living with depression

dad

Last week the weather was bad as we had snow. I like seeing the snow but not for too lomg and last week it felt like the snow would be here forever. My mood has been fluctuating partly because of the snow and too much darkness and also because the solicitor dealing with my dad’s will seems to be pulling her finger out.

On Monday I had my arm twisted to travel down to Essex yesterday. I knew it was a bad idea as we weren’t in a position to stay overnight but the solicitor wanted to see I.D.. Both of ua were in discomfort by the time we got down there and I had a painful ache in my right calf. It didn’t take long in the solicitor reception then we went to Tesco at Lakeside for something to eat and a quick look round before coming home. As I had so much pain in my right calf I sat in the back of the car as it was the only way I could get my leg comfortable.

Today we have both felt tired and haven’t wanted to do much. This evening I have struggled with dozing off which hasn’t helped.

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Sixty years ago on the 15th February 1958 my parents married and it’s a scary thought that my sister and I are now in our 50s. My mum died in 2011 aged 76 and my dad died last year aged 87 years old. The past year has gone by so quickly and in ten days time it will be the first anniversary so I am thankful for the good memories. The past six years seems to have gone even quicker.

Life is too short to hold on to past hurts and possibly not being able to tell family how you feel. I do regret, at times, not making an effort with my mum even though she and my dad kept me at arms length. With my dad I was dealing with feelings of hurt and I tried to explain to him why I was hurting. It didn’t come out right but at at least I always let him know I loved him.

I am thankful for being able to talk to my sister as I have always loved her even when she has hurt me. She and I have memories that nobody else shares and I take comfort from those. We are also finding out so much about our dad that he never talked about. I am so proud of my dad.

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For the first time since my Dad died I dreamed about him last night. It had been bothering me as I had dreams about both my parents before they died and I had dreams about my mum after she died. My Mum and I had a ‘difficult’ relationship; I wanted to be loved by her but didn’t feel loved, I loved my Mum but didn’t know how to love her how she wanted me to love her. For many years I felt so much anger towards my Mum because I never felt good enough for her and yet I don’t know how my Mum felt because we couldn’t communicate. Add into the mix that when I was in my twenties my Mum told me that my parents had included my son in their wills.

That may seem an odd sentence but I won’t expand as it’s not relevant to this blog.

After my Mum died over six years ago I soon started dreaming about her regularly. I found it wierd as we were talking and being completely normal in our relationship. Some time after her death I found out I had been written out of her will and my son wasn’t even mentioned. It didn’t bother me that I had been been hurt that my son wasn’t even mentioned even though legally he wasn’t entitled to anything anyway. It was the simple fact thar nobody had bothered to tell me.

It has been almmost four months since my Dad died and I was struggling a bit because I hadn’t dreamed of him. I loved my Dad so much even through the years I was very angry. What kept me going was that assurance he had died the way he wanted to at home and suddenly. It was one of those things that came up quite quickly with my sister and I wish I could have been with her when she found our Dad.

My sister and I had distanced ourselves from each other due to not being able to talk about what really matter and misunderstanding. If only I could turn back the clock and been completely honest with my sister and maybe our future would have been different. She is my sister and I love her more than she will ever know. I hope one day she will understand me better and how depression shaped my life due to being too ashamed to talk about it

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My Dad’s funeral went as well as could be expected and the weather was beautiful. It was hard saying “goodbye” but I know he has gone to a better place, isn’t suffering and with my Mum. It was good to catch up with people that I haven’t seen for 6 years, except for one of my cousins whom I haven’t seen since our Nanna’s funeral. I enjoyed holding the newest edition to the family who was 17 days old on the day of the funeral. It brought back memories of my nieces when they were babies and the second youngest who is 7 months old arrived a little while later. We got to see the three great nieces and great nephew before leaving which made my day. All six children are beautiful and the older ones were well behaved for the short time we saw them.

I appreciated my sister giving me the family bible which I will always cherish. It brings back good memories which is how I want to remember my Dad. My sister’s one request is that it is either donated to a church or kept within the family which is an easy one to honour. She gave me three old photographs which includes one of our parents on their honeymoon. My sister found three of my reports from primary school which made me smile and I have them along with some books, glass tray with a dish and lid, candle holder and ring holder, an ornament that we bought for my parents, a glass ashtray and a ltter holder with a letter opener knife. Most have good memories but most of the books are ones I want to read, other than the bible the only other book I remember is one of newspaper articles from WW1. It felt as if the big bust up we had years ago hadn’t happened. I always have loved my sister but I just didn’t like her for a while and it was a typical ‘the longer we didn’t communicate the harder it got.’ We have sent text messages and mewssages through Facebook which has been great.

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It was a relieve to find out the my sister was able to book the funeral as we need to say our ‘goodbyes’ to our Dad. An autopsy was done which upset me a bit as he was elderly, frail and had his health worries. My sister asked me if I wanted to view my Dad’s body but I can’t face that and I want my memories of my Dad to be the good ones. I have mentioned to Rick that it feels a bit wierd that I haven’t dreamed about my Dad. When my Mum died I had dreams about her, still do, but none with my Dad.

This past week has been a bit different to the norm. Our budgie died aged about 7 so survived his ‘friend’ by 3 1/2 years and it does feel strange not having a bird in our home. On the other hand our youngest cat, Tinkerbelle, ‘chose’ to live at our neighbour’s home and the neighbour’s cat, Bella, moved in with us. We have a cat flap which Bella liked as it meant she could come and go as she pleased. Another neighbours cat, Sooty, also visits and I have a bowl of cat biscuits down permantly for him.

There were issues when Bella was put down and we got Tinkerbelle to the vets because she had sick several times. We knew the neighbour was keeping our furbaby in when she was at home but then I found out she had been locking Tinkerbelle in when she went out. Neither Rick or myself were happy about that. We knew Bella could get out of our home if she was in when we went out but that is completely different to locking a cat in. I let the neighbour know that Tinkerbelle was on a special diet and not to keep her in all of the time so we could feed her. There was an uproar and I was told we ‘were being cruel’ to Tinkerbelle by not letting her stay in the neighbour’s home. I made it quite clear we didn’t mind Tinkerbelle visiting but not to be kept in for so long. Now our lil Tinkerbelle, ‘who chose a new home’, is back to her normal self, loves curling up by my feet, spends quite a bit of time with us and hasn’t been sick. She still goes to see our neighbour but doesn’t attempt to go in.

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We had a bad start to the week as our neighbour had her cat, Bella, put down on Sunday. For the past three years Bella has suffered with fur loss during the winter months but recently it has been much worse. The crazy thing is she has been a happy little soul, eating well although becoming very clingy. Our home was her second home and that included eating here. The neighbour told me that the vet told her that it might have been a mite problem or more likely she was very stressed and was lickng excessively. She told the vet she couldn’t bear to see Bella suffer or have to keep giving Bella steroids so the vet agreed to Bella being put to sleep. It’s going to take time to get used to not seeing one beautiful little cat again.

Monday started off as reasonably good day and in the evening I was out with friends. We are all volunteers at the Shildon Methodist Church lunch club and at Christmas we were given £40 from the lunch club members as a ‘thank you’ for what we have done over the year. It was mutually agreed that we would go to the civic in Shildon for a meal. We had a good evening although the service was slow but it was just good to be out. Towards the end of our meal Rick rang and told me it was urgent for to get home. I had just got my dessert so I told him I would get home as soon as possible. He rang again just as I was getting ready to go home so I speeded up my departure. When I got home Rick told me there was no easy way to tell me the news and started with saying ‘The Lord giveth and Lord taketh away.’

I just looked at him and said, ‘My Dad is dead.’

Apparantly my sister had tried ringing me first but we were out all day. I got home before Rick as I was going out and was out by about 6.15 pm. Anyway I rang my sister who told me that our Dad hadn’t been too well on Sunday and she had taken him to the hospital that morning. She had checked with him before they had their dinner as our Dad went to her and my brother-in-law’s each Sunday for his dinner but he said he didn’t feel too good. On Monday my sister went to see our Dad and found him dead on the kitchen floor. He had got up and dressed as he was a man of routine. My sister believes it happened quickly and we both know that’s the way he would have wanted to go.

On Tuesday we took our Tinkerbelle to the vets as our neighbour decided to tell me that the little angel has been sick six times over a two week period. Fortunately she is healthy and we have bought cat food (wet and dry) to help her stomach and digestion. I spoke to our neighbour over the phone and told her that we were going to start on a special diet with Tinkerbelle. I asked her not to feed our little angel and to let another neighbour know as well as she adores cats and spoils her two and our little Tinker.

We kept Tinkerbelle in over night as Rick was going back to the vets this morning to get her micro chipped. We got home before our neighbour so when I knew she was home I returned her cat box. I reinforced what the vet said to us about Tinkerbelle’s diet and that we wanted her to just have the diet we are giving her. The neighbour wasn’t happy and told me there was nothing wrong with the food she gives Tinker and it was probably food that Tinker was eating outside. I made it quite clear that I wanted Tinkerbelle to just eat what we give her as it will be much better for her. Then I told her that Rick wasn’t happy with her keeping Tinkerbelle in. They fell out before Christmas as the neighbour took offense to the way Rick spoke to her when he disconnected her washing machine. I could see both points of view although I didn’t see why Rick should apologise as she knew we were busy on the day in question. One day the neighbour came to our home to sort the situation out but she made it worse and she swore at Rick. They haven’t spoken to each other since then.

When I told her that we don’t her keeping Tinkerbelle in she became angry and asked how she was supposed to keep Tinkerbelle out. I told her we don’t mind our furbaby going to visit her but we didn’t want Tinkerbelle spending so much time in there. She then accused Rick of being a big kid and told me to go, take my cat and keep her in. I was shocked but kept polite and told her I would go which I was going to do anyway. Yet the other neighbour who had a chat with me before I went in and fully understood why we wanted to keep Tinker on a certain diet. It has really upset me as she knows that my Dad has died and there was no need for her awful attitude. Rick told me not let it upset me but he does understand why I am.

I am thankful that I have real friends who are being supportive. Not all of them are even in this country so that makes it even more special.

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sad dog

Okay, yes dogs always look sad, I should know as I have had four spoilt dogs over the years.

I wonder how many people have woken up this morning feeling sad and lonely this morning.  In fact how many would actually be honest and admit it?

It’s a true statement that you can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely.  I have had too many days like this over the years.  Before I was married and from the age of 20 I felt lonely every Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Christmas Day and Boxing Day was spent with my family yet I felt disjointed from them as if I was in a bubble looking out on them being happy.  On New Year’s Eve, when I chose to be with my family we would go out for a drink then onto a family friends home for a party.  I would put on my happy mask as I was too ashamed to admit I wasn’t happy.  I wasn’t enjoying myself.  I didn’t feel part of the family or a friend.  I was expected to be happy because that’s what my family wanted.

No I wasn’t happy.  No I didn’t feel part of the family.  No I didn’t want to lie and fake being happy.  Yes I was a good actor.  I was tired of being accused of being a drama queen, an attention seeker or moody.  Facing up to being severely depressed wasn’t an option.

I wanted my son with me.  I wanted to wake up on Christmas Day and open presents.  I wanted to have fun playing with him on Boxing Day.  I wanted to go to bed on New Year’s Eve knowing the next year was going to better than the last.

If my family ever read this they will probably think the same as they always do that I am selfish, only think of myself and always tried to hurt my family.  It doesn’t that I was expected to be at my sister’s beck and call as the babysitter.  Or that I took my nieces out regularly for a few years.

I was even shocked to find out when I reconnected on Facebook with an old school friend that she considered my parents strict.  But, I would do as I was told, did my homework coming before going out, got home by a set time, went for the type of jobs they wanted for me, even friends were a problem.  My first best friend at the comprehensive school I went to was from a working class family.  My mum wanted me to have middle class friends.  She came round because she knew my friend was well raised and polite.

I grew up in a predominiantly white town so it wasn’t too much of an issue until I got to my  late teens / early 20’s.  Nothing was said directly but I remember feeling uncomfortable with comments along the lines that if a non white person or family moved next door to us we would move.  I couldn’t understand why as my parents had non white friends and polite to those they didn’t know.  I have had non white friends over the years and have lived in towns where white people aren’t the majority. To me they are decent people and have the same values as we do.  Of course there are bad ethnic minority people but not all white people are decent.

End of rant and back on track.

Christmas Day I felt lonely.  That’s sad.  I know Rick loves me.  We had a good day.  We don’t have any worries.  Well.  Except for the bathroom leak.  But.  I felt lonely.  It eased by teatime as two friends were with us for a couple of hours – one is a neighbour and the other one we got to know through church.  I suppose I just miss the Christmas Days when I was young,  I felt loved by all my family and the day was always special.  Although I have always believed in God  the point of Christmas Day got lost in the ecitement.  I miss not having the Christmas Days I had as a child with my son and seeing his excitement.

Boxing Day was also a bad day emotionally.  We went to Hartlepool to have a look round the shops and anxiety hit me like a brick.  We lived in Hartlepool when I ‘found’ my son.  Even though we have been back to Hartlepool over the years we haven’t spent so much time in the town centre.  Memories of better times came flooding back so it was hard not to cry.  It is hard because I know I can’t have that time back again particularly as I can never trust my son again.  He justwanted to use me as nobody else would put up with his bad behaviour again.  It hurts.  I have a son that hates me.  I have a grandson I will never see because of his father,

Today I feel empty.  What do I have to look forward to that will make me whole again?

I put my mask on because I love my husband and cats.

I put my mask when I am at church,

I put my mask on when I do voluntary work.

What I really want to do is put a smile on because I am happy, fulfilled and feel loved.

I know I am loved by Rick.

I know friends like me.

But.

I want to be at least liked by my family.

I will never feel liked or loved by my mum as she passed on in 2011.

I know my dad cares but I am too scared to try and get close to him because of the past.

My sister tolerates me for my dad’s sake.

My nieces don’t want to know me and certainly don’t want to know the truth of my relationship with my family.

I will always be a disappointment to them.

I give up.

I shall do as I always do and hide.

Behind my mask.

aba hn

 

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