Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catching Myself Before I Fall

I thought I was escaping depression again this winter, but suddenly realised the other day that the black dog has been sneaking up through the bush waiting for me to let my guard down. Three weeks ago I went for a walk, climbed to the lookout above Ngarunui Beach, slipped over and hurt my hip, back and neck.
As a consequence I haven't been able to do much, and a couple of days ago I became aware that my thinking had become very negative. Everything is my fault; people who didn't come to our party are avoiding me because I'm horrible; there's no point in sewing because I'll not be able to do a perfect job; no point in washing the floor because the cat will just bring in more bleeding animals and / or vomit etc etc etc. I just wanted to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head.
In my head I knew all this was bullshit, but the thick blanket of black fog was descending. Even feeding the chooks and ducks seemed like too big a job, let alone cooking dinner. Then in the evening I'd feel even worse because I had achieved nothing.
I knew I had to do something before I fell too deep. Telling myself over and over that it didn't matter that the coat I was sewing wasn't going to look like those of Katwise or Twisted Stitches or Hazelmade because it was just a first effort, a practice run, I made myself sew. Yesterday I finished the coat and it's certainly not of a professional standard but that's okay because I'm not a professional, I'm a beginner! It actually got to be fun by the end. And now I have an amazing, really warm, technicolour, fun, crazy cat lady coat which I just wore down to the chook run to collect eggs, and it made me feel happy. (The colours are a bit brighter than you see here - the yellow more yellow and the the main body is actually green.)
Today I woke up feeling less grey, and started doing things straight after breakfast. I put the brine-soaked almonds in the dehydrator, soaked chick peas for a few hours, then cooked and bagged them ready for the freezer. I fed the animals and then cleaned the vomited food up off the floor - thanks Spike, you didn't have to eat the dog food as well as your own! I helped Mac put a water tank up in the orchard (for water for the ducks and irrigation in summer.)
I re-carpeted the chook run - yes, that's not a typo! Every winter it gets so muddy in the entrance way, and next to the nest boxes, so every couple of years I put down old wool carpet or underlay, so I don't slip over.
I found and cleaned my old Can o Worms, put a new bedding layer in it, and fished a box full of worms out of my current worm farm, for Heidi and Steven to take home to Hamilton so they don't have to send food scraps to land fill.  I did dishes and washing and cooked dinner - all things that had become a huge burden over the last three weeks, a sure sign of the advance of depression. I thought I was so much stronger with respect to my mental health, but it seems I'm still pretty fragile. However getting on and doing things helps. I just have to become aware of what's happening in time to catch myself before I fall. Most of all, it helps to have visits from some of my favourite people - Steven, Heidi and Ethan all stayed for the weekend, and Greg visited today. Thanks, lovely people, I needed that.

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