I first sought help for my depression last year, six months after my husband and I split, and not long after I was told I was being made redundant. The day I accepted I needed help, the clutch went on my car and I had to get the train to work, with a reluctant three year old in tow. I sat at my desk once I'd dropped him at nursery, and burst into tears when someone asked "How are you?"
I made an appointment, and went to the doctors. It took me a week to get an appointment, and by the time I was actually on my way to see her, I felt a lot more upbeat - my car was fixed, at least. I was actually afraid I'd just grin like a loon and say "Why yes, I think I'm depressed, ho ho ho!"
Actually the conversation went more like this:
>In I stroll, mahoosive smile on my face, stupidly nervous and scared<
Dr : "Hello, come in."
Me: "Oh, thank you. >ahem<"
Dr: "So what seems to be the problem?"
Me: "Well, I'm probably being pathetic, but basically, I've lost my job >voice breaks< and my husband's left >seriously wobbly now< and I don't really like my children very much."
Full on wailing.
She had to give me tissues. I NEVER cry, especially not in front of people I don't know. I kept trying to stop crying, because I was embarrassed, but that just made me cry even more.
My doctor told me she wasn't surprised I was finding things tough, and referred to an amazing service called iTalk, where I had CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for seven weeks over the phone, and then ten weeks of face to face sessions before I felt that I could fly solo. I'm due to meet with my therapist next month and talk about how I'm using the strategies I've learnt at therapy, and generally how I'm feeling. Then, if I'm ready, I will be fully discharged.
I will undoubtedly talk more about my depression and those strategies I learnt in other blog posts - but this one is just about how, after a good two months of feeling on top of the bloody world, Im having a wobble.
What therapy taught me is to identify why I'm feeling this way: Well, I recently ended a relationship, and I'm still waiting to find out what's happening with my job as of next year, so that's probably attributing to it, even if, I largely feel positive about these things.
But what I've been feeling over the last week, is a sense of not belonging. I met up with old friends last weekend, which was great. It was so good to see people, see how they're getting on. But almost all of them don't have children, and are fully enjoying the benefits of being single and having a disposable income (remember those, parent readers?)
I couldn't help feeling on the outskirts of them - I was convinced that they were sure that because I had been married, and had kids, we had no common ground. Which made me really sad, because actually I'm a lot more than an ex wife and a mother. I'm also someone who likes to sing, and talk politics, and debate and argue and laugh, a lot. But somehow, it was a bit awkward. Probably because of my pre-conceived assumption that they would be awkward with me.
See, that's something I had to get past in therapy - (stay with me here, this gets a bit complicated) That I assume I know what people think of me, I assume that people are judging me, and I assume that they will always find me lacking. Therefore I automatically become a bit shy, a bit awkward, and don't know how to talk to people. I either behave like a bit of a bitch and make nasty (but on the whole, vaguely amusing) comments or I just get tongue tied, and can't really think of anything to say. My whole head literally fills with "Oooh, I bet she's thinking you're looking fat. And I bet he thinks you're boring and ugly. And THEY don't even want to talk to you cause they've got NO idea what to say to you cause your life is so SUBURBAN."
In therapy, I was told to challenge those automatic thoughts, which I've actually got quite good at. But I haven't practised it in a huge social situation before, with people who have known me for 15 years. It was really, really hard, and I came away feeling sad and pathetic.
So then I spent some time with people I know with kids. Wow, they're all really very married aren't they? And, pretty much all of them have money, and cars, and nice clothes. So, I came away thinking they were pitying me, and again, didn't really know what to say to me.
In the end, today I went to see my parents - HA! Yeah, I love them a whole bunch, but that's really not home anymore.
So here I am, at the end of a really rough week, and I'm going to put the kids to bed in a minute, and then have a bath, a hot chocolate, and watch a DVD like I do every other night. And I'm feeling a bit lonely, and sad. I'm not sure where I fit anymore. I'm too single for the committeds, I'm too committed for the singles.
This is very self indulgent. I'm assuming a lot, and feeling a bit (read: a LOT) sorry for myself. Reading it back, helps me realise that I'm being OTT, black and white, making assumptions - all those things I am trying not to be, thanks to my CBT. In fact, I can already see that I need to cut myself some slack.
Hey, if you read this, you were just part of a CBT exercise. Cool, huh? :)