Thursday, 24 January 2013

When there isn't any weekly project...

When there isn't any weekly project...

My Dad is one of my all time mentors, heroes, inspirations and has so many wise and insightful stories and advices; if you were so lucky as to sit down to a cup of green tea and really listen to his stories or to be taught by him in his unbelievably valuable karate (life) lessons  you would truly understand when I say that he is one of *those* people who make a change on this planet.  He leaves his legacy in every action of each day.  

One of my Dad's sayings is that all a person needs on this planet is something to be enthusiastic about.  The last couple of weeks I have struggled a little as I settle into our new home with our in-laws and I have reflected on this a little.  What do I find I'm enthusiastic about right now?  I, in absolute and without condition, love my daughters.  I (try to) commit each day to providing the 'best' environment for them to feel free and to experience their childhood (something I feel society at large is slowly robbing kids of); however..

I suffer from depression and anxiety.  I regularly read comments from those in the less-than-know-how advise those suffering from depression/anxiety that:
- "It's a frame of mind - just change your thoughts";
- "Fake it 'til you make it";
- "Just pull yourself out of it and get over it".
- "Just get yourself out of the house and you'll start feeling better".
It is hurtful to read those who may naively be trying to help and have all the best of intentions, with the advice coming from a place of love.

Let me start by explaining a typical night...

I found it hard getting to sleep that night -  insomnia - I took 2 - 4 hours getting to sleep.  It was somewhere around 2am when I fell asleep after thought after thought chain to each other..  laying with restless legs and limbs.. My eyes closed then open, closed, then open.. contemplating getting up to research/make a note/ send an email or trying to sleep.. I concentrate on my breath but find myself back into racing thoughts.. a night of nightmares where loved ones are usually getting hurt or I'm running away from something.  (last night's dream?.. our country was being invaded, Remi was crying and I had to quieten her as people came through our house with intentions back by everything but love.  I had to cover my little baby's mouth.  I suffocated her.  I woke up with tears already built up, blinked and they rolled down my face filling my ears.)  Remi magically wakes up just when I do (synchronised sleeping patterns really astound me!).. she tumbles and rolls over to me and I feed her.. I cuddle her as best I can while my milk lets down; she gulps the milk down and I cry from the amount of love, the relief that I haven't lost her as I hear every exhalation from her nose.. I feel extraordinary amounts of gratitude that I can co-sleep with her, that I can breastfeed her at the breast, that I have the milk supply to nourish her tiny and beautiful body, that I have a husband that I can roll over and cuddle (which I didn't this night),.. I hear Marika over in her bed snoring and thank God I have such beautiful and healthy children!.. the oxytocin coursing through my body... I catch my breath and fall asleep as I feel and cuddle her.
So, since I was 8 or so I experience regular nightmares... with the exception of when I was pregnant. (I quietly pray the girls didn't take them while they grew inside me!)...
Remi feeds anywhere from 3 - 6 times a night.
The local wildlife wake up with the sun rising and inhabit the trees outside the window.  SQUAWK, SQUEEL, CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP, CRAAAW CRAAW..
SHUUUUUT UUUUP!... Danny gets up and closes the window and pulls the curtains across.  I hold my breath watching Remi toss and turn a little from the sudden noises and movement.  She rests and has a sharper, louder exhale.  I drop my shoulders and relax back into the pillow.. (sometimes I feed her back to sleep)..
I wake up abruptly, usually by one of my girls, sometimes crying for food or yelling for a bottle of juice.. or they are half asleep having a night terror.  I'm short of breath .. I'm exhausted.. feel more tired than before going to sleep.    

So moving along...

I message Danny to let him know one or both of the girls are awake.. sometimes he can look after them for a moment while I toilet and wash my face, sometimes the girls come with me.  I sit up .. my joints ache, my eyes sting,.. I feel like crying as I force myself to stand.  I force any enthusiasm I can muster into words as I chat with the girls.  "Good morning bubby!"... I look in their eyes and I feel so much love... I genuinely smile and adore those tiny little faces when they first wake up...
I look away from them and feel a room of black.  I feel heavy.  I feel sluggish.  I feel lack of motivation and direction towards anything in particular.  I look back at the girls and see a glow in the room.
Suddenly, Marika gets frustrated and yells at me, or Remi.. or hits Remi... or talks loudly while Remi is asleep even with my gentle reminders to whisper... Remi wakes up.  My stomach lodges in my throat as I realise I am getting up to make breakfast for us all, keeping one eye on the food while I prepare it and the other on the girls as they explore the loungeroom with fresh, revived eyes from their restful sleep.  They climb the coffee table and wrestle a little - let the pancakes burn or risk one falling off the table... I fast walk over and put Remi on the floor... she cries in disapproval.  Wrong move mummy.  She climbs back on the table again.  Pancakes burn.  Remi soils her nappy and this time it leaks out the side and stains the carpet.  Marika yells out on cue "I WANT ACCCCKLE JUUUUUUICE".  I change Remi's nappy sometimes with a lot of props handed to her.. sometimes with a lot of struggle.. rarely without a fuss.

My inner voice wakes up and starts muttering and complaining.. blaming and yelling... I Just want to make breakfast, without my heart racing.. with the girls playing with each other, calmly.  I sigh.  I sigh a lot.  I glide across the floor and adequately make breakfast for the girls and they are still able bodied without broken limbs, yet.  I carry Remi to her seat and entice Marika to her breakfast.  I scoff/inhale my breakfast and it's a good morning if I remember the taste of it.  

The room gets a little more foggier.. I somehow reversed back into my head and I feel like I'm looking through binoculars into the room.. whose body am I in?  How are my arms move?  I don't have any reason to move them.  I watch Remi smear her breakfast over her tray.. scratch some food into her head... she grows bored of the food and throws some on the ground.. She analyses a bit more food... throws it on the ground and looks at me.  She doesn't look down this time, feels around for some food, picks it up, continues looking at me, throws the food on the ground.  I get Remi to the bath and Marika slowly makes her way there to play too.

The next few hours involve a bit of juggling to ensure the girls stay safe with each other, entertained/engaged, cleaning up after breakfast, cleaning laundry, cleaning nappies, wondering what the hell to have for lunch... or even snacks since Marika wasn't too impressed with breakfast.  I clean up toys when they are discarded all over the loungeroom.  I concern myself with quite a bit of worry that we clean up after ourselves while we live in someone else's home... quite a 'fun' task when 2 toddlers.  

If I look at my day... I consider where the enthusiasm is at..
I consider if there is anything I'm enthusiastic about.


I haven't given myself time to myself.... I feel the difference in these weeks where I have not tried and completed any projects FOR ME.  I felt it important to be there for Marika as she realises that this is now our home and not the "golden home" back in Brisbane.  She has daily emotional purges where she cries to go back home.  It hurts to watch her miss something like that and not be able to give it to her.

Marika came first and comes first for me.  Remi's safety and happiness came first and comes first for me.
But I feel it.  I feel the exhaustion from giving to others but not restoring my energy reserves.  It weighs me down and it affects my sleep and it accumulates day by day.  My inner voice changes and becomes darker.  The rooms that turn into pockets of bubbles that I feel suspended in feel constricting and restricting.  I start wearing different lenses and my perspective starts skewing.  

I add to all this a major shift in hormones as my body tries to find a bit of post-natal balance.  I try to fight nutrient losses with iron supplements.  

This week I came across a random video of a Sydney abattoir and the disgusting animal treatment there with in.  My conscience is devastated and I am now trying to add vegetarianism into my life.  

If I look up "depressed" at this is what it says:


[dih-prest] Show IPA
1. sad and gloomy; dejected; downcast.
2. pressed down, or situated lower than the general surface.
3. lowered in force, amount, etc.
4. undergoing economic hardship, especially poverty and unemployment.
5. being or measured below the standard or norm.

As a sufferer of depression I look at the first definition and shake my head chuckling a bit at how understated it is with how I feel.  "Sad"... "gloomy"... no wonder society fobs of depression as something to just shake off and "get over"...
"Dejected", "downcast"... o_O ...
The physicality of depression for me is at times excruciating.  I feel like my bones turn to lead.. I feel my joints are sealed with a hot glue gun.. I feel like someone has lined my lungs with sandpaper.. I feel like I have a softball lodged in my throat.. my jaw aches like it's blown up a packet of balloons...
to be "pressed down" would be relevant if it meant a fridge was sitting on my chest.. or "situated lower than the general surface" was to be sinking in some bottomless sludge that I was trying to walk through.

I do feel like I'm being measured below the standard or norm sometimes.
I do feel like there's hardship... but overall the definition of "depressed" is absolutely understated.

I need to persevere and try to work out projects I can do just for me, but it's hard.. it's really hard - to get motivated in looking for projects; to consider adding something to each day as I raise my toddlers; to consider doing something for just me when I already feel I'm not giving enough to my husband, to the community, to my daughters, to cleaning.  It's hard when projects (usually) involve spending money with no financial return for my family - quite a guilt production for me.


Do you have projects?
Any you would like me to try? ;)
I love projects with purpose (both in the community sense, both in practicality and in developing skills).
I'm considering weekly projects, on request, and for sale - let me know ;)

Love Bri!

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