On Wednesday last, I attended the final session with my counsellor. In a way with this being what was my last one, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, or in what form the session would take place. It’s all been very strange, because at the beginning of my counselling sessions I was very sceptical of any positive outcome.
We discussed how my last couple of weeks of my life had been, the holiday in Devon and how well I got on with my friends, how I had coped with being back at work having been away from it for a week and so on, and about any thoughts for my future, on my job and both my physical and mental health.
One thing we both agreed on was how far, in a positive way, I had come in a the past three months. He said to me a couple of times, you’re smiling Sue and you look relaxed….. and he was of course right. It’s something I have done a few time over these past couple of months.
So it feels I have made some steady progress in my life, I have been getting on with my life, despite some very dark clouds hanging over me and despite extreme uncertainties. More importantly, I believe I have proven to myself that I have a lot of good things going on in my life, despite all negative ones that creep in and over power me at times. So at the moment life is good!
However, I have been and will always remain cautious. Of course I can’t kid myself that everything is now hunky dory and my life in perfectly ok or will be always. I still have a great deal to work with, and to make me try to make more progress and I know the medication I am on plays a huge part in my coping and keeping me on an even keel. In addition to all this I have friends who understand me and accept me for who I really am, because they themselves do know and understand how depression can and does affect every aspect of your life. But one of the most important things I have learned is to accept help and to understand that depression is an illness, and it’s not a weakness of me or my character. And however difficult it is at the time to see or understand any way forward, that it’s not impossible. My counsellor has told me that if things do get so bad again for me, he is only a phone call and appointment away…..and not to be afraid to ask for help.
Striking the exact right balance in any ones life is extremely difficult, but vital. I love my family and friends very dearly, I love to do my photography, art, craft and fishing. I’ve had the recent experience of a holiday after so many years, I’ve started to go out more often and do the things I enjoyed doing before, and without getting anxious around crowds. I’ve started to learn to trust people again. Some aspects of my physical health have improved and this in itself has helped to carry me forward.
One of my own biggest setbacks is the worry of my future, about losing my job and being able to find another one. This I have come to realise is more about feelings of insecurity more than anything else. There is nothing I can do to change that, but I must have a true belief in myself. A lot of the time it’s difficult to understand or even accept why so many ‘bad things’ happen to us all in our lives, especially at the time that it happens. I think it’s only fair and true to say, we all seek certain high standards not only in others, but mainly in ourselves, and if we fail to reach those standards we become disappointed and unhappy with ourselves. When I take my camera out with me to do some photography, I always used to look at capturing that perfect picture of something, to make sure there are no unwanted marks or blemishes on the petals if it is a flower or any imperfections on animals or any other subject. But the one thing I am learning to appreciate is that, that mark or blemish we see is what makes that flower or animal so unique and different from everything else, it’s a part of it’s realism and it’s existence. And like us all, we are unique and different, and so if it does have any marks or blemishes on it, then it is that which makes it so perfect a photograph. And this is something which now inspires me to accept who or whatever it is for the way it is.
Were none of us perfect, there is no such thing as being the perfect person. Everyone has their own ‘Achilles heel’, it’s always there hiding in the background and at certain points in our lives it comes to the surface. How we deal with that default, is what decides to carry us forward and face challenges, or hold us back….as the case may be with many of us who suffer this illness. It doesn’t matter if we fail those challenges, as long as we can say we tried. And we can then all give ourselves a pat on the back, and say well done for trying. It gives us all the opportunity to find our strengths as well as our weaknesses for the future. If we don’t make that attempt to try, then we will never know.
Over these past few weeks I have started to learn a little more about myself. Despite all the health issues, and personal as well as professional setbacks I encountered earlier this year, and all the problems of the past eleven years since my depression came about I have come to realise, that depression and what happens is a part of me. I am now starting to learn to accept that. My cousin Jo told me something in April this year, that I can’t forget and actually makes a great deal of sense to me now although at the time I couldn’t understand, or even probably I just didn’t want to understand or accept it ……”your depression, and your battle with illness is all a part of you – don’t be afraid to let the world see who you are and if they don’t like it, then that is their problem not yours”.
My recent holiday with my friends CJ and LT made me realise and understand, that there are good things happening in my life, and I need to make myself understand more that my life isn’t just about ‘bad things’ happening, but to learn to embrace the good as they come along. To make the most of each and every day, to appreciate what good is out there for ALL of us, and I have to do this one day at a time.