

A Little Bit of Soap…

Hi gang. Good to be back. There’s a nice, upbeat-possibly-teetering-on-the-verge-of-hypomanic opening. Hope I won’t be (as has happened in the past) looking back over this entry at any point, cringing with self-loathing, embarrassment and abject shame.

I do feel, this morning, almost a little too good. Luckily I am at work, which conspires to bring me down to earth, reminding me of my lowly position in life, as I (wo)man the reception desk and generally perform the tasks of chief file-maker, tea maker and errand-runner! I recommend it to all those with a tendency to grandiosity!

You will have noticed I’ve been away quite a while. Well haha, maybe you’ll have noticed. There I go again with my delusions of self-importance! Well perhaps it’s as well to take a break when you just don’t feel inspired to write. After all I do this for fun, not to prove anything or to achieve literary immortality. At least that way you can come back to things fresh and possibly with something to say as opposed to trying to force it. And it then turning into one more chore to cross off the list. Being a bit of a ‘listy’ person I have to watch this tendency.

Things continue swimmingly in my life. However I woke up a bit early for comfort this morning. Hence having to watch and monitor the mood. Boring isn’t it?

Have to say I had quite a bit on my tiny mind this morning. I am seriously concerned about a friend. She has got herself into a relationship which, to me, shows all the signs of being classically co-dependent. With a self-confessedly co-dependent man. I don’t believe that anyone in the know considers that co-dependency is any less of a damaging addiction than drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating disorders or any other compulsion. There is a fellowship just for that, Co-Dependents Anonymous, CoDa for short. Neither of them is showing any desire or inclination to attend it. Which might be no big deal, except they are both recovering addicts and supposedly practising the Twelve Steps.

I am obviously in quite a tricky position. I see this relationship draining the life out of my friend instead of enhancing it. I can’t sit by and watch that happen. I know her well enough and am around her more than some of her other friends. I also know her partner fairly well. I have to play it carefully. Exercise all my not-inconsiderable powers of diplomacy. Find the right time and the right place to talk to her about this. My friend would and has done the same for me. She was the one, not my partner, who spotted that I was manic and took me to hospital last time.

Anyone ever had to ‘blow the whistle’ or confront a friend about what you perceive as self-destructive behaviour? Difficult isn’t it? Would be glad to hear any of your experiences, if so.

To change the topic, my partner, my Mum and I drove down to see my son and take him out for the afternoon on Saturday. It was wonderful to see him, he was smiley and good-humoured (though as usual his attention span was not of the stretchiest) and let me cuddle him lots and hold his hand. We took him to Duxford Air Museum. It was a lovely, close, family contact despite the unpleasant weather. And my Mum stayed in my house for two nights, said she felt ‘cossetted’ and at the end thanked me for being ‘so caring’. I was very touched by that. The truth is, it wasn’t difficult for me at all this time. Mainly because I wasn’t depressed and stressed to the nines.

Also it says a lot about my Mum. She can recognise when I DO get something right and praise me accordingly. She is ready and willing to move on from the bad times we have had in the past and not to just assume that they have to be endlessly repeated. As am I.

Lots of love peeps. Everything in the Garden of Zoe is coming up roses, even in November!

Arabic, friends and more kitten talk!

Hi peeps. I’ve been a much happier bunny all round this last week. Life has got its taste back. I have recovered my enthusiasm and excitement about things that I want to do and so forth. Last night I started a course in Beginners’ Arabic, which believe it or not is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but had thought that it would be too much, the way I was feeling. As my mood was so much better I thought I would try and join, two weeks late notwithstanding. The very nice Somalian/Yemeni teacher was understanding and helpful though and has offered to tutor me up to the others’ level on Saturday mornings. Part of me thinks I’m a little mad to take it on, but provided my mental and physical health holds I should be OK. I have good language learning ability. And I really just wanted to do something that’s both fun and challenging.

Other good things are unfolding in my life. My new friend who lives nearby. We’ve been getting on really well so far. I hesitate to say much about it. I don’t want this friendship to go the way of some others that seemed to start promisingly but kind of fizzled out for one reason and another. I have a tendency to get very enthusiastic at the outset of a friendship (or project) but don’t always have the long-term staying power to see it through. I will say this though. If you asked me to name one thing that I feel would most improve the quality of my life I would probably say ‘more and closer friendships’. It’s one of the regrets of my life that I haven’t been a better and more loyal friend whether through my own faults and flaws or because of circumstances (such as the illness) beyond my control.

Then there is the delight of Merlin the kitten and Amber the older cat. Merlin gave Richard and me a turn on Saturday when he disappeared completely for several hours. We hunted everywhere, combed the neighbourhood and the back alleys, calling and calling. It was getting dark and I had more or less given up hope when I was standing in the kitchen and I saw to my great relief his little black front end coming through the cat flap. The prodigal kitten had returned!

I kept him in for a while after that. Now he is allowed out again, on good behaviour, with a collar with a bell on it on which I have written all our details. He is also microchipped naturally. He so loves to be outdoors and usually I have to say he is sensible though adventurous. Of course he’s neutered too. And I have noticed in the last few days he seems to be bonding with me more. He’s affectionate, likes attention, and sleeps on my bed, where before he shared Amber’s. Basically I adore him. I realised that when he disappeared. I would have been devastated if he had been lost. How fragile our happiness is!

Look how big I am now!

Look how big I am now!

What’s more we had some beautiful idyllic days of Indian summer sunshine. After the damp squib that was August it was most welcome and, nicely for the workers amongst us, it came over the last two weekends.

Take care dear peeps. Love, Zoe.

Citalopram etc etc…

Think I forgot to mention in my last missive that two weeks ago I saw my shrink and she put me on the antidepressant Citalopram. And whether by coincidence or whether the two are related, my mood has definitely lifted in the last few days. I’m afraid I am sceptical to the last about psych meds. My experience is that they do not (consciously) make me feel better, but have sometimes made me feel worse. Other times they disappointingly seem to have very little effect one way or the other.

My experience of depression is that it invariably does lift eventually anyway, new drug or no new drug. But for now, I feel inclined to give Citalopram the benefit of the doubt. You never know do you. Maybe it’s the wonder drug I’ve been searching for all these years! I like the fact that it’s meant to be good for social anxiety and the like as well as the depression. It seems to be quite the flavour of the month, as I know quite a few people who are on it.

Like Stormgazer I must say that I love this time of year. Perhaps paradoxically it seems to be the time in my life when I make a fresh start. It’s always linked with starting a new course for instance, which I’ve done so many times, almost always with great excitement and anticipation. I also really get off on the colours. I often come to a standstill when out walking, just transfixed by a particularly beautiful tree.

Which reminds me that Richard was over at the weekend, we are quite aimiable at the moment and we went for a long walk on the Sunday up through Alexandra Palace, and along the Parkland Walk at Muswell Hill to Highgate Wood. Richard once did a course in Arboriculture and Tree Surgery, and so he knows a ton about trees. By the end of the walk I was amazed, mainly by my own ignorance and by how many different varieties of tree there are. If you asked me to name all the ones I could think of I would probably only come up with about ten.

Don’t know much about tree-ology…but I do know that I love them…especially  decked out in their autumn clothes.

Talking of clothes that’s another reason to love autumn. Clothes get interesting again. You have an excuse to wear more layers, and be creative. Some of us (usually the young and the skinny) look better the less they wear. Most of us it’s probably the other way around, certainly it is for me! Yesterday I treated myself to two lovely Merino wool jumpers and a smart shiny black padded jacket from Uniqlo in Oxford Street. Aah, retail therapy!

Take great care of yourselves dear peeps…

In a deep blue funk…

Hi peeps. Things are still rough. I came out of the crisis unit after two weeks today. Have not had the heart to blog in all that time. I was grateful for caring people around me. God, I was just grateful to be around people. I realised that living alone when I am depressed exacerbates the condition.

I brought the kitten into the unit for the second part of my stay. I wanted to have him close at hand so I could feed him regularly and keep tabs on him. Plus it was a lot of fun for me and the other clients and the staff! Except that he escaped a couple of times into the massive garden there and was keen to test out his untried climbing skills on the massive shed roof and the big trees! Talk about a cat with nine lives…

I am relieved to be safely back at home with him in one piece. Here he has already mastered the cat flap and enjoys the freedom to go back and forth. So far he is sensible and does not stray far. Amber, the older cat, has a love hate relationship with him but when I brought him back after our time away she sniffed his nose in an almost affectionate way before giving vent to the inevitable ‘ssss’!

They are often to be found stretched out together on the spare bed. They make me smile with their antics and I am important to their existence. That’s well worth the smelly cat litter and nigh on endless trips to the supermarket for their food!

I am getting bored with my voluntary work. I guess it might be time to start looking around for something else. A lot of the time, though, I am just stuck in one gear. Survival gear. Just getting by.

I made a potential new friend in the crisis unit. She lives a few streets away in a similar house to me, has a similar-sounding life (complete with cat) and a lot of the same interests. It’s all good.

Take care peeps. Love, Zoe.

Exploring the depths.

Hi peeps. I still don’t feel inspired to write. I plummeted right down over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend. Most of it was OK, but by the Monday I was so down, tried to be sociable and met friends for lunch but it just didn’t do a thing for my mood except possibly to make it worse.

My moods are not usually that stubborn. ‘Stuff’ has really got to me lately. Beginning with the psychotic breakdown in April. And now the break-up of my long-term relationship: the two not wholly unconnected. I’m getting older. Cumulative losses are breaking my back.

Weather has been crap to boot. What happened to the summer?

Reflection on ‘relationships and me’. No wonder I hold back from falling in love, from being vulnerable in a relationship with someone I really like. I’m devastated and distraught over the loss of someone who was very very far from ideal, and who at best was only partly committed and partly there.

My fear of people continues apace. At the same time I am desperately lonely. My self esteem is about as low as it gets, not for the first time. 

Ex called last night. It was a relief to have a civilised conversation with him. I had thought he was angry and bitter but he said no. He said he could accept that it just wasn’t working. I said I hoped we could be friends but it might take time. The difficulty I am having is that I don’t know if I can really let go. Let go of the intimacy, trust that it does not mean I will be cast into the void forever. Abandonment.

‘Mind’ is telling me I am a pariah. That I should ring a bell to announce my arrival so that no-one else need risk contamination.

I told you my self-esteem was low. The psychotic episode hit me so very hard. I had dared to hope. All of that seemed to come crashing down. Can I believe in myself, with or without episodes of madness?

At the end of it all this is depression. Just surprised I am still so down. Am I still ill? Yes, it would appear so.