Tuesday, 17 February 2015

my lent

The post in which I am actually rubbish but still happy with myself. A rare treat.

Today I feel like a clever human.

There have been pancakes, (not these, these were for my birthday, and they were rather nice albeit not quite so fabulous).

And then the door handle with all the tiny screws exploded in my hand (I have the wounds to prove it). Oh but I fixed it. Yes, indeed, I'm proud of myself for fixing a tiny DIY problem. 


Following on from my DIY win, I was thinking about the conversations with my doctor and others* yesterday. Indeed my thoughts turned to Lent. Pancakes are lovely and I'm entirely atheist but perhaps it's a handy defined amount of time in which I can focus my energies. In a time in which I find it hard to focus on the future. A time in which I am trying to live in the moment as the future is a hideous monolith, focusing on such a long time seems a fool's errand. But perhaps I am a fool?

So for Lent I am going to try and push suicidal thoughts from my mind. 46 days. At the moment it seems like an eternity but I can try.

Oh that and coke (of the cola kind).

Are you giving something up for Lent?

*It's a little embarrassing to say I have a "care co-ordinator," I'm not sure why, everything around mental health is so self-stigmatising and makes you feel like a dreadful human, even when everyone is trying to not make this happen.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A present

I have a quandary for you.

I need to buy a present for someone who has been incredibly kind to me but alas I will never know them that well.

I think I want to buy them a book.

I have a few ideas but nothing that seems that appropriate.

I know you are avid and thoughtful readers, would you kindly share special tomes with me?

Saturday, 14 February 2015

a valentine to myself (almost)

As my husband slumbers, I sit awake at 4am after a wonderful evening with wonderful friends.

My heart is full. My people are good people. I am so very lucky to know them.

Yet I find it difficult, nay impossible, to reconcile the joy in my heart with the sads in my head.

I lay awake with Bean, listening to him breathe, the life force which holds my hand and hopes enough for the two of us, and I am crying.

My tears, my sobs, my whimpers. They come fast and my heart cannot quell them.

I should* be able to sleep, the past evening was so gentle, so kindly, so special. People are treating me like anyone else, not one with the visible stigmata of mental illness.

I just can't stop my brain from catastrophising. Actually not even anything so impressive. Just my constant loop of "You're useless, you're pathetic" on an infinite loop.

Oh don't get me wrong, I know what I should be doing, I have a list of distraction and soothing strategies which I practise regularly, but in the loneliness of the darkness they seem silly, futile, impossible,

Why do I even write this down? Is it a distraction, it certainly feels cathartic but should I dwell upon this thoughts. Why should anyone want to read such clunky prose? Should I expose myself so deeply? I know that other people feel exactly the same as me and have no such outlet. Perhaps it is a kindness to let others know they are not alone. Obviously, this tactic doesn't work for me, how dare I be so grandiose to think I could start to help anyone?

So let me tell the truth. I write because I'm scared, not because I'm brave. 

I go on bearing my soul for no obvious reason. I'm frightened, 

I have so very much to be thankful for. I have kind and generous friends. I have a roof over my head. I have the most special husband who holds me and absorbs my tears.

Yet. Yet. Yet. 

I'm so very scared. I can't decide what the fear is. 

Is it the wanting to get better but being afraid things will never change. Time does not always heal. Or perhaps the plans to end my life are increasingly becoming clear.

I guess it doesn't matter. I'm feeling the fear.

I need to stop thinking about the future. It won't suddenly change from a black hole into a rainbow of unicorns. The future for me is the next second. No more. 

Today was good. Slowly, slowly.

More mindfulness, less monolith of the future.

I need to listen to my heart.

Anna xxx

*the forbidden word

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Moving along, I want, I want, I want

This week the Bean* and I are enjoying a week of fun together. It's been a while since I've felt well and wanted to go outside. It's even longer that we've spent actual time which might be construed as fun, without any, well all the, bleakness.

Oh and let me beguile you with our week so far. (Gosh, we are unexciting dweebs).

Ikea was our monday, we bought a new loo brush (aren't we fabulous!).

Today, we ventured out into the real world and brunched (it was only 11.30 and we hadn't had breakfast) at Bubbledogs, I've been wanting to go for ages and whilst it was nice, I'm not sure I'll be rushing back. Top tip - don't trust the Italian rose (bleurgh).

The afternoon brought much fun for me as I visited Wah Nails in topshop and treated myself to a little Valentinesque manicure. I love that it's not super twee. What do you think?

Oh and how will my week continue.

There is excitement at Kensington Roof Gardens tomorrow early evening and then I'm hoping the Bean and I may pop over to the Savoy for pre-birthday week.

Thursday, I shall try to be virtuous by running in the morning of my birthday and following this with a little Burger and Lobster and then a sneaky visit to the Lucky Pig. We shall see, 

Friday there will be all the baking (and tidying) before people descend to meet our foster cat family (8 kittens and their mother) and maybe celebrate another year.

Anyhoo, enough of my slightly dull week! Obviously because I can't trust the husband to remember all the things I want (or even myself), I need to write all the good things down.

So as an aide-memoire, here be things I am lusting over currently.

1. Hello perfect (and so easily snaggable) scarf.
2. This cute keyring despite hating honey. I appreciate the bees.
3. Oh how I want a ridiculously fabulous balloon (come along helium, time to start making yourself again). Also cough, cough, please,
4. This exquisite print from the equally exquisite Dot Fox Print Shop. Heaven!
5. And this poster for which I've yearned for maybe 6 years now. Oh well, like, forever.
6. Finally, because all things globe are perfection. 

Well that's enough from me for now.

I'm off to dream of the pretties and worry what I'm going to wear tomorrow night.


*For those new to the anna and the ring game, Bean is my husband. His anonymous moniker stuck rather well!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Time to Talk Day - could you give me 5 minutes?

Today we are talking about mental health. (Grandiose? Me?!)

I know that some of you will think that mental health is talked about far too much. Unfortunately I have to respectfully disagree.

You know the statistics, one in four of us will be diagnosed, the funding for children's mental health services is being savagely cut, there are avoidable suicides every week because there are just not enough psychiatric beds and we have a health minister who thinks homeopathy is the solution (we shall talk about placebos and lots of statistics another time!).

So what can I add to the discussion?

I, myself, "suffer" from poor mental health. It's always hard to say, it's a sentence loaded with shame and embarrassment (mostly my own but also the that of our society - "I'm a crazy.")

Yet, suffer is the wrong word. I've developed a pretty good happy "person suit*" and try to fit in everywhere I go. Currently my whole life revolves around my relatively bad depression and my allied issues. I'm not wanting pity, I just want a chance to get better. It's  almost impossible to get better on your own. Yet that's what society expects, "just give it some time and you'll pull yourself together."

Unlike most patients with depression I've just spent some time in hospital (quite a long time really). Finally I was nervously (me nervous not them) discharged on the 5th January, want to to know when my next out-patient appointment is - 3rd June! Now I'm not being left to flounder on my own but even to me that seems like a long time in the future. I'm sure it's the same in every other speciality, that doesn't make it right or safe.

It's so incredibly difficult to explain to anyone who has not been tarred with this dirty brush how it feels to be depressed or understand any mental health disorder. (Also no-one gets to tell you how you feel when you're depressed. No-one.) What you feel is what you feel, now it may not be depression but it still can be incredibly difficult to deal with. For me it is a certain numbness and fogginess which wants me to cocoon and never see the light of day again. Fun right?

Not really but let's move along.

Can I try to dispel some myths? (That I've sadly had directed toward me, people can be so thoughtless and mean)

Depression is a normal part of life.
It is oft suggested that depression is part of a normal continuum of life. No no no. Sadness is a part of the normal continuum of life. Blue days are normal. The persistant bleakness or emptiness or perhaps the numbness is very much not. 

Depression is not cancer.
Oh don't think we don't know cancer is the top dog. Cancer is a bitch. Yes. So much. I hate it too. It's taken many of my friends and family, However, cancer is not a superior disease. No-one will ever want to wear a black ribbon to support those in need. Although I totally would and I think it is something that actually needs to happen! There is such a taboo, such a stigma. But why? Yes the brain is an unknown territory but we know enough to say most mental health problems have a significant biochemical component. How is this any different from someone suffering from diabetes? It is not just the general public who think this but many of the medical profession. (I think it may be time to start making ribbons).

Depression is not the new black.
It is not cool to be depressed. I hate the media portrayal that people use depression to gain attention. There is nothing good about admitting you have depression. Yet it seems that people use it as an excuse for disgraceful behaviour. Subsequently you feel as if you cannot admit to something because what you have experienced is so very different to what you read in print.

Depression is untreatable.
Oh but my lovelies, biological depression is soooo treatable. The drugs very much do work. They take a few weeks to start working (and it may take time to find your right drug and dosage) but when they start working, you will be free again. You will be free and life will be beautiful once again. 

Depression doesn't want to kill you. 
It does, it really wants you to kill yourself. It is conniving, clever and constant. It wants to take my life and it's not particularly subtle about it. So if those thoughts creep or explode into your mind you need to talk to someone. I know that you may not think you have that person, whether they be a parent, a teacher, a friend or a lover but you do. Someone out there cares for you more than you will ever know. 

If you smile you cannot be depressed.
If you met me on on the street I'm not sure whether you would know I was depressed. I can laugh, I can smile, I can offer occasional witty repartee. Do you want to know the secret. I'm a very good liar. I think we probably all are. I can fake happiness incredibly well. I've tried to explain how depression feels for me before. The best I can come up with is it feels like you are in a thick fog and everything is concealed and mysterious. It feels like it has become part of you. Everything takes longer. Your brain is able to confuse itself and is consistently befuddled. The energy you once had has gone because you are trying to push against a fog which feels like it is thick enough to be cut. For me it was (and still is) the fact I cannot be a proper helpful member of society which saddens me the most. I don't want to be at home all day. I hate it. 

Finally this is the important bit.

One of the best things about me starting to write again is the fact I can talk about these issues and let you know talking is important. I started off talking incredibly slowly, in anonymity, revealing these incredibly personal feelings. I really do understand that so many of you can't. I didn't tell anyone close to me for a long time.

Trust someone, there is always someone.

And remember, "the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Never be afraid to talk to someone, whether that be your family, friends, GP or perhaps the Samaritans. You are worth it.

Want to know my truth (or perhaps a dirty not-so secret). I write this as I'm almost certain I will take my own life this year. It almost seems inevitable at this point but I will continue to engage with all the help I'm being offered because maybe there is another way out. Why can I not accept my own advice.

*I think I need to watch the second series of Hannibal.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hello I'm anna and the ring

So hello again.

Well perhaps, hello again. Perhaps you're new to the whole anna and the ring thing.

Anywhichway, welcome. Always welcome.

Crumbs. (Remember to breathe anna, remember to breathe).

I've had a long time away from the blogging world and the social media race. I'm going to ease myself back in, it seems a very different place from when I left.

Obviously it would be prudent to start with a new name and life. Obviously. However, I'm afraid I can't shake my anna and the ring persona. Trust me, I've tried. Yet each time I try and move away, the deliciously enveloping cloak of my past pulls me back in. It feels good, not exactly comfy but safe. And safety is incredible important to me right now. And who doesn't love a good ring (mine is pretty amazing and rather special).

So I shall carry on, "bravely" using the persona of my past, Perhaps the joy it brought me in years gone by will slowly add a delicate verdigris to my new life?

What will this place be?

Still frivolity. Still the occasional wedding chat, tis my reason for becoming anna and the ring in the first place. I love the prettiness of the past and the fabulousness the future shall bring. However, there will be a little more meat. I want to make my effort to help destigmatise mental illness. It continues to be the elephant in my life, stalking me incredibly loudly at every turn. Oh and not forgetting the wonder that is public health and epidemiology (the subject of my masters and hopefully career). Oh yes, I will teach the ways of knowledge.

I know the blog looks a little bare currently. I'm toying with a few ideas but I really wanted it up and running before tomorrow. Tomorrow is an important day.

Anyhoo, I hope to hear from you soon. It's a little scary being back in the world but I hope it brings back the joy. Do join in and say hello, it can be rather lonely at the other end of a blog.

Remember, I want to talk about things you want to talk about (and perhaps a few of the things you really don't want to, but know you should).

So I guess I'm signing off for the first time, again.

See you tomorrow,
anna xxx