Batten Down the Hatches

The best way to describe this week is using the old English saying, batten down the hatches. Somehow when dealing with depression for years you begin to develop a sort of psychic ability that you can register when you’ve reached a tipping point. Don’t get me wrong, the Sertraline I’ve been prescribed has definitely started to make a difference. I don’t feel as anxious, I don’t get that physical sensation of lethargy and my mood seems to have stabilised. All in all, I feel more positive considering the circumstance. But that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t have weeks where the old demons rear their ugly heads and render you defenceless.

Looking back, I think I was braced for this week expecting an emotional impact. As you’ve seen from previous posts it has been IPF Awareness Week so my social media feeds have been lighting up with everything regarding the illness. Whilst on one hand it’s incredible, on the other hand it’s draining having to stay mentally strong considering it’s been barely three months since my Father passed away from the very same disease.

Having to meet people as part of my research has been a tremendous honour, especially as they are so willing to speak openly and honestly. But it’s difficult to see people who have had successful transplants or have lived for years with barely any deteriation, it feels wrong but you can’t help but feel bitter that you feel you were handed the short straw to lose him after such a short period. And with such devastating changes in health along the way. We are told not to feel anger or jealously, these negative emotions can become all consuming, but to hold it back and to feel that guilt of it even crossing your mind is tiring to say the least.

Eventually, by midweek I’d had enough. I woke up and just didn’t feel strong enough to keep going, I wanted to sleep and to not feel bad that I just had to hibernate from real life. I postponed all my plans and laid down on the couch watching endless documentaries on Netflix. After picking my Mum from work and speaking to her about how I felt she had the grand idea of going for a walk on Longshaw Estate, we all know a breath of fresh air can do the world of good.

A few tears later and I felt much better. Waking up this morning I felt more focussed again and that little bit stronger to face the day. My sleeping patterns haven’t been so great but at least I feel emotionally strong enough to get back to the desk and keep working. Although not for too long as me, Ma and the wolf are off on holiday to Cornwall tomorrow. I’m deliberately leaving the laptop at home, packing my suitcase full of books and board games and going offline. Some sea air for me is the ultimate self care medication.

Because, that’s the old funny thing about grief, it’s like a tidal surge. One minute you feel you’ve got it in hand and the next you’re barely head above water, drowning in a pit of despair. But I’m learning to swim and I’m managing to slowly blow up my armbands. As everything in life, it just takes time.

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