When I started this Blog I determined that it would not only be about my attempts at creativity but about my determined, lifelong and tortuous journey to get to this place – the happiest I’ve been in many years; and what I’ve discovered about myself along the way.
From the bleak title you will see that I’ve been the victim of depression on and off for much of my life – from earliest memories of living with relatives who clearly grew tired of me the moment I left the cute, toddler stage and began to develop a personality – to being literally chucked out of ‘ home’ at fourteen because of an abusing Uncle’s attentions to go and live with my parents and brothers who were strangers to me – to being effectively being made homeless when my Mother left for somewhere unknown to me at that time and my Father turning me away at the door – to being attracted to abusing men – to spending 15 years married to one – to having a poor son who developed drug induced schizophrenia – to being bullied mercilessly by neighbours so that I had to be rehomed – and more incidents too distressing to relive even in my mind –
This retrospective is prompted by a couple of recent occurences which have made a couple of much worked and longed-for events a total nightmare of such proportions that I was actually physically sick a couple of nights ago and continue to be much more distressed than a person without such depressive issues would be – luckily I have my lovely and supportive daughter with me – but many are not so lucky.
Now – when I am in the grip of the Black Dog not only can I not function properly but this hard fought-for and welcome creativity which has been repressed for so long disappears. This is my life now. I love the way I live, I love my friends, my family, my animals, my Art – so I ask myself what I can do to minimise such episodes – what have I learned from these recent experiences which I thought were a thing of the past – and what have I noticed about the people I associate with who are so negative towards me?
Well, first off I realise that I am still very naive when I comes to dealing with other people – I take everyone at face value and if I’m nice to them I expect them to reciprocate: but everyone has their own agenda and I have frequently observed that people whom I have supported in the past will discard my friendship if they feel I am no longer of any use to them e.g. when they want to impress someone who may have an issue with me who can do more for them. Recently a girl whom I considered a friend made me wait for over 30 minutes outside her studio while she had coffee downstairs with a group of people who were clearly more advantageous to her than I was…..and then tried to make me feel guilty by saying ‘you should have told me you were in a hurry’……….
Secondly I realise that I’m a bit more up-front than most women are – I chose to bring my children up single-handedly from a very early age – I had no parents to help support me and if I didn’t fight my corner then I was taken advantage of, big time. I also like to think I have a well developed sense of justice and will speak up when others will stay silent because it isn’t happening to them. I will say what I think but try to phrase it in a non-personal way – in a chap it would be considered straight-talking, assertive, strong, admirable, honest – but in a girl it is perceived as aggressive, augmentative, confrontational – why is that by the way……?
Thirdly – I need to guard my health, my new life and my creativity jealously as I am in what is kindly called the Third Age and I fully intend to make the very most of the time I have left which means distancing myself from any negative situation, bullying people, stress or disadvantage and to find a way to promote my Art successfully by other means.
This post is not a cry for sympathy or a complaint about the way I have been treated in the past – just a wee heads-up to those going through similar that you CAN overcome depression, you don’t have to be anybody’s whipping boy, you don’t have to like everybody and not everybody will like you – it’s more than OK to say no – but you need to build certain barriers round yourself to keep yourself safe and, despite what folks tell you and your mind believes – it’s NOT always your fault……xxxxxxx