Keeping busy

Life has been a little busy lately. I’ve been trying to be an adult, a functioning adult. You know, one that gets up in the morning, does stuff all day then goes to bed at night. Without an afternoon nap or sitting in bed for half of the day or getting nothing done.

So I’ve been adding structure to my day, much like I did last May when I thought I might get back to work soon! Well that didn’t work that time, but hopefully this time I’ll get there.

Last May I took on an eight week photography course, an eight week mindfulness course plus went to the Imax once a week to check out a 3D animal feature, plus a joined a pilates studio and etc etc. I haven’t stayed in touch with anyone but my teachers.

This time I’m in a very different place. I took on an eight week getting back to bike riding course where I made a lot of new friends and still catch up with them every week. I’ve been doing housework: trying to keep on top of the dishes, the meals, the washing, the bins, the groceries and trying to commit to keeping up with the ironing. I have a bird bath, a little flower patch.

I feel like this is the real thing. Like I am breaking through the barriers to get back to the life I had before LRH (my old job). I’m cooking dinners and enjoying it, I’m getting the washing done before we start taking clothes out and wearing them dirty, and so on. My husband is thrilled! He got to love cooking but he’s happy to be alternating nights instead of doing everything; or even just not having to do the meals one night a week! And I’m glad that I’ve moved on from sitting watching him cook feeling useless and pointless and not worth my keep! He’s still surprised when he goes to do a chore and it’s done. It’s almost comical. He asks, who did this? Did you do this? Well yes, yes I did. There’s no-one else here!

I’ve still been trying to get out and about, checking out exhibitions, looking for day trips with either my bike group or my bird watching group. having coffee or lunch or brunch with friends. On Saturday I rode from Woori Yallock to Warburton return, 34km, with my bike group, Wheel Women. It nearly killed me but the weather and scenery and people were all wonderful. Yesterday I had impromptu coffee with a good friend. Tomorrow I’m going on a bird watching outing with Birdlife.

I’m having good days ūüôā And it’s so good!

 

Remember…?

I was recently recruited/volunteered for a babysitting gig.

That sounds more official than it was. Really it was just a favour for friends to be a nanny for a couple of days so that both parents could continue to work without disruption while one parent got sent away for training.

I was hesitant. After all, I’m the child that needs an afternoon nap most days, and I can’t even get my own hubby and I dinner, let alone dream up what kids would like to eat and convince them to eat it! I haven’t changed a nappy since I was ten and my baby sister was two, and my stamina for game playing or activity of most kinds tends to be non existent.

But I’ve been having a good run lately. Some days without naps, some mornings without exhaustion, some periods of up to days with no tiredness. Almost like it used to be before I got sick. Almost like an adult human, almost like I could live life without every move being an effort. It mostly has to do with my psychiatrist changing the time I take my tablets. Seem like such a small deal. As a pharmacist I never even thought of it, because I didn’t think it would change much. But it has changed a lot, so I said yes!

And it was exciting! To say yes. To say yes to responsibility, to effort, to what you know will require work and stamina and endurance, even though you don’t know if you have what it takes. So I packed my bags and went.

This isn’t about that, but it’s something of a progress report as an introduction. What it’s about is kids, and the things that make them happy. Watching them play and the kind of things that satisfy them is fascinating! And poignant, because it reminds me of all those things that I enjoyed as a child, and would probably still enjoy, that I haven’t done in years, but maybe should give a go.

Here’s the list from the three days we had together:

*drawing pictures with textas with great abandon, letting the mood take you and drawing everything that comes to mind, not hesitating in case it doesn’t turn out, but drawing free

*riding bikes up and down the drive way and through the puddles, and setting the intention to ride all the way to the end of the road, regardless of how far that might be

*Walking around, then toeing into then walking and stomping through puddles because its satisfying to make things splash and jump out of place like you’re a giant

*making tents that you can crawl into with your dress-ups and fake food supplies and torch and teddies, and sleep all night in the loungeroom because its better than your bed

*reading the same book over and over and over and over just because you like it, and you like how it goes and how it ends and you want to hear it again and again

*drinking anything out of a sippy cup because it tastes better!

*playing with the kitten, getting scratched and bitten while you learn how to hold it gently then playing games with it all day

*filling up the plastic pool and splashing around for hours so that water gets everywhere but it doesn’t matter cos you’re outside, and pretending you’re swimming on your back and your tummy and blowing bubbles underwater and wetting everything within cooee

*playing dress-ups with tutus and tiaras and Mum’s shoes and pretty things that sparkle and shimmer

So its time.

Time to get in touch with having fun like a kid.

Riding my bike, splashing through puddles, playing with pets, dressing up, and I think I might just have to go buy a sippy cup! It’s time to let go just a bit and have fun with abandon like kids know how. Drawing, pools, swimming, playing. I think I would have less stress and more satisfaction in life if I thought and played a bit more like a child.

Of course I’m not going to actually become a child, or do things that are unbecomingly childish. I just want to get into the spirit of childish play, and away from adult structure and rules of play for a while. So hopefully, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be biking, drawing, swimming or wearing my prettiest clothes just because!!

Sunday Summary

Dear friends,

It has been a busy week! For me, I mean; probably not what you would call a busy week. I didn’t work at all, I didn’t get many chores done, and the most I did daily was get out of the house for an hour or two. That’s busy, for me.

I’m so happy that it worked out to be that way!

When I finished work three and a half weeks ago I was worried that the naturally “depressed state I was in about finishing work, together with my ongoing lethargy and tiredness, would result in me becoming a bed bound vegetable again.

Well again isn’t fair; I’ve never ever not gotten up at one point or another during the day. But with no definite reason to get up in the morning, my lack of motivation to get up unless there’s someone waiting on me, and the general listlessness of having no set purpose, I thought that there was a fair chance of me lounging around all day.

And it turned out to be that way for a few days. With nothing planned, with accumulated tiredness from keeping up with my shifts at work for six weeks when they consumed about the last ounce of my energy, and no reason why not to get up, I had some pretty massive sleep ins.

Until¬†I missed my tablets one Sunday night! This happened¬†in spite of the careful routine that I have built into my days after I had previous missed doses to prevent the same thing from happening again. Obviously there’s still a loop hole somewhere that I haven’t found but I’m working on it.

My routine is to weekly make up a medicine box with all the medications that I need to take both in the morning and at night. My pharmacist brain cross-checks the directions on the bottles and boxes with the number of tablets I put into each slot and then double check that I haven’t missed anything by comparing what I’ve packed with my complete list of medicines printed on the bottom of the box. My triple check is when I take each group of tablets and I count again to make sure I have it right.

I set this medicine box right next to my bed on my bedside table so that I should see it when I get up and when I go to bed; this should give me a visual prompt to take my tablets. But I don’t trust this system so I have set a morning and evening medication alarm in my phone. This can only be snoozed three times so I also¬†have a medicines app that generates a reminder at 7am and 9pm for me to take my tablets. This can be snoozed to infinity I think, but the fact that I missed a dose makes me wonder if it actually does have a limit to being snoozed. I’m looking into this.

So the missed dose. You wouldn’t think it would make that much difference; it’s only one dose right? But it does make a difference, at least for me at this point while we’re still fine tuning the medications. Most times when I miss my tablets I end up getting upset over some little thing or teary for not much reason or get in a fight with my hubby! Poor hubby, he has to bear the brunt of everything! I think this reaction¬†has been when I’ve missed my morning dose, which means I miss my antidepressant and my morning lithium dose.

This time I missed my evening dose. That means my evening lithium and my other sedating mood stabiliser. I’ve only ever done this once before. It’s never fun, because it means there’s nothing putting me to sleep! This time was terrible! I’m sure I had a maximum of 4 hours sleep but who knows. When you’re tossing and turning and can’t sleep and want to sleep, time loses all meaning! Poor hubby again, every time I tossed or turned he turned! But I physically couldn’t bear the sensation of lying still! It was awful! I just had to move and move and move and move!! I woke at 5am and tried to exist as quietly as possible til hubby was ready to get up. Then, so out of my recent character that it was laughable, I jumped out of bed fresh as a daisy at just after 7am and left the house before hubby! I was in my runners and leggings and I was off!

Compared to my recent sluggish, only-move-if-I-have-to, and even then moving snail’s pace, I was striding off to the park like I haven’t since I don’t know when, and paced out two laps! It was ridiculous to me even as I was doing it! But it was a fabulous feeling! I could move as fast as I physically wanted to for a change, instead of how fast I physically could through mud bearing heavy weights!!

Incredible! And so friends, this is mania. Or a sub form of it. You won’t see me like it often, unfortunately or fortunately, but you’ll know it when you see it. I’ll be smiling at all and sundry, grinning, laughing, putting out a decent amount of physical effort, having a great day! I’ll be chatting flat out, possibly jumping topics or getting distracted. I’ll be super effective and get many tasks done. I’ll be physically active and able to do a lot more activity than usual.

It’s a feeling that is addictive actually, I never want it to end…to start with! By the end of the day I was pretty sick of it actually because I could hardly sit still or rest, and was just feeling irritable, agitated and like I couldn’t possible tolerate having another night like that. By then the frustration tears were pretty close to the surface, but let me tell you I achieved a great days work! All three loads of washing done, some of it off the line and folded! The kitchen was sparkling clean; I’d cleaned the grout and the stubborn grease on the splash back. Lots of jobs attended to, a family visit where I chatted away like a…like a crazy person! Chat chat chat chat chat chat chat!

But I was glad to put it away. Not glad to go back to lethargy and anergy (absence of energy), but after all it’s a balance. You can’t have everything, so you have to decide on the most important things. Which is not being a whirling dervish, but a calm reasonable person not prone to snap decisions and excess!

My short point at the end of that long explanation was that it broke my bed rest habit and got me out into the sunshine, and the outside world. I watched the ducks paddle, saw the swallows come out to swoop and feed, found a magpie nest without getting swooped and in fact saw the magpie partner watching from on high at a distance. And remembered that I liked the outside and wanted to be out there, not inside all day.

Add to this a pep talk from my psychiatrist AND my GP in the same week about just getting outside, no agenda, no pressure, no panic about how I was feeling, just enjoyment…and the message was clear! Just enjoy it.

So I have enjoyed it! What a glorious week it has been!

Monday started slowly, but a late afternoon trip to Blackburn Lake Sanctuary yielded a fabulous hour of the new Musk Lorikeets ( see earlier post) plus an added hour of delightful favourites. Then a sleepover with our great friends and delightful bubba!

I just love love love this gorgeous Galah eating wattle photo!

I just love love love this gorgeous Galah eating wattle photo!

This is the cutest Noisy Miner sequence I've ever had - mother catches moth, baby screams for it, baby gets moth, mother leaves :) eucalypt

This is the cutest Noisy Miner sequence I’ve ever had – mother catches moth, baby screams for it, baby gets moth, mother leaves ūüôā

Tuesday didn’t work out how I had thought it would, but a picnic on the banks of the Yarra river in delightful Warburton with several¬†girlfriends and their cute kids is a pretty fine day if you ask me! In addition I got to see two lots of adorable ducklings and a fun Kookaburra.

Cute cute cute! Discovering the innocent joys of crawling up and down stairs, green grass

Cute cute cute! Discovering the innocent joys of crawling up and down stairs

More cute! Fluffy Wood Duck ducklings huddling on a rock in the Yarra River at Warburton

More cute! Fluffy Wood Duck ducklings huddling on a rock in the Yarra River at Warburton

Wednesday morning was a return to Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, the top end this time for some variety of bushland and birds. What a day it ended up with a Kookabura flinging a metre long snake around and many cute tiny birds that were hard to capture.

The fabulous post and rail fence that completely encircles my favourite Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

The fabulous post and rail fence that completely encircles my favourite Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

I spotted this Laughing Kookaburra and stopped for photos, didn't realise it was in the process of killing a snake!

I spotted this Laughing Kookaburra and stopped for photos, didn’t realise it was in the process of killing a snake!

I just love being in the Sanctuary - so pretty and lovely

I just love being in the Sanctuary – so pretty and lovely

Thursday, oh Thursday! This was a bucket list day with a girlfriend and it was amazing! Glorious day, two brand new birds that I’d never seen before, loads of flowers, a couple of moths and some damsel flies! Some amazing scenery, the awesome Kuranga native nursery, Birdsland reserve and a flash trip through the Dandenongs (see previous post).

Friday¬†was appointment day and catch up with my old work mates day and getting my favourite bacon and egg sandwich and eating it in the gorgeous Fawkner Park. A picnic above Yarra Boulevard with my fabulous hubby and some new photo ops over the city as the sun set…wow! Can you beat that for a way to see out the work week?

The great outline of Melbourne city backlit by a cloud sunset, blue sky,

The great outline of Melbourne city backlit by a cloud sunset

The brilliant sunshine, the silhouette of a pretty tree and Melbourne - I love you

The brilliant sunshine, the silhouette of a pretty tree and Melbourne – I love you

Saturday¬†was another girlfriend catch up and was great fun finding plover babies and getting swooped relentlessly by their parents! Then we went on a Loch Ness Monster hunt all around the Blackburn Lake and still aren’t sure exactly what was doing so much flashing and splashing and swimming…tbc, duln duln duulllln! We got a fabulous shot of a Spotted Pardalote by the path and had a great lunch at Gourmet Girl – what an awesome catch up! Over tea cooked by sensational hubby we heard and saw two Striated Thornbills in our minimal garden! I think they’re building a nest! Excitement!!

Mummy Masked Lapwing with tiny weeny baby - these must be very new because the plovers have been docile until this week; now they are savage!

Mummy Masked Lapwing with tiny weeny baby – these must be very new because the plovers have been docile until this week; now they are savage!

Not a clear shot but the beautiful front of a Spotted Pardalote

Not a clear shot but the beautiful front of a Spotted Pardalote

Sunday¬†is rest day and I’m glad for that, but boy I am so glad for every bit of excitement and interest that has sprinkled my week and made it actually fun! And thanks to all my wonderful people who are there every day giving me a hand along, and making my life more amazing!

Funny side story. After looking back at the week in the detail above, it made me remember all the good things and I mentioned to hubby that I’d had an amazing week. His response was fascinating: “Really? Maybe the last couple of days have been okay but I thought you had a bad week.”

To which I, in the mood of putting all the good bits together and seeing them in clear focus and forgetting the rest, replied: “Really? But I’ve done all these amazing things.” So we had a chat and here’s another perspective moment – what’s in focus is really clear and the rest in lost in fog.

My hubby was remembering coming home to me still lost in my afternoon nap, to me not able to get my thoughts together enough for our weeknight Bible study, to him making dinner from scratch every single night of the week, to me as a blob instead of an enthusiastic lover, to me struggling to get enthusiastic about any physical activity; basically to him carrying the load of the relationship, the housework, being the bread winner and the carer for this weighty gal.

So yes, if you look at all the cool bits it was a great week. If you look at all the failures it would bring you to tears. If you see all that hubby did to get us both through the week, you like me would have overwhelming admiration for this great fella without whom I don’t know what awful state I would be in!

So my motivation for this new week is trying to even out the load for my good man, and continuing to have great days!

Perspective

On Monday I had one of those epiphany type thing-a-ma-gigs.

‘How the day has gone’ is entirely a matter of perspective.

Bazinga!

We look over the day and decide whether it was good or bad, but the moment that we’re in when we decide that, and the pros and cons of the day as they appear from the moment greatly influence whether we feel good or bad about the day.

Monday was a great example.

I have been having a terrible time lately. Since my last up it has been a solid month of downs, and since last Thursday it’s been getting downer!

By Friday night I was shedding desperation tears unable to see how anything could change that would ever make me feel better. Saturday and Sunday I largely spent in bed, using sleep to avoid having to sit up and let my brain start functioning. I was very keen to avoid my brain; it was such a mess of hopeless, bleak, awful terribleness that I just didn’t want to know it.

On Monday I had my psychiatrist appointment. To be honest, since last Thursday the only thing keeping me from total desperation and despair was that appointment and the hope that there was something, anything that could be done to get me feeling different from this!

So, not a great day Monday. Basically hanging out on the hope that something would improve once I’d seen the psychiatrist. Nothing did improve; I actually had a meltdown, but a new plan was devised which helped me to feel that at least something was going to change, and hopefully for the better. At least there are people who care and who are trying to fix me in whatever way is needed.

As I was heading into the city for that appointment, I found myself walking out from the underground car park into cold slanting rain and a stiff easterly wind without an umbrella, or raincoat, and wearing flats instead of boots and not wearing any tights!

Typical! I said to myself. Isn’t this typical of my luck? Doesn’t this always happen to me? Of course I’m always the person unprepared! Now I’m getting rained on, how frustrating! And I look like a crazy lady wearing my red wool scarf over my head to half soak up the rain and stop my hair going completely horizontal!

I waited in the tram shelter with rain blowing through a gap in the side and wetting me. Couldn’t even stay dry in the tram shelter! And I knew I would have to change trams and wait in the rain for the next tram with no shelter. At that moment I felt that the day was a failure! I felt like my brain was mush; that it had let me down, yet again! How could I have forgotten to bring an umbrella? There are several umbrellas in my house that I had walked right past to get out to the car AND one umbrella in the car that I’d just gotten out of!

How could I have gone out of the house on a cold rainy day in just a top and skirt and scarf? Why wasn’t I wearing boots and stockings? ¬†How could I have forgotten a rain coat when they are kept in the cupboard next to the front door? What an idiot! How could I be so stupid?

So I called my husband to tell him my predicament: wet, cold, no rain jacket, no umbrella, bare legs, no boots, no jumper, have to change trams. And he said, ‘but remember this morning, you did…’ and suddenly I realised that I was letting a few small things taint my whole day as wasted, hopeless, pointless, stupid. I was allowing myself to put myself down by telling myself that I was always this stupid, useless, disorganised and unprepared person. Which isn’t true when I put the whole day into context.

For a week that wasn’t great, and a day in it that I didn’t have high hopes for, I did okay. And I need to remember to give myself credit for that!

I got up out of bed, got dressed and had breakfast before making it to a 9.45am appointment on time. That in itself was impressive; often I don’t get out of bed until 9am or 9.30am! So well down me for that.

I was expecting two visitors in the afternoon coming to stay for a few days. I made up their beds, brought in a lamp from the shed and got it cleaned up for the substitute bedroom, cleaned out all my junk from the substitute bedroom. Good job me. The bedrooms look lovely and welcoming and they’re all ready in plenty of time so I don’t have to stress later.

I’d made two appointments for Tuesday and needed to cancel them since I had guests coming. I hate cancelling or re-scheduling appointments! I always feel awful and think I have to have some big excuse to justify myself. I always avoid it as long as possible! But I did it!! I just said to me, just do it now and got it done with no unpleasantness. In fact they both thanked me for calling to reschedule. So congrats on getting that done, me.

I had some hand washing to do; I also hate this! A jumper that I needed to hand wash sat in my laundry for eight months recently!! I really hate hand washing! But I did the hand washing in my laundry; self kudos for that! I didn’t drag it out, just got in and did it and although my hands are now dry and tight at least the washing won’t be staring at me every time I go into the laundry.

I’m really not in the cooking mood but need some food for my peeps coming to stay. So I go out in the car right across town to my old favourite cooking cafe from when I was at uni and get some soup and a quiche to serve up instead of cooking stuff myself. Good for you, not being embarrassed to say it’s too much to cook for 4 people for 4 days; that’s big of you. And now you’re sorted for the week.

I also drove out to Brandsmart to change over a purchase; another not favourite task! Again I feel like I have to justify and explain myself over a simple size swap. Thanks me for doing it and not letting it drag out for days! And that’s three car trips, I know you’re not feeling up to doing that much driving but now it’s all done and you don’t have to leave the house tomorrow.

I needed to get a script dispensed so I did that. Another task that I dilly dally on. While it was getting dispensed I got some last minute groceries for the week. And a frozen yoghurt as a treat; well done on giving yourself a break and a treat.

My weekly medicine box was empty and needed repacking so I did that, and found I needed another script dispensed. I put that in my bag for later when I go to the psychiatrist.

Last week I found a myki card and have been dilly dallying looking it up to see if it was registered; finally got around to it! It wasn’t so now it’s my spare card; yay!

A braces company had contacted me by messenger for a free consultation so I got in touch and arranged a free appointment for next week so it doesn’t disrupt this week and hopefully I’ll be feeling more like driving by then. Thanks me for giving me a few days break before scheduling in new things.

So if we are going on accomplishments and failures it’s clearly a good day, despite how I’m feeling right now¬†and the annoyances of the failures. In the scheme of things they are greatly outnumbered but it’s only in taking the time to remember all the good things, to be grateful for them and to realise how much I have accomplished that I get the benefit of those things.

A good and timely reminder not to let the little things get in the way of a good day.

This isn’t a brag list, a boast, or self-congratulation (other than when I’ve actually congratulated myself that is!) but just a demonstration of this idea that struck me, that I seem to have to learn over and over and over. A day is not doomed because of one or a few negative things that happen. Life is a blend of different experiences so just take each one as it comes and try not to make such a big deal out of any one or two.

Also, read this post at least once a week because you will forget this and you do need to learn it again and again. In fact set a reminder in your phone right now so that you read this again at this time next week. Good, well done. Now go and enjoy the day.

“But you don’t look depressed…”

Sometimes when people experience clinical depression, they can end up showing how they feel in their facial expressions and body language. Maybe not a lot. Maybe not at all. But there may be similarities in their demeanor to how they feel inside.

Comments that have been made to me over time like “you don’t look depressed”, and “I never would have thought you were depressed”, and “you are always so happy” have me wondering often what other people really understand depression to be. And how they think it should present.

Depression is a chemical imbalance, a shortage of serotonin which is a hormone that influences your emotions. It exists in the mind but can affect the body too. It’s classed as a mental illness.

It’s presence anhililates your mood, leaving you intensely worried about anything and everything that you previously had never even thought of, very sad about memories and thoughts and life, negative about daily life, unmotivated to live and succeed, tired of living, lacking interest and enthusiasm in anything that you used to love and enjoy, and finding life very difficult to live..

Other chemical imbalances that are classed as illnesses include shortage of insulin (diabetes), shortage of thyroxine (hypothyroidism), shortage of iron (iron deficiency anaemia).

Why is it that there is an expectation that there should be some sign of depression in your looks? We don’t say to people, “you don’t look like you have diabetes/hypothyroidism/iron deficiency anaemia”. What is the difference in our thinking between depression and deficiencies that affect our physical body? How do we expect a hormone imbalance to show in someone’s face or body?

How should it look? How should I look? Should I not smile, to show that I’m depressed? Should I be giving a better impression of being down? What sign are you looking for in me that would tell you that I am depressed?

I am genuinely interested in the answers to these questions and would love replies!! Please let me know what it is that tells you that a person is depressed.

I sometimes feel the symptoms of my mind showing in my person.¬†I notice that on “off” days or “down” days my face falls into a stare or a frown by default.¬†I sigh a lot. My shoulders sag; it’s just too much effort to hold them up. I get dry eyes from staring into space without blinking, so my eyes get sore and red. My smile takes effort to paste on and I worry that it ends up looking a bit fake or forced; it feels that way! I laugh but it’s a bit feeble and forced too. These are my “slump” days.

‘And when you’re in a slump,

You’re not much fun,

Un-slumping yourself,

Is not easily done”

– Dr Seuss

I literally drag my feet; my legs feel heavy. Sometimes getting up the stairs to bed feels like climbing Mt Everest! And I trip over my feet! I become ridiculously clumsy. Walking more than an inch out of my way feels like a marathon. I hear words like ‘gym’, ‘exercise’, ‘go for a walk’ and my inner person shudders and wants to go into shut-down mode before I can be forced to do something so very impossible! I hate the idea of leaving the house.

But that’s at my worst. On medium to good days there’s probably nothing to notice in my person that would really give you any clue to what’s going on in my head. On these days I have a bit to a lot of energy, a bit to a medium amount of motivation and I have effort to put into living my life.

I might start to talk about or actually go to the gym, I might start having lists of things that I want to accomplish. I might have plans for social catch-ups, entertaining or going out. I’ll start to have projects and hobbies again.

I might start chatting your ear off, although that’s more likely when I’m getting a bit over the line into mania land. Then I have loads of energy, epic plans and motivation to boot!! In mania land I start planning my return to work, how I’m going to do 50 million things in a day and get excited about everything! I smile, I laugh, I giggle!! It’s fun, but never lasts too long. But it gets me hopeful that I’ll be happier in the future.

And on days like this, there’s really nothing to see! Nothing to show what’s inside, what’s under the surface, what’s going to come right back in a few days. These are the days when you’ll see me out and about, smiling and enjoying life.

Then there are the anxious days. Days when my heart is racing, my breathing is fast and my fingers, my hands, my head, my feet, my legs are tap, tap,tapping, shaking, clicking pens, jiggling, clenching, stretching, moving moving moving! These days are easy to tell. I can’t sit still. Literally!!

And so you can see that there is a continuum here, a line in the sand that shows the variation in my moods. From deeply depressed and almost catatonic to mildly depressed but able to drag myself through life to okay but buzzing with stress hormones to too anxious to hypomanic, a milder form of mania.

So: when I look in the mirror, what do I see? A pair of eyes looking back at me. Do they shine, or stare, or cry? Does the mouth smile, pout or sigh? Is the hair washed, shining or dirty? Do I think myself gross or pretty? It can be a different answer every day.

And what do you see? Unless you come to my house and let yourself in and climb up the stairs to my bedroom you will never see me on a bad day. You may see me on an okay-ish day, an anxious day or a manic day. But if you see me, it pretty much means that the signs of major depression aren’t in my face or my person. They might be in my mind and my thoughts but you probably won’t see them. So how I look probably isn’t the best indicator.

So you will likely see me with a smile, with a laugh, with some enthusiasm for life.¬†You won’t see me with my worst frown, at my most catatonic, in my slowest state dragging my feet around. On those days when I get up mid-morning and have a nap before lunch and another one after lunch I rarely leave the house. I’m not interested in anything, I’m pretty much waiting out the day til I can go back to bed for the third time and shut off my brain to escape the day. I’m just filling in time, surviving til my mood swings up again.

It’s a chemical imbalance, a shortage, a lack.¬†There may not be anything to demonstrate my state.¬†It’s just another day in the life of illness, managing as best I can with the aids I have to get back closer to where I left off, before my brain snapped!