I’ve lost my spark. The light hasn’t gone out but it has very much dimmed.
This is quite new territory for me as i’m very much the optimist. I love life. I have my gorgeous son and a wonderful family. I have things to look forward to. I love the adventures I always go on about! But still, I find myself feeling low and somewhat blue at the moment.
Ive talked openly about mental health issues following my cancer diagnosis especially adjusting to life post treatment. Im also pro active in promoting my mental health through exercise, healthy eating and not isolating myself. The support groups I am involved with offer a network of understanding, guidance and encouragement. So what is going on with me?!
Well there is no doubt that I have been through a lot of shit these past few years, but who hasn’t?? I try to focus on moving forward instead of living in the past. There are times when it has felt like three steps forward and five back but I am a strong advocate of “Its OK not to be OK”. Nobody can be happy clappy all of the time. Life is full of ups and downs and uncertainty.
Based on my symptoms of low mood, lethargy, tiredness and shortness of breath, the medical professional inside of me was convinced that a simple blood test would show that I was deficient in many essential vitamins and minerals. Problem solved. However, my results came back normal.
A weekend back in my hometown with my parents, celebrating my best friends 40th birthday celebration would be just the trick to get me out of this gloominess. As I drove up to the venue for an afternoon of birthday activities I burst into tears. I parked the car and had an anxiety attack. My heart was racing so fast. I just wanted to go home. I stayed in the car for half an hour convincing myself that I would be fine once I was inside. I have always been a confident people-person and love a party but I was literally trembling and unable to catch my breath at the thought of getting out of my car. Luckily I did get out of the car and was met inside by lovely friends and had a nice afternoon. But it has made me question why this happened?
It has crossed my mind several times whether I should try antidepressants. But am I depressed or just experiencing low mood? I asked Mr Google!
“A general low mood can include:
- feeling anxious or panicky
- low self-esteem
A low mood will tend to lift after a few days or weeks. Making some changes in your life, such as resolving a difficult situation, talking about your problems or getting more sleep, can usually improve your mood” (www.nhs.uk)
I worked my way down the list. Am I sad? I have been incredibly sad in the past for obvious cancer related reasons. But the saddness was overcome by being well and healthy and finally being able to plan for the future. I don’t feel sad today. A cleverly timed email regarding Child Contact was received on the morning of the party. This parental contact always causes conflict which is my well known trigger for a demise in my mental health. I do panic and worry what his next move will be. It is always on my mind. I should have known better that there would be some kind of attempt to sabotage our holiday. More fool me for opening, reading and corresponding with the email.
I am always tired! Single parenting is tiring! However I have been more tired than usual. I know this is down to worry on all levels, being the school holidays and the energy required for a summer camping trip! Folding a tent back into its bag is frustrating to say the least! As far as low self-esteem goes, its a battle. At 41, I never thought I would be an unemployed single parent. I finally had a plan to return to Nursing in September. I was excited. Who would have thought that the biggest teaching hospital in Wales where they are crying out for Nurses, would scrap their September intake for the Return to Practice course. I never made a plan b. Am i frustrated and angry? Absolutely! Bad things happen to good people, to the people I love the most. So all things considered and by using this check list, its safe to say that my mood is low! Now, what to do about it?
The NHS says I should make changes in my life to resolve difficult situations. This I totally agree with. Protecting myself from unecessary conflict. Empowering myself. Removing the toxicity. Ive gone on vitamin overload and after 2 tablets I feel much better! I may not talk about my problems but writting them down is a form of therapy, hence why I blog. And that leaves me with sleep! Must try harder to sleep!
Whenever my son is grumpy with me, I say “turn that frown upside down“. He instantly smiles. I apologised to him one morning when I was particularly grumpy and he said the same to me! It worked!
Anxiety is a dreadful thing to experience. It totally crept up on me and scared me. Im convinced a combination of factors resulted in this upsetting episode. It will no doubt happen again but I am now equiped with a bit more knowledge as to why it occured.
My low mood started a fortnight ago. Today my mind is a lot clearer. My fight is back. No one gets to scare or intimidate me. I had enough energy to move the living room around and sort out my son’s toys! And a lovely family holiday awaits us next week. As for the future, I am so lucky to have one and will never take it for granted. My plans are not going to be what I thought they would be for this year, but in a way that is exciting. I have an open book with pages to fill!