Feeling The Winter Blues

My Happiness Boosters

Depression is not a word or feeling to be taken lightly. There is a big difference between “feeling depressed” and actually having Depression and I found that out the hard way this winter.  It snuck up on me and I didn’t realize what was going on until I started crying in the shower for no reason other than thinking of my kids. My brain began to try and process what on earth was going on and after a few minutes I came to a heartbreaking conclusion: I was very, very unhappy but I had no idea why. For me it felt as though my life was just awful; I had no energy to get through my day and the thought of having to attempt to act normal was enough to have me practically curling into a ball on the sofa and wishing I was invisible, however I had to keep going because of my two kids. I had to try and keep pretending I was OK and stop being so silly. In reality life was good, everyone was healthy and happy, there was nothing going on to warrant that horrible darkness that surrounded me.

Here is a small glimpse of what I went through: For weeks I had felt like my feet were made of lead, my body wouldn’t respond quickly and my brain was numb. My thoughts were all negative towards everything and everyone yet at the same time I had this overwhelming sense that something horrible was going to happen. Fear would consume me without any rhyme or reason and I would desperately try and figure out what it could be that was wrong but I never could come to the conclusion. I also felt guilty all the time but there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that I could attribute to that feeling. Every morning I would wake up and think, ‘how the hell am I going to get through the day?’ It became more worrisome last week as it was March Break  and I had promised the kids we would do fun arty activities. As the day dragged on I would pray constantly for it to be over so I could get back into bed and sleep, however sleep wasn’t always available and I spent many nights wide awake but feeling exhausted. How irritating is it to feel tired and want sleep but it never comes?! I didn’t laugh, I didn’t smile, I existed as a semi-lifeless form wishing to be somewhere other than where I was. Later on my husband told me I stopped giving eye contact when I was spoken to, I would talk to the floor and my replies to questions were always one word answers. My life, it seemed to me, was doomed to darkness and sadness and guilt and worry and nothing was going to help get me out.

I was saved by my children. It may sound soppy but once I came through the darkness I realized they had helped me, even though they were completely unaware of what their mummy was going through. Without them I am sure I wouldn’t have left my bed or sofa and I probably wouldn’t have eaten when I did. March Break was tough but I had my kids to think of and they were so exited to do fun activities I felt I couldn’t let them down. I was also pulled out from the depths by my husband who had noticed a serious change in my behavior but, at the time, had other pressing matters of his own to deal with. I had wanted to talk to him but felt I couldn’t as it would be unfair to dump my problems while he was busy dealing with his work demands. (He later told me never to do that again!) Finally he managed to get me talking and a few hours later I had told him everything. He sat and listened and I couldn’t have asked for more at that time. I poured out my heart to him and once I was done I felt relieved but also very confused – we both thought it would be best if I sought help and he recommended I see our family doctor which I did. A few questionnaires later she diagnosed depression and anxiety, although it wasn’t in the serious stages that needed pharmaceutical intervention.

I am lucky enough to be able to fight this myself but I can’t do it alone – my family are a huge source of relief and support. Just the simple act of talking about how I felt, my emotions and my thoughts was enough to begin to climb up out of the gloom. I have family members who suffer depression and hearing their stories and being able to relate was a huge boost. I will also be talking to a counselor in April so we shall see what that produces but for now, I’m concentrating on being aware of my feelings and making sure I persuade my wonderful husband that I really am doing alright!

My symptoms are fairy mild and the simple act of talking to people and getting advice had a very positive effect for me. I’m not sure yet if I have all year depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so I am going through the process of monitoring to see exactly where I stand in this. I know it’s not always that easy for others who suffer a more serious form of depression to just talk their problems away but knowing you have support, I think, can be worth it. If you have read this post and can relate to what I have written then please think about talking to your doctor or family about what you are going through. It might help shine a much needed light into your life.

Organizing: A Way of Life for Filofax Lovers

Skoobogami

Filofax

I’ve always loved Filofax and have never really been able to accommodate an electronic version of planning my diary simply because I enjoy the look and feel of having a Filofax to hand. The start of a new year is always fun for me because I can flip through the crisp new pages of the diary and start adding all the things to look forward to as the months go on. It wasn’t until I joined Instagram that I realized there is a world of ‘Planner Addicts’ out there; people who collect an amazing amount of Filofax’s, organizers or planners and use them to accommodate their needs; some use a different planner for each month of the year or simply to reflect their mood at that particular time.

Not only have Filofax become so popular among the planning community, the use of washi tape, Kawaii stickers and post-it notes has also joined in the party. These items are essential and some users will go to amazing lengths to make their weekly pages look sparkling and full of cute cartoons and stickers. Of course a Planner can not be seen as being disorganized so all the accouterments to a Filofax are neatly stored in a special Craftmate Filo or binder, ready to be used whenever the mood strikes. Folios usually start out as passport or travel holders that then become modified to hold whatever the owner desires.

Processed with MoldivIt is because of this new found world that I have become intrigued by all this and have scoured websites and pages dedicated to the ‘Planner Life’. Some pages I see and I think, ‘this person has an actual addiction that may need attention!’ Other pages I see and nod my head in admiration for their skills in using their hobby to their advantage. One site I’ve come across that apparently has quite a following is called Websters Pages and I have to say I can see why they are so popular. The company is owned by a brother and sister duo who started out with their own printing company, Webster Fine Art, before launching into a more personal brand of scrapbook papers and planners and they now have a collection that out sells months in advance.

All things aside, this made me think about how to apply it to everyday life and I have started being more conscious of planning out my week so I don’t get caught out and miss something vital – like my daughters swimming class. By getting colorful and creative with my planning the rest of the family takes note and sees the silly doodles and then sees how they are involved in the day-to-day activities. By being organized and going through the up and coming week you get a sense of advanced warning so each week you are prepared for what lies ahead. It’s reassuring and helpful when a member of the household asks, “what’s happening on […]day?” Without having to thumb through pages or reach for the iPhone I can tell them instantly. Even my kids thumb through the pages and remind me of school goings on – get ‘em started early and they’ll be more organized than most young kids!

This approach might not work for everyone – some people live through their electronics and enjoy the convenience of having every booking or appointment on their phone or tablet so that’s fine, but being able to constantly see a week ahead can be beneficial too. It’s quicker to jot down a note than get your phone, plug in your pass-code, open the app, open the keyboard, type/talk, save. Having a Filofax or planner visible can also give you motivation throughout your week. If you want to get something done, write it down so you can see it; that way there is a smaller chance of you either a) forgetting or b)procrastinating (my weakness!) I usually choose one task I would like to see done that week and if I manage to fulfill the task, I add something else.

Processed with Moldiv

If you want to see a well planned out organizer, check out My Purpley Life. Jennifer has a world of decorated planner pages that go way beyond what I could do but it’s well laid out and obviously helps her get through all her day-to-day tasks. It started with a love for all things crafty and progressed into a need for organization which introduced her to Filofax. She is currently one of the creative planner designers for Websters Pages, to list one of many attributes to various companies.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I am a lover of the physical book, paper and creative arts and crafts so to see a strong community promoting the use of the beloved Filofax is fantastic and I think we could all use a little color in our lives. Taking time to sit and plan out your life while adding color and perhaps some sparkle is a fun way to loose some time and be immersed in making life more than just mundane. Why not consider doing the same? Do you have a planner gathering dust somewhere? Bring it out, spruce it up and keep it visible so you can feel more in control of your week.

Sunday, Sunday, glorious Sunday!

What an epic day! When I say epic, I don’t mean in the sense that a crazy adventure was had; we didn’t all go bungee jumping together or anything remotely crazy like that. No, an epic day for us is one where everyone is happy to do their own thing and chores also get done in the process.

Today was one of those glorious days where the children were totally compatible and spent the entire day cavorting together without a single fight as they morphed from one fantasy world to another. They started off the morning as pirates and turned our sofa into their pirate ship, sailing the seven seas in search of adventure before my husband and I were enlisted to plan and map out a full on treasure hunt. This went on for quite a while before the pirates decided they were hungry and I was called upon to make Pirate PBJ sandwiches.

With full tummies the pirates then decided they were done hunting for treasure so opted to go for the next best thing and watch Scooby Doo (the 1970’s version) while giggling at the slap-stick antics.  During this time I was upstairs re-organizing our bedroom closet and giving the whole room a good old fashioned sweep-down.  I purged the shelves of clothes not worn and did away with holey socks and t-shirts. I dusted and hoovered (vacuumed) like a mad woman and the result was a blissfully clean, organized and zen-like room complete with fresh sheets and puffy pillows to which I’m looking forward to getting cozy with tonight.

As I finished my chores my daughter approached me and “ahem”-ed me. I turned and was greeted by a dazzling pink princess. “Mummy, I am now Queen and you must do as I say,” she informed me as her brother came racing into the room in his Spiderman costume and declared for all the neighborhood to hear that Spiderman had arrived. With eyebrows raised I accepted this new change in family hierarchy and asked if there was anything Her Majesty required at that present moment in time. I was told no but to be aware that a demand may happen at any moment unto which I would be promptly informed. They both then hurried out of the room and descended the stairs to the basement where they began a whole new fantasy game. They also spent time crafting crowns for themselves out of construction paper, the remnants of which now scatter the playroom floor. Throughout all this my husband and I pottered about doing our own thing, casually remarking at how beautifully the offspring were playing together and how lovely it is not to hear fighting and bickering.

This game continued all the way up through dinner and let me tell you, it was amazing seeing the clean plates! Usually my children are fussy eaters but not tonight; those plates were cleared by mini tornadoes before they were off again to continue their game of Queen and Spiderman. Nothing makes a parent feel more accomplishment than when their child has scarfed food they have prepared without a complaint! Bath and bed time was a breeze and now I sit here while my husband plays video games, children all nestled in bed, a sense of peace and happiness floating through the house. Like I said, it really was an epic Sunday.