Hello…I don’t really know how to say what I want to say. I have wanted to share these photos with you for a while but have not felt able to do so.
I don’t even know if there is a point or any relevance but I just want you to know how I have been really feeling a lot of the time.
When I took these two selfies, I had been sat in that same position on the sofa for over an hour, just staring into space, no T.V, no music, just heavy deafening silence. I do this a lot, just sit on things. Sometimes I don’t allow myself to get too comfy as it brings guilt, so I may just perch against a table or radiator, but my expression always feels the same…expressionless.
I decided to take another photo of me smiling, the one I use when I am at work or online. The contrast between the two shocked and upset me. It upset me because the motionless, dead expression is the way I truly felt. Smiling was an effort and just felt wrong.
If you have been following me for a while, you may remember I have touched on the fact that I have been effected by depression before, but I know I wasn’t totally honest as to how bad it has been this year.
It started after Christmas. We have been having personal financial stresses ever since the recession hit (my brother and I have a property development business) but I had been coping. There has been lot of worry but I have coped because I have kept myself fit and eaten well. I had a life full of balance when it came to food and drink. I think I stopped coping when I lost my job that I loved in January. For the first time in 6 years I started to comfort eat, (and drink!) again. That manifested itself as 2 extra stone on my body. I remember starting the ‘Back Fat’ January challenge on my Facebook page but I never finished it as my back just continued to get bigger!
I lost all my desire to exercise, unless it was teaching spinning at work. This is so alien to me. I love exercise and the way it makes me feel but I just couldn’t bring myself to start most of the time.
At first I thought I was just a bit low and i even started to feel a bit better over the summer. I knew exercise would make me feel better so I started a 10 week Focus T25 challenge where you exercise 6 days a week for 10 weeks. I set up a private FB group and invited others to join me so then I had the accountability. I ate well and I lost a stone, but I did not lose my low mood.
I am sure anyone who has had depression has their own way of describing it. The quote in the photo I saw some time ago on FB says it absolutely perfectly for me. I have read it hundreds of times as it is some comfort that someone, that whoever it was that wrote it ,must understand as they felt the same.
Physically, my depression feels like I have a constant black anvil over my head and I am forever stuck in its shadow (a good friend of mine described it this way and I am pinching it!). Wherever I move, the anvil moves. (the rest is now my own description!) I can see out into the shadowless place but cannot ever seem to be there no matter how much I want to be. Somedays the anvil is a little higher and so it does not feel quite as oppressive, but the shadow is always there. Rarely the anvil is quite high up and so the shadow is a lot smaller and less dark, but it is still there and I never know what it is going to be like the next day.
Depression takes away my desire to do the things that bring me joy, it takes away the desire to do anything some days.
Depression makes me stop in bed all day.
Depression takes away my friends…or should I say, it takes away my desire to be with them.
Depression takes away my ability to show love to my wonderful husband, Simon.
Depression takes away my ability to get up in a morning some days to see my children off to school.
Depression takes away Sally. (I am crying!) (sorry!)
I am afraid of telling people because then I am afraid to smile. You can still smile and laugh when you are utterly depressed, but this makes people think you are better when you want to scream that you are not.
I don’t want to tell people as I know, no one I love has died and I am fortunate enough to have good health so I should think myself lucky.
I don’t want to tell my followers as I am worried no one will want to come on my retreats anymore. I have felt like this all year and i hope the lovely people who have been on my retreats can vouch that I don’t walk round like the Grim Reaper!
I don’t want to tell people as I am afraid that everyone will leave my Facebook page as the real me no longer inspires them.
I don’t want to tell people as I fear being judged.
I WANT to tell people then I no longer have to feel like a hypocrite when I force myself to do my videos, or give excuses when I can’t even fake it so don’t do them at all!
I WANT to tell people so I don’t have to feel dishonest and pretend anymore.
I WANT to tell people that even though I love my Prosecco I have been drinking too much for the wrong reasons.
How can I run a business called Get Over Yourself Get Fitter…I feel Get Over Yourself Get Fatter has suited me better this year! I feel such a fucking fake.
So what to do? I know medication is the normal route. I tried this 3 years ago for 12 months and it did not really work for me so…
…I have a plan. I was supposed to have my new online programme ready for this January, but the anxiety was suffocating so I put it off.
I have a really understanding boss who owns the gym I work at and run my retreats from and he has agreed to give me 2 months off. I know I only teach 4 spinning classes a week, but I no longer want to rush into work with my pasted on smile and my half arsed attempt at teaching a spinning class. The pretence has just become too much.
I didn’t want to hand my notice in as the members are amazing and I would miss them too much…
It’s funny..I don’t feel that way when I run my 3 day retreats. I get all the crippling anxiety out of the way the day before and the morning of the retreat and then when I eventually meet the guests, I feel safe.
That is why I am feel able to run my retreats. That is the only thing I am going to be doing until after Easter.
Faking a smile is so much easier than explaining why you are sad.
It’s only on the last few retreats that I have started to be honest about my depression. It has made me realise that the honesty has started to help.
I am taking a lot of self help measures. I am sure some would think are a waste of time and money.
Hypnosis, Reki, Healing, Aura transformation, Massage, Yoga, Ruby Wax, Prosecco! I will try anything…I am just grateful that i am getting to a stage that I WANT to try.
I have decided to say no to medication for the moment and i have prescribed myself an Ironman triathlon training programme…did I actually just say that?
I am going to enter Bolton Ironman in July this year, use it as a way to get me out of bed and get fit again.
I have found a 20 week programme that I will start at the beginning of March. I first looked at doing an Ironman a couple of years ago, however my back injury stopped me. My other reason was that we had too much financial stress going on to cope with the endless hours of training.
I now want to use those endless hours of training as a distraction from the stresses. I want to feel that endorphins rush and that sense of achievement that i miss so much. I feel I have nothing to lose…If it doesn’t help remove my anvil at least i will be fitter and stronger at the end of it.
I KNOW exercise works for me…I just HAVE TO WANT TO START!
I think that is another reason why I am telling you all. You are all part of my self help programme. I feel accountable to you. I am going to be going quiet from Facebook for a couple of months but I may still have the odd thing to say. I am still running my retreats and Simon will be reading all the messages. I just hope some of you will still be here when I come back. I will be around for the next few days…as I have to update my cover photo and Simon would not have a clue!
I am fully aware that some people will see this post as a chance to moan…it really isn’t intended to offend anyone. I just desperately wanted to be honest and explain how I feel. For all those of you who take the time to like, share, comment, follow, come to Morecambe …you help me more than you will ever know.
I never thought I would wait till I was 46 to get to do what I truly LOVE and I do love it. I love meeting you all on my retreats, and that is one thing that I am very proud of. I, unfortunately, don’t love myself very much at the moment, and I certainly don’t love the way I feel most of the time and that is something I am taking time off to work on. I miss me.
Thanks so much for listening, as always. You are all amazing.
Lots of love and tons of respect,
P.S. I am really starting to appreciate the power of reaching out. I have kept this to myself for too long. If you think this post could maybe help someone then please feel free to share it.