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When the gremlins come

Lately I’ve been expressing via social media how my depression is starting to resurface and I want to start by saying thank you. I’ve received so much support in the form of comments and messages, texts and face-to-face. Somehow it’s easier to say things via social media than face-to-face. Do you find that?

Yes, those gremlins are back and they’ve been fed after midnight so are not cute, soft and fluffy but are green, have big teeth and sing “New York, New York” just when you don’t need it! I’ve tried not feeding them but they only stop singing if I give them chocolate, particularly this lovely dark chunky chocolate with big pieces of candied orange. It’s their favourite and they tell me to eat it all the time.

I’m trying to give myself a break. I keep telling myself that it’s ok to not be ok. I keep hearing it everywhere and in fact it was the subject of one of my mum discussion groups today. I know I’m hard on myself but it’s better than being hard on others which then leaves me feeling guilty. I can’t push away the feeling that I’m failing. I’ve spent the nearly nine months since we’ve moved feeling like a duck: I’m calm on the surface but paddling like mad underneath, balancing a hundred things and trying not to forget a single one. If I’m not paying for school trips I’m sending forms to reregister the car, or I’m enrolling my littlest one in maternelle and sourcing vegetarian food for my newly vegetarian daughter. I have lists so long I’m responsible for deforestation!! Good job I recycle!

But there’s one thing I’ve completely forgotten: me. I’ve spent months making sure everyone else is ok and saying “it doesn’t matter about me. It’s my job to sort everyone else out”. Which to an extent is true but I’ve also been hiding behind that responsibility because that’s easier than facing up to the fact I’m currently depressed. It’s not really surprising as moving country is a massive deal and affects everyone, even the dogs. But it jumped out on me and knocked me sideways. Somehow I didn’t see it coming. I live in a beautiful country which we’re starting to settle in and are starting to make friends and form our support network. I’m lucky in that I can sit on the warm terrace at 9pm, drinking rosé and watching the dog chase lizards (he doesn’t catch them). Not everyone can do that. But then it doesn’t matter if you are poor and live in a slim or rich and live in a palace. If you’re depressed you’re depressed and that’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok.

It’s ok to take simple pleasures from finding rhododendrons growing in your garden. It’s ok to not have found your perfect coffee shop yet. It’s ok to be happy that you can eat cherries straight off of your own tree. It’s ok to sit and write a blogpost rather than cook dinner because you need to brain dump. It’s ok to not have found the right choir/ singing group just yet. It’s ok to have time to yourself and you don’t need to feel useless. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to need a glass of wine at the end of the day. It’s ok that you’re fatter than you want to be, body size can change. It’s ok to want to be in your pyjamas by 7.30pm and hide on the sofa because you feel safe there. It’s ok to not be ok. It really, really is. And it’s ok to have trouble believing that.

This duck needs to go swimming now.

See ya round.

Josie.

P.S. it’s ok to not be ok.