Talking

It really is ok to talk about mental health. So why does it still feel so hard to do it? But talking is so important. We need to make it routine. So let’s talk about my depression.

I’ve been struggling with mild depression for a few weeks now. Actually maybe much longer. Feeling hemmed in. Hemmed in but kinda thankful I’m not physically meeting people. Low confidence and minimal self esteem. More hesitant. Finding routine tasks much harder. Difficult sleeping. Feeling emotionally worn out. Finding it just a little harder to smile.

It seems to have stabilised. Not getting any worse but no signs of improvement as yet. I do have an old supply of anti depressant but I haven’t used them as yet. So I’m plodding on. Trying to avoid the news and taking each day as it is. Trying to focus on the positives in my life and there are some wonderful ones. Need to remember that.

Yes it’s good to talk.

Snow

A little bit of snow. It does change the feel of the landscape.

We don’t often get lots of snow here. Not talking about a dusting, I mean really deep stuff. The last time that happened we were a family of 3. My partner would be out with her wooden ruler to measure the snow depth. She would do that before we could go out and wreck the snow with sledging, snow angels and snowmen. 2010 was a really good year for that. Yes a good year. Relatively healthy partner, a bouncy toddler and lots of snow. Too deep for the ruler. Well over 30cm and it stayed around for about 5 weeks. Good times.

So much has happened since then. It’s such a different world. It’s a much smaller family now.

Maybe deep snow will arrive again. That wooden ruler is still here. Measuring the depth will then pass to Hawklad.

Life moves on.

Change

Sorry going to milk our temporary farmers field lake for photos while it’s here. It does make such a difference to the view.

Time does make a difference. Look at schools. On Monday morning our PM said schools were completely safe and parents should send them there right away. Monday evening suddenly according to the same PM schools were clearly vectors for transmission and had to close immediately. Then on Tuesday the very same PM said schools were completely safe again but unfortunately staying shut. Having said that he has a track record of this. The man who championed Brexit to become leader likes to forget that before that he said “I would vote to stay in the single market (EU). I’m in favour of the single market”…..

So things can clearly change. One day I was one of two parents, the next I crashed into single parenting and the world of bereavement. Things can change.

But here’s the thing when they do change THEY CAN ALSO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. That’s why there is always hope. Good things can still happen. So yes I’m struggling through a period or depression. Yes it feels like Groundhog Day. But it can change.

I can do this. We can do this.

I would vote to stay in the single market. I’m in favour of the single market

Cold

Do I fancy walking through that. Captain Chaos most definitely does. Maybe even squeeze in a good roll about in that glorious mud. It would certainly be a cold experience.

So the first day of the National Lockdown has passed by. To be fair I didn’t notice much change. Didn’t see any one walking on the street and the fields remained empty. Hardly any traffic on the roads. Spookily quiet. But actually it was like that before the lockdown started. That’s village life for you. So I seemingly had the world to myself as I walked the dog early in the morning. It was a good time to think and contemplate life.

If 2021 is another year of isolation, which it could be….

What do I want out of this year?

Here’s the thing about depression with me. It clouds my mind with so many negative thoughts. Makes me look back anxiously rather than look forward with hope. So on this particular dog walk the ‘what do I want’ question wasn’t yielding the uplifting messages that it should have. Best I could manage wasn’t much more than

  • Not completely messing up the homeschooling gig,
  • Trying not to put on weight,
  • Keeping the bank off my back,
  • Hanging on to what I have,
  • Not losing my marbles,
  • Trying not to go backwards,
  • Just surviving….

All too negative. So yes I have much to work on. But I will. Can’t thank my friends here enough. You have been so supportive, caring and encouraging. Thank you ❤️. Because of you I feel more confident that I will find my way again. Then I can walk the dog across the fields and come up with more uplifting goals.

WE can do this.

Galapagos

So no new animal photos this New Years. A year without the holiday zoo trip. So we replaced it with a few hours watching a David Attenborough DVD. Which worked out quite well and significantly cheaper.

Dad I’d like to go to the Galápagos Islands

Your mum went there on one of her adventures. I must find the photos she took.

What did she think of it.”

She really loved it. Well until one of the volcanoes had a minor eruption which restricted where she could go and then she caught a minor tropical disease as she left.

What happened.”

She ended up being holed up in a hotel room Ecuador. She missed her flight back.

Didn’t you fly out to check on her?”

What do you think. If she’s had a tropical pesky then she could keep it to herself. 6000 miles was as close as I was getting….

Yes I’m with you on that Dad”.

**********

15 years after that tropical virus the ‘avoid the pesky’ strategy is in overdrive here. It has been for 9 months. It will be for many months to come. I’m fairly relaxed about things but Hawklad most definitely isn’t. So we batten down the hatches. Get ready for the long haul. It might be an idea to stock up on those Attenborough documentaries. They are probably going to get some hammer during 2021.

Silly little things.

I think I might be on top of things. The mind is heading in the right direction. I’m in a decent place and then….

And then something sneaks up on me. With me it’s often seemingly a silly little thing. Suddenly the friendly wind is taken from my sails.

I couldn’t sleep late last night. Just wasn’t feeling tired so I decided to watch a movie. Something requiring no thinking power. So I went for a mindless comedy. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Haven’t seen that in decades.

The last time I watched this movie I was in a different place in life. Life was still yet to really hit me. So the movies ending never really registered. Well it did last night. Wow did it register.

Spoiler alert………

The jolly and silly little movie closes with Steve Martin sudden realising that the chap he had spent the last 48 hours in travelling hell might not be as happily married as he had thought. He goes back to find him sat alone in a cold train station waiting room. His wife had died 8 years ago, he was alone and suffering.

That scene just really hit me. So unexpected. I’ve been there. I was that man. I might still be that man. I so could imagine what he felt like, sat alone in that cold bleak place. Watching others live and seemingly having no where to go.

The movie ended well but I was shaken. Sad, confused, anxious. Even after many hours I’m still feeling shaky. All from one silly movie.

The next time I watch a late night thing then let’s play it safe. It’s QVC or Scooby Doo or the Real Fire Channel for me…..

Worn out

It’s a cold, bleak start to the day. Kind of feels like a black and white photo is the way to go.

I was thinking about how a break would be most welcome. Especially today.

We all need a break every so often. Either a change. Or a time to relax. Or a chance to really let the hair down. A chance to experience new lands. Or just a time to breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am so fortunate with my life. Far too many have so little and are in such dark place. But today I’m feeling just a little worn out. Tired. Thinking back to my last break back in 2015. A lots happened since then. Some good but some really bad. Since 2016 it’s been single Aspergers parenting, fighting the system for our son and trying to eke out an income to pay the bills. Feels like it’s been non stop. A few concerts with Hawklad and taking him to see the occasional sport event. A few walks and up to this year, trail runs. So yes things to be thankful for. But…

But today I just feel worn out. In need of a break. Even just a night away from the house. A different bed. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve done that. But deep down I know that’s not happening any time soon. Asperger parenting is something that you can just can’t drop. Certainly not for a few more years. Maybe longer. So it’s about finding other ways to feel less worn out. Exploiting the options that are open to me and also being thankful for what I have. There are such beautiful things in my life.

We can do this.

Cinema

It’s that time of year. A definite feel to the movies we have watched. Can you see the theme.

Scrooged

Home Alone 1, 2, 3, 5

The Grinch

A Christmas Carol

Muppets Christmas Carol

The Santa Clause 1,2,3

Elf

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

The Polar Express.

For me I just can’t quite catch the connection. Sure there must be one if I look hard enough.

One of the things that feels amiss this most odd year (that doesn’t work as 2020 is even) is the cinema experience. Before Hawklad we would always have a Christmas trip to the pictures (as my mum would have said). A meal before hand and then a movie. Such a lovely experience. So many wonderful memories.

Taking my mum to see The Horse Whisperer on Boxing Day. She hadn’t been to the pictures in 40 years. She was most puzzled not to watch the Pathe News segment before the movie. She refused to get up at the end and waited until the credits played through. Apparently she was waiting for the National Anthem to be played…

Trips with my partner to see huge blockbusters on Christmas Eve like the Lord of the Rings Movies. Then coming out in time to sing carols in the city centre.

Even after the world changed Hawklad and I kept the tradition going. A changed Aspergers tradition. We would take in the first, early morning screenings of movies like Jumanji and the Rise of Skywalker. Popcorn at 8am works on so many levels. Then we would go and get him his favourite takeout. All before midday.

But this year it’s no cinema. Any trip is just so out of reach for Hawklad and his anxieties. The world has changed. Even the prospect of Wonder Woman and Black Widow epics won’t overcome those fears. Maybe the trips to the Pictures have stopped for good. We will just have to see what the future holds but life goes on. It’s time to recreate that Christmas tradition at home. So we will pick a movie. A good movie. Set the dvd off at 8am. Microwaved popcorn in plentiful supply. The Christmas Cinema tradition continues.

Can you spot

Can you spot the photobombing bird…

Can you spot the grassy hill that on every single step you sink 3 inches into the mud…

We put the Christmas tree up the other day. And it was another CAN YOU SPOT moment.

Hawklad put the decorations up after I had disinfected them. Then I spotted it. A tree decoration with writing on. Three names. Our names. I had forgotten about that one. That was a link to a different time. A different life. A very different feeling Christmas.

Every day it’s amazing what you can spot.

Bored

It’s truly awful outside. Even by Yorkshire standards it’s grim. So let’s go back to blue skies. Even today the blue sky is there. Close by. Just need patience until it appears.

So we made it through another school term. A term of school at home.

Is survived the right word….

Last night a thought struck me. Just how few people I have actually physically met and talked to in that term. So apart from Hawklad the list I believe is…..

  • The postman and the occasional delivery person,
  • The delivery man (same one) who dropped off the washing machine and dryer,
  • The cashier at the local store.
  • Hawklads nurse counsellor,
  • The vet,
  • The receptionist at the pharmacy.

That’s it. Since September. Thought I had better pad that out a bit. So let’s add. Dozens of the farmers sheep, cows and the growing numbers of hooligan garden birds. But when you analyse it. These aren’t really meaningful conversations. Just passing exchanges of words.

Last year that kind of isolation would have completely spooked me. It now kind of feels like the norm. How it should be. That’s because IT IS the norm. It’s been like that since March. Will be for at least a good part of 2021.

Those cows and sheep are really going to get bored of me.

L