Shoo black dog, Ocsober

Kathy Krugerbalance, change, perspective20 Comments

Depression is a sign of weakness, selfishness, ungratefulness?

YEP – pretty much how I thought.

I’d been depressed before – but back then it was OK. Justified. Totally justified. Normal even.

That was on our long infertility journey – in the midst of IVF failures – I mean who wouldn’t be depressed?

Still it’s amazing how long it took me to admit it even then. A bit of self-medication with wine can be good for numbing the pain.

In the midst of our infertility struggle, admitting depression would surely mean I’d given up, sunk to the bottom, that all was fruitless. And I wanted so much to believe in hope.

So I was proud of myself when I finally saw the doctor, went to a psychiatrist, took the meds, got back into fitness and yoga and tried to feel other than a depressed infertile woman.

I took leave from work (while finishing off our home renovations) and then decided that work wasn’t so important and took the plunge into freelancing. We gave up on IVF and moved forward with our adoption plans. Clinically, I’m pretty sure I did everything right.

Then I had to fight to proceed in the adoption process – the black cloud of depression hanging over me, despite the fact that it was justified. Normal. The fight showed my resolve. After 9months I was already scaling back the meds. Common sense finally prevailed. And then 9 months later (not by pregnancy) we finally had our dreamed for child.

Yippy, Hoorah, bloody fantastic. And it was. Such joy left no room for depression, even if doubt and self-recrimination that I wasn’t being a ‘good enough’ Mum opened the door just a little on the black dog. Remember, nature had stopped me being a Mum, so maybe nature was right?

But NO – I was OK and I did my best to convince myself that I was an OK Mum, especially since I like to think I was more than OK. I did my best to convince myself that being a Mum was everything, while feeling guilty when it felt not quite enough. When I felt not enough.

Time creeps. Doubt. Lack. Of. Control. We wait to adopt a second child. And wait. And wait. And wait. Depression sort of sneaks back in through the cracks again. Down boy! Down.

Finally (six and a half years later) our second adoption. Dreams do come true (again). Our family complete, and with it the excitement of a year-long job and house exchange to Canada – a chance for me to bond with our new baby, to just be a Mum and BE happy.

I don’t know how a black dog can cross oceans and continents (avoiding customs and quarantine) but it can. In the cold and wet as cabin fever set in I had to wonder what the hell I possibly had to feel depressed about.

It might have been OK to be depressed before. It might have been normal. It was not OK to feel down, not with two beautiful children, living the dream in Canada. It was certainly not normal.

So I oscillated between joy and happiness and contentment at what a wonderful life I had, and feeling a bit sad, lonely. I self-medicated with cheap Chilean wine (which was really quite good and went so well with all that sitting by the fire).

IMG_0149 vintage denim_edited-1

And now?

Even though I’m doing lots of yoga, and trying to be regular with meditation, I’m still reaching for a glass, or too many, of wine, too often. I know it’s not the answer to my angst about how to re-engineer my life to do work that I love, to contribute in a meaningful way. It’s the lazy way, too convenient, wasteful. And it’s got to stop.

So, Ocsober – it may seem trite to some (what with Dry July’s and I think something happens in February too), but for me it can be positive in my life and help raise funds for Life Education in schools. Our society has to change its attitude to alcohol consumption and I have to be a small part of the solution. If you’d like to find out more or support the cause with a donation it would be most appreciated.

Linking up with the lovely Jess for IBOT.

So cheers (as I usually sign off, this time soberly).

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Kathy KrugerShoo black dog, Ocsober

20 Comments on “Shoo black dog, Ocsober”

  1. Me

    I think that your children have the most amazing Mom who loves them to the moon and back – you are definitely more than enough – never doubt yourself and your capacity to be a fantastic Mom.
    Good luck with Ocsober – I’m off to donate to a great cause !
    Have the BEST day !
    Me xox

  2. Druimé N

    You are way too hard on yourself Kathy. Your love and dedication for your kids shines brightly from this blog. Believe you deserve all that you have. As for finding a way to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be big and bold most times we have no idea how much our words or ideas affect other’s. Keep believing. Best of luck for a wine free October. I will return to support.

  3. Pinky Poinker

    You are a gorgeous woman and you deserve everything positive the universe has to give you. I’ll be back to support too! By the way I received your email with the links and tried to reply but the silly email wouldn’t go. I just got the Maeler Demon whoever he is. I will be using those links and sharing them with my colleagues when we go back to school so thank you 🙂

  4. Michelle@myslowlivingadventure

    It’s a toughy isn’t it when you think you have stuff in your head sorted and the darker stuff still drifts in from time to time. I’m a bit the same with stress issues. I do soooo much to manage stress and yet ‘angry me’ still manages to poke her head up randomly, usually hormone related, but it’s still annoying. I’m not comparing stress and depression by the way….

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Angry and stressed me pops up too, alongside ‘depressed’ me too Michelle. Awareness is a big thing, whether it is about too much stress, or feeling too down – and doing something about it. Hormones are a big one too, and I think in my mid-forties they are playing tricks on me too.

  5. Tegan Churchill

    The feelings that you’ve expressed in this post is exactly why, in my opinion, one of the worst things you can say to someone who is depressed is ‘what do you have to be depressed about’. Guilt doesn’t beyond that first initial jolt of helping us to improve on what we are doing.
    Good luck with Ocsober. I did Dry July last year and while I would never do it again personally, I definitely don’t begrudge anyone else giving it their all!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I agree Tegan – none of us can really know how someone else is feeling and what their triggers are for depression (beyond the obvious things of grief and loss that people assume causes depression) – it’s complicated. For me guilt is a big part of my problem, and you are right that it doesn’t serve any real useful purpose beyond an initial jolt. Thanks for your support with Ocsober.

  6. coloursofsunset

    I did Ocsober last year and it was awesome. Maybe I should do it again, just to de-tox. I did it for similar reasons – I was drinking a LOT. Going a month without was hard the first 2 weeks, but quite easy towards the end, then I don’t think I had a drink until the 2nd week of November. The hardest part was having to defend my decision to friends who would say “Why on earth are you doing that?!!?” I bet you will feel great at the end of it! x

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I remember you doing Ocsober, I made a small donation to your cause. I might turn to you if it gets hard for motivation, if you don’t mind. And I’m looking forward to the detox benefits too.

  7. minsmash

    Agghh that damn black dog! He bugs me too and I’m shoo’ing him away often. Drinking alcohol hasn’t been my crutch, smoking was my crutch. I gave it up in October 2009 and took up sucking on Nicobate Lozenges. They were recently recalled off the shelves and so I have had to go cold turkey off those. No crutch for me anymore – gulp! All tlhe very best with Ocsober! You can do it! Awesome photo of you by the way 🙂 x

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks for the encouragement Min. I gave up smoking almost 25 years ago (and that makes me feel old) but I know how hard it would have been. I’m happy for yoga to be my ‘crutch’ (in a good way of course).

  8. mummywifeme

    Good on you, Kathy. I find myself having more and more alcohol these days. Life is busy and stressful and I find myself ‘needing’ a glass of wine or a beer to calm myself down. I have thought about doing Ocsober, but don’t know if I’m strong enough. I have one night to decide! Visiting via #teamIBOT

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Renee – I think I NEED to do this, plus it will help me get healthier as a I finish off my yoga teacher training. I graduate on 1st November so the timing is perfect really. If you decided to go for it, we can be support for each other. X

  9. Zanni

    Nice idea Kathy. We have been buying fine wines bulk, and enjoying trying lots of different types from all over the place. I am not a big drinker, but I enjoy a glass a couple of nights a week. x

  10. hugzillablog

    I honestly have no idea what to say, other than I think you are incredibly brave to be so open about all of this, so others can learn from it and/or be comforted by it xx

  11. NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad)

    Hope it went well in Ocsober…one of my brothers did Dry July {he is a very big drinker}. I drink a few glasses now and then when we are out n about.
    I have had post natal depression with one of our sons, many years ago, and its not a good feeling
    Yoga makes me feel so much better – I should do more Yoga!
    Depression can hit anyone any time, even in another country. And after your journey to become a Mums its not surprising. Maybe you could switch the glass of wine for a good book!!!

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