If I’m completely honest I’m not really sure why I’m writing this or what to write but on a dark damp Saturday evening here I am sitting on the sofa starting to type. It’s fascinating that I have so much I think I want to say and yet absolutely no idea of where to start and then I realise that I don’t need to say it all one go, this is just the start. This may be enough but I suspect it isn’t. So a bit of context, some scene setting and a little of where I hope to go.

So why Finding Joy? There are two reasons. Firstly I think I have lost my Joy, I’m not certain I ever really had it or that I will even recognise it when I find it. Maybe it’s here right with me and I’m staring straight at it, it’s just it doesn’t look or feel how I think it should. Maybe life has drained me of Joy and it’s too much effort to try and manufacture anymore. Maybe I feel I don’t deserve to experience Joy and that it’s only for those around me. The truth is I just don’t know and I’m even a little nervous about finding out. Secondly and quite simply my initials.  It took a friend jotting down a note for me exclaiming “Oh look your name says Joy” for me to notice. All those years and I’d never seen Joy in my name – it made me think what does that say about me and how I see myself? So I think it’s about time I started to try and find Joy.

None of the above relates to the title of this first blog “Waiting” which I debated changing but since it was what first came to mind I decided to stick with it and explain what I’m waiting for. Quite simply I’m waiting for something, possibly everything, to change and I am well aware that only I can change things, problem is I don’t know what or how. I am very much an all or nothing person. If I exercise it’s to an extreme, when it comes to food it’s all or starve, I work very hard….and then I crash. So if I am to make changes I need to be very careful to make small sustainable changes rather than dramatic unrealistic ones. I fear failure to the degree that I would rather not try than fail and therefore this finds me waiting. Waiting for someone or something to tell me how to do this, a sure fire way to “fix” the bug in my system and then I can get on with the living life with Joy. I have come to realise, ok I’ve always known, this is never going to happen and I have to get over the fear and do something because I don’t want to be like this for the rest of my life.

Why start this blog? Again I don’t really know. Is it an aid to my thought processes, to get it out of my head? Is it to give the whole thing a sense of purpose (I like to have a reason for doing something, an outcome and something to show for the time I spend doing things)? Is it for other people to read and maybe feel that something of it resonates with them? Probably a bit of all three, time will tell. The other question I am asking myself as I write is when I press publish do I do it so that friends and family know it’s me or do I keep myself fairly anonymous? Close friends know that something is not quite right, but perhaps not the extent that I live with it everyday and I’m not sure I’m ready for them to see. It’s not even that I’m embarrassed or ashamed of how things are or that I’m worried they’ll walk away. It’s the worry that if I really start looking at the whole picture and letting others in I may completely crumble and not know how to come back. I commented on a blog on depression the other day that “I can cope with coping but not with breaking”. I’ve got very good (on the surface) with coping but I really haven’t got the resources or the luxury of allowing myself to completely break. It really isn’t an option at this stage so the alternative is to build on what I do have and who I am right now. One of the starting points is to start believing what I recently read in a book by Brene Brown – “I am enough”

So who am I at this very moment? I am 45, a single mum to 2 sons, 21 and 13 and a daughter, 16. All 3 are doing outstandingly well at work and school and I am amazed at what they achieve in spite of the hurdles they’ve had in the past few years. I work 40hrs+ a week. Both my parents are still alive and I get on well with them. I had a great childhood, no major dramas or traumas and life was good. I have a small circle of friends who I know value and care for me and yet…..everyday single is tough and no matter what I try it seems to get harder.

I was diagnosed (as much as they can) with fibromyalgia a few years ago which means that for the majority of time I am in a lot of pain. This may or may not be linked to the depression and anxiety that I live with. In fact if you look up the symptoms of fibro I tick a significant number of the boxes. Noise hurts my head, it’s hard to explain how it feels as it’s not a headache, but it sort of jumbles everything up. I am constantly exhausted yet I can’t sleep at night. Sometimes everything seems too bright – I am found in the office working in semi darkness until someone else comes in. There’s a long list and it was only when chatting to a pharmacist friend that the pieces of the puzzle fell in to place.

I find it hard “doing life” by myself. Yes I have friends, they say call if you want some company or to chat, I can rely on them but the reality is when the door closes it’s all down to me. I know they mean it what they say  but when I’m sitting at home, crying because I’ve dropped a glass or had a rubbish phone call with a utility company that’s got something wrong it feels a bit weird to pick up the phone over something so minor! I think I’ll probably go in to a bit more detail at some point but for now the bottom line is life is lonely on your own and it’s the little things that you don’t realise matter until they happen.

So where am I now (apart from still on the sofa). I’m unmedicated beyond the painkillers, so no antidepressants, and nothing for the fibromyalgia. A conscious decision, GP supervised and not without struggle, but one made because ultimately I don’t want to take tablets forever. The side effects of some weren’t good and I think there is a different solution for me. Again I think I’ll probably share more of this at some point but for now it’s important for me to say these were the right decisions for me and I believe that for others medication is invaluable and the right way to go. I don’t rule it out for me in the future but I want to explore before I go back there.

So for now I’m tired of feeling tired, I’m fed of feeling rubbish and everyday being a struggle to get out the door and not knowing what might make my cry with no warning. I think people would be shocked by how hard I work to keep going (a sort of smile and wave scenario whilst under the surface it’s full on panic) Apparently I’m classed as having high functioning depression so tend to hide it quite well most of the time. I don’t know how to change it or how to find someone that truly understands how it feels without feeding it (I’ve seen that happen over and over) or trying to “fix me” but what I do know is that it can’t continue like this and I’m wasting time waiting.


First blog post

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