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When I Reach Out my World Expands
Posted by AliceRitaK
29th Mar 2015

I've had depression for nearly all my life in snippets and then a major episode when I was admitted to The Priory Roehampton.

I've done a lot of therapy on my family of origin, my upbringing the caregivers that I loved and feared in equal measure.

I always thought I would "figure it out" or get them to change, get my mum to change mainly. Stop her berating and saying hurtful things to my father. To me he was a gentle man to her he was weak and disappointing.

The story is a long one, confusing as it is tragic. Suffice it to say my mum wasn't always all that, had a cruel side that I feared, was unpredictable in her good moods and her anger. Never tactile always rushed. But she cared just enough

I hadn't meant to talk about this. I haven't touched it in quite a while. That's all gone and I am no longer that fearful child. Add to that a depressive sister who liked her drink a little too much and one unsuitable marriage that culminated in a suicide attempt and somewhere in the tumultuous water you have me.

I almost drowned. I married a beautiful man who I adored. i truly loved him and him me I think, at that early stage. He became an alcoholic and chaos ensued. I focused so much on his illness and the hope of recovery that I neglected myself and my needs. It was explained to me that I needed to detach, probably leave and I did try. His children loved him as well as me. He's that sort of man. But I was responsible for their care and staying will have done them damage.

Anyhow, my crazy mum finally died, a difficult death. She'd been physically assaulted by a blind priest with dementia shortly before she died. My mum was deaf. She died cursing me because I had refused to have her in my home and look after her. She was my nemesis but did not deserve the ending she had, I felt. And I loved her, I was scared to but I did.

Not my shout, upto God, the universe, her Higher Power, whatever you want to call it.

After that I had a major breakdown and regressed. Thankfully I found a fab psych who knew exactly what to do. I've been in real recovery now (I'd attended 12 step groups for most of my marriage) for 8 years.

That man gave me back my life. i am grateful for his care. He is no longer my psychiatrist. I cannot afford him.

But you know I learnt a lot. I use my therapies to keep me well. I've had a dip lately, have been struggling at work, I don't enjoy it. Its the wrong place for me, for my skills and for the type of people I mix with. Square peg in a round hole scenario but work is scarce. I'm 57 so no spring chicken.

I'm looking for a new job but have been too low to write my c.v. So I did use the therapies I learnt. I have my yoga mat out. Listen to BDTs relaxation tapes, it’s not easy this recovery lark. I like writing, I've always like it. So I do that too.

Mostly I want praise. The praise I didn't get as a youngster or I thought I didn't get. I now think I did. Sporadically, when mum was well enough to give it. Most probably she had an undiagnosed personality disorder.

We have a support group - 5 of us who were in the Priory together, meet every so often. Those people mean a lot to me, we ease our angst when we meet because there is no need to wear a mask or pretend. We all know. We just know and that common shared experience is enough to keep us afloat.

When I reach out, my world expands a little. Today I reached out to one of them, she came to help me put my c.v. together. I just asked. A lot of the time my pride gets in the way. I'm not like that, I say, I don't need it. But I do. And once I connect and angst lessens I always think, why did I resist so much? It's the illness. I have unipolar depression. I feel as if it's an excuse of an illness to the outside world It signifies weakness to them but it truly isn't. It's a pig of an illness and sometimes it wants me to stay in bed heavy hearted and feeling worthless. Usually I drag myself out, find a friend to speak with or meet or walk by the river with. I've learnt not to isolate. I've learnt a lot.

I feel proud to have nearly finished my c.v. Soon to be displayed - I am not worthless, I'm not a child. I do thing well. I deserve more. I need to go find it.

Tomorrow, I'll reach out to someone else. That someone will spend time with me, we'll share food together, share the loneliness of single 50 somethings and the gratitude also. She is one of my gifts, one of the people who found her way to my door. We laugh a lot together. It's good for the soul.

If I can reach out so can you. It's time to talk. I hate the misunderstanding and stigma it sucks. But I'll reach out to one of you because you are worth it. You get it, you get me. That'll do. For today.

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