I’ve been fighting a bad turn of depression for a couple of months now, and it’s gotten to the point that this week my shrink (the same I went to during uni – it’s so good that I don’t have to start from scratch with a new doctor!) convinced me to go on sick leave from work for ten days. I do hope that’ll help!
In any case, my plan for this week is to do lots of stuff that’s good for my soul, and I started by visiting my school friend Sandra with her two little boys yesterday. The weather was glorious, so we took a nice little walk, caught up with each other’s lives a little, and I got to hold her brand new baby (4 weeks!) a whole lot… Best therapy ever! 🙂
Ever since my diagnosis (first with SAD -Seasonal Affective Disorder- then also with “regular” depression) I was aware that people might judge me. It’s still much less acceptable to say “Sorry, can’t come, having a bad depression day” than “Sorry, can’t come, have the flu”. However, I was also very glad to finally know what the heck was wrong with me and be able to do something about it. This led me to decide right from the start to decide to always be honest about my mental health, and my experiences have mostly been positive. People usually seem surprised, because they have a skewed image of what people with mental illness are like – because it’s still a topic that one doesn’t talk about, as I discovered when people reacted to my honesty with admissions of their own. It confirmed that I wasn’t alone, that mental illnesses are much more common than most of us think.
Blogging Against Disablism day will be on Saturday, 1st May. This is the day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people will blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination. In this way, we hope to raise awareness of inequality, promote equality and celebrate the progress we’ve made.
The fact that I’m posting this means that it’s been a year since I started seriously educating myself on disability activism in general and the disabled blog community in particular. It is part of my journey to better educate myself on a variety of issues (most notably LGBTQ rights, feminism, racism and, obvious from this post, disability rights) in order to become a better ally to marginalized groups and a better advocate for those groups that I’m a part of myself (as you can tell, I believe strongly in intersectionality). While with most minorities it is easy to decide whether I am on the inside or outside, reading and thinking about disability and disablism has not been quite that clear cut.
I’m a straight, white woman – and I consider myself at least disability-adjacent, so to speak, because I have a mental illness.
Life has been throwing all sorts of shit at me recently (family, health, job, flat), and two weeks ago I seriously had no idea how I was going to survive the next weeks. All of these things are still there (although I’m happy to report the flathunt has been going well), but after starting back on my meds the future is daunting but I am confident that I’ll master it.
Yes, I was happy to be off the meds, to be able to cope with two winters in a row with only the help of St. John’s Wort. But after spending several weeks sliding steadily downwards, *this* close to reaching breaking point, doing acupuncture and going back on anti-depressants has pulled me back to the surface. I am still tired and struggling (and still dizzy at times, but only for short periods, not whole days anymore) but I can also breathe and see the sun again. So to the people that still think that mental illness is “only in your head” and requires nothing more than “pulling yourself together” to overcome it: I kindly ask you to FUCK OFF. I don’t need you in my life.
As always, though, the biggest thanks to my friends and family for sticking with me. Seriously. I know it’s not always easy. And happy Fourth of July to everyone in the States! 🙂
I’m on a sort of a hiatus. Not in a bad “it’s all too much, I need to hide” way, just haven’t been feeling very social lately. And this blog (and the internet in general) is for me first and foremost a social medium.
Which is why I let emails pile up, don’t post in my blog and do the least I can do with my websites. All the while I’m feeling quite fine – a bit better every day, actually, having just started to take a mild anti-depressive (Citalopram-Mepha, in case someone is wondering) last week, which has already markedly improved things, although I still feel some side-effects.
So I’m doing fine, trying to get in the right (which means productive) frame of mind to start serious work on my thesis in mid-February at the latest. It’s all a bit annoying, the process of getting all the signatures and information I need, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely.
Just wanted to write it down, in case anyone was worried. Feel free to drop me a line – I might take a while to answer, but I read and smile…
I’m faking doing the things I’m supposed to do (like French class), I’m faking being up to talk (with other students, with my family – later today with my therapist), I’m faking smiling and being friendly (and think I’m succeeding). Mainly I hope that it will start feeling real if I fake it long enough. No idea whether it’s SAD or just the aftermath of a bad night with strange and uncomfortable dreams. It’s the first time in months that I’ve felt this way, so I’m not really worried. Everyone has off days like that.
It’s not as if I’m really down or sad or anything – just a bit… numb. So don’t worry about me, okay?
Don’t even know why I’m posting this here, except that I haven’t posted in too long again and just want to communicate something, even if it’s not the usual ‘this is going on in my life’… Sorry for the downer.
The semester has started yesterday. Not that it has much of an impact this time, since I finished all my classes and now have time until mid-January to decide on a topic for my thesis, the writing of which will take up the first half of 2006.
Therefore I have only signed up for one class at uni. I’ve also decided to use the time I have now to brush up my French, so this morning I went to Riehen (takes me about 50 minutes, one way) for a 15 weeks course at the community college, focussing mainly on conversation, which is my big trouble area. It’s hard for me to have to grope for words – but I’m just tired to be embarrassed of how bad my French is after all the years of classes in school…
Other than that, I’ve taken out my beloved sheepskin (birthday gift from several of my friends) and my comfy blanket and am spending some quality time with some favorite movies (finally got ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ on DVD when I was in Singapore, after years of only owning the videos) and lots (probably a bit too much *g*) of yummy Swiss chocolate. Aren’t you envious? 🙂
Not feeling the SAD yet, but I’ve started drinking my St. John’s Wort tea just in case – I want to be able to enjoy my ‘free’ months and get things done, both on- and offline.
Been having not-so-great days/hours more often again. Think I might start the St. John’s Wort pills, since I talked it over with my shrink and he thinks that it’s justified if my mood noticably deteriorates. Still, the decision doesn’t come easy, but I really don’t want to go back to where I was this time last year – down, down, down… I need to be able to function. And I just feel so out-of-balance much too easily.
I should be 1) writing my paper, 2) preparing the presentation for Friday, or 3) reading homework for Thursday. Instead all I feel like doing is sitting on the couch, wrapped in as many layers as possible. Not exactly down, just feeling a bit displaced.
Not in a very good mood. Probably partly the weather and partly the remnants of my cold, which is still plaguing me somewhat. Tonight’s open night at all museums in Basel, which Sibylle and I always go to, but truth be told I’m not really in the mood for crowds. But I don’t know if I can call this off, seeing as it’s only once a year. This is the first time I’ve felt like this in weeks, so I guess I should be grateful.
Unrelated – a number of total strangers have signed up for my Birthday Alarm. That kind of irritates me, since I don’t really see the sense in it. If you’ve come through this blog, would you mind stepping forward and letting me know? Would be cool!