Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum

Moods

22 Comments

It’s been a very quiet weekend. The youngest flew to the city her brother is at university at yesterday. The uni has its Open Day tomorrow, and she and a friend went together to check it out. So, Mother’s Day weekend has been spent doing my final two interviews and transcribing them. I have a bloody sore typing wrist! So, I will try to keep it brief.

crying-depressed-depression-fake-favim-com-1832803

I guess, from what I have posted on this funny little piece of online real estate, I looked like I had a blissfully unaware, spoilt rotten life prior to the affair? Right? Well, not quite.

I had fairly brief periods over the years when my mood would be pretty low. I think it was probably mild depression that would hit from nowhere. It would be years apart, and usually I could shake it off within a month or two. It hit particularly badly when my eldest was about eight months old, and I ended up in tears in my GPs surgery, with his older practice nurse being SOOO amazing, and saying that she had suffered with post natal depression, and had some numbers of good counsellors. They prescribed meds for me. I never filled the prescription, and battled away until around the eighteen month mark, when it seemed to lift. I have no idea why? I had stopped breastfeeding her a couple of months earlier, and I mostly enjoyed that. I think just talking in the doctor’s office that day helped ease the burden a bit. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I was a bit isolated, in a way. I was only 25 when I had her, and none of my friends were partnered up, let alone mothers yet. I think I felt I had failed a little at life, a two time university dropout, had to return early from her OE due to a unplanned for baby on the way. Bit of a lemon really. I knew I wasn’t, that those narratives were in my head, and that I loved and was loved. And I made a huge effort. If I had to be a mother, I was going to be the BEST damn mother I could be. I had a great role model in my own mother, but I hadn’t ever really thought too hard about parenthood. I assumed the urge, if it ever came – and to be honest, I hoped it wouldn’t – would hit somewhere in my 30s. My girl short circuited all of that. And I have no real regrets. Motherhood was the making of me in many ways. And don’t get me wrong, I adore my kids. Totally.

A couple more times in the next couple of decades, I recall some lowish moments. The worst was when I started to have suicidal ideations, or basically, I went and sorted out how to make the practicalities of a car gassing work. That was absolutely (by far and away) the worst I ever got, and I never went through with any attempts. It seems almost surreal to tell the story now. Like only crazy and terribly messed up people get that low, right? (Answer: of course not!)

I recall a friend having a real struggle in dealing with her teenage step-daughter being diagnosed with depression. Like it was pretty stigmatic (to her.) I remember asking a few questions, like is she getting help, is the ‘help’ actually helping, etc. Then I made a remark that may seem flippant here. I said, “well, you do remember that it is a teenager’s job to be depressed, right?” I didn’t mean it to sound as harsh and as dismissive as it no doubt did. The friend looked at me like I had taken a dump on her white carpet! “What the hell are you talking about?” I answered, “well, we’ve all listened to too much sad music and taken it to heart, felt completely heart broken and misunderstood as teenagers, haven’t we?” She was sure I had dropped from another planet. “NO!!! I never felt like that.” Boy, did I feel like a weirdo, and I realised, for the first time, that maybe not everyone DID feel like that a lot in their teens? I mean, I had a great childhood, there was plenty to do, see, eat, play, etc. I was pretty privileged, but never over-indulged. It floored me. Did I do my teenage years all wrong? I thought her step-daughter (who is my god-daughter, I was good friends with her mother before their divorce) was just having a tough, but pretty ‘normal’ time of those late teen years. She was, but did require some medical help for a while, maybe she still does, she’s 25 now, and it matters not, as long as she is okay. But maybe it isn’t always like that? A revelation. And not a pretty one. I was somehow a ‘deficient’ model off the assembly line. Damn! I LOVED all that emotional music. As an 80s child, I LOVED listening to Morrissey speak my truths. Michael Stipe, Robert Smith, yes, Prince, Bowie, Siouxsie Sioux, Billy Bragg, so, so many more, all of my musical loves, they KNEW how it felt to be me, to not fit the round hole as this square peg. And she was telling me I was wrong.

I figure that I was given an incredible capacity to feel. Mostly is has been an amazing gift. I loved, I laughed, I empathised, I supported, and I mourned with those I care about. But, the flipside of that special coin, is that you feel pain (and anger!) more intensely than most. You are usually a loyal and fierce person. You will FIGHT anyone who hurts ANYONE you care about. It might not be physical, but you will form whatever barriers you can. I would bloody well near die for you if I love you! Even if you were nice to me once, lol! I spent a great deal of my younger life learning to rein the anger, and indignation at injustice in – to a societally acceptable level. I met a very calm and loving man, and he helped me in this endeavour. Interestingly, he sort of understood it, even though he rarely feels the heights and depths that I always have. He knows it dwells in him, having watched his father, who is not a bad man in any way, shape or form, instead is a pretty sweet and caring man, but who had an explosive temper – never directed at animals or humans. I have been checked twice to see if I fit a bipolar profile. Apparently not, but I believe I may sail pretty close to that ley line at times. And I knew it. I recognised my passions were possibly a bit more intense than many.

So, a friend posted about a song that moved her as it always reminded her of a family member who lived with the torment of addiction, and who, sadly, eventually took his own life. It set off some triggers, but not in that heart-stopping, awful way of the immediate period of post D-day. More just led me down this rabbit hole. I have blogged earlier about my affinity with music, and the themes and lyrics that give me goosebumps, and plumb the depths of my soul. I know I am not alone in that. And it reminded me that I didn’t have a picture perfect life before the affair (ha! I already knew that, but…) that I had had a moment where I really did contemplate ending my life, because I was not coping with the pain of … life. I know I am susceptible to depression, but have never really had a severe episode of prolonged, deep depression, more my – self-diagnosed, I admit – dysthymia, where I just can’t feel content. And this is what has set in after the affair, and after the first years of being pretty sure we would manage to climb out of the shitty place he put us in. Dysthymia, it’s a shit of a place to live, and I can’t seem to raise a mortgage to get out of it!

All that said, it has been a productive weekend, but I need to exercise. I have the last two interviews completed for my dissertation paper done this weekend, but yet to transcribe, and I was hoping I would have made a start on the coding and writing by now. The joys of what seems like permanent studenthood!

So, (not a real) dog, WALKIES!!!

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Moods

  1. My husband and I know a man who blew his family up for an affair that lasted 6 months. I was curious because this couple seemed totally devoted. I spent time looking at midlife crises information and came away with the knowledge that men usually use an affair as a crutch if they are disatisfied with their jobs. Their wives are not aware of the loss of self esteem caused by feeling no longer in control of their lives. In your husband’s case I would imagine he used all that sneaking around to distance himself from feeling helpless.
    When you write about sadness/depression you touch on something I read several years ago. The idea is to put moods on a 1 to 10 continuum with 1 suicidal and 10 euphoria. No one can lead a life at either one of those ends. Most of us are somewhere in the 7/8/9 range. For those people who live at 4/5/6’range,happiness is really never there. I truly believe many affairs began because someone is so depressed and cannot find any way to alleviate that. Sneaking around, making plans, finding a spot to have the affair all allow the person to ignore their depression. It makes no sense otherwise when you consider that the person cheating genuinely loves his spouse. When asked by their wives “why” they almost always have no answer. I think it is as close to running away from home as they can get. When we are children we constantly think about packing a bag and leaving our parents. Usually when we felt helpless. . We almost never did it. Adults seldom do it. So, what they do is have affairs. I think your suicidal thoughts were about running away.
    I am not sure why western society is plagued with depression because on the surface we appear to have everything we need or want. I think many people have this. The difference is we have the time and means to deal with it. Someone who lives in a war zone is dealing with something even more basic. Illness and death were always a breath away until about 100 years ago but even the Freud was treating women for helplessness. Now we have inoculations, refrigeration, airconditioning, indoor plumbing, safe water, antibiotics etc and yet we strive for something more. I think that is the blessing or the curse of being human.

    • Yes. Roger felt I had abandoned him when I got an off farm job, when I expressed to him that I wasn’t 100% on board with his new venture and I needed time and a job to try to ease the path for me. I communicated that I was sliding into that darker place. It hadn’t happened often. But he knew I had struggled a couple of times in the then 21 years we had lived together. Sadly, he never reciprocated with communication. And unfortunately, I invited his cheating ex GF back onto our lives at that crucial point. Hey, not to say he wouldn’t have found someone else. But it was (unknowingly) putting fresh meat in front of a starving lion! Too easy.

      We had a dear friend that Roger had known and been close to since they were 6 years old, kill himself about 12 years ago. His wife had left him. We were heartbroken as we knew he was struggling to a degree, but not how badly. We wondered what we could have done to help avoid losing that brilliant and funny man? The truth is, we also knew he was tortured and maybe there was nothing? We both recognised that his final act alleviated his pain. And I now have even more understanding than ever of his method of escape. He couldn’t see that he would ever heal enough to carry on. I get that now. At the time I felt sad he hadn’t let ‘time’ work its magic. The thing is, it doesn’t. Time does not fix anything. It might lessen the sharpness of that pain. But it does not heal.

  2. I have been to that dark suicidal place and it is terrifying. It takes so much strength to get out of it and put one foot in front of the other, to choose to fight on, to continue living in pain with only the slightest little light of hope that it will ease. If there is any place darker than d-day, deep depression/ suicidal ideation is surely it. Thank you for writing and sharing. ❤️

    • Thanks Leigh. Yes. I feel it is terrifying when I am not THERE. But the only way of relief/escape etc when I am. I have had three times in my life when I was close. Two of them enacted in the first two years post D-day. When I look back to that time I started detaching vacuum hoses and finding duct tape? I wonder what the hell was going on then? I think it was frustration even then (we had young kids, maybe 4, 6 and 10?) about not being taken seriously? I fought for two decades for Roger to ‘allow’ me equal partnership in that he says he was shielding me from his family in our business affairs, but I feel he was excluding me. And the truth is, HE DIDN’T TRUST ME. He did not trust me to not start a fight when his sisters were being unreasonable. That is the truth. He now sees this. So, as an intelligent feminist, I was being marginalised in my own life, by the man I loved dearly. I was being excluded from having much agency in my own future! It infuriated me. And occasionally I felt extremely low. I often wondered why I fell in those troughs. I think it was that uphill battle to just get what should have been given. A bit of trust and respect. Sigh. Freaking 20/20 hindsight!

  3. I don’t know, I was a moody goth-ish teen and a more moody adult LOL. I’ve been very depressed, and for a time I was on meds, but never wanted to die. Even in my worst moments, I had a spark of hope. I think depression is increasingly common. We need to break the stigma by talking about it openly. I’d hazard a guess in saying that depression is actually normal (though sucky beyond measure).
    Anyway, happy Mother’s Day lovely ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Yay, another moody, goth-ish teen – we aren’t THAT weird, are we, caroline? (Don’t answer that!) I have only taken meds for just less than a year, about two years into this mess. And they did not help one little bit, in fact, I gained so much weight (nearly all the infidelity diet weight I had lost and kept off for two years) back – THAT was depressing. I agree that “depression” is normal. But I also think that it may be “over-diagnosed” in that sometimes it isn’t “clinical depression” merely a “low” in life that has ebbs and flows.

      I had a very relaxing Mother’s Day – kinda! If being home alone and transcribing interviews is your thing? Still hard at it – should really go for a run/walk, as it is a stunning day, and I have had my bum superglued to this chair as I transcribe.

      • I will never know if the meds helped me either. They didn’t make me “feel” better. I still felt awful. Till this day, I wonder if they made any difference. I was so happy to get off those things. I didn’t want to start using them as a crutch–as I see many do. And I think that yes, it is extremely over diagnosed. Doctors are too quick to write a prescription rather than actually listen to their partings.

      • I hear you, caroline. I am all for people getting the help they need, and if meds are helpful/required – and SO many times they really are, people cannot help deficiencies in certain chemicals – I might have come across a bit judgy there! There are certainly a whole lot of people who are infinitely helped by the drugs that they need to be as whole as possible. I would never suggest an insulin dependent diabetic stop taking their meds, anymore than a depressed person should not take meds if they are required and actually helping. So important! We probably all know of bipolar or schizophrenic people who NEED medication to help balance their brains. I think there are plenty of people who genuinely are a lot better off with their anti-depressants, and/or anti-anxiety meds. I have one dear friend who resisted the idea for years, but has been taking them for a couple of decades now, and it has certainly helped her, and I think she will be on them for life, and THAT’S GREAT, they work!

      • Well ladies, the goth thing… I never ever was into that and am not now even though I wear a lot of black (it’s slimming you know). 😉 I think you girls are just that much younger than me that it wasn’t really a thing until I was college maybe. I was so boring traditional and pretty totally happy with life, all the freakin’ time. I did go to school in Arizona though, so you could catch me in a mini skirt and jellies quite often. Not sure that says anything good about me. 🙂 Anyhoo… my mom and I were just talking about anti-depressants last week. I told her I know the reason I didn’t want to have to take meds is because I have watched my sister abuse them for so many years and also gain a lot of weight, BUT, she takes A LOT of meds. When the doc prescribed lorazepam for me for anxiety on planes, I never took it because that is one of the drugs my sister abuses, big time. Of course my dose was 1/2 tablet, while she was downing maybe a half dozen at a time (she is most definitely a prescription drug addict). I know I am not an addict but it still makes me sad to think of how my sister “is” when she abuses these drugs.

        I do have to say, however, I think the low dose Zoloft is working. Either that or I have crossed my own hurdle. I do feel less melancholy, less stressed, and less anxious in the past couple weeks and generally much happier. I don’t think I have even mentioned the OW in a couple weeks. That is surely a record for me and I am sure it is quite a relief for BE. I was never an unhappy person and I don’t want to be, but that does not mean being happy or sad is normal or abnormal. All our moods make us who we are. I see a lot of people pretend to be happy and that is not right either. You can tell they are pretending and who knows what lurks underneath. I think you live incredibly authentically Paula and no doubt that is one of the things people love most about you. Big hugs to you both xoxo!

      • That is fantastic! Relief, no matter how small. Love it ❤

        BTW. I probably associated more strongly with a post punk outlook than a strictly ‘goth’ one 😉

      • I love colour too much!!!

  4. Beautiful. Sad. Thank you for writing this

  5. Despite obvious low moments that happen in everybody’s life, I was always a glass half full person. OH once describe me as someone who saw life “throgh the shining eyes of hope”. Since DDay, just over2 years ago, I have become the complete opposite. I am mistrustful, cynical and question everyone’s motives. That is the legacy of infidelity.

  6. Hee hee! I was a bit confused what you meant. I started posting on there about 7 months ago after lutrking for almost a year. It still gives me comfort. Post-apocalyptic is the word. X

  7. Me too hon. X

  8. Hello my dear Paula. Sorry I’ve been so quiet, I’ve been trying (not very successfully) to just focus on the ‘now’, but I miss you loads. I’ll catch up with you soon. In the meantime, speaking of meaningful songs, I’ve been listening to this one a LOT lately. The band’s story is a sad one, boy and girl, boy has terminal cancer and passes away right before album is released, album is dedicated to him. But I’m sure you’ll recognise and understand why these lyrics speak to me particularly. Love you, fire-heart, and speak soon ❤ xxx

    Open your eyes, love.
    All alone…

    Open your eyes, love.
    Weeping…

    I know that she was wrong
    but life is moving on, so
    Get it together, ’cause now anger is your pleasure
    And the pleasure is the tether that fed you for too long
    Now you’re thinking that you’re better
    ’cause you think it made you strong, but
    What you don’t get
    Is the colour of regret is the thing that made you sweat
    When you tried to paint a picture of life in the future
    When the present’s too wet
    With the tears that you wept long ago, fuelling the fire still
    Keeping your head turned around in the past
    Float in the present with the role that you cast
    For her as the villain
    And you, who came in last

    It’s time to wake up

    Open your eyes, love
    ‘Cause you’ve been sleeping
    It’s getting hard to bear, watching you all alone
    I know your heart is broken
    And you’ve been weeping
    But I’ve been waiting here patiently for too long

    I know that she was wrong
    and life is moving on
    And the anger that you feed keeps you feeling justified
    But turning a blind eye to the one who you survived with
    And kept you sane through the heartache and the pain
    What you don’t get
    Is the color of regret is the thing that made you sweat
    When you tried to paint a picture of life in the future
    When the present’s too wet
    With the tears that you wept long ago, fueling the fire still
    Keeping your head turned around in the past
    Float in the present with the role that you cast
    For her as the villain
    And you, who came in last

    It’s time to wake up

    Open your eyes, love
    ‘Cause you’ve been sleeping
    It’s getting hard to bear, watching you all alone
    I know your heart is broken
    And you’ve been weeping
    But I’ve been waiting here patiently for too long
    You are my pain, love
    You are my sorrow
    Can’t you see we’re the same?
    You got me crying
    And now my heart is breaking
    ‘Cause I’ve been weeping
    And I’ve been waiting here silently for too long

    You come close, when you’re in pain
    Do you feel better, babe?
    Then you go, ’cause you’re afraid
    You’ll fall in love again
    You’ll fall in love again
    You’ll fall in love again

    Open your eyes, love
    You got me crying…

    • Hey there KJ. Yeah, I have been wondering about you, but I always hope that quiet in this world means healing is slowly winning over the worst of the pain. It’s slow. Painfully slow. But I am glad you have been working away at this. Talk soon xxx.

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