April 4, 2017

Behind Brown Eyes.

All the time, every so often I genuinely wish that I didn’t care as much as I do.

I suppose I feel that it’s a strong explanation as to why I found this post so hard to publish. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit it’s due to the simple fact of fear.

I think fear is what controls many of my days to day actions, or loss of control? Worrying about how my actions might affect my future or what people think of me?

I start typing and all of a sudden the words start flowing and I find myself opening up like a flower does in spring. Before I know it, I’m then scattering my tears and emotions like the pretty pink petals of our magnolia tree. Apart from the fact that life is not always as beautiful as fresh blooms, sometimes like those blooms, we find ourselves greying and unable to lift ourselves back up.

When my mind wonders I start to think where it all began or what the trigger was? There are moments that I think it may have stemmed from a childhood of being bullied and the emotions of self-loathing that follows. Or was it when I started using social media more and put more pressure on myself to be able to do everything?

Or maybe it was the climbing accident back in 2012, where I was stuck in a position where I genuinely had no control? For those few moments, I had no idea of the outcome or how it would affect the rest of my life. I could hardly remain compos mentis and I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it, I still lay in bed reliving that moment, watching him fall and the silence that followed. I  don’t ever want to feel that way again.

On the face of it, I have and have had a pretty charmed life. If you were to look at me now,  maybe you’d think it was complete madness that I feel this way. I have a handsome, loyal and honest partner, we own a beautiful home, and we rehomed an entertaining and charming Bengal cat who is my baby substitute. I have a good job, which I dread getting out of bed and going to, I have friends, only a handful but they are stable and positive influences.

Oh, I have stuff too! Everyone likes stuff right? You know, when you buy something and promise yourself in that moment of indulgence that it’s going to make you ‘really happy’?

I’d set myself a target to stop buying more stuff, I wasn’t gaining anything and there’s only so much Ralph Lauren and Sweaty Betty you can buy before you realise enough is enough. You see, when I was younger I’d buy cars, as a status symbol. Then nicer my car was, the more expensive my shoes and bag would have to be to match, my debt was somewhat impressive too! I tackled that, put it to bed from time to time, I wonder if it’s worth splurging? I don’t and I won’t. Take it from me, when I say It won’t make you happy.

I would wear my tiredness like a badge of pride, like ‘I’m so exhausted because I live a life that requires so much from me, admire me fitting it all in’. There’s no grace in being too tired to enjoy the little things in life that really matter, or having the energy to give something my all or even 50% of me. Or having ‘energy boosting‘ binges which roughly translates to a diet of coffee and sugar, which reflects in my increased waistline and decreased self-confidence.

I have one talent, that’s pretending everything is just fine and putting on a confident, happy and self-assured act. I’m that person writing all these ‘love yourself affirmations and not actually putting a single word of it into practice myself, that’s a bit disappointing isn’t it? It’s not as Pinterest friendly to write ‘get out of bed, dress, face the world and pull yourself together’.

Saying no is tough for me. I have acted like a doormat, attending events I don’t care about, meals out and social evenings where I just get ‘spiked’ with comments that stay with me for days. Gradually I’ll learn to say no, learn to put me and my emotions first.  I did, however, have a stage last month where I said no to everything. I had a complete confidence lapse, no I won’t help you with that project, despite the fact I’d love too! I won’t attend your cool sounding event, cookery class and open day. It wasn’t meant to be, or I just couldn’t get myself out of that funk or find the energy to say yes.

Due to the fact I allow myself to drift into an irrational mood when I think I simply cannot fit everything in and allow myself to get frustrated rather than sensible, I tend to break things. I don’t know why I’m so accident prone or why it always happens to me? But it does. This weekend, I found myself in our garden, sobbing my heart out over the fact we’d had our lawn scarifier for 30 minutes and I’d managed to completely destroy it.

Depression is a complex and deeply personal way of feeling. I don’t walk around under a rain cloud, most people don’t know there’s anything wrong at all because we all experience it differently. I’m still able to turn up (nine times out of ten!) and face life full on, I’m tired of being held back and I want to move fowards. Not just for my sake, but the sake of those I love and the quality of life that I want to enjoy.  I don’t really want to take anti-depressants, I’m trying St John’s Wort and less caffeine as my starting point, I’ll evolve if I need to.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that so many people start working out to beat mental health issues, and running used to be my escape and would set my mind at ease. At present, I have to really push through the invisible barrier that makes me not want to go at all, the wall I built between myself and really enjoying being outside. I just think ‘I can’t run as fast or far right now, so why should I bother at all?’ – There’s always another reason to try again.  I’ve started ‘boxing’ as we now have a punch bag in our garage, the day after a punching session I really ache, but I feel a sense of relief once I’ve finished my workout.

I hope that by talking, or in this case writing about how I feel and working hard to find a solution, I will gradually start to heal. In the meantime, I’ll just potter along this crazy world that I call life, smile at the little things and try to learn how to put myself first along the way.

If you have anything to offer in terms of advice or a story to share…I’d love to hear!



20 responses to “Behind Brown Eyes.”

  1. I have no helpful advice here but just wanted to comment and say how relatable and beautifully written this post is. If it’s any small consolation, I feel the same on a regular basis so you’re not alone there. Much love x

    • Katie G says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Lisa, it’s wonderful to know I’m not the only one in this boat! Much love back x

  2. No real help here, but I hope that the steps you are taking are helping you.

  3. Christy says:

    I’m sorry I have no real advice to offer. Like you say, everyone’s experience is different and there isn’t always an answer. Just take each day at a time. I hope you feel better soon!

  4. Caroline says:

    I’m so, so sorry that you’re feeling like this. It’s awful and I can completely sympathise.

    I have had two episodes of depression bad enough to warrant anti depressants. I was resistant at first but I decided to view it a different way. I no longer think of depression and anxiety as mental illness. They are physical illnesses with mental health symptoms.

    It’s usual to blame yourself. “I have X, Y and Z so why do I feel like this, why can’t I shake it off?” When you have a chest infection you don’t say the same, you accept that you’re ill and grab some antibiotics.

    I’m not saying that you should get anti depressants but please don’t dismiss them outright. I denied myself for four years the first time because I refused to be depressed. The second time I knew and got them really quickly. I wasn’t on them long either time.

    It’s definitely worth visiting your GP to get blood tests because the type of feelings you have can be caused by lots of other things too.

    You are one of the loveliest people I don’t know. It’s sad that you are feeling like this. I very rarely comment despite reading but your story is so familiar and I didn’t want to ignore it.

    • Katie G says:

      Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for taking the time to write such an honest and helpful comment, I completely understand what you are saying and I may need to go down the same route. It’s actually really heartwarming to know that I’m not the only one feeling like this, there’s nothing worse than feeling low and alone at the same time.
      I’ll give it another month and then seriously consider going to see my Dr.
      Thank you again, you really touched me with this…

  5. Ahhh dude this is a hard read, bet it was a nice release to write though? I find writing really therapeutic. Do you keep a journal? As in a written one? I used to for years and years and it really helped when I had too many thoughts to spill out. Also colouring in is really meditative, and if you’re not up for running why not pack a flask and just go for nice long walks in the countryside now that the weathers nice? I truly believe in the power of getting outside to lift a foggy mind. Yoga might help too. Do you have any meditation classes nearby? Cut your screen time and try to do a social media detox if you can. There’s a really interesting art project where the artist photographed people with their devices and photoshopped them out, makes everyone look so lonely and sad. Was fascinating and really struck a chord with me. Staying off antidepressants for now sounds like a plan until you’ve tried other options. Although for some they really do help, it’s just dependant on you as a person. They take a while to work though so just bear that in mind if you do choose to go that way. Really hope you feel better soon, well done for writing about it! Lots of love xx

    • Katie G says:

      Oh Tess,
      I can’t thank you enough for such a helpful and kind comment, I’m easing back into running again and falling back in love with the freedom.
      The idea of a written journal is such a good one, I need to take the time to start writing one and release my feelings each day.
      I saw the project and your right, it was heartbreaking…
      Defo going to reconsider giving Yoga a second chance too! xx

  6. Hugs, babe. I know what you’re feeling. Saying no more often but not ALL the time helps. Just really think about every invitation and decide if it’s something YOU want to do or if it’s something that you think would make you look cool. I find that sleep affects everything for me a lot so I’ve been reading a book every night before bed and it helps me to fall asleep and when I sleep better, my brain feels better.

    And don’t believe in social media or all the 20-year olds saying you should be your own boss and do your own thing and have a life of adventures (and somehow get paid for them). There is nothing wrong about having an office job, doing it well and having adventures in between the working days.

    • Katie G says:

      Thanks Lovely Lady…
      I agree, after taking a week or so off, it gave me a chance to reevaluate how I view social media/my life etc
      Also like you say, only attending things I REALLY love and not just because I think it’s the right thing to do…

  7. Harriet says:

    Hello lovely! It’s been a while but I just spotted this blog post. First of all, well done on being so open – it is really tough to admit how we’re feeling when we’re struggling with periods of depression. But you are absolutely not alone. And you will help loads of other people who read your blog by talking about this subject! I would really recommend going to talk to someone – a GP or therapist – just as a starting point. They can help you pinpoint where your feeling might be coming from. Also anti-depressants get a really bad rep but they can be very helpful – after all, if you had a headache would you think twice about taking paracetamol? I’d also recommend The Medicinal Chef’s book on Anxiety and Depression it’s a really interesting look at how what we eat can affect our mental health.

    Also, if you ever need anyone to talk to, get in touch! I’d be happy to chat 🙂
    I hope you are doing okay and have more good days than bad. Harriet xxx

    • Katie G says:

      Hello! Lovely to hear from you sweetheart and I’ll defo check out those books…
      Happy to report I’ve been feeling a little brighter, despite all the stresses of everyday life.
      You are the second person to recommend those books, am definitely going to check them out

  8. Kim says:

    I could have written this. I think lots of women out age could have written it which is so sad. But blogs like yours which are more real and less filtered than most are what we need to see. Keep on keeping on and enjoy the adventures between pesky weekdays at the office.

    • Katie G says:

      Thanks so much Kim, it is sad and coming to terms with it has been really diffcult. Nice to feel that I’m not alone x

  9. Good on you for speaking so openly about something that is clearly a difficult subject.

    I hope you are able to find your ‘escape’ again, whether it be through running, boxing or anything. Everyone deserves to be happy, well, almost everyone! You certainly do, so I hope that you have much more positive feelings ahead of you.

  10. Mollie says:

    Hi Katie, I have been on anti-depressants on and off for a long time. Depression can be the result of a chemical imbalance in your body and nothing to be ashamed of. It is refreshing to see British culture opening up about these mental health struggles, and as you can see from the comments above, there are many people out there who can relate. I am happy to chat with you about my experiences with medicine and without, anytime x

    • Katie G says:

      Hi Mollie,
      Thanks for your lovely comment, it’s really hard to open up about it and I feel a huge weight has been lifted by sharing my story and struggles. Will defo drop you a line xx

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