Friday, June 24, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress

I thought I had depression.  I did not want depression, and I certainly did not want to go onto anti-depressants.  So, for the last few weeks I've been ignoring the symptoms and thinking that if I just went to bed earlier, or remembered to take my Omega-3s then it'd be all good.

But my exhaustion grew and grew.  I couldn't write, I couldn't read, I felt overwhelmed, useless, pointless, adrift.  My temper was on a hair-trigger, tears simmered just below the surface and my tolerance for any kind of stress was zero.  I felt like I took one step forward and two back.  Simple household chores were beyond me and my so-loved garden was just a burden.  I found driving so stressful that I was convinced I was on the verge of having an accident.

So yesterday I arrived on the door-step of my wise-woman, tissue in hand and trying not to cry because I was wearing make-up and had school stuff on later in the day.  I should've forgot about the makeup.

After she'd patiently listened to me rant and sob for half an hour, she smiled gently and told me I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress - NOT Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD - which War Veterans and the like get).

I have been living under a very high and sustained stress level for the last year, especially since January, when hubs became unemployed and Miss 5 started school.  Now that hubs is back at work and we are finally getting some concrete help with Miss 5, the stress levels are dropping and now its time for me to pay-the-piper. So I get sick (migraines), freak out (traffic, and anything else you care to think of), lose temper (with everything and everyone).

Because I haven't been able to take the time to nurture me, my tank is empty, I am exhausted, and my inner self has said enough is enough.

And all this the day before school holidays start.


So how do I recover from all this exhaustion?

Not pills, but cups of tea.  Not getting a cleaner, but giving myself a break and getting the family to help with the mess, or live with the filth.  Going to bed early. Eating well. Getting outside.  Less sugar, more fruit.  Getting the endorphins moving.  Taking short-cuts, being slack, cooking nothing but scrambled eggs.  Taking vitamins. Drinking water. Starting a new writing project. Having fun.  Cuddles.  Wine. Laughter.

And most of all, just breathing.

Actually, sounds quite fun.

I'm glad that depression wasn't mentioned.  And looking back, I can see that my mood was not as empty black as depression, that I didn't have the urge to check out to the degree of sleeping all the time, or suffering anxiety attacks.

And I'm looking forward to a school holidays where I am the slackest parent on earth.


11 people love me:

Bec Sampson said...

Slack away and look after you!

Sue Webber said...

Shame you're not closer you could have come to the beach with me this weekend. ♥

Pip said...

I agree, be slack, if the world ended tomorrow, who would care that your house was a mess, not me. Dunno if it's just me but  I always have trouble feeling good in the colder months, maybe a mild case of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) who knows, but I try and make more time for myself and bugger the housework.

Sami Lee said...

So glad it was something that can be cured by wine and laughter. Actually there's not too much that can't be cured that way :). Hope you have a lazy school holiday period. Here's looking after you, kid.

Rachael Johns said...

Sounds like you do have a very wise friend. You have had a lot on the last few years and as a mum AND a writer, I know we tend to put lots of pressure on ourselves. Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us to just breathe and be!! ENjoy yourself and I hope you DO listen to your friend :)

Mel said...

Enjoy the school holidays.  Do nothing but take care of yourself.

Lyndel said...

Big hugs for you chickie! I prescribe lots of pyjama days,trashy tv and just pulling back on the crazy world out there and you will get through the next few weeks.

dixiebelle said...

Ahh, big sighs, and nodding of heads, and while I have not been through the same stresses you have, we've had some challenging months and found ourselves burnt-out at the start of this year... it's like you keep yourself going while you are facing the hard times & then once some of it is getting resolved and you should be happy and carefree again, but nope, your adrenals are run down, you can now safely fall in a heap and so, you do... and you need to. I think acknowledging it, accepting it, allowing yourself time to rest & recouperate, but keep in mind that when you are ready, life will go on and you'll be living with passion and enthusiasm and possibly even a clean house again soon enough. For now, I hope you can give yourself a much deserved break...

Guest23 said...

Words really do fail!

Guest23 said...

Words Fail

Katieatkinson2004 said...

Look out, you're a role model - the other night I announced Buggrit! And went to bed at 9.30 leaving every single dirty dish from dinner lying where it had been flung. (We don't have a dishwasher in which to store our crockery). Tragically it was all still there in the morning, but goddamn I enjoyed the sleep.