Cakes, Bakes, and Me


I’m sorry, I have no fancy cakes to show you. I haven’t baked this week. I haven’t been out of the house. Some days I haven’t even been dressed.

Along with this I also feel disconnected, trapped and anxious. I have a permanent headache, no interest in food (or anything else for that matter) I’m sleeping a lot more than I should be. When I am awake, I try to distract myself. The worst thing is silence. Silence means I can’t ignore my own thoughts. So the TV is on, I’ve done a bit of paperwork, and started some research into what I can put on a Christmas Fair stall (yes I know it’s June!) All from my chair, as I don’t want to go out at the moment.

I recognise the signs from previous experience of course, but I don’t feel there’s anything I can do about it. Which adds frustration to the list.

I was trying to think of a word that better describes my current state of mind, when ‘discombobulated’ popped into my head.

If you Google it, it means “to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate” one result described it as “A fun, fancy word for “confuse.” If something has put you in a state where you don’t know up from down and you can’t spell your own name, you may be discombobulated” Doesn’t sound like fun to me!

While it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant exactly, it does partly describe how I’m feeling. So does this:

“Brain fog can be defined as “a state of mental confusion, detachment, and forgetfulness,” according to … Indeed, forgetfulness (memory loss) is a common cognitive deficit found in depression and confusion and detachment can be felt as a part of depression as well

I can’t pinpoint a trigger at all. I was fine last Sunday, then put my symptoms down to tiredness after the busy week and weekend preceding. I even mentioned to someone that I was doing pretty well!

I’d anticipated that I would need to rest at least Monday and possibly Tuesday, but after that I should have been ok. Back to what passes as ‘normal’ these days.

Instead……all the above. I’ve been dealing with my chronic illness quite well since my short stay in hospital in February so it’s quite frightening to think that depression can sneak back up on me so easily.

To remind you what I suffer from:

Mine is the continuous pattern and has caused permanent nerve damage. As you can see from the risk factors, I was quite unlucky. I was in the right age bracket, but that’s about it. It was only discovered after a bad fall in March 2012 accelerated the symptoms. Since then I’ve had surgery twice, countless mri and CT scans, medication ‘tweaks’ and nerve conduction tests.

But as anyone who has chronic pain will tell you, depression kind of comes with the package. The most difficult part is that you have a whole new lifestyle to get used to. You have to put aside what you used to be able to do, and focus on what you can do. I struggled with this for a long time. I didn’t want to accept the new reality and it made me angry. I shut myself away because I didn’t want people to see this new version of me.

And then there’s the guilt. For a long time I was in a bubble where nothing else existed but my feelings. But sometimes I looked round and saw lots of people obviously worse off than me, and I would feel guilty. And pity. Then I would assume that people would look at me and feel pity, another excuse to ‘hide’. Perversely, looking back, there was a lot of self pity going on. I’ve since learned that it’s very common and part of the long journey to acceptance. Along with grief (for your old life) and anger.

But six years on, with help and support from friends, family and counselling, I thought I was coping pretty well. The pain never goes away, and of course there are always ups and downs, but I haven’t felt as bad as this for quite a while. I’m hoping it will go away as quickly and unexpectedly as it arrived.

I have thought long and hard about publishing this post. Despite the recent efforts of the medical community to de-stigmatise mental health, and the increase and availability of help, it’s still very difficult to share this part of me.

If you are reading this and recognise that you share some of the feelings I’ve mentioned, please read the article I’ve linked below. I found it very helpful (and much more eloquent than me!)

More than ever

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤

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