19. Time… Changes everything

Eleven years ago, in Aug 2003 I had my breakdown.  It is only now that I actually call it that.  I never really had a word for it before, but it was the biggest turning point in my life.

And a break down it was, a complete and utter break down of everything.

I had seen it coming.  I had felt the vibes in me.  I knew something wasn’t right within my soul.  So, it came as no great surprise that Monday morning, as I walked towards my office with the usual sense of foreboding, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heavy breath, and anxiety… to find myself 30 minutes later in a heap.

Having sat down at my desk, I knew I had to see my doctor urgently, and within minutes of making that call, I was struggling with life itself.  I remember the day so clearly, from the panic around me, to the fact that my team leader drove me home, rather than call the ambulance that I so desperately needed at the time.  It had felt like they just wanted to hurry me off the premises, to no longer be their responsibility. Truth is

After a few weeks of being completed drugged out, Occupational health stepped in, and organized 6 weeks of counselling with a local practice.  That woman did more damage than good!  She opened up a whole can of worms that should have been left well alone, as she could not deal with the contents.  She spent more time talking at me, than to me, telling me what I should do, and so on and so on.  I couldn’t wait to finish the 6 weeks with her.  It felt like unfinished business, and I had had no trust in her to truly open up.  But at least one thing I did learn was that I was indeed depressed.  Just as my doctor had told me.  Initially, the very idea of depression, was something I had been bemused by, but it soon dawned on me that I was suffering, and as time went by, I realised just how bad I had it and for how long.

I was appointed a psychiatrist, who I still see, and went on to attend other types of counselling.  But I didn’t really have the same issues as some of my peers, so I never felt that I got anything out of it, except understanding the different degrees or levels at which people can suffer.  More importantly, I learnt that depression can last for years and years, and some people don’t ever really get over it. 

The darkness i know so well

Being myself, I had thought I would recover in a few months, that all I needed was just a break, and here I am eleven years later, still not out of the woods yet!

I have always very open about my illness.  Many people have thanked me for my candidness, and for being willing to talk about it. I described depression like falling a series of steps; and acknowledged that we all suffer from it at some time in our lives, but for most it will last for a very short period of time i.e. falling down to the first step.

But, for the unfortunate ones, they fall a lot further down, maybe even hitting the floor hard.  And that’s when the true problems can arise, that’s when we need the help of medication, to pull us out of it and up again.  I placed myself somewhere near rock bottom, but not quite.

It is after all a chemical reaction within our brain and body, there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves, so there should be no shame or stigma just because of people’s ignorance.  I became quite good at seeing it in other people, and my honesty was always welcomed and appreciated, because I understood.

A doctor once said to me, that he best cures for depression are:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Exercise
  3. Laughter

Three things guaranteed to boost your mood, and help make you feel better…  If only it were that simple.  Depression usually means that you have been robbed of the ability to enjoy doing things, or you no longer feel pleasure in anything, because you feel so flat and so low.  So how do you summon up the energy to get yourself motivated?  When it takes all the “feel good” emotions away from you?

Don't depend too much on anyoneMany people were shocked in the way I had changed, I was no longer chatty or humorous, I was very, very quiet and withdrawn.  Basically, I became a shell, the complete opposite of the person I usually was.

People questioned how I could be depressed, with having the nice house, a good job and a lovely husband to boot, (all the material things that allegedly make people happy), because they simply could not understand how it could happen to me.  After all, if I could get knocked down by it, so could they.  I came to recognise who my real friends were, and undertook a major housekeeping exercise, ridding myself of negative forces around me.  Cutting off people who thought they always knew what my problem was, and had a cure for me, in fact it pretty much affected anyone that didn’t listen to me.

About 18 months into my breakdown, I was assigned a Psycho-Therapist, and this was the first step towards my recovery, and me getting my life back.  This amazing woman named Margaret, held the keys to so many of my internal locks, and bit by bit she encouraged me to match each key to a lock, to discover what was hiding behind.  It was then that realisation finally took control.

I began to accept just how broken I was, but I always had it in my mind that one day I would be healed again.  Even though I knew it would take time for that to happen, that thought kept a positive light burning inside of me; in spite of feeling like I was surrounded by darkness.

I am so proud of myself, because I never lost my free spirit, I have maintained my focus throughout this illness, and I have emerged so much stronger than ever before.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(2nd December 2014)

Update:

It’s hard to be believe that was me 4 years ago.  What I didn’t know then, was that I was on the brink of a major transitional period, that would once again rip my life inside out.

I am fully aware and accepting of the fact that depression will always be a companion of mine, whether she lurks in the shadows or walks by my side.  I am also fully accepting of the fact that I will always be on medication for it, in spite of being discharged from my psychiatric service.  But in truth, I never really believed that I got the support or the service I should have received from them; because there were so many important issues that were left undiscussed.  So, a lot of the time I felt very much alone and like I was left to flounder.

But in the end, over the last 4 years I have addressed the main factors that had brought me to that place, and at least now feel like I’m holding the steering wheel and I’m back in the control seat of my life.  I had very few people I could confide in, who had some knowledge and understanding of what I was going through.  So silently, I got on with the task of picking myself back up, dusting myself down and getting on with the process of properly mending and healing.   Stop looking for the light

I keep that beast inside“, came out of this transitional phase, when I wrote it not only did I feel angry, I knew I had every right to be.  My creativity and my written words, have empowered and driven me so much, I no longer seek validation from people close to me, who seem quite happy to disregard or ignore my talents.

But, this matters no more as my confidence and self-belief are growing daily, and I feel truly blessed by that.  Sx ❤️

(Saturday 16th February 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. You have to learn…

“You have to learn to get up from the table, when love is no longer being served”.  Nina Simone

Ever have that feeling?

Well it’s not nice.

I have spent so long with one person, just to find years later that love didn’t live here any more.

Worse still, I began to question whether real love was there to start off with.

I looked so deep within myself, wanting to know when I lost my love for him, was it before or after that realisation?  I felt gutted, wounded and let down, each recollection of those words being said and memories of actions that didn’t quite match, only served as another blow to already cheek.

Each time I reeled back from the shockwaves, as I delved deeper into my psyche. Realisation kicked in, in a big way, I had to face the fact that I had been blinded by choice.  It was my choice, that all those niggles about our relationship, (or the things that I was unhappy with), had been pushed to one side.  I had carried on regardless. Boldly bowing down to my vows as a married woman, for richer for poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health etc, etc.

More fool me, when it dawned on me that instead of being loved and cared for, I had been ruthlessly taken for granted, manipulated, used, abused and abandoned.

I guess I always knew that something wasn’t quite right, it all seemed one-sided – I was doing all the giving, and he was doing all the taking.  But I had denied that fact to myself so long, that I almost didn’t believe it.

It was only when I started to look at the woman I had become, because of him, that the true damage became apparent… ‘I was running on empty’.  I felt completely stripped down to the bone, naked of even flesh.  I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I had been craving for the very things that he couldn’t or wouldn’t show or give to me.  I was indeed empty.  The ‘belief’ that he loved and appreciated me, had been based on the frequently used three words, that he used to keep me going.   However, there were seldom any ‘facts or acts’ to support them, they were quite simply just empty words.

The more I thought about it, the more my own true feelings toward him emerged. In my heart I had nothing left for him, and I had no idea when those feelings had left me.  But once again, I found myself in a very lonely place, it was hard justifying my reasons, to those who were also blinded by his charms.

Everything changed after that revelation.

I had woken up!

Finally I accepted that I wanted to start living ‘my’ life over again, but for ‘me’ this time.

Throughout all of this, I had blamed myself, I took on the responsibility, I think maybe because it was easier to deal with that way. After all had I not accepted and allowed his behaviour to continue?   So it was also down to me to stop it.

But all I want right now, is to find my smile and be happy again, because it’s way overdue!

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(15thOctober 2014)

 

Note:

This was written a week before my Decree Absolute came through, unfortunately, I still had to spend another 6 months under the same roof as the waster I married! Sx J

 

 

 

Have faith

I have faith in myself

My words have set me free

Even if they sometimes feel

Like they are the very chains

Restraining me

I cannot throw

Caution to the wind

And write with abandon

My thoughts run deep

And are not at all random

The book of “My life story”

Has until now

Remained mostly unread

But now my story

Is something to share

And my words

Are something to spread

There is still

So much darkness within me

That surely needs

To see the light of day

I didn’t ask for this life

Or this history

It just happened that way

But by rooting round

Inside my agony

I keep finding the words

I need to say

Self-belief is hard to find

Even though

It’s just a state of mind

When I’ve been knocked down

And not thrown back

It’s been real hard

To get back up

But I’ve done it all the same

Hell yes!

I waited in the line

At the baggage reclaim

For my suitcase

Labeled ‘Lost Soul’

And when at last I opened it

All my hope

Came back home

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(19thJune 2018)

 

7. All good things must come to an end…

All good things must come to an end…

For something better to begin!

Well. I guess I ought to give an explanation for my previous blog, ‘Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind’, the title says it all really, but that’s who I was, and still am to some degree.

The ‘painful body’ is all about an illness I suffer with called Fibromyalgia, which is a horrible condition to live with, as it entails being in chronic pain anywhere throughout your body.

Basically ‘Fibro” refers to the fibrous tissue surrounding joints and muscles, and ‘Myalgia’ relates to the pain.  But this is chronic pain, not just a few aches.

The severity, duration and locality of pain is different for each person, but things can be so bad, a person can be completely incapacitated or even bed ridden.  There is no cure for this condition, the only relief are strong pain killing drugs, which only dampen the pain down.

The problems are not in our heads, and it doesn’t just affect the physical body, it also grabs hold of your mind, emotions and daily activity.

Other ways it can affect a person:

Forgetfulness – being easily stressed – lacked concentration or focus –
confusion (Brain fog) – clumsiness – lack of sleep – being unsteady on your feet – muscles spasms – lack of sleep – reproduction – blood pressure – being easily tired or exhausted by the simplest of tasks – lack of sleep through constantly waking up – constantly being fatigued or drained of energy

This list could go on and on.

So, how does it affect me?  I suffer with symptoms from head to toe on a daily basis, even in my face, I don’t sleep well, I am always in pain, full stop. I am always worn out, it takes me forever to do things, and it has robbed me of many simple joys in life.  But I have no choice, I have to live with it just like everyone else, who suffers with this.

The last 6 years or so, have been the worse, I now understand that this is something I have probably had for most of my life, but something triggered it off and now it is full blown.  I only received a full diagnosis about two and a half years ago, at least it gave me a name for this monster.

What also doesn’t help me is that I also suffer with recurring Sciatica, I have spinal degeneration going on in my upper and lower back, and a whole host of other health problems.

But to look at me, I am the picture of perfect health!

As for the depression, that really took hold of me about 12 years ago, I literally skidded to a halt, then crashed and burned.  It is a strange sensation when you body takes over the decision making process, when your mind is still wanting to speed along.

I have often said:

“It was the best thing that could have happened to me’, as had I carried on with my life the way it was, then things would have truly ended up being a lot worse”.

In just a short space of time, my life changed forever, I was plunged into the darkness of a sound-proofed arena, where I could hear everything, but nobody heard me. It was the start of ‘My incredible journey’, that helped me revisit my life, my present, my past, my past past, eventually leading me to look at my new future.   I’ve had decisions to make, and many other issues to deal with along the way, but one thing was for sure, changes had to be made.

So here I am, this is where I’m at now aged 49, about to embark on possibly the most exciting time of my life…starting over again.  I am not out of the woods yet, but I can clearly see a bright light ahead of me.

I have stopped writing the other blog, because I decided that, that was not the person I wanted to be anymore, it’s not who I am now, I’m in a whole different place.
All good things must come to an end...

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(29thSeptember 2014)

Note: Unfortunately, 5 weeks after writing this I was involved in a non-fault accident, which wrote my car off, and pulled the rug from under my feet and my life. Sx 🙂

 

Something has cast a shadow

Something has cast a shadow

Over my heart

A niggling doubt, so dark

Is trying to take hold

Making me question

All there is about me

All over again

 

A shard of light

Has entered my life

Only just skimming the surface

But it has sparked

Such a profound effect

It has made me glow

With anticipation

It has made me feel

Suddenly starving

For the love that I seek

But do not and have not

Yet possessed.

 

It is this quiet angst

That has been aroused

In my soul

That has sent ripples

Through my mind

It has awakened a craving

So deep within me

I am almost bursting

To open up and bear my

Innermost secrets and dreams

With someone that I can truly care

 

It is a place, so heavily disguised

It could so easily be missed

But it’s still so fragile from much pain

It is from this place that

I must rise up from again

To stay there, is to be alone

And I have been lonely

For so long, it is so utterly wrong

 

But the fear of being hurt,

Let down, or betrayed once more

Keeps feeding this doubt

That wants to surge right through

To my very core

But I am a different woman now

To the one I was then

And it is her that I must leave behind

I am brave. I am beautiful

But if I don’t let her go

My heart with remain closed

And my true love I will never know.

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(8th July 2017)

6. And so the story continues.

I hope I haven’t made this whole thing about depression and healing myself, sound as if it were so easy.   Far from it.  What a lot of people don’t understand about depression is that there no magic cure, it is not about “picking yourself up”, or just “getting over it”.

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People with real depression only wish that they could do just that, but it’s not a choice that we have.  People, who ask:

“What have you got to be depressed about?”, or “I’ve got a “friend” with the same problem and they did this”, or “You need to be getting out more and enjoying yourself”. And so on and so on.  Etcetera, etcetera…

These people, who can voice such incredible words of thoughtlessness, and insensitivity, have absolutely no fucking idea what they are saying to a depressed mind, or in fact to the person suffering.Contollers and abusers

In my life, they were people who knew me, until I realised they knew nothing about me.  And they knew even less about my life.

 

 

 

They merely saw the material things I had gathered all the chattels that should make me happy.

They saw the confidence I held in myself, the way I would always be the one to speak up, and who also always got the job done.

They didn’t see the pain I was in, or bear the pressure I was under, or notice my gradual decline. They didn’t know what was coming and neither did I.

But then one day it all stopped. 

Everything ceased to function. 

Everything shut down.

Not by my choice.  I had nothing to do with it.  My body decided it simply couldn’t take anymore, it was burnt out, exhausted, it needed to rest and be quiet.  And for a while, in such a weakened state I had tried to defend myself against these people and their words.

But, no matter how many times I tried to explain, why this had happened to me, it fell on deaf ears.

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All they wanted was to find something else to blame it on; buying an new house, building work that was going on, my evening studies and my recent marriage.  Never, did anyone think that they personally, could be even remotely responsible.

That’s when I realised, that I had to emotionally remove these people from my life.  They caused me more damage and more pain than I needed or could cope with, and they used up all of what little energy I still had.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(5thMarch 2012)

 

Something brewing?

Another stormy day

When the ocean causes that

Uncontrollable rise and fall

Within my soul

What is it that unsettles me so?

Here inside this place

That holds apart of my history

An angry face of someone

I used to know

Is once again remembered

And lonely tears are welled

Ready to be shed again

For pain that can be felt no more

Winter’s brewing in my mind

Once more

Bringing with it a chill

To edge my heart

Stopping the flow of true colours

From reaching out, and touching

Another’s pale cheek, drawing

Releasing new life, new warmth

To calm someone else’s ocean

At one time, in another place

Maybe another world

I dreamt I heard, that someone

Calling me,

Whispering across their

Stormy waves

Trying to touch something inside of me

Who ever it was

Didn’t reach me

But I know somewhere

They are still crying out

Across their ocean

Maybe one day, I’ll be there

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(7th September 1990)

I think I’m drowning

Reach out and touch me

Take me by the hand

Save me from drowning

And bring me safely back to land

It is shallow waters

Yet they seem so deep

It always seems that way, but

I could have saved myself

If only I had stood up

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(4thDecember 1985)

If

If I had a looking glass

I could things more clearly

 

If I had a looking glass

Would I see me

Looking back?

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(8th April 1986)

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