Coffee Talk Disability Humor Life Writing

Anxiety & Us

5th February 2018

And so, last week was Time To Talk Day, but I think the point of this campaign is to highlight that it’s OK to talk about our mental health no matter what day it is.

Honestly, this post has been bouncing around in my brain for weeks.  More honestly, my weird little journey with anxiety and my current dealings with it was one of the reasons I came back to blogging regularly.

To share this road.

I was never really into the concept of writing as therapy, but we work with the tools we have.

I’m sitting here at 9:04 in the morning, and it feels like the day is half over already.  I might have cuddled my kid a little too tightly before we negotiated teeth-brushing.  Isla is at school now.  There’s a bird-feeder stuck to my kitchen window, there’s a bit of winter sun through the bare trees, and the snowdrops are budding.

I’m sitting here with coffee and Tim and Faith and I really want a breakfast bagel.  But I’d have to go a long way for one of those.

I read a post from Lauren on Milly’s Guide last week which gave me a nudge to share my journey with mental health issues.

That’s this post.

I’ve played around with words, tried to make it readable and universal and not about me.  I’ve agonised over how many sentences start with ‘I’.  Wondered if I’m saying anything new, and who cares?

Fuck it.

I have Anxiety.  And I am probably Depressed.  Again.

Back when Isla was a newborn (it happened, once) I was checked about every two weeks for post-natal depression. Because I have a history of situational depression, and having a baby is a pretty big situation.

And so, I filled out a questionnaire from my groovy health visitor, who took over from my groovy midwife.

I’d tick some boxes, and even showed my answers to Neil, because I wasn’t even cheating.

‘You’re not depressed, are you?’

‘Nope,’ I said.

And I wasn’t.  I was euphoric.  And tired.  And spent.  And scared shitless.  I didn’t think I deserved this actually magical child who found me somehow and chose me as her mother.

I’d spent my entire pregnancy in disbelief that we’d get a baby at the end of it.  But she arrived.  And the first words she heard from me were ‘Thank you!’  And she’s always known I love her Dad because after I said thank you, I turned my head to him and said, ‘I fucking love you.’

So, no.  I was not depressed.

All of my feelings were tied up with a frayed bow called Post-natal Anxiety.

I became a checker.  Of Isla.  Of me.  Of my hair.

I was put on medication that made me feel worse.  Then we found one that made me feel OK.

I was shoved out my front door encouraged to go to a baby group, where I did actually find some wonderful, no bullshit mom friends who know who they are and who I love like sisters.

I was ahem, working through it.  Isla was thriving, and I was getting there.

The three of us moved here, because we’d visited Dad and Anne a few times and LOVED it.  I imagined finding our own wee house with office space for me, and neighbours, maybe.  Somewhere Isla would make more friends and I would make books.

Isla is thriving, I’m getting there.

My post-natal anxiety has morphed into Generalised Anxiety Disorder, whatever the hell that is.  It’s managed by Prozac, old tv shows, and well, me.

And if someone asked me if I was depressed again, this time I’d say yes.

In the past, my episodes of depression have had little or nothing to do with my disability. My attitude has always been, Screw them if they can’t take some wheels, and put in a freaking elevator.

My sometimes profound sadness has come from losing a lot of people I love very quickly (all four Grandparents in five years, is one example.)

Those five years, and others, shaped the rest of my life.  And so, I have issues.  But the wheels aren’t my issues.

However.

Lately, I’ve been hyper-aware that I really like hanging out in my house.  In PJs mostly.  With popcorn always.   Going out is a chore that I do for Isla.  And my vitamin D levels.

When we do go out as a family, the first choice is closed, the second choice is closed, the third on the list is the only place accessible for me on my wheels.

Now.  Before somebody suggests that I campaign for equal access for disabled people, advocate for accessible travel, and do my bit to change the world, I do that.  I used to get paid for it.  When it’s your day-job and your everyday life, you get a bit tired.

I don’t want to be a recluse, I know it’s a slippery slope.    I do want to go out, would always choose going out over staying in.  But my house is accessible. And there’s nowhere to go.  So we drive in the car, and have conversations like this:

Me: Shall we sing?

Isla: No.

Me: Why not?

Isla:  Because your singing is horrible, Mummy.  But I love you.

Let’s focus on the love.

Isla is thriving, and I’m getting there.

 

tim-zankert-483708

Photo by Tim Zänkert on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  Check out this post on the Candles with a Conscience campaign to benefit the PANDAS Foundation.  I found this post after I wrote mine, but PANDAS work will always be relevant.

 

 


Also published on Medium.

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55 Comments

  • Reply Emily 5th February 2018 at 1:28 pm

    This is amazing, Lorna. I love you.

    • Reply Lorna 5th February 2018 at 1:31 pm

      I love you, too. So much.

  • Reply SickChristine 5th February 2018 at 1:33 pm

    I hesitate to “like” this, but I think it’s great that you’ve written about it. One of the things that scares me the most about possibly having to go back on chemo is how tough it is on my mental health. With nausea, pain, hair loss, and other miseries it gets very easy to stay in and not leave my bed, which gets me started down the depression trail. I think one of the best things you can do for it is shine a light on it, and you have so eloquently. All I’ve got for you is love, Lorna. And big, fat virtual hugs.

    • Reply Lorna 5th February 2018 at 5:10 pm

      This is me hugging you back. I was thinking of you all day yesterday. You can do all the things.

      • Reply SickChristine 5th February 2018 at 5:21 pm

        You can do all the things too. And when we feel like we can’t we can support each other until we do.

  • Reply Nicole 5th February 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I used to be uptight, before kids. Now even my 6-year-old tells me to calm down. And knows what to do to help me do so. Anxiety is a bitch. So is isolation. The globe is too big. <3 you.

  • Reply Natalie Ducey 5th February 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Lorna. Just know people are cheering you on. Celebrate every victory. Every single one! 🙂

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 5th February 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I am glad you shared this. It is a slippery slope. I am currently in my house, although I should go to the store…but, it is all German out there. Some days, it’s just too much. I did put on clean yoga pants though, so there is that.
    I agree with Natalie, there are lots of people cheering you on!

  • Reply josypheen 5th February 2018 at 4:13 pm

    I agree with everyone above. Thank you for sharing this. It helps me to understand (even just a little.)

    I hope it was cathartic to write too.

    • Reply Lorna 5th February 2018 at 4:44 pm

      And here I hoped my catharsis wasn’t showing.

      • Reply josypheen 5th February 2018 at 5:31 pm

        It wasn’t really. I was just hoping this made you feel a teeny bit better.

  • Reply thebeasley 5th February 2018 at 4:21 pm

    This post is excellent & love your down to earth honesty throughout it. Can I also just say, that yours & Isla’s relationship just sounds like the cutest to me. You sound like such a team full of love, giggles & cuddles.

    • Reply Lorna 5th February 2018 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you, Hayley. We are pretty cool. I’d love to add to our team too, which causes anxiety. It’s a loop. <3

      • Reply thebeasley 5th February 2018 at 4:52 pm

        Ah yes I can imagine. Much love x

  • Reply becomingcliche 5th February 2018 at 6:40 pm

    You’re not alone. I also have a delightful cocktail of meds that keeps this train (mostly) on the rails. Spring is coming. Spring is hope and a world coming alive and all the vitamin D we can absorb! Hang on tight!

    • Reply Lorna 5th February 2018 at 7:17 pm

      You, too!

  • Reply gemmaorton 5th February 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Brilliant post. Staying home can sometimes be so appealing. I’m so glad you felt able to share this honestly written piece. Keep on getting there. It sound like you have a fab little family!

  • Reply Jackie Cangro 6th February 2018 at 4:18 am

    Three things: Big hugs to you and Isla. Vitamin D is good stuff. Your honesty in your writing is inspiring.

    • Reply Lorna 6th February 2018 at 9:43 am

      Thank you. Giant hugs back to you. It is good stuff. I told Neil you said my honesty is inspiring. He larfed.

  • Reply bluerosegirl08 6th February 2018 at 6:29 am

    I have many simliar issues which lack of public access does nothing except make worse. You are not alone I promise

  • Reply notebooksandglasses 6th February 2018 at 9:04 am

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing this blog post. I too have anxiety and have been inspired by your post to attempt to write one of my own. I’m also an overthinker so it may take longer than planned ha ha.

    • Reply Lorna 6th February 2018 at 11:18 am

      This one took such a long time. Already thinking of a few other things to say Perhaps we should start an over-thinkers club? I’ll be reading yours when you’re ready!

  • Reply julianasergiocbc 6th February 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Such a heartfelt post, Lorna, that was amazing! As someone who has been struggling with anxiety and depression myself I know how hard it is to open up about it sometimes, and you even had the guts to do it while speaking of such a taboo topic such as pregnancy and PPD. You’re a warrior, keep on fighting! <3

    • Reply Lorna 6th February 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks, Juliana. I’m just a regular person trying to write through things. But I appreciate your words. <3

  • Reply Beth A Kondrick 6th February 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I love this post for so many reasons. I had post-natal anxiety that morphed into generalized anxiety disorder as well. And like you, I have been rather depressed this winter, but it’s getting better. One day at a time. So cliche, but it does help. Much love my friend. I get it.

    • Reply Lorna 6th February 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you, for real. I get you too. Did you have the PND as well? I didn’t, and it genuinely seemed to confuse some folks, ha.

  • Reply LaurenEph 6th February 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Proud of you for opening up. Love the last sentence, you will get there x

    • Reply Lorna 6th February 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Felt good, and like yours, I hope it shows others they’re not out in the wilderness. The us part is all of us.

  • Reply trulyunplugged 9th February 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Everything reads so effortlessly….so organic…my reader’s heart instantly absorbs the writing that speaks to my soul….thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 9th February 2018 at 1:31 pm

      I honest and um, truly appreciate you going through the archives, too. Thank you for the boost!

  • Reply Danielle Brigante 9th February 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Love you sweetheart – I’m finally back on meds after a while of blowing off/being unable to afford copays and whatnot. I’ve been pretty much nonfunctional due to depression for the last 6 months or so (i.e. when I stopped taking meds as prescribed and started trying to ‘stretch’ the prescription bc I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to get a new bottle). So I’m with you – getting there. <3

    • Reply Lorna 9th February 2018 at 6:27 pm

      Oh, but we are twins. Love you, too. <3

  • Reply Anonymous 9th February 2018 at 9:01 pm

    5

  • Reply itsnotallcute 9th February 2018 at 9:04 pm

    What a wonderfully open and honest piece. Thank you for sharing. It’s difficult to o open up about these things but you’ve done it in a wonderful and and graceful way. All the hugs and love and know if you need a chat I’m here xo

    • Reply Lorna 9th February 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you, Hayleigh. That goes for you, too. xox

  • Reply fattymccupcakes 10th February 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Mental health awareness is something I’m pretty passionate about. Maybe someday, if we all start to talk about it more, mental health won’t be such a stigma and people won’t think twice about sharing.

    • Reply Lorna 11th February 2018 at 10:35 am

      That’s the hope. Keep writing, Katie!

  • Reply fancypaperblog 11th February 2018 at 10:39 am

    You are brave and honest. And speaking my mind. I also have anxiety and mild depression and it changes everything. Someday I will write my story but not quite yet xx this helps though tons. I am sending you all the good wishes.
    I also crave pj time . Always.

  • Reply Shallow Reflections 11th February 2018 at 11:17 am

    Glad you shared your struggles, Lorna. I have anxiety from time to time. Mostly when I need to make a big decision. Always wondering if I’ll regret it and make a mistake – perfectionism is a terrible thing. Staying inside is one of my favorite things to do and I need to push myself to get out the door, too, at times. It’s hard being human, right?

  • Reply inspirationpie 11th February 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post from the heart. Anxiety sucks. Depression sucks. You’re not alone. I have anxiety/depression/panic disorder. My dog gets me out the door and I’m so grateful for him, even if I sometimes really just want to stay in and wear my pjs all day.

    Jo-Ann

  • Reply Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog) 12th February 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Love, love, love this post Lorna and been meaning to come back and comment all weekend. As a house full of depressives I can tell you – you are not alone! I was put on happy pills a couple of years ago when the chronic pain was getting to my mind before I had the stimulator put in my back. Hubby had a full breakdown several years ago and it was scary to watch – GP said his body and mind was simply telling us that he couldn’t continue as he was…..as we couldn’t change what was happening to me, he was told he had to stop working (motor industry, 6 day week, very intense with targets etc) and his dad was very sick too. Then son number 1 had a meltdown in first year of uni….he already knew what was wrong as he handed me a paper called “Existential depression in the gifted adolescent”!! He also came out ……he wasn’t eating, sleeping and couldn’t switch his mind off. Of course he wouldn’t take drugs because he looked up side effects….typical of place he was in, so uni arranged counselling. Next…in 6th form found son 2 was having anxiety issues and panic attacks, along with chronic migraines (prob down to our genetic EDS) ….and started cutting his arms! He does takes drugs and needs them for migraines too. Last one is our girl who also has anxiety and confidence issues (again a big part of EDS)…..so we really are the Happy Family!! Don’t think you’d know though as people don’t talk about it, and there certainly isn’t the help out there with state benefits etc…..I could go on & on!!!
    Just letting you know I have included your link on my regular PainPalsBlog feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Posts for You! Claire x (https://painpalsblog.wordpress.com/…/monday-magic…/)

    • Reply Lorna 12th February 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Wow, Claire. Thanks for sharing your family’s story. High school and Uni are in some ways the opposite of the best years of our life. Thanks for including me on your list this week. I was just going through the links when your message popped up. So mind-meld. And thank you.

  • Reply Anonymous 13th February 2018 at 8:08 am

    4.5

  • Reply Laura Dove 18th February 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Ahh I so relate to this. I have had PND for 13 years now but I also have generalised anxiety disorder, triggered by miscarriage and stillbirth, and fuelled by three very high risk pregnancies where I was convinced my babies would not survive. I swear by CBT, I’ve spent my whole life in therapy and it’s the best thing I ever did!

    • Reply Lorna 18th February 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Laura, I’ve read your stuff for awhile. I gotta say you and your family are actually heroes. CBT helped me too, and talking therapy in general.

  • Reply AlwaysCarryOn.com 18th February 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Wow! Kudos to you for having the courage to speak out about everything you’ve been going through Lorna. Reading some of the comments above must be a real comfort to you, to know that you’re not alone in what you’re going through. Sending lots of love x

  • Reply Kerry Norris 19th February 2018 at 7:08 am

    Well done for writing this and sharing your story. Mental health needs to be talked about more openly. I’ve struggled with mine for the last 2 years but I’m getting there. Sending hugs your way

  • Reply Kara 19th February 2018 at 10:37 am

    Like you I suffer with situational depression and I am lucky that I have not had a bout for over 7 years now. I am not a homebody and Hubby gets annoyed that I have to be out, I hate being stuck at home

    • Reply Lorna 21st February 2018 at 10:42 am

      Kara, thanks for the comment and helping highlight that situational depression is an actual (crappy) thing! Our husbands sound similiar. xox

  • Reply fashionandstylepolice 19th February 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Good you shared your story. It will help many in the same situation.

    • Reply Lorna 21st February 2018 at 10:54 am

      That’s the hope.

  • Reply Kira 21st February 2018 at 9:48 am

    Loved reading this Hun. I suffer with anxiety and my mental health is really bad at times so can only send you a virtual hug and tell you all the awesome people are a little crazy 🙂 x

    • Reply Lorna 21st February 2018 at 10:48 am

      Thank you, Kira. The same back to you. And this is my favourite quote:

      “[…]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

      Jack Kerouac, On The Road.

  • Reply Lauren 5th March 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Love your honesty.

    I’ve always found writing (or even talking) about mental health awkward and unnerving. (Maybe because I have a habit of overthinking things, then never actually getting them out!)

    I also think we worry that writing about “us” comes off as selfish, but it’s really not. It’s so helpful to other people to see that there are others in the same situation and see how they handle it. Lots of respect to people like you who do get it out in the open!

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 3rd May 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I just my post from when I rad this the first time….I just realized that I am still in the house, wearing Yoga pants. However, today I have been outside twice to walk the dog…so there is improvement since the last.

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