So now I’m going to carry on from this post and I’m going to try and keep this positive, because I had my whine in the last post.
So rewind: two weeks back. It doesn’t seem long ago. My sister dropped me off and perched in front of the TV at home, whilst my mom and I went out shopping together. We actually had a lot of fun together- chatting and browsing idly whilst forgetting what we had actually come for. My mom spoiled me a little. It had been years since my mom and I had gone shopping – before I became depressed I think we may have gone out quite often together. As I walked along that high street I was amazed at by how much it changed, but also by how much the same it was. I felt like I was younger again, and I remembered. I remembered me and my mother going out together, and how we got along. It’s crazy how much being a teenager changes you and the relationships between yourself and others, and my depression didn’t help. Anyway we went grocery shopping next, and then we came home. I cooked supper. My sister got ready to leave. My sister left. My mother and I ate sitting side by side on the couch watching some reality program. My mother really enjoyed the meal I made here, and I felt happy. I cleaned the kitchen nicely for her as she finished her program, then we put a film on, some romantic comedy that was very enjoyable at the time but not particularly memorable. That night I slept in my mothers bed, in the void left behind by my dad. We watched another film first, another romantic comedy, then went to sleep. I had a fantastic sleep. I did not wake up once, I did not have weird dreams. In the morning I woke up feeling comfortable, relaxed and refreshed. I could have just stayed there. My mother and father’s bed really is the best. Its the same frame they’ve always had, so it feels like the same bed that I used to go to when I was little, still in South Africa, and afraid of the dark. When I was younger and I got sick, I would stay home, curled up in my parents bed, always on my fathers side. It’s a place of comfort and healing for me, no room for bad thoughts. I slept so damn well.
That Sunday I went to the food festival with my mother and sister. My mother was in a bad mood and my sister was in a bad mood and the festival wasn’t as good as the one I went to with my sister for my birthday this year, but it was still quite good. I ate a lot of bratwurst mostly. As the sign at the stall said “money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you an 8 inch sausage.” That made me laugh. There was a South African stall too- run by a guy from Joburg. We had the usual chat about why they’d moved, how bad the situation in South Africa is and how much better it is here, how much the weather sucks here, although he did not mind too much. We bought miniature milk tarts and butter milk rusks. Very random to stumble across it, but nice. It’s always nice to bump into fellow South Africans, although also sad. So many people are leaving. So many people you meet have so many bad things to say about SA, and they are hardly wrong. Its not like it comes from a place of hate- its comes from a place of disappointment. And that’s what is so sad. That these people, that my family even, love South Africa so much but cannot see a viable future there for themselves or their children. So they pack up, leave, start again somewhere else.
We got home and I hung out with my sister watching bad reality TV then went to bed. The next morning I did some chores for my mother, then went to the train station to return to my uni home. Since then its just been the same old routine of uni and work and driving lessons. Coursework deadlines are creeping up, as are exams and I’m feeling under pressure. I’m still struggling. I’m supposed to be positive in this entry though so I’ll stop there.
I developed a cold last week, was coughing and weak for a time but seem to be better now, which is great.
Finally a random collection of positive things from the past couple of weeks:
➔ This was the really great article on disordered eating mentioned in the last post.
➔ Driving went really well this week and last week, despite having a week off. A little shaky on clutch control, but my driving instructor is still letting me loose on fairly busy roads. Progress!
➔ My best friend emailed me today and we are going to meet up soon! Just when I had given up ever hearing from her again. I’m so excited, but I’m trying to refrain myself from writing back right away so I don’t show it. I don’t want to look desperate.
➔ I am really enjoying work. It does make me a bit anxious, but the work is very manageable, almost relaxing at times, and my co-workers are really nice. We have interesting chats, at least it is for me. It does feel good to take a few hours away from university every week to help out in the shop, and to have a chance to interact with other people. Even if it makes me anxious, it also feels good and helpful. Stops me from becoming too self absorbed, you know?
➔ There’s a couple of cats down a road near me who always greet me when I walk past, and I likewise. I petted them on the way home one evening last week, and looked up to see a little girl watching me out her living room window in confusion. I guess I must look crazy. I don’t care. It always cheers me up to see them.
➔ I’ve managed to talk to my father a couple of times this week. This has really helped stress wise. My dad has a way of making me feel motivated about university, and making me feel like I’m capable. I really appreciate that I have the sort of father that doesn’t mind taking the time to explain things to me. I probably would never have become an engineer if not for my father always taking the chance to explain things to me since I was a little girl– regardless of that fact I am a girl. I’ve grown up listening to my father informing me on how the world works and encouraging me to be curious – how a car works as we drive to get groceries, how all kinds of technologies new and old work as we walk around a museum, how the electronics of items work as he takes them apart to fix etc. I’m not sure I’d be able to carry on with my degree without it.
➔ I went to see the doctor and he told me it was great to see me looking so well. He said I looked happy and healthy. He seemed genuinely pleased with my process. It made me feel good. Yes, I am still struggling, but if I look back at where I was… I have improved in many ways. I’m glad I went to the doctors. And I think the antidepressants are going to be a good thing in the long run. There’s a lot more I can be doing myself, after all. See: willpower and discipline.
➔ I have completed three job applications and started two more. I spoke to the careers advisor again to get more advice and motivation. Gotta keep going!
➔ I have done some studying these past two weeks, actually. Even if it doesn’t feel like I’m making much progress, I have made some effort at some points. (positivity fail? Oh well.)
➔ I have started, just occasionally, doing yoga and I think I really like it.
➔ I have been reading some fabulous books lately. The Tenderness of Wolves was excellent,so rich in historical detail and with incredible characterisation, although it was utterly heart breaking. I cried once I finished it because I was so overtaken by how it had effected me and how much loss I felt at it being over and like that. There was so much longing in the book – not just for love – and so much of it unrequited and with no realistic resolution/going nowhere. I wanted to write about it here but words failed me. Even what I’ve written now feels inadequate. I’m reading The Falling Woman currently which is incredible in the way it presents religion, ancient history and mental illness and questions our perceptions of what is real and normal without being preachy. In between, I have been flicking through the new scientist last word books which are very entertaining.
➔ I found a local organic supermarket which is expensive, but sells amazing items – like brown short grain rice, spelt flour, puy lentils and every kind of alternate product you could wish for.
➔ I started using cloth sanitary pads and have been quite impressed. Am pondering writing a post on them – I’ve already written posts on not using shampoo and on mental illness so maybe I’ve already crossed all tmi boundaries, or is this one a further one? Hard to know what is too much (information). I’ve been blogging too long.
There, a nice (?) solid list of 13 things*. That wasn’t too hard, actually.
*Bloggers always go for multiples of five. Well, I’m using a prime number OK? I like awkward numbers. Whatever.
Stef Penney - The Tenderness of Wolves