Saturday, 25 September 2010

Hello Darkness my old friend issue 03: I really do have Angels for friends

After being in remission for most of the last two years my depression has come back to such a degree that it has really scared me. I am dealing with it as best I can. I had been doing so well & feel like all the self confidence & esteem I had, has been completely kicked out of me, due to recent events.

I had deleted this post twice last week. I thought my mood was improving. I did not & do not want to worry any one but I am anxious & frightened just now. Its my dear Dads 86th birthday next week & my parents are due to go on a much needed Holiday shortly after. I should be focusing on his big day. I love him so much. My counsellor has her civil partnership next week on the same day as my Dads birthday. My best friends has been very worried about me. I have had some lovely emails & texts from friends who caught this post before I took it down. Special thanks go to Karen & Al. I am struggling so much. I am trying to hold every thing back from worrying those who still care about me. I am trying so hard not to let anyone down.

The depression comes in waves. Huge sadness followed by muted anger has become replaced by the blackest of depression. So black it felt as though I was only just short of having suicidal thoughts, in fact for a brief moment they flickered through my subconscious. I could feel the darkness coming over me. It was part of me for so long but I thought I had escaped its clutches.

Rather than let things go I have been questioning everything.

The value I place on all my friendships. The importance of how much a particular group of friends I have known for the last fifteen years mean to me. Especially as those going back earlier all rejected me once I transitioned. Feelings of how relationships with friends & the divisions caused by one dominating poison apple can bring back old fears of the prejudice of having been born as I have & with a history of mental health issues. The way people find themselves taking sides believing the lies that seep out. Assuming because you have transitioned or have a mental illness that you are some kind of freak/leper or some one you can patronize. Was I actually insane had I been behaving erratically to my friends?

There is also unquestionable an element of anxious self inflicted T paranoia. Even so, it does appear all too easy for me to be smeared or for people to question what has happened. If asked & I tell the truth I fear the man who hold so much sway with our group will destroy me with his bullying/smearing as he will get angry or if I say nothing it will be assumed I did something wrong. I cannot win. It plays on all the insecurities, paranoia I had about what may happen when I found myself needing to transition.

I am fighting with all my heart but the depression is still very bad. I promise you I know I have too much to live for but this is without doubt the biggest challenge to my health that I have faced since transitioning. With my judgment blurred by black depression & medication I have to be careful to keep questioning just how low my mood is. I found this quite useful

My health records now stained with the return of depression my chances of ever finding paid work again seem even harder. Just when I was so close my vulnerability, my disability my anxiety has caught up with me. I was feeling so good & in my anxiety to give something back to the friends I love so much it has all gone so horribly wrong. I seem unable to control my reaction to the premeditated thoughtless behavior of a person completely opposite to me in the value he places on friendship.

I am trying to keep going. My creative group of friends have become like an extended family to me. They provided me with the friendships that enabled me to finally live as I should always have been. It provided a special haven with incredible friends. I clearly place too greater emphasize on those friendships. Reality is showing me that just now. With the exception of my true friends the lack of concern, the silence is deafening, the lies have been spread, their poison so destructive. I can see through my best friend’s eyes now how it must have appeared to her when I had tried to move on, it may have appeared I was dancing with the devil. I do not use friends I value each & every one.

My best friend & her husband held my hand as I began my transition & faced my eternal fears of risking being rejected, isolated from our mutual friends. All those fears proved unfounded back then. Had that gone wrong, had friends not been so kind I would not be here now.

How cheaply that which I held so precious can appear to be tossed aside by people I trusted. How needy how naive of me. We had been for a period right up to just before I began living full time as Debbie what may be quite rare an artistic group without ego's clicks or eletism. Sadly as my life needed to change so a change in circumstance for a pivitol character in my creative group of friends caused them huge stress & bought their own issues to the surface.

Right now it feels like a very special part of my life is completely dead. A very substantial part of the foundation on which I had been able to successfully transition has subsided into oblivion & taken my creativity with it. That all feels very frightening to me. I cannot go on like this. I felt hopeless, totally lost. I have to dig deep to get myself out of this. In writing this it looks like a cry for help, I fear I may be worrying any friends who read this. I promise I could not put my parents through the agony of ending my life but I seem to be stuck in a spiraling loop of depressive thoughts.

If only the source of all my recent worries had spoken to me first I could have easily resigned without any smearing going on. I should not let this all hurt me but it does. In my case I feel extremely vulnerable & marginalised because of the cruel way this has all been handled & frustrated at my continued inability to control my reaction.

I should have walked away when he bullied my friend two years ago but I was too weak then. His friendship with me ended that day I kept him at arms length an acquaintance. I had managed to move on but not forget. As I was so upset for the hurt I had unintentionally caused my best friend last year & a number of friends had been expressing how uncomfortable they felt at being amongst friends at our annual exhibition because of his behaviour towards them I made a determined effort to support them as they have me. My words in the catalogue pinned my colours to the mast, like a red rag to a bull. I am so pleased my most valued friendship survived.

Mum was very poorly last weekend because of the worry I was causing her. I took her to see her GP on Monday morning. She was looking a lot better then & her results were fortunately good. Once my reaction to events began harming the health of my parents I knew I had to act. I drove from Mums GP directly to the hospital that had been caring for me to see the duty doctor. When the receptionist kindly asked” how did your exhibition go?” I just lost it & burst into tears. As usual the care I received was exceptional. They managed to get me an appointment with the consultant who has been looking after me. With huge despair I accepted his advice to increase my medication after so much progress. If this saved my parents worrying about me I had to do it. I knew with my fragile mood & my creativity equally fragile taking anti-depressants would kill my anxiety but also my creativity but I had no choice. Last Tuesday I managed some how to blag my way through a day volunteering at the hospital but Tuesday night I felt physically sick at the thought of going to my art group.

On the Wednesday I had another appointment at the hospital for some cognitive therapy I had recently been attending The doctors conclusion regarding my reaction & behaviour was that I am a very compassionate person yet I was showing no compassion to myself. I would never treat a friend the way I was beating myself up for feeling so weak & vulnerable. My reaction to what had happened in context was perfectly valid but all the other issues I had loaded on top were crushing me. Most nights I had been unable to sleep properly often waking at 4 oclock crying & not getting back to sleep until 5 minutes before the alarm would go. The cumulative effect of this made my depressive episodes even worse.

Thursday I felt almost Zombie like but wanted to keep going. I managed to get into work in the afternoon & see some volunteer friends at a meeting in the evening. I did not want to let anyone down & wanted to deliver some photos for my best friend. Fortunately their kindness did not trigger off any more tears so the drugs must be working

On Friday I received the sweetest of supportive emails from one of my fellow committee members. Saturday I managed to drive to Brighton to deliver some pictures to my friend Lucy. She bought them at our recent exhibition. I should not really have driven. In my dark past I had occasionally driven with the competency of George Michael although all my medication was prescribed. I had a lovely time with a truly special friend who shows dignity & serenity way beyond my capabilities. She provided the most delicious cooked meal & excellent company. It was a shame to leave her.

Last Sunday I finally made some progress. The realisation that Mr ##it had almost certainly already planned to bin me before the exhibition crystallized. My parents made me see that. It was not my fault, my actions or anxiety. It was my reaction to an external event. If only I had not added so many inseccurities & issues on top. If only I could have let go then!

On Tuesday I managed to go to work again with only fours sleep but with my creativity blocked I could not face visiting my art group in the evening. I some how managed to keep going & by Friday my mood had lifted enough to give me hope.

My depression is thankfully easing a little but my mood is so erratic. I will get through this with the help of my parents, true friends & kind medical help.

After all the support & kindness that I have received. All the wonderful things that have happened in my new life I feel like I am letting everyone down by blogging this.

This Saturday my mood crashed again after a bad nights sleep. I managed to take my parents out to their social club this evening & hide how I was feeling from them. Alas I cracked & was really struggling on the way home. I was getting lower & lower & lower. Then a miracle happened. The phone rang. It was a true & special friend. Julia's timing was immaculate. I cried & cried. I talked & she listened & listened, bless her. I was not suicidal but I was so low until I found once more. I really do have Angels for friends!


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Let it go

When I am feeling bad & my heart is aching my emotions run & my tears flow. We all have our own problems, we all have our own thought processes. Mine are clearly emotion driven. I am too often guilty of over analysing things & just cannot let those destructive thoughts go.

I came across this track by U2 which I found very uplifting

((((((Peaceful thoughts)))))))


Bless your hearts, thank you.

Bless your hearts, thank you for all the kind replies to my previous angst ridden post crying for help. True friends who are there for you when you most need your spirits lifting are so important in life. They can give you a hug (even a cyber hug) as you all have, hold you by the hand to guide you & simultaneously touch your heart.

This post had started in despair & ends with great joy.

"I don't cope well with bullies.
I have never been able to stand up for myself.
I have never liked confrontation.

I had to fight back a mixture of desperately sad & dysphoric tears to put on my make up to take my dear Mum to the docs yesterday for an appointment with the Asthma nurse. I came so close to letting her down.

I am scared of letting everyone down & losing everything I have achieved. There are dark periods where I feel I am spiralling downwards out of control into depression, my foots pressing hard on the break but for the moment I have lost all control. Then little chinks of light, sprinkled by the Angels I am blessed to have as my true friends appear, which I cherish.

I fought so hard to get where I was so at peace with the world. For the first time since I had to stop painting a few years ago I had really discovered my passion for creativity & now this vile man threatens to rip that most precious gift from my fragile grasp.

I am struggling today even to get out of the door for a gift for my best friends birthday. I go from grief to anger back to self loathing at how weak I am.

I am off to hospital this afternoon for some urgent cognitive therapy. It was to have been a routine appointment to help teach me coping mechanisms to ward of the tsunami of emotions that I very occasionally feel so susceptible to because of my past life experiences. In the here & now I had been doing so well, this was just to be the icing on the cake & then this evil man reminds me of just how vulnerable I still am. The bullies winning & he is already spinning his evil smoke screen of lies.

What a picture of self pity this outburst has been".

Then the gift that true friends bring, that is absolutely priceless, perhaps something invisible to the eye that only the heART can see, lifted my spirits. To look outwards again not in.

I must keep my faith & change my negative thought processes to stop feeling this way. As Nicky kindly eluded to in her comments on my last post you can experience something life affirming when body and mind are finally at peace. You gain a strength inside you from the journey you have been on, which can give you inner strength previously never dreamed of. When I think of friends who have shown great courage, kindness & tremendous spirit it is poignant to remember a dear friend who should be having a special day today.

My dear wonderful friend Julia should be about to have her surgery at Charring Cross today & my thoughts should be with her. She is an amazing woman who has been through so much & deserves to be happy. God Bless you my friend , I hope the surgery brings her everything she wishes for.


This post ends with the great news my friend Julia successfully had her surgery this afternoon & came back to the ward around 4.30.

Much love

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Saying Good by to a world you thought you lived in

"Saying Good by to a world you thought you lived in"

The words from a song by MIKA which are a sound track to my life just now. The bitter bitter man from the soundtrack the bully who in any other world could be so easily defeated is awakening my demons. I'm really struggling to smile like I mean it just now after such a lovely period.

I have been devoting my time helping at our annual wildlife art exhibition once again. Life had been a glorious blur of enjoyable experiences, watching friends grow to discover & fulfil their many talents.

I managed to encourage my best friend find the confidence to be among her many friends in spite of the presence of a bully from our past. Her dear husband was also finally able see what we had allways known. He discovered the belief in his beautiful artistic photography.

To see seeds of creativity blossom such as the young girl who attended our show with her parents who was kindly given the opportunity to practice on the very expensive work in progress by a very gifted best selling artists was one of many highlights. An artist friend who had been a member for 5 years who finally found the confidence in her abilities to display her work for the first time & sell it.

To see my Dear Friend Lucy revisit us after attending one of her first visits to the big wide world only last year was a joy. She is such a sweetie & her confidence has grown so much in such a short time.

To meet another kindred spirit who had been struggling to paint who courageously shared something quite remarkable & humbling with me.

It’s nice just to be able to have your work enjoyed by others & displayed for many visitors to see. In my case having been too ill to connect with my creativity not that long ago the simple process of creating a painting at all had been a simple pleasure. This year I finally got back to where I wanted to be with my painting. Although I only had time to produce two new ones they both sold & an older reworked painting seemed to receive the odd kind comment. There were unfortunately a number of very talented artists who had either recently received awards & or sold out regularly previously for no discernible reason other than the lack of the right visitor coming through the door. failed to sell any. The empathy & understanding from like minded creative friends is of great comfort but it still hurts as we invest so much emotion if a paintings to work well & not having a red dot, not selling, does not necessarily make yourpainting a bad one.

I wished I could have found the courage to invite my best male friend who I still miss dearly who sadly having pledged his support once I transitioned found things too complicated. I had to respect his wishes & finally say good by to him. I miss his smile, his sense of humour, just spending time with him. It seems really difficult for mates to suddenly become male friend & boy friend. The whole dating game seems a scary complicated place with the unwanted baggage I have to take with me. To live in stealth is not an option for me & if it were it would still seem like living a lie anxiously fearing discovery, a relationship built on trust with honesty seems a goal to dream for one day, who knows.

I had a lovely two weeks or so pushing my boundaries enjoying life socialising & working so hard giving my time freely in support of our friends, when bang a red dot appeared on my back & the bully who had been biding his time shot with deadly accuracy. I have been told I am no longer to part of the team who work so tirelessly to put the event on, the reasons a smoke screen using my history as an easy excuse. In an instant something I had always cheerished was gone. I am stronger now but my confidence is once more so fragile.

I have to finally say good by to the creative world I once found sanctuary in, as the bully has found yet another female to victimise. For those of you who have been reading my blog you know who this bullying pivitol character is. My best friends really angry & upset that he has done this again to one of us. I do not want to play the part of a victim any more but its hard to hold on to my shattered confidence & change my behaviour. There are far worse things & more important things in life than this so I at least still have my perspective.

Please send me a hug, paint me a blue sky as I grieve for a special place that was once a haven in which I could safely enjoy transitioning. Its time to finally move on. I have come too far now to let this person beat me. I feel weak heart broken & vulnerable to panic attacks again but I do not want to let anyone down. I need to reach inside & find ways of coping with all these emotions as my Technicolor life fades once more to grey.

God Bless