You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet on the Kimba Likes front lately. It’s perfectly OK if you didn’t notice. What happens in this fluffy little space is not one of the important things in life. And I’m cool with that.
There’s been a lot going on in my life lately and it’s made me realise that most of this stuff that keeps us busy, fills our diaries and our plates and our days isn’t actually all that important.
Happiness is important. Health is important. Spending time with the people you love is important. Loving yourself is equally important. Putting yourself on your priority list is important.
Last year, I made some hard decisions about my life. My health. My happiness. And how these affected my family. The people who love me. The people I love right back.
I made some major changes including resigning from a school hours job that I loved. The biggest change I made was admitting that my PMS was in actual fact PMDD – a far more severe form that affects 3-8% of women psychologically every month. It is just like having a depressive anxiety disorder – but only for a week or so of every month.
However, knowing that this cyclical change was coming every month started to affect me much more frequently. I was becoming anxious about the onset – the knowledge that I was about to become a different person who couldn’t make myself function properly for a week or so every month.
It took me more than six months but I finally used my referral letter and saw a psychologist. I am now on medication for anxiety and depression. Yup, antidepressants. A lot of my initial delay in seeking help was that I didn’t want to be medicated every day for something that only affects me for a short period of time. But that’s not smart thinking. The medication has a cumulative effect and can’t be taken like analgesics, to relieve pain when required. It’s a daily commitment to my health.
I am one of the first people to say that if you had an illness, you would seek medical assistance and take the required medications and therapies to heal yourself, and that there is no difference between a broken mind and a broken leg. Yet … I felt embarrassed to admit that my mind needed help. I bought into the very stigma that I believe shouldn’t exist.
Ironically, I now find myself dealing with plain old regular depression now that I’m in remission from chronic autoimmune disease, just as a little added bonus to the PMDD. I spent most of my 30s as a virtual invalid, and amazing everyone with my silver lining view of life. Every medical professional I met would run me through some standard questions to check my mental health status. I was expected to have depression as a result of feeling like a 70 year old woman when I was in fact a young woman in my early 30s with a toddler. But it just never happened.
I had some counselling which helped me deal with my original autoimmune disease diagnosis. I went through a grieving process for the life I should have had and got on with dealing with the life I had, and trying to get better. It kills me that now that I am officially “well”, I’m “sick” again. I think I was just so busy focusing on living my life and so focused on getting better that I didn’t have time for anything else.
Now that I am in remission, it’s like all the stuff I didn’t deal with for years has come back to bite me in the bum. There’s a little matter of not having another baby, for example. I don’t think I actually wanted to have another baby, but it wasn’t my decision. It was the illness calling the shots.
I’ve got the Holly Golightly Mean Reds. Truman Capote said it better than me. I think it sounds nicer than a black dog, don’t you?
Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!
The good news is that it is working. I am happy, contented and fulfilled. I have put a lot of things behind me and moved on. I am able to deal with the ebbs and flow of life. I know that I can’t look after other people if I don’t look after myself first. I am proud of myself. I am grateful to the Welshman for his neverending support and love. Boyo’s mama loves him so much and he is so proud of me now that I’m able to do all the things I never could with him, like bowling and running and swimming.
My BFF said to me recently that “we’ve got Kimba back”. Just a few words that really knocked me for six. I didn’t realise anyone had noticed. We know who the important people in our lives are – make sure they know how important they are to you. Please take the time to make sure that you are one of the important things in your life too.
I have written and rewritten this post over and over again in my head, before finally putting fingers to laptop. Who knows how long it would have sat in my drafts folder.
However, I read this post from Mrs Woog at Woogsworld and this post from Zoe at Good Googs, and they gave me strength, inspiration and courage to push the publish button. As for the Oprah sentimentality, all my own fault. Can’t blame them for that. Don’t know what came over me.
I also need to thank Kim at All Consuming whose own honesty and beautiful writing inspired me to seek help in the first place. I hope she knows what an important thing that is to me.
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