So why have I felt the need to write all this? While I am not entirely sure, I do have a real feeling that I don’t want to keep this hidden. I hated making an excuse when I was too ill to teach. I know that in future weeks there may be times I am with people and I won’t be myself. I don’t want to lie or mislead people. I’d rather be open about it. I’m ill, and it is affecting me in significant ways.
If I have been quiet, distant, seemingly ignored you, or just not been myself in recent weeks I hope I haven’t offended you. If I have, I want to apologise.
I feel stupid, weak, useless, silly and, to an extent, ashamed. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I have always been someone who helps other people. Someone who sorts things out for others. A fixer, not someone who needs fixing. I am usually the strong one. To be in this position feels like failure. It feels like I am letting everyone down who relies on me. There is huge guilt associated with it.
The cause seems to be pressure. Too much pressure over too long a time. Pressure of work - not just the teaching and running the business but coping with keeping up with an overflowing in-box. Coping with all the myriad ways people can contact us these days - Phone, email, text, Whats App, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM’s, Instagram Messages - it has become overwhelming keeping up with this. I also have some clients contacting me at all hours and so personal time and space has become almost non-existent. Then there is the pressure of caring for my mother in law - she is 94 now and has lived with us for nearly four years. She needs 24 hour care and so either my wife of I needs to be here all the time. We are, to all intents and purposes prisoners in our home. Caring for my Mum who is disabled and in hospital much of the time but in reality not doing enough for her and feeling guilty about that. Having responsibilities as secretary of my local congregation which was very time consuming.
So I have taken steps to prevent this happening again. I have reduced my workload considerably and will be reducing it further. I am only going to do as much work as we need to live. I have relinquished, reluctantly, many of my congregation responsibilities. I am simplifying my life as much as possible to reduce stress so that I am concentrating on the most important things. My goal is to get off of the medication as quickly as I can without relapsing.
I now have even more sympathy for any of you reading this that have had breakdowns, suffer with depression or anxiety. Having a wife who suffers I have understood a little what it involves, but now I have a much better understanding of just how bleak and all encompassing it is. I also understand how the medication affects you too. It is not a magic wand. I now feel neither happy nor sad. I feel nothing. Just dull and relatively emotionless. Cold. I lack motivation. I am sleeping too deeply and too long. I don’t like it, but it is better than the blackness, the lack of hope, the deep guilt and the feelings of total worthlessness of a couple of weeks ago. But I crave feelings. I want to feel emotions again. This is still not a good place to be and so I hope it is only temporary.
As a good friend keeps telling me, “onwards and upwards”. I just hope it is.
I can’t think of anything else to say.