Back to blogging? Eh, maybe…

I try not to set resolutions, to be honest. January is a horrible time for agreeing to do something – the weather is awful, the days are short, it’s quite depressing – and way too easy to fall off the wagon.

It’s hard to believe that I only posted a handful of times at the start of last year and that was it. The Irish “blogosphere” (for want of a better word) definitely seems to have slowed down over the last few years, especially with the advent of Twitter and Facebook. Why bother logging into a blog backend and having to click multiple buttons when you can share something in Google Reader with 2 clicks – hardly seems worth the effort…

In fairness, that wasn’t the only reason that my blogging tailed off. At the start of 2009 I finally went to see my doctor and admitted that something wasn’t right. After a few questions, it became clear to us that I was experiencing another period of depression. Nothing specific seemed to have caused it, my brain just wasn’t producing the right balance of chemicals.

Depression is an ugly condition. When it drags you down, it drags you way down and stops you from living life the way you should. Yet when you are in good form, you are on top of the world. It messes with your appetite, sleeping patterns, leaves you with no energy, causes you to pick fights with love ones for no reason at all. It’s a cruel and vicious circle that many people have trouble escaping from.

I confided in a few close friends once I started getting treatment, and told a few people in work (my manager was the first one, I had to get him to stop yelling at me and leaving me in tears). The reaction that I got from most people was shock – there was no way that I could be depressed, sure wasn’t I the one that was always making them laugh?

I had become an excellent actor, so adept at hiding my depression that I couldn’t even admit it to myself for a long time. I’d managed to pull the wool over the eyes of my husband, who is my closest friend and saw me every day. But deep down, things were bad. I was plotting escape routes, wondering how I could leave my husband, get away from it all, run to another country. But none of that would have helped.

The doctor started me on the normal dose of anti-depressants and we gave it 3 months to see how they worked. After that time things were better, but still not back to “normal” (although I wasn’t sure any longer what normal was supposed to be). We upped the dose and within days I was feeling so much better – the world seemed brighter again, I could think clearly and was able to rationalise problems and issues instead of fretting over them.

In December, my dose was finally reduced, with a plan to wean me off the drugs over the next 6 months. I think it’s working, but sometimes it can be hard to tell. On 2nd Jan, my Aunt Alice passed away. She was 92 and I hadn’t seen her in nearly 10 years. I’ve cried several times since then, but it’s hard to tell if it’s me or the depression. She was a cousin of my father’s, but more like a sister to him all those years. She was the last of that generation, which makes me feel lonely for some unexplainable reason. But I can’t help asking myself, is it natural that I am this upset, or is it sneaking back in again? It’s so hard to tell…


11 Comments on “Back to blogging? Eh, maybe…”

  1. John Braine says:

    Sorry to hear about your Aunt but otherwise great news that you got through that period and are already being weaned off the medication.

    I previously had very little faith for the treatment of mental illness treatment in this country but I’m hearing of more success stories with modern treatments. More so with people of our generation.

    Also on the grief thing, impossible to know which box to put it in unless you have a similar experience to compare to. Pointless comparing to other people as different people have such different experiences of grief. I know some people who don’t seem to suffer much grief even if a parent dies, and others who go through terrible grief if very distant relatives die.

    Obviously, the brain isn’t so tidy anyway. I’m sure going through a natural griefing process is going to have some affect on one’s depression even if it is mostly a chemical imbalance.

    I hope your recovery is long lasting and keeps getting better.

  2. Grannymar says:

    Hope so. Stay well.

  3. Maz says:

    Recognising that there is “something’ wrong and taking those first steps to do something about it is more than half the battle. Fair play to you for having that courage to tackle it. Mind yourself.

  4. Mary says:

    Elly, I have had bouts of depression all through my life. I have found, as I have grown older, that the periods between get longer and longer. Modern medication did help me through my last bout. It has been more than five years since I’ve been ill. I’d say the grief you are experiencing now is normal. Like GM said – stay well. And a brave post. Thank you.

  5. Will Knott says:

    Being upset after the death of someone close is normal. You’re just proving that you’re human. So chin up, you are getting better. And remember that an ear and hugs can be provided when you are ready for them.

  6. Hails says:

    Wow, Elly, I had no idea. Like you say, you’re always the one making people laugh. Stay well, girl, and remember that blogging can be cathartic! Hugs. x

  7. ellybabes says:

    Thanks John – I guess that I’m lucky in that I have a really good doctor, who is also super efficient. He asked loads of sensible questions and gave me a safe environment in which to discuss this.

    GM – love you.

    Maz – Thanks – I only wish I had realised it sooner! But still, on the road to recovery now.

    Mary – that’s a positive thought to keep in mind. I had one bout previously, about a year after my father died, mainly because I refused to deal with the grief at the time. Nearly cost me my uni degree as I was in my final year, but my lecturers were great about it.

    Thanks Will – and keep those invites to 1 vs 100 coming, I had great fun the other night.

    Hails – yup, I was very adept at hiding it! I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging, maybe taking this blog in another direction, but we’ll see how it goes.

  8. Catherine says:

    Excellent blogpost Elly. Its great to see you had the self awareness and courage to recognise that something was up and that you acted on it. Not easy. Stay well.

  9. Anthony says:

    Brave post Elly and great to see your on the up.

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