Saturday, 28 May 2011

No picture just some words.

Where do I start...I have been worried about how I will start this post and how much to share and even now I have erased these words over and over... So I think I will just write and see what comes.
Firstly - I do not have breast cancer... That was what the wish post was all about. I found a lump in my breast and as my mum had breast cancer at about my age it really freaked me out. and I was a bit of a mess emotionally. I have had it investigated and in the meantime the lump shrunk then came back about the time of my period and then disappeared again completely. It must have been a swollen duct or something. But also just under my bra strap is a funny raised area which also worried me. The lady doing the ultrasound said that this is common where your bra rubs often a bit of a ridge occurs (I guessing like a bit of a callous, sounds gross huh?)
So that is all ok. I have a referral for a genetic test to be done so that we can determine the best form/frequency of screening for me.
As the same time all of this was going on I have been asked to lecture students from UWA doing a teaching masters in a unit about teaching for a unit called the artistic and expressive child. This was a huge compliment to me and as it is a system where the school and the university work in partnership I said yes, even though I am a little nervous about it because I thought it would possibly be good for the school.I don't get paid any extra for doing this although I will possibly get a little extra DOTT time to prepare etc.
Because the students are going to do some workshops with the children we are having an Art Festival where the children will participate in art workshops and the event will culminate with an exhibition of all the children's work. Ever since the Evening on the Verandah my boss has been pushing for another whole school exhibition, saying that the P&C were keen to do the event again as a fund raiser. This year I caved and said OK because we will have the new building to use as an exhibition space. This new building was supposed to be ready at the end of last year. Then the beginning of this year , then by the end of the term, then at the beginning of this term. We are still not into it and it looks like the date to move is now the 17th June and the workshops start on the 20th. This is all causing a bit more stress and to top it off I have had pressure and communication problems over the exhibition and the fundraising side of it all which led me to tears last week. That is itself is a whole 'nother story which I wont go into here.
Meanwhile I am supposed to be teaching and writing reports let alone dealing with my day to day life and family.
Here comes the tricky part to write about. While I was at the doctor's in the lead up to the breast cancer scare and during it I found myself teary on several occasions and finally I worked up the courage to say I didn't feel right. I found life very hard and one weekend I did not leave the house once. I often found myself weeping at the slightest thing and I had to confess that I have been acting 'happy; for some time. If my emotions were a line graph it was flat along the middle or dropped downwards never above indifferent or numb, I knew when I was supposed to be happy or when things were supposed to be fun so I smiled and acted like I was enjoying myself.
I have been suffering depression. I felt embarrassed and weak that I couldn't 'get over it' or 'shake it off' I felt like I was inadequate or not doing things right or well enough and that is why I was not coping. The doctor said that he is not at all surprised because of my thyroid disease I have a chemical imbalance in my body and a course of anti depressants can be helpful. I felt like I'd failed some how. But upon thinking about it and now having been on them for well maybe 6 weeks I thought it is no different to taking the tyroxin or if you are diabetic and have to take insulin no one will judge you for that. Why do I feel bad to take antidepressants. I think that it is the fact that we don't talk of it, it is one of those mysterious taboos. Having said that I have no judgement towards other people who take them and encouraged some friends to seek help so why did I not feel I deserved that help- actually I think that that is more the crux of it I didn't feel I deserved the help that I should just get on with it and deal with it. Funny thing is that I have since found out that several people very close to me have been taking antidepressants. Usually I am a sharer I usually tell my friends what is going on with me- I guess I did a good job of acting most of the time. I did have one friend who said why don't you talk to your doctor but it took some time. I think that the fact that it is taboo to alot of people made me anxious to share what I am going through. Not so much with my friends but I was afraid that if people at my work new they would not think i was capable of doing my job or they would think less of me. But as the medication is kicking in I really am so very glad I am on them and I don't care right now if people think less of me because I feel so much better now.
I am still stressed with all the pressures of work happening at the moment -honestly I don't think you could take enough antidepressants to not feel stressed by what is happening at the moment. I still cry at the end of soppy romantic movies and when babies are born but I do not cry with a broken heart anymore sentimental things were full of pain for me and the shadows of my past would not leave me be. I do not however cry at weddings of friends (I do when it is your Mama and the groom gets so choked up with emotion he can hardly talk!) I guess I was worried that antidepressants would change me and mask my emotions they don't. I still feel sad at times I still feel stressed, I feel nostalgic and even anxious sometimes but these are not my default emotions or my only ones, I laugh now naturally and spontaneously not because I know I should, I make silly jokes again.
The downside is as the fog has cleared I can see there is so much I have to do to clean up the disorder that has resulted from my mental and physical fatigue. I am afraid that it is a big task and I don't really know where to start and I don't think I will have time to make a big dent in it until the next holiday. So for now I will go gently on myself and tackle one little job at a time, do what I can and leave what I can not for another time. Those people who love me will not judge me and will love me if my house is in order or not and I will love them for it.
And now I have got past this post which was difficult to start I will begin to post again although it may be irregularly until I get through this term and find a new rhythm in my life


fifi said...

oh wow,

I have been there in that awful place. Its nothing to keep quiet about. I've been on antidepressants as well, when things in my life were very similar to what sounds like has been going on on your life.

You have SUCH a huge load of things to cope with! And medical things are so difficult...I have fibroids which really freaked ME out, but I was very happy it wasn't cervical cancer which is what I thought.

I love the sound of the course you re teaching but they should be paying you. If you need any help with anything I can do, let me know. The course sounds great.

You take care and dont be hard on oyurself: you are really shouldering an enormous load! And doing a great job!

2paw said...

I just blogged last week about how I am experiencing anxiety and depression. Who knew it was so common?? I think it's just like being physically unwell, and you get treatment and help for that.
You must ave been so very stressed with the lump and callous(??!!) and then all the things at school. I hope you are finding a little time to relax. I am trying to be 'in the now' more!! Wish us both luck!!!

Anki said...

Darling Dette, I've been looking for this cathartic post when you mentioned you were thinking about it and then I missed when you actually posted it!
Congratulations for putting it out there into the World! There is only a stigma because people make it so. Remember the women locked in attics of the past?
You DO deserve to feel good. You ARE worth it. No-one, I mean no-one is going to think less of you for needing your chemicals balanced.

I'm so proud of you for making such a brave step and looking after yourself. Don't let disarray get you down, you're a busy woman. Even with feeling better, the endless shit that is housework gets on top of you (mind you, you do feel extra good when things are tidy and organised...what a vicious circle!). I'll come during the next holidays (child free) and help you if you want.

Kirti said...

HI darlin', god what a huge time. I'm so glad that all is well with your body and that you are looking after your gorgeous self. I send you oceans of love xxxxxxxxxxxxx

inkberryblue said...

From personal experience, I know how much courage and energy it takes to ask for help. Good for you.

Work sounds really intense, I hope your school realises how lucky they are to have you.

...and congratulations on being asked to lecture ~ that's such an honour!

Red Hen (dette) said...

Thanks guys for all your love and supportive words!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Oh how I wish I could reach through the computer screen and give you a really big hug right now.

You've been through so much and I am so relieved to hear (read) that all was ok with the breast. Such a scary thing to go through!

And sweetie, I think you have the right attitude about the antidepressants. Our dodgy thyroids to mess those chemicals up at times and you're so right about it just being like taking the thyroxine, your body needs help to get everything back in balance.

Don't forget at the same time though to be really kind to yourself. Give yourself downtime, lots of rest, avoid any stressers that you can, every little bit will help. I've been prescribed antidepressants a number of times, but can't take them as I'm allergic to a common ingredient in almost all of them. Fo me CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) made a huge difference.


one little acorn said...

Why is it that we are so hard on ourselves I wonder? When we deserve as much as anyone else, we can still be our worst critics. And you are right, depression is such a taboo subject - and often perceived a weakness... and yet, it is hardly surprising that sometimes we just need a little help given all the pressures we battle every day. When eventually even the smallest of tasks becomes enormous.
Good move for doing something about it, for asking for help, for accepting help and then having the courage to talk about it.
All the best to you Dette, may happiness become your close companion again.