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3 November, 2013

We’ve been “shaped”. 5 days out from our turnover date and we’ve reached our internet threshold.

In as many days I’ve gone from 53% to 93% of my phone data as I’ve not coped on the “shaped” speed (which seems to be slower than dial up).

But I’m shaped in so many other ways. Some bring frustration and angst. Some have a healthier feel.

On Friday I went to fill an old script for Largactil 25mg. Because the script was too old I couldn’t get them.

I had a choice – ransack my office in the hope I have a sheet there, go cold turkey with the possibility of no sleep for the weekend, go back up to 100mg and sleep.

I chose the latter. I chose the valued but less dream-conscious state of oblivion. I’m a chicken. I’m not game enough to carry that challenge yet.

On the 50mg Largactil that I’ve taken over the last few weeks I’ve noticed I’ve been a bit brighter and not as wholly shattered as each week passes by.

My relationship with hubby had been at its best too. It might not be the meds, it might be better communication and nothing more complicated than that but having a clear head has helped me.

This week I’ve been shaped by spots like a teenager. A small one over the corner of my top lip, a massive lump under the opposite side of my mouth and one on the crease of my chin. This one cleared up to turn into a scabby mess of a cold sore. I’m 41, will my body ever grow up?!

I received an email this morning from my Dad. My niece graduated in nursing and he sent over some photos. She’s a stunning redhead, a real carrot orange with long crinkly hair.

Her mum hasn’t aged in all of the years and is still gorgeous, slim and youthful looking. My brother, oh my. He’s aged. He’s late 50’s and looks every year of it.

Being away from home you don’t see folk regularly so it’s a shock when you only see an annual photo and you see the big change rather than the subtle passing of time.

I fear I too will look aged when I get to their age but hubby assures me I got the looks in the family and only get better with age.

I still shed a tear though as I thought of my brother ageing and my Dad getting frailer. We are shaped by who we are and the genes that determine our bodies.

My running plan had been to get a run in at least once a week. I stayed in my pyjamas yesterday, reading, playing Monopoly (against my better judgement) and the sun shone.

Today the wind is blowing, the rain is coming along in heavy, short, showers. It’s chilly. I feel shaped by the weather and dis-inclined to run when I should be.

I am shaped by my faith. I just finished a rather sweet but strange book, called The Cat That God Sent by Jim Kraus. I loved the characters, I understood some of the faith struggles, I loved the open honesty and the “community” and “family” that grew through it.

My next book isn’t a Christian book and in some ways I miss that deeper connection in a story. If you haven’t tried reading a Christian novel let me encourage you to try one.

My next book is Irish though and I like the links to things forgotten, family ways that are unspoken but form a hidden thread of “knowing” deep inside. Mannerisms left behind as out of place in a new culture but quintessentially of “home”. We are shaped by where we are from.

We are shaped by our hurts, our fears, our esteem, our insecurities, our loves, our imaginations. Whether each is for good or for bad, no matter the place on the scale we are shaped by it.

I am very definitely shaped by my work. Even when I’m not working I never fully switch off. There is a constant state of watchfulness that is wearing on a soul.

I can’t watch tv without being reminded of my job, I can’t read certain books without being reminded of the horrors people can do to each other and reading the newspaper brings some of that depravity into my neighbourhood. I am shaped by what goes on around me, seen and unseen.

I am shaped by what I hear. The news can so often be depressing. I hear of people killed in their hundreds, a shooting of a few, storms killing a handful, natural disasters wiping out communities and often my heart aches.

I am shaped by what I hear. Music. It plays all day in work. Repeated songs, funny comments, uplifting songs and jokes.

One day last week there was a competition to win a day at the races. Two women were to “lick it to win it”. The challenge was to suck melted chocolate off the toes of a male radio presenter live on-air.

As I was swept back to my childhood (age 10) I recalled being commanded by a 12 year old to kiss her feet. As the radio hosts laughed, cheered and exclaimed their disgust and how they wouldn’t do such a thing themselves (but “forced” someone else to).

I was shaped by this girl who stained my childhood for a year of my life. There is a fine line between bullying and a willing challenger. I would like to think it has made me a more compassionate person.

I am shaped by the animals that have entered, and left, my life. I treasure each contact, past and present, as each touches a part of my soul in their manner, their silence, their pressing in and their independence.

And I am shaped by my family. My hubby, my kids. They make me a better person. They make me learn to walk out patience and love. They frustrate me, push my buttons, long for peace and make me laugh. They shape me.

And then there is the last two years. The last two years that I have been conscious of the black dog that sits on my heel.

I have been shaped by depression. It has stripped me bare. Taken me back to bare bones and foundations. It stole my voice, my song, my joy.

It made me cower in the darkness where I knew I didn’t belong but didn’t know how to get away from. It lied to me, told me I was worthless, that my family would be better off without me.

It shaped me. It forced away the fluff. Depression made me examine who I was, why I was, where I was and what I was doing.

For a time it was all I could do to make it through each day as I went on a crazy roller coaster ride of medications, time, medications, time, more medications, self analysis, medications, time, psychology, cognitive behaviour therapy and progress, forwards and sometimes backwards.

I have learnt that the outside doesn’t always match the inside. I have felt super grungy inside, low as I’ve felt emotionally and I have purposely dressed up to appear well.

I have had good days emotionally where it hasn’t bothered me to remain in pyjamas for the day or in a baggy track suit.

I have found a pattern to my low days. I have found that life as a woman with depression has such vulnerable times during the month as hormones swing.

But you know what, I have seen similar swings emotionally in my hubby. I have seen him self-sabotage as he doesn’t care for his own emotional health and we have learnt how each of us de-stresses in a safe way.

I have learnt to give myself the space I crave. I have learnt to listen to my body when it’s being overloaded and stop. I have such a long way to go still though.

I am shaped. You are shaped. We can allow ourselves to be shaped by good and bad for good or bad. One day the shaping will stop and we will be who we were meant to be, whole and free.

Persevering in the process



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