Christmas is over for another year and even though I was pretty unwell for a lot of November and most of December and still not 100% now, I managed to enjoy quite a bit of Christmas.
I have had 2 weeks off work and don’t go back until Tuesday but I am actually really pleased to be getting back into a routine. However good a break is and yes, after the last couple of months I have had I certainly needed one, I am now though craving a routine.
Whilst quite a few of my friends are cursing setting the alarm after two weeks of lie ins – I am looking forward to returning to work and the structure that it brings me most of the time.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been going to bed later and getting up later – my sleep hasn’t been too bad but over the last couple of evenings I have become very depressed with no warning at all and then had to ensure that I got on with lots of jobs for Brownies or Church as a distraction to try and keep the depression at bay. This was a sure sign I was ready for work again! It will do me good to get a better bed time routine in place as I don’t want the depression to slowly creep back at other times of the day as well and sleep is crucial to this.
Eating is also something that needs to be in a routine for me! Christmas food is lovely, however it makes me feel a bit bloated and then I give myself a hard time that I am putting on weight which doesn’t do my self confidence any good either.
I haven’t worked full time hours since November as I had a bad bipolar episode and so of course I am a bit anxious about going back but I am pretty sure that I am well enough to cope and also seeing my GP tomorrow. I have been under the care of the community mental health team for the past month and it pleases me to say that they have been very supportive. They have for the first time in years listened to what I needed, not over complicated the care they gave me (which was my request) and worked with me to get to the position of going back under the care of my GP from tomorrow. I feel in control of the situation and that is often half the battle.
So as I pack away the Christmas decorations for another year and stop tidying cupboards for the sake of tidying it will be with a smile that I go back to work!
I am a great believer in creating good memories for the future and in the last two weeks I have certainly done that!
So Christmas is over for another year!
As I was so unwell during the month or so before Christmas I was very worried about how I would cope and whether I could even enjoy myself and build on my positive Christmas memories that I had been doing so well to create over the last 5 or so years.
As a Christian I also wanted to be able to participate in the Church Christmas programme which included singing and helping to lead the children’s Christmas Eve service which I enjoy so much but that can be so hard when I am unwell.
I also had the added difficulty of experiencing awful anxiety and panic in shops and other crowded places which means shopping and some social occasions also were out of the question.
So with a few very supportive family members and close friends and the trusty internet I prepared for Christmas practically and with the prayers, support and love of those at the Church I managed to participate fully in the Advent and Christmas services and with my amazing family I also enjoyed and have treasured memories of a lovely Christmas Day.
Yet this has also come at some cost. I have written before about an Oscar winning performance and how in some ways it is massively important for me to keep going with things, put on a brave face and to some people pretend all is well but on the other hand I have to get the balance right as the consequences can be hard to cope with if I don’t.
On Christmas Day evening about 10pm I felt this wave of panic and exhaustion. I put it down to overindulging and tiredness and I had such a lovely day that it didn’t spoil it in anyway. It did though mean I was worried and woke up a couple of times that night in a panic and when I woke on Boxing Day I wouldn’t of been able to pretend to anyone. I was depressed and every part of me felt like it weighed 20 stone. I was so relieved that I had made no plans as getting out of bed took hours and leaving the house was a no go area. I couldn’t even get dressed but I battled to do a few jobs, setup my new laptop and did cook a meal but everything took twice as long as normal but I tried to convince myself that exhaustion can have this effect.
Yesterday was not a lot better although I achieved jobs in the house but I couldn’t step outside and realised I had not got dressed since Christmas Day evening. The thought of seeing anyone apart from my husband or my mum was frightening.
This morning I knew I had to break the cycle for my own peace of mind and so I got up and went to Church where once again felt so pleased that I had done this and fought the illness in my own small way. Yes I sometimes smiled when I really wanted to cry but it gave me confidence that I thought I had lost. I even managed a trip to little Waitrose and cups of tea at Mum’s & a close friends.
I some ways the Oscar performance both before Christmas, Christmas Day itself and today meant that I came down with a crash but it also gave me a boost when I really needed it and that will probably help in the long run. I now have a week before I return to work and I hope the small positive steps continue and the depression lifts for longer each day.