We spent last summer getting out of the country as much as possible – more time away in Sicily and Brittany than here in the UK. After 2 or 3 weeks back here we both felt exhausted with the political heat over Brexit. It was a continuing battle until the December election and winter is a fog of parliamentary votes – remember Mrs May trying to get her deal through? – and the unbelievable majority Johnson’s government won at the end of it. We spent New Year in Italy! This year, 2020, has taken the cake – but then everyone knows that, no need to explain. I feel as if I’ve been hammered into the clay of the heart of England, imprisoned away from sunshine and laughter. Trips cancelled, disappointment, disillusionment – we did escape to France in late August and stayed long enough to make the 2 weeks quarantine on return seem worth it, but it drained all the good vibes away. Here in Leicester we have been subject to continual restrictions since March – unable to have others in our home throughout. Fed up is not a strong enough description. This November during lockdown we’ve been through the 6th anniversary of Sam’s death and burial with a lonelier than usual Christmas stretching ahead. I know other people have it much worse than us, terrible things have happened, children go hungry, jobs are being lost, loved-ones have died – we live in a privileged bubble. Mental illness is no respecter of persons.
This the story I stopped writing. I gave up poetry group – zooms were too long and exhausting. I’ve done a bit of painting – mixed media and collage – and focussed on my garden. Photography has made me happy as well, especially in the delicious spring we had and autumn sunlight: my photoblog continues.
The roseacea now covers my face from eyebrows to lips. You can’t see it – except for my red/purple nose and tendency to flush – but I can feel it. I saw the dermaltology specialist GP this week and took the prescribed antibiotic for the first time this morning. Up until now I’ve been managing with cream that helps prevent the breakouts that accompany this inflammation of the facial skin – and covering up red marks and nose with make-up as much as possible. It’s demoralising and makes me sad.
Since I stopped writing there have been more months walking through depression than not. Attempting to write about Sam last May tipped me into it and I had to up the anti-depressant medication in August and am still at that level. I may be a trazidone zombie in the mornings, but at least it helps me sleep well.
This week I actually wrote a poem – read it here – and today I find I want to blog again. So I am, for what it’s worth, and here it is, furthering your education on medication. Just one depressed, bereaved 63 year old Englishwoman’s inside story, hot off the press from Leicester.
We all keep going, don’t we, managing as well as we can, putting one foot in front of the other. No more future planning, just dealing with things. As my friend said when I met her for a walk exactly 8 months since I’d last seen her in the flesh, “I just think, what’s the next thing I have to do?” There have been a few highlights: when Lestah was put into Tier 2 in October we were able to have a picnic lunch for 6 in a friend’s garden to celebrate us getting out of quarantine – and it was actually sunny 🙂 We booked a hotel in Bakewell to go walking with friends and amazingly it ended up being the day before Lockdown 2! And again, beautifully sunny 🙂
I may be crumbling physically, mentally – but I have to say I have always found grace for each day and know it will always be there when I need it. When I go deep inside I know I am eternally loved. My husband still adores me (!?!) our daughter brings us joy, we have faithful friends who have made us laugh every week on Zoom, and although the new antibiotic is already making me feel sick (FFS) – it is Advent. The longing and yearning for something better, the underlying cry of all creation, is given a vehicle, a voice:
‘Come, Lord Jesus’