Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"So how are you?"

I had a really good day today. I didn't do anything special, just taking Zeph to the library and swimming pool, having coffee with a friend, and the usual household stuff. It was such a good day because I didn't once think that I'm a shitty mother, or worry that my friends will have finally realised how useless I am, or sit and stare at the walls, or cry. I suppose it's a bit sad that days like this happen so infrequently that I notice when they do.

This picture was circulating on Facebook, and when I saw it I thought 'Yup!'


Only some of the time will I answer "Fine" to that question and it really be true. My brain doesn't work properly. I have depression and anxiety, which is a lovely combination. Some days I don't have the mental energy to do anything much, or the physical energy either, sometimes. Sometimes I just can't bear to socialise, I can't make eye contact or stand the subsequent panicking about whether I said or did the wrong thing. This leads to my standard of 'fine' or 'good' being somewhat different from 'normal'.

For many years I've also had trichotillomania, which is a compulsion to pull out one's own hair. Sometimes I've ended up missing a lot of hair, once having a bald patch the size of the palm of my hand. It's a difficult thing to explain, but the feeling of pulling out hair can be very soothing - I used to self-harm when I was younger, and I wonder if the two are related. Of course that really doesn't help with the anxiety (well, it kind of does, but only temporarily...) since it gives me something else to worry about, whether people have noticed, if friends are deciding I'm too weird to hang out with, and so on, or with the depression, as it gives me something else to feel bad and guilty about.

I've been vacillating over writing this post. I'm scared that people will think differently about me, but I'm tired of feeling like I need to pretend that I'm always ok.
So, how am I? Sometimes I'm not doing very well, sometimes I'm fine. And sometimes, like today, I'm pretty damn good.

See me


At 11:45 pm, Blogger Nettie said...

Thanks for the post sweetie :)

The funny thing about mental illness, depression particularly is that when people finally get to talking about, they discover that the majority of people they talk to have some experience with it. It could be themselves or a loved one or a friend. It's not rare any more.

I know you were scared to write this post but I know that in our group especially, depression is something we all understand quite a lot. And because we understand we can relate and not judge and we don't think you're weird and we're not going to run away from you!

Thanks for being brave and writing this because, even though it was a hard post to write, I love reading *anything* from you.

Love you xxx

At 1:12 am, Blogger Befuddled Muggle said...

Nope... you are still the same Rowenna to me as you have ever been and always will be going forward.
Does it help me understand you better - yes .... and I know writing this would not have been easy.

I will still treat you just the same so you have been warned :-)

At 2:22 am, Anonymous Oppiejoe said...

FINE has long been defined as:

I completely understand where you are coming from and how you feel. *hugs*

At 11:06 am, Blogger Shawna said...

First of all (because it's what I noticed when coming here to the comments page), your blog wants me to prove I'm not a robot! lol

Secondly, I'm proud of you for writing this post! It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there for others' scrutiny. Those of us who love you might think you're weird (but in a good way, like us!), but you're not going to scare us away.

And thirdly, I may have to look into the hair thing. When mine is longish, I tend to twist it and break the ends, though that's mostly an absentminded thing.

At 3:44 pm, Blogger imjustasteph said...


At 7:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - hugs from me too. I had no idea you struggled with depression and anxiety. Your internet affect is very calm and wonderfully confident and relaxed, at least to me (I know it's easier to do that from a distance, but even so). Thank you for your courage.

I know our contact is only sporadic and long-distance, but I can tell you're a good mum. You can tell by looking at the joy in Zeph's eyes.

Something my husband learned in his classes last year (he just got his Master's in social work) that I found very reassuring is this: to raise a healthy, functioning kid, you need three things to be good enough: the parents, the other adults in the kid's life, and the kid himself. If any one of them is deficient for some reason, the other two can do a great deal to compensate, and the kid will be fine. The other reason I found this reassuring is that "good enough" is actually a surprisingly low bar. All of which is to say that the fact that you clearly love your kid and take good care of him, plus the supportive adults in your lives, plus the fact that Zeph is obviously a bright and engaged child, means you're doing just fine. I know that won't mean much emotionally when you're mired in depression, but perhaps you can add it to the intellectual list of positives.

And hang in there. You are well-loved.



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