Scars and depression

 

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The Low down on Depression

I think depression like all mental illness has a certain stigma attached to it. So many people don’t understand what it is like to go through depression or anxiety. They think it should just be easy to snap out of it and get back to normal. And people can be so intolerant, often they look at you in disgust because they think your just out to get attention or sympathy or they think that you are lazy and selfish and that the alleged depression is just an excuse to justify your behaviour. But unfortunately depression is one of those things that can be triggered by many things, sometimes yes, it is possible that it can be triggered by things that may seem selfish. But everyone is allowed to have hopes and dreams for the future, plans for how we hoped our lives would pan out. And it is good to have a direction for your life. But things sometimes don’t go to plan and people can get upset, even depressed about it but they don’t need other people telling them they are selfish or that they should just let it go. They need someone to listen, to hold their hand and say “look I know this didn’t work out for you but maybe you have a different direction to go in.” They need to work through how they are feeling and move on once they have come to terms with it. Sometimes depression comes simply because we find it difficult to cope with stresses in our lives.

When one thing after another, after another just hit you out of the blue and things just don’t seem to be working or you feel like you just keep messing up it can be very difficult to maintain a positive mental and emotional attitude. Some days it just feels like the whole world is against me so what’s the point of getting out of bed. And in those situations it is really not something that they can just snap out of. Practical help during this time is often needed for these people so that they can have assistance in getting things back in hand and feel like they have some control in their lives again. Sometimes again, they just need someone who is willing to hold their hand and say look I understand things are not going well for you at the moment but I’m here for you and we will just work through this together. There are others for whom depression means withdrawing.

I have often heard it said that you cannot help someone who won’t help themselves. Whilst this is true, it is also in one sense an unfair observation. Sometimes the person in question cannot help themselves but they don’t want to ask for help because they don’t want to impose on people and they fear other peoples responses or remarks. People should not be made to feel bad or selfish for being depressed. Depression is more often than not a response to a failure to cope with a certain situation or a chain of events. Even if the depression is a selfish response, most people can come to that conclusion on their own and pointing it out to them only sinks them further. Some people withdraw from others when they are depressed. This can be for many reasons, they fear people’s response, they feel a sense of guilt or shame or they don’t want to burden others. Often it is the people we love the most and who love us the most we withdraw from because we don’t want to hurt them and because we don’t want them to get upset with us for still feeling this way.  When I was suffering with depression it took me about 2 1/2 years to start to get over it. I felt horrible, I felt the shame and the guilt. I was frustrated with myself and I knew that it was affecting my marriage but I felt powerless to do anything. I think that if I had of had just one good friend who could of held my hand and sat and listened to me, even if I repeated the same things over and over again. If they could have just let me work through the feelings and the thoughts and helped me to make sense of everything and helped me to  be able to cope, I think I would have gotten better a lot quicker. People are so quick to judge when they hear that someone has depression but it is real and it kills. 

The Australian Bureau of statistics records that between 2001 and 2010 a mental or behavioural disorder was recorded for over half of all individuals that committed suicide (22,526 deaths were registered where suicide was determined to be the underlying cause. Of these suicide deaths, 22% (4,932) were recorded with a multiple cause of death; that is, any condition, disease or injury which was involved in the morbid train of events leading to death) and for whom a multiple cause was identified. The highest incidence of these disorders was observed in younger age groups: 58.6% of persons aged between 15 and 24 years and 61.6% of persons aged between 25 and 34 years. Within the category Mental and behavioural disorders two disorders were most commonly associated with suicide: Mood disorders and Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use. These disorders were also the most common Mental and behavioural disorders recorded with suicide across all age groups. Mood disorders were reported in 28.1% of all suicides where a multiple cause was identified. 

Be kind to people with depression and be alert for signs in friends and relatives, especially around this time of year when they can feel lonely or overwhelmed.

Christmas Nostalga

So with Christmas looming ever nearer I am feeling nostalgic and I thought I would embark on a trip down memory lane. What family traditions have you held onto and which ones have you created with your own family over the years? For the most part I loved my childhood. We were a close family and my parents did their best to ensure that we still went on holidays and had adventures even when money was tight. We went camping a lot and my parents love the beach so we spent a lot of our holiday time at the beach swimming and fishing and walking etc. Christmas morning for our family usually began with me waking up at some obscene hour and jumping on my parents bed asking to open my presents. I can’t remember that my brother was ever as excited as I was but I think when we were young he would also be up very early and jumping on mum and dad as well. As we got older my parents told me that we had to wait for him to wake up before anything happened, and as every normal, impatient little kid would do I went and jumped on him and made him get out of bed as well or when we were older I would thump on his door until he got up to answer it. 

Then once everyone had been sufficiently roused from their slumbers we would sit on mum and dads bed while my dad read about the birth of Jesus from Luke 2. To this day it is still one of my favourite passages of scripture. Then would come the gift giving. It was always exciting to see what my parents bought us for Christmas and my brother as he got older would buy me things as well or make things for me and I cherished those gifts especially. My brother is not overly demonstrative with his affections or emotions so when he gave me something it was more treasured because it showed me that he did care and that I wasn’t just the annoying little sister. Sometimes though we were away for Christmas and then we would do things a little differently. If our cousins were with us we would all get up and go into the living room or wherever the presents were and try to find our presents and maybe see if we could guess what they were. Usually we would end up making a lot of noise and the adults would wake up and come in and then, once everyone had gathered we were allowed to open our presents. Then we would be so caught up in playing with our presents that we would forget about breakfast. The rest of the day was usually spent eating and for us younger ones, playing. 

Sometimes we would meet up with my Nan at the beach and we would have lunch there and open presents and go swimming and shell collecting. As I got older I found I thought it less necessary to get out of bed early for which I’m sure my parents were grateful. Though I remember one year in particular when I was still quite young, my mum had decided to try something a little different. She had put all of our presents in a pillow case like a Santa Sack and placed them in our rooms. For whatever reason I had woken up during the night and I saw the sack of presents. I knew one of the presents I was getting so I went through them to find it. But in my excitement I opened all of them but only kept out the one I had been looking for and stuffed the rest back in the pillowcase. My mum had gotten up a bit later as well and saw the light on in my room. I was asleep again with my new stuffed toy under my arm and she thought it was strange that I had only opened one present.

If your family is anything like mine, you will end up with copious amounts of food that will continue to be consumed for the next two or three days after Christmas. We usually ended up with an abundance of puddings, trifles and rocky road. Not to mention the ham, turkey and lamb roast. Then there is the fruit. One of the best things about Christmas is the variety of fruit that is available. We always have a fruit platter at Christmas. 

Another thing I remember from childhood about Christmas is the various activities we had at our church. We would often have a Christmas event held by the ladies from our ladies meetings, then we had our Christmas Cantata where our choir sang and sometimes there would be verses read throughout so that the scripture passages and the songs told the story or sometimes we would have a Christmas themed story that went with the songs. We would also have a Christmas Banquet and all the families would give gifts to each other sort of like a Secret Santa type arrangement. We would also all contribute some food items etc to go to some of the poorer families in our town. A few years at school we participated in the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox program which I also enjoyed.

We went and saw lights too, sometimes we would just walk around, other times a group of us would drive around from place to place looking at the houses decked out in twinkling lights. It just feels so much more Christmasy when houses are decorated with lights. I love going out for a drive and seeing whole streets bedecked with lights, its just so beautiful and cheerful. We also used to go carolling which was always fun. But my favourite thing was Christmas Eve. Instead of having a Christmas day service we would have a Christmas Eve service. We would usually have a dinner and we would have some bible passages read but the thing I looked forward to the most was the Carols by Candlelight. I love Christmas Carols, I love singing them and I love hearing them sung, they are just so happy.

We didn’t have a tree growing up but we decorated our house with other things. We used to put a big string up to hang all the Christmas cards. We would hang tinsel and beads and home made decorations. I would always want to hang them up in November so I could get the most out of the Christmas feeling and I would listen to our Christmas CD’s everyday. I love decorating for Christmas and I am hoping to acquire a large collection of lights and ornaments that light up so that my house can eventually be one of those houses that people want to stop and look at because of the beautiful light displays. At the moment we are very busy at Christmas time as we go to my in-laws on Christmas Day and then my family on Boxing day. Our church also has a Christmas morning service as do a lot of our families churches so everyone is rather busy on Christmas day. We would like to start our own tradition at some stage of spending Christmas together as our own little family and then go to family on Boxing Day and after. So what traditions do you all have for Christmas and what fond memories do you have of childhood Christmases and holiday season activities? Merry Christmas everyone.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour. which is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:11

Kids Need To See

Yesterday (1 December 2015) did not start out so well and ended even worse. The twins woke at 3:30, then 4:00 then 4:30 and then all the boys woke up at 6:30. I was tired, very tired (I still am), and I had a migraine which was making me nauseas. Last week the boys all had a vomiting bug and I am exhausted from that as well. Yesterday was my oldest boys Kindy Graduation. When we arrived at the school, the place where I thought the graduation was being held turned out to not be the right place after all. After making inquires, I was told that the Kindy Graduation Ceremony was being held tomorrow. I had brought a plate of food for morning tea so I was a bit frustrated when I was told this news. However I had to take my son up to his kindy classroom anyway so we trudged up the hill to the classroom. When we arrived, it turned out that the Kindy Graduation was happening so that was fine but my phone battery was almost flat which meant I couldn’t take photos which made me upset but we got an official graduation photo taken which my son was very excited about. Anyway after the ceremony and the morning tea we walked back to the car and one of the twins lost his dummy.

Our twins only take one kind of dummy. It is a dummy that is nearly impossible to find in the shops. They will not sleep without their dummy. I got the three younger boys in the car, it was very hot and I started driving hoping the coolness from the air conditioning would calm the boys down and stop their whinging. Our van has been having troubles with the radiator and every time I got to an intersection and slowed down, the car sputtered and stopped. So the air conditioning was not very cool, the car was overheating and I was still at least 10 mins from home. We did manage to get nearly the whole way home but the car died about half the way up the hill near where we live. So I had to get the twins out and put them in the pram. And my toddler had to walk with me, up a hill, in the blazing sun. And I was pushing the pram, up the hill, in the blazing sun. When I got home I was hot and I was irritated, the boys were all hot and irritated but thankfully I had put the air con on before we left in the morning so it was nice and cool. After a big drink of water I attempted to put the twins down for their nap. They cried for about half an hour because they didn’t have a dummy (even though the were very tired) and then finally fell asleep.

I had rung my husband to let him know that the van had died and he rang his dad to come and get it for me which I was very thankful for. But later that afternoon I had just put the boys back into the car to go and pick up my oldest from kindy. The van would not start. So now my oldest was stranded at kindy and I had no way to go and get him. At this point I started panicking and I rang the kindy to inform them of what had happened. A lady from our church works at the school and after explaining the situation to her she was kind enough to let him stay with her as she was doing some rehearsing at the school for end of year awards. I then started to ring anyone I could think of that would possibly be free to go and pick up my son. I had been informed that the usual school policy was that children left at the school were taken to the office and if no-one came to collect them by the time office hours were over, Child Protective Services would be called. So I was panicking…a lot. Thankfully my sister-in-law was able to go and pick him up after I rang and tearfully explained the circumstance for which I was extremely grateful. 

Dinner time was a trial as usual and after we finally got everyone into bed I sat down and attempted to write this post but my migraine was getting worse and I really thought I was going to end the night by throwing up. Thankfully that didn’t happen but what did happen was that my twin boys decided that they were going to wake up at 11pm about an hour after I had gone to bed. So I tried to rouse my husband to go to the boys as I was still feeling unwell but being a typical man (which means that once he is asleep he stays asleep unless there is a natural disaster and even then he probably wouldn’t hear it) he didn’t budge. So I went in and tried to console them and laid on the floor and patted their back and rubbed their legs and held their hand. At about 12:40am I made my way back to bed as I thought the main trouble maker had fallen back asleep. As soon as I left the room he started crying again. I laid down anyway hoping that he would just fall back asleep after a while but this didn’t happen, and the unmoveable mass was still fast asleep. So at about 1:30am I made my way back to their room and stayed in there consoling and shushing until finally they were finally far away in dreamland. As I made my way back to bed once more I looked at the clock and saw that it was now about 3:15am and I knew my boys would be awake at 6:30am. 

I was upset with my husband, I won’t lie. I know he has to get up and go to work in the mornings so he can’t always help out when the kids wake up at night, but I had thought that he could at least make an exception knowing that I had had a migraine when I went to bed. Besides which I had an early morning and bad sleep the night before because the twins were unsettled and I had already gotten up to the twins once that night. In any case, the morning came, or rather the sun came up, and as I had predicted the boys were all awake again at 6:30am. I stumbled out of bed bleary eyed and got the toddler out of his cot and carried the twins downstairs. My husband apologised for the night time fiasco and I was too tired to be angry with him. The car had been booked in to have the radiator replaced today but when I rang the mechanic and I tried to start the car he said it sounded like the engine had no compression. Its 23 days until Christmas, we can’t travel without our van. We were meant to be going to my in-laws for Christmas lunch and after Christmas we are supposed to be going down to NSW to see my family for Christmas. When I am really tired I get very emotional so as I was letting everyone know that we couldn’t make it for Christmas I was also bawling my eyes out because all our Christmas plans now seem to be ruined.

Now the point of me writing all this, besides venting, is that sometimes things pile up and make us upset or stressed. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be something big it can be be a whole heap of little things. When I am really tired, apart from being overly emotional I also get irritated very easily. This tends to lead to me yelling at my kids more rather than figuring things out in a calmer more rational manner. I know a lot of people say that you shouldn’t yell at your kids and there has been research done on the effects of it on children etc. And I agree that yelling at your children all the time whenever they do something wrong is not the right way to go about parenting. However, that being said, I think that yelling at your children on occasion teaches them a very important lesson. When you are fed up and at breaking point, when your emotions are raw and you are running on precious little sleep I believe that those times when we slip up and we lose our self control shows our children that Mummy is only human. I think that often us Mummies get placed in an exalted position in the minds of our children. They don’t see Mummy as having emotions and needs and they think that Mummy will just keep going forever and will handle whatever is thrown at her. And to a certain extent we usually live up to that Mummy image that our children have created in their minds. But those times that we crack and we yell, or burst into tears, or just lock ourselves in the bathroom to escape and stuff ourselves with chocolate from our hidden stash, shows our children that we are not a race of super beings. Mummy gets upset too, Mummy can’t always cope when you chuck a tantrum for the umpteenth time today. Sometimes Mummy doesn’t want to know that your brother hit you in the head with a car or that he has done a poo. We don’t want to see the big puddle of water that someone has made with the sippy cup yet again and is now gleefully splashing in, or the fine blanket of baby powder that is covering the floor of the living room and being crawled through and spread to the rest of the house. No. Sometimes Mummy doesn’t cope, and I think it’s important for our children to see and understand that. They need to know that we have limitations and that it is not ok for them to selfishly demand all of our time and our strength and our mental fortitude. Children need to see. So on that note I hope that you are all having a better week than mine and for those who are doing it tough, hang in there Mumma’s. Your job is hard. We are thinking of you and praying you through the week.

This is my favourite Veggie Tales song and whenever I hear it I tear up. It is good to remember, especially on days like today and yesterday. 

“Sometimes life can be tough and some days are just rough. Things just stink and you think that your not good enough. And people upset you or sometimes forget you. Your heart shrinks and you think its a day you can’t get through.

But this is the day the Lord has made. You’re special to me, you’ll be okay. Tomorrow will dawn and I’ll love you still. Things will get better, I promise they will!

When your days been a mess and you feel it intensely, don’t forget Whose you are and Who loves you immensely! God made you His child and you’re treasured as such. You’re precious, you’re treasured, He loves you so much!

And this is the day the Lord has made. You’re special to Him, you’ll be okay! Tomorrow will dawn and He’ll love you still! Things will get better, I promise they will!”

“Things will get Better.” Lenny and the Lost Birthday from Veggie Tales Episode “Robin Good and His Not So Merry Men.” 

Busy Week

Hi everyone, I just wanted to apologise to everyone for not having my blog post published on time. We have had some issues this past week and I have been unable to finish it. I am working on it as we speak and it should be up tonight. 

Rach xo