Self Care Time Out
Hey Guys, I have a little apology to make this week there is no new cake. But I’m hoping you can forgive me because I’ve just been having a really tough time.
Nothings happened, no bad news or dreadful circumstances but sometimes when you have depression you don’t need those kinds of events to make you spiral. You spiral all on your own and that’s what happened to me this week.
To give a little background, I’ve been employing the fake it til you make it approach so far in life. As in, fake being normal and happy and maybe one day it will be real. Except that’s not how mental health works. So, then I looked outward for excuses. I focussed all my energy on the theory that if I changed my circumstances I could change my feelings. At 25 I went back to college and that turned into Uni and I got my degree, convinced that I wasn’t unhappy I was unhappy being a bartender.
And it worked for a bit, I freaking loved being at college and Uni. I was good at it and I worked hard, and I was convinced that when I went off and got a different job it would continue. But it didn’t. I ended up working for a bunch of sexist engineers and couldn’t understand what was happening. I had the new job; the new job was the key but now I was more miserable than ever. I spent all day in an unhealthy environment convinced that I had to make it work. Because it was the key. What the hell was I gonna do now that it was making me miserable? And it wasn’t just me, most of my female friends were dealing with some sort of sexism/harassment. So, what now? Where could I possibly go now?
Well, I had a breakdown. I quit my job and moved to Mexico for three months squandering all my meagre savings. And everyone was so jealous, isn’t that crazy? I mean how many memes have you seen about doing just that? Except when I got there I spent the entire time crying. Because here’s the thing. I was trying to fix my faulty human connections by becoming unconnected but that just makes you lonely. And alone. Crying in an apartment in Mexico. Eventually I ran out of energy and money and moved back into my Dads house.
And it was like my brain just collapsed. Everything it had been holding on to for the past 30 years came tumbling out. For a year now, I’ve been waking up from super vivid dreams as my brain tries to help me figure out my issues. I’ve been completely zoning out from countless conversations because some random memory demands to be heard. I’ve been joining up the dots between my past and my behaviour. Hell, I even figured out that baking originates from a need to be a caretaker which stems from my belief that I need to be able to prove my value to others in order to be noticed by them. It’s been hard but I kept thinking ok, well my brain is gonna dump all this on me, we’ll work through it and then maybe I can be happy. Except this week came the realisation that no matter how many dots I join, no matter how many reasons I discover for my behaviour I still don’t have the tools to change it. Knowing isn’t changing and I don’t know how to change.
After a day of just solid crying and wishing the worst I realised that maybe I could call someone who does have those tools. And here’s where life really becomes a bitch because when I got to my doctor ready to tell him that the online ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’ wasn’t working and I would need to be referred to a counsellor I didn’t get my doctor. I got a locum. A locum who didn’t care one jot. He asked me 5 times, “But you’re not going to do something silly are you?”. First of all, I’d like to point out that any medical professional who has to refer to suicidal thoughts as ‘something silly’ has no business being in the medical profession. Secondly, I told that man 4 times that I couldn’t stop thinking about it until on the fifth, tired of hearing it, I said instead, “I don’t think so”. At which point he said, “Good, great!” then threw a prescription at for anti-depressants at me, advised me to keep doing yoga and maybe pick up a book on mindfulness. One look at my records and he would have seen that I’ve consistently asked not to be medicated. The funniest part is, I was actually finally in a place to accept medication but when I googled the side effects of these ones they were everything I’d feared; drowsiness, nightmares, weight gain. It went swiftly in the bin.
And I broke again. That doctor’s visit was supposed to be my new fix. My new hope. My new method and it didn’t work. I was in such a state I couldn’t go home. I couldn’t even breathe, there was no way I could let my dad and younger sister see that. I’m sure you’re wondering why I feel comfortable enough to share it now, here. Well, for one I’m hoping that it’ll be a little less daunting now that I’m not crying and am feeling pretty calm and two, I’m pretty sure they don’t read my blog. They aren’t cake decorators, so this place isn’t usually full of anything they can use. Which I’m hoping means this one will get under their particular radar too.
Thankfully, I have an amazing aunt just around the corner. We’re super close, she practically raised us when my mum left, and when I turned up sobbing (double pump style) she just let me until I was calm enough to explain why. And then between her and my older sister they found me countless helpline numbers and other avenues to explore. We decided on calling NHS24, which at this precise moment I’m still psyching myself up to actually do.
In the mean time I’ve resorted to my usual tactic. Find a book that can help. Which I did, Running On Empty by Jonice Webber. Not an #ad it’s just been pretty helpful so far and I am gonna work through the techniques to try and make this manageable. And since I had a Monday with no recipe to edit/post I gave my website a makeover. Turns out distraction has been helpful today too.
Lastly, I want to apologise for something else. I make a lot of jokes about this blog, that I’m using cake decorating as my therapy, that it’s just my excuse to eat my feelings or that it’s cheaper than counselling. But, that’s just my way of coping with my own demons. I’ll make a joke about it and maybe someone will realise it’s not a joke, that I do need help. So, while I do believe that cake decorating is a great technique for practising mindfulness I would also strongly remind everyone that it’s just one tool. And it’s not a magic one. If you need more help then please find it, even if that seems harder than you can manage.
Also, I’m just kinda bumbling through this myself so if anyone would like to add anything or add to my list of resources below please comment or email me icinginsight[at]gmail.com and I’ll get them added.
If you need help, these are some of the amazing resources I came across;
Samaritans – Call 116 123 (freephone number, open 24/7)
NHS 24 – Call 111 (freephone number, open 24/7)
Moodjuice – website with helpful resources
Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm
Text 07786 209697
Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number won't show up on your phone bill
The Silver Line – for older people
Call 0800 4 70 80 90