One of the first things I remember reading which really seemed to me to describe the way I experienced depression (which I didn’t know was depression at the time, because it was the 1980s and depression wasn’t something people talked about, or at least not the people I knew) was Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock, which talks about the heroine feeling a “jet of misery” inside her. I’m sure the sense of recognition I felt at that is a huge part of why Fire and Hemlock is my favourite of Diana Wynne Jones’s books and a comfort read I go back to again and again.
It’s funny how often emotions seem to be reflected in the stomach. Butterflies for anxiety, obviously, and for the last few weeks I haven’t so much had a jet of misery as a cold hard lump of ice settled just below my solar plexus. And happiness has its physical component, too: a kind of bubbling, fizzing sensation. It’s not one I’ve felt very often over the last few months, but walking home this evening, in the sunshine of what really felt like a spring afternoon (even though it was still chillier than the number of people in cropped trousers might have made you think), having had an OK day at work and just got off the phone to T, for a few minutes it felt as though the iceberg of depression had melted and the spring of happiness was bubbling through again.
I’ve never thought I could wear yellow, but this goldy/mustardy/saffron shade seems to be just fine. And so cheerful!
(There will be proper pictures of the shawl at the weekend, but I couldn’t resist wearing it today.)
I don’t want to tempt Fate, but even though getting up, showering and putting clothes on still felt like a huge effort this morning once I was dressed and at work I definitely felt more comfortable in my own skin than I have for several weeks.
I could tell I was feeling a bit better last night because I am trying to keep up the mindfulness practice, even though the course wasn’t as inspiring as I would have hoped (and there were some things which I felt were uncomfortably victim-blamey, like being told that “people’s attitude to stress is what determines their reaction to it” and “people who make time for nurturing activities get less depressed”, which seemed to me to come awfully close to “if you’re stressed or depressed, it’s because you have the wrong attitude”), because the meditation does seem to have a calming effect, and after several days of finding it really hard to concentrate last night it was suddenly much easier to quieten my mind down. And today, while I’m still definitely depressed, it’s been more of a dull ache than the unbearable pain of the last few weeks. Hopefully that’s a good sign.
Another good sign is the fact that I’m starting to have random crafty thoughts again. Walking to work this morning I was thinking about what I might spin for the Stitched Together Spin-Along, and last night I was considering puffin fabric and thinking about making a puffin skirt. Which I think has to be done, but which print should I choose, and which fabric should I go for?
This hasn’t been the best of weekends. Even though it has felt like spring outside I’ve been feeling very low and have spent a lot of time asleep and yet still feel exhausted. I haven’t really been feeling in the mood for crafting, although my output for the weekend looks quite impressive.
I knitted the body of this mouse on Tuesday, so only had the legs and ears to do yesterday. The pattern is Ysolda‘s Mousie, and I used bits of leftover sock yarn. It’s a first birthday present for my brother’s girlfriend’s baby (I can’t help feeling there must be a better way to put that, but I’m not sure I can actually call her my niece when they are in a poly relationship and my brother is co-parenting but not the father), and is a white mouse because of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I always find knitting toys horribly fiddly, but it’s very sweet.
I also finally finished my Pi Shawl.
It is currently taking up most of the living-room floor to block. There will be better pictures next weekend!
And I got out my wheel for the first time in a couple of weeks, and finished spinning the Hilltop Cloud batt.
My original plan was to try Navajo plying it, but I think I’m actually going to ply it with a sample of Welsh Black I’m working on now.
I think that should produce an interesting yarn, and also gives me the chance of a reasonable yardage. I’ve only got 25g of the Welsh Black, compared to 35g of the batt, so I suspect there will be a bit left over to try Navajo plying anyway!
I’m glad it’s Friday.
After a couple of busy weekends, with Unravel and the video workshop, it’s nice to have a completely free couple of days ahead. I am looking forward to being able to sleep as late as I like both days, spend time knitting and spinning, and pay a visit to Purlescence‘s open day tomorrow and squish some nice yarn (I am very tempted to splurge on Sweet Georgia yarn for their Lush cardigan knitalong, even though I really don’t need another cardigan’s worth of yarn – I’m wondering about Oxblood, or maybe Raspberry). And hopefully I’ll feel much better for a proper rest.
I’m getting bored of boots (though strangely, much more bored of my chunky casual boots than I am of my smart work boots) so I thought I’d wear shoes today for a change.
In today’s mental health update, I have now come out to the other members of the project team I’m working in as having depression (as opposed to coming out about being bisexual, or a recovering alcoholic. How did I end up in so many closets? Is it life having the last laugh in return for my childhood tendency to wander into wardrobes in search of Narnia?), which seemed to go OK. And I have now managed two work days in a row without bursting into tears, which is twice as many days as I managed at all last week, consecutive or not. I’m still depressed, obviously, but maybe the worst of the current crisis is behind me now.
Yesterday’s post was pretty gloomy, so I wanted to reassure you all that while I am very tired of living with depression this acute, and I really do feel as though my brain is trying to talk me into killing myself, I’m not actively suicidal and I’m sure I’ll weather this episode just as I have in the past. It’s just a really hard slog this time.
But look! It was this light at twenty to seven this morning! And the sky was fabulous.
Today hasn’t been an easy day, but I had a good meeting with my boss and talked about how I was feeling and what we might be able to do to help me at work (the result of which is that I’ve agreed that I’ll tell the rest of the project team about my depression and that I might be a bit oversensitive to things, and that that’s OK and if I get upset about things they should just give me a few minutes to pull myself together and not treat me with kid gloves. Which means tomorrow will be a little difficult too, but hopefully it will help in the long run), and I managed not to burst into tears at all (well, I was a bit teary in the meeting with my boss but not full-on tears), and then I went to knit night and had a really nice time, and it wasn’t too bad at all. I think I’ve still got a way to go before the effect of spring really kicks in (though I have bought some high-strength Vitamin D to see if that helps) and my mood is still very low, but I’ve made it through before and I’m sure I can do it again. In the words of Winston Churchill (who managed to win a war despite suffering from depression himself) I just need to keep buggering on.