The Mindful Way through Depression …..

I am not big on reading self-help books on depression or anxiety.  Partly because I think most of them are shite, and secondly because my filter system between other people’s issues and mine gets a bit hazy, and too much seeps over to my corner of the garden.

If I had to immerse myself in a book about someone and their issues, it would only be a matter of time before I started exhibiting the same issues.

I am funny like that.

That being said, on Saturday I stopped at The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, primarily to get a gift for the lovely Julie Hall, but whilst there I decided to spend my children’s inheritance on books.  For me.

This book titled: “The Mindful Way through Depression – Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel, and Jon Kabat-Zimm jumped off the shelf at me.

I have no idea why, the cover looks like something from a really bad Jodi Picoult novel, and it is titled SELF HELP/PSYCHOLOGY – which would normally have me running for the hills – or at the very least rolling my eyes in sarcasm and prejudgement.

I picked the book up, parked my rather large rump on the leather couch and read a few pages.  I did it with a slightly raised eyebrow as I was expecting the usual “decide to be happy and you will be” bullshit.

I am pessimistic that way, go figure.

The part where I knew I was hooked was the example mentioned on page 20

You are walking down a familiar street … You see someone you know on the other side of the street … You smile and wave.  The person makes no response … just doesn’t seem to notice you … walks right past without any sign of recognizing your existence.

Question:

How does this make you feel?

What thoughts or images go through your head?

The example illustrates the ABC model of emotions.  The A is the facts of the situation.  B is the interpretation we give to the situation, while C is our reaction.

Logically one can work through this exercise and come up with the possibility that the person on the other side of the road was listening to his iphone and you could not see the earphones, and he did not see you.  Or maybe he was really distracted as he was thinking about a fight with his wife earlier in that day, and did not hear me, or notice me.

That is logic.  All of those are possibilities.

Me = immediate hot flush to my face, shoulders and chest and I start to feel this gnawing feeling that the person did not “not see me” he did.  But he ignored me because I had slighted him or I had upset him, or I done something to offend him.  But I had done something to upset/annoy/alienate him, and now he was angry at me.  Why do I do this to people?  What the hell is wrong with me?

{you can see I get totally lost in the interpretation of a situation, and tend to see the bubonic plague and the big bad wolf in everything}

Today is Monday night, and I still feel bad that the guy on the other side of the street did not acknowledge me.

Please let me bring you back to the fact that this did not happen to me, it was merely an example in an introduction of a book.  But since Saturday I have been running through the ways I could have offended this person.  This imaginary person.  On a street I have never walked on.  A greeting I never made, because it is fiction.

Crikey moses!!  Does this give you some idea of how warped General Anxiety Disorder is and how really ‘out to lunch’ my thought process is?

I am going to sit here and sip my wine, and wonder whether my script can be filled yet, and whilst I wait think a bit more about the “guy on the other side of the street and what I have done to hurt his feelings…”

Car accidents and anxiety attacks ….

Monday was a bit of a right off, for all the reasons that would be good reasons when you start the day with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet.

Can’t really comment more on that one.

I slept until about 1pm and then had an appointment to get to, and the rest of the day was the usual blur of fetching and carrying kids and eating toast.

I met my (not so new) new psychiatrist and he gave me a new brown pharmacy bag of medication.  I was
not overly emotionally committed to the first bag, so I am okay with change.

I am still getting used to new side effects, so a few more is not really going to change my world right now.  But let’s see how that fares.

I decided that I needed a Mental Health Day on Tuesday – and asked Kennith if he could please stop and get bread on the way home and also take the kids to school on Tuesday morning as I could then hide under my duvet for a bit longer.

He said yes he would get bread, yes he would take the kids to school.

I thought, great.

Made some tea, stared at my reflection in the kitchen window.

Phone rang again – Kennith.

My first thought was “Seriously can you not go to the shop and make a decision without having to ask me three questions.  You have an MBA, work the bread aisle out!”

I answer the phone: ‘Yesssssss” I drawl, slightly irritated.

Kennith – with the background sound of traffic…”I have been in a car accident…”

Me – I felt my adrenal glands compress and push adrenaline through my blood.

I felt my hippocampus start screaming.  I felt my heart start to beat a bit faster to allow my lungs more oxygen to allow for the anxiety attack that was coming….. I thought about my kids and which one was dead.  Which one was injured, and if one of them was dead, who I would “be able to deal” with better.

I thought of my tea and that I might not be able to drink it.   I thought that I probably will not be able to function moving forward.  I might need to go and live with my mom.  I probably will never recover.  Teh entire universe suddenly became me-my cup of tea-my reflection in the kitchen window-and Kennith’s voice on the phone.

I started to realise that Kennith’s voice was still talking ….as he had not paused for breath from his first statement to his second…”I am fine, the car is damaged, I am fine!”

I knew I had just put the kids in bed.  I know logically they could not be in the car with Kennith.  I had just put them into bed – myself!

However that did not stop my brain from telling my brain  that my kids were possibly dead on the N1.

I had already worked out a loose funeral plan and what I might wear.

Kennith repeated: “I am fine, I can’t drive me car.  I need you to come and fetch me, I am at ……
and can you arrange a tow truck …. call DAL’S …….they are really good ….I am fine!”

I got my bag, asked Pepe to watch the kids.

I stopped and looked in each of their rooms  to make sure they were there and unharmed and had were really not in the car with Kennith.

I went to fetch Kennith next to the N1.

Kennith was/is fine.

Kennith’s car is not.

DAL’s tow service sent over a truck to pick the car up.  I had to phone my friend David to help me make the call, as I could not even remember Kennith’s cell phone number at that  point, let alone arrange a tow truck.

Kennith filled in the forms on the side of the N1.

I stared blankly at the road.

DAL’s took the car, in a very efficient and friendly manner.

Kennith got into my car and I drove us home.  I stared rather blankly out the window as I drove us home.  We had to stop for milk (and chocolate spread).

I am traumatised.

It is Kennith’s accident and I am traumatised.

Kennith’s neck is a bit sore and he really should go to a  chiropractor.  I think he might need a trauma counsellor – I am not being flippant.  I think he is very shaken —  I really think he needs to speak to someone.

That someone cannot be me.

I took a sleeping pill on Monday night – I woke up at 4am on Tuesday morning and stared at the ceiling worrying about every possible permutation of what “could have been..”

Tuesday I did not go to work.. I took a mental health day …I need a mental health week.

I can’t actually sit with Kennith and talk to him about the trauma and the effect of the “car accident” on him and how he saw his life flash before his eyes because I am ….

I am angry.

I am scared.

I am disappointed.

I am afraid.

I am petrified.

I am terrified.

I am panicked.

I am anxious.

I can’t help him with the oxygen bag in the plane, as for fk  sake I can’t get mine on, and the plane is nose diving at a bit of a rate.

I woke up this morning just before 5am and stared at the ceiling and worried some more (that is with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet).

Kennith needs support, and I can barely stand …….  I can’t help him because I can’t help myself right now.