Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Depression: Swimming like a Swan – the real me…

Swimming like a swan: serenity above, paddling like fuck below...

There is no one on this God’s earth who would ever describe me as swanlike. I am just not serene. I do not exude calmness. People look at me and I know they become unhinged and cannot cope.
Everything just happens to me and it looks like I’m drowning not waving. I’m the sort of person people rescue because they can, because by merely breathing I offend their sensibilities and the balance of their lives and they need to put me right.
And what must be the most frustrating thing, is that it looks like I get the lot, an easy life without ever doing anything for myself.
I am an invert swan.
Most people look in control and going forward with their lives while paddling like mad beneath the surface to stay afloat. I make a BIG song and dance routine and let it all flow around me because whatever the appearance the truth is in the lie.
I appear to be a pessimist. The world is doomed sort of person, the ohmygodeverythingisdreadful character, the whinger the whiner, the life is hell girl. I am sorry to say this is merely me paying lip service so that no one notices that actually I do know what I am doing, I have got it sussed and there is a plan.
I just don’t want to share it - OK.
I’m not saying that I don’t have my bad patches. I do. Cher-rist! I do have Depression you know and I do have days, weeks and even months when life really is HELL. Times when I have no idea how I’m going to get up in the morning and function like a human being until bedtime.
But the fact is I do.
I call upon people so that I do.
It is part of the plan.
It may not look very pretty but it works.
In fact it has worked for years.
But one must make compromises to get things done the way you want. I have to accept that people have a tendency to patronise me but I’m not proud. People with depression cannot afford to be proud; children are at stake here, family life is at stake here, friendships are at stake here, you name it - the lot.
If I said no thank you to the help I receive then I really would be in trouble. So I accept it; unsolicited or not. I swallow the pronouncements on how I should be living my life, rearing my children, losing weight, training my dogs, looking after my husband and any other myriad of things that people happily say I must, should or ought to do. I rarely offer my own advice without being asked to though I am sorely tempted.
I do get scared but I admit it and people help.
I do get tired I admit it and people help.
I do get in a muddle and I admit it and people help.
Is that wrong? Does that upset people? Why?
It’s the way I have to live my life, the way things get done around here. A person with depression as long lived as mine can have no pride because by doing so they will be destroyed and the fall out for others would be catastrophic.
I am no swan.
And frankly people who are just make life difficult for themselves. Having the moral highground is all very well but I bet it’s lonely up there!


Annie Cholewa said...

Oh I hear you, I hear you x

I don't have depression. I have ME and rheumatoid arthritis. But the effect is kinda the same. When things get tough I need help to keep all the plates in the air and I have to accept that help from wherever it comes.

Who wants to be a swan anyway ... you could end up being eaten by the Queen!

Tattieweasle said...

Annie @knitsofacto - Quite! I don't want to get eaten by the Queen so I suppose I'll keep smiling and pluggon on in there and anyway it's only words!

Rob-bear said...

Ah, my kind of Weasle, erm, ah, person. Not a swan; just an old trundling-about Bear, I am. And I see you have the plan. That is so good. Not only do you have it, but you know how to use it to survive. "I call upon people so that I do. It is part of the plan." I learned that long time ago, too. My depression would not be livable but for the fact that "I get by with a little help from my friends."

Blessings and Bear hugs, Ms. Tattie.

Tattieweasle said...

Rob Bear - Get by with a little help from my friends happens to be one of my favourite songs too!

Charlotte said...

Hi Tattie,

Your blog made me very sad, especially this part: "I have to accept that people have a tendency to patronise me but I’m not proud. People with depression cannot afford to be proud; children are at stake here, family life is at stake here, friendships are at stake here, you name it - the lot."

As a life-long sufferer of bipolar obviously I empathise with worrying that "the authorities" will intervene. However, having now worked for many years in social care and attended umpteen Child Protection Conferences, I can assure you that your fears are largely unfounded. People who care as much about their children as I know you do literally have no conception of how awful things are in some families, and how high the bar is for Social Services to become involved. I have never have had so much as a sniff of Social Services involvement in my own family, despite having serious episodes when I was literally unable to care for them, despite trying to take my own life.

What really concerns me is that even if you were right (and you are not, I promise you, you are not) that certainly does not mean you should feel you *have* to accept so-called help which is patronising. That's not help. That's an imposition. Being able to say, "Help! I need help!" and accept it is a marvellous quality for anyone with mental health issues to have. But NO, you absolutely do NOT have to make compromises. You are an adult, albeit one with vulnerabilities. You do not have put up with anyone or anything that doesn't actually help. Why on earth should you?

I can tell you what, I certainly don't. And I won't. Just because I have bipolar doesn't mean so-called "mentally well" people know more about what's best for me and for my kids than I do.

Your post has shocked me a little, actually. It's awful to see that your self-esteem is so low, and I wish I could come round and dispense hugs and a bit of asssertiveness training.

Tattie, you're a grownup. A competent and intelligent grownup. Don't you dare let other people behave as if that's not the case.

Tattieweasle said...

Charlotte - Thank you! I have had a pretty rough ride in terms of Social Services but not because they stepped in rather that a malicious woman in the village made up stories about me (http://tattieweasle.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/clarity-and-confusion.html) so it may explain why I accept help unsolicited or not. A form of protection.
I promise I do what I want and although people tell me what to do it doesn't mean I do it! Luckily, most people don't check up on one to see if you are following their advice and many more forget what advice they gave you returning at a later stage to give a contradictory message - I always find that amusing!
Putting people in their boxes because they insist on doling out advice I fear would just alienate them and then they wouldn't be quite as willing to help when I need it.
When you are down it is so very exhausting putting people right so much easier to let them talk and to nod along and thank them. They feel good and I get the help required. You don't get much for free these days! me liastening to them, I consider as a payment for their services rendered.
It's water off a duck's back by and large.

Muddling Along said...

Great post - I'm a swan and it is my biggest downfall. I turn down seats on the train and offers of help because of conditioning and then struggle and eventually crash and burn and self harm - I need to be far more honest about the fact I struggle - at least blogging has given me an outlet to start to express that

Wally B said...

Hi Tattie, You've always appered to be a wonderful Mom and a coper with what you have been dealt. Sometimes I see you flying, care free and full of joy. Sometimes not. You are you, and that is why I like you.

Julia Bohanna said...

Fantastic and honest post. Writing helps the feelings...so I hope that getting it out in the open was cathartic. I have never particularly liked swans, to be honest.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

Wow, really interesting--and insightful, post. You might be interested in what I posted on my blog today--remarkably similar theme! I think it's good if people can communicate their needs to others--it helps everyone I am sure, not just the person suffering but those around them as well. x x

family Affairs said...

Very good point. Ask for help when needed - people couldn't be more happy to give it - I needed it through my divorce - it was invaluable. That's what life is all about. In my opinion Lx

About Last Weekend said...

Good on you for accepting help. I've realised (finally at the age of 50) one of my worst faults is not wanting to be "indebted" to anyone and not accepting help - or constantly feeling I have to immediately "pay back". My mother always tells me I have to learn to allow people to be generous. You already have that grace and skill.

Tattieweasle said...

Muddling Along - It is difficult to ask for help and then not feel indebted after. I try and remember that for many people helping is a a great release so I am actually doing them a favour! And as for blogging about it that helps too I get a lot of support emotionally from it. Take care and ask for a little help now and then...
WallyB - Thnak you that' has made me smile! Brilliant!
Julia Bohanna - writing is catharhartic! (possibly learning to spell would be too!)
Michelloui - I only got up enough courage to ask for help because of the boys. I couldn't let them suffer because I was too proud!
Family Affairs - nowe that I do ask I find it so much easier and I find that I don't whinge as much too which is great for all of us!
About Last Weekend - not sure about teh grace etc but I am glad I have learned to ask for help! It has made all our lives so much easier! Don't they say that you need a whole village to bring up a child - that's an awful lot of help!

Go on you know you want to...


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