Where has your blog gone?

I have had a few messages from friends and readers asking me why it is that I am not blogging regularly lately.  The truth is that I am struggling at the moment  and finding it hard to do anything much at all, except sleeping.  Sitting down to get my thoughts out is difficult as I can’t concentrate (this blog post has taken me 5 days and about 8 logged in sessions to write!)

I make no secret of the fact that I have suffered with depression my whole life.  I used to be too proud to admit it to friends and strangers, but now I don’t see it as anything other than it is  – an illness that I suffer from and which I try to manage every day.  I think it actually makes it easier for my friends to understand me once they know (I can be a crabby old cow sometimes).  The days when I ignore my phone and email messages and don’t leave the sofa just become “one of Martina’s blah days” rather than something they should worry about.  I always manage to bounce back and they know that, so they don’t get too worried.  For the people that don’t know about my illness, they must just jump to their own conclusions, which is natural obviously, but a real shame as I’m not really the person that they think I am

So I am putting this out there and explaining to the world.  I don’t want sympathy, but I just wanted to explain, and also to take some control and snap myself out of this funk.  It is ruining my time in SA and needs to stop

what a bad day looks like

I do cope very well as it has been going on for so long.  I realised that I put on a pretty good show when one of my closest friends here exclaimed “but you are not really depressed though” during a conversation.  I’m very down at the moment and was surprised that even that person doesn’t see how bad it is as it’s affecting everything at the moment.  I should be an actress 🙂

In my teenage years and early twenties my depression was crippling.  I soldiered on, drinking, sleeping and being crazy to try and make it better.  Back then I just thought that life was incredibly crappy.  I shed too many tears and just remember a constant feeling of humiliation, regret and heaviness of heart (unsurprisingly I don’t have too many friends now from that period in my life!)

I tried to do something about it – the wrong thing, and luckily my doctor tried to help the best way he could by prescribing me some medication and counselling.  I turned a corner.  Life was incredibly crap, but I had taken a sliver of control, and although the pills didn’t work out they showed me that I was strong enough to try and turn my life around.  They just took the edge off long enough for me to realise I could change things

It was difficult – I was only 22 and couldn’t make the right, mature choices.  I kept messing up.  Then I met someone who was going through a similar experience to me, although our stories couldn’t have been more different.  He showed me that there was a better life outside of the bubble I was living in, but that I had to fight for it.  So I did.  I left the job I loved as a bar manager to work in an office so that I could gain a better quality of life.  I created a regular routine, was away from the booze, started exercising a little and eating better.  I managed to get my depression under control

Throughout the next few years I had blue days, but I had normal days too for the first time.  The future looked manageable.  I learnt to take each day as it comes

what a good day looks like

I nose-dived throughout the period of my divorce (obviously) but I had shown myself how strong I was and knew I could bounce back.  This helped me reign it all in and develop a stronger way of dealing with things

When I fell in love with Rob, those first sugary sweet in a blur feelings banished most of my blue days, but I still had them.  He helped me start leading a healthier life than I had been, and I also started making a lot of new friends

I have never, ever felt like I fit into a group of people before, and have spent endless nights crying that I have no “real” friends.  I just always feel like the odd one out, and not very well liked.  Poor Rob has spent hours trying to change my mind, but to no avail.  Until I turned a corner at the end of 2010.  I made new friends – some of them are younger and much more beautiful, which is enough to make anyone feel bad, yet I didn’t feel like an outsider anymore.  They are the most awesome girls you can ever be around, and they made me realise that they thought I was pretty awesome too.  It was such a turning point.  I grew in self-esteem and confidence.  My feeling of self-worth grew and grew

Then Rob got a job offer in South Africa and I just knew that all was going to change.  The most difficult aspect of making the decision to move was the danger that my life would revert back to the old way, with not many friends and no focus.  Knowing that I would not be able to work was the scariest thing – my work has always kept me on track and given me some purpose.  The busier I am the more I thrive.  I struggle when I have nothing to do and I knew that life would be like that without a regular routine.  Yet still, I love the boy so I said goodbye to my awesome new life in London and moved to SA to a very uncertain future.  Would I make friends?  Would I be able to work and therefore retain my independance?  Would Rob and I be OK when it was just us?  All of these things to consider made the feelings of uncertainty and insecurity start creeping back

At first the honeymoon period glazed us over and we loved it here.  We made so many friends and did such cool stuff, until real life caught up with us.  We need more money and so I need to work, and yet I do not have a work permit and most companies will not see me without one (you need a job offer to get one – catch 22).  This constant feeling of bashing my head against a wall, and the unfairness that I can’t work in a lot of the positions that I am more than qualified for because I am not black (BEE policy) really gets me down.  I started to realise that some of the people that we had become friends with didn’t actually gel that well, or it was a pretty one-sided relationship.  My feelings of odd one out returned

what a REALLY good day looks like

I’m so lucky to have a close-knit group of a few here that I know are great friends and will remain so when we go home, but the wider net is difficult for me.  When you move somewhere where you have no family or work and you rely solely on friends it’s hard.  You take things to heart that you wouldn’t usually notice if you had outside distractions.  Not everyone is as giving as some, and I definitely count myself as someone that gives a lot to a friendship.  It’s just hard to accept that not everyone is like that

I need a regular routine to function well, so the last few months have not been great for me. I try to exercise at the same time every day, I try to eat meals and to blog at the same times, but if something disrupts the routine it is usually a Lost Day for me. Being social is my greatest tool for fighting this feeling – I become a hermit otherwise and it’s very self-damaging.  If I am around friends and family then I feel OK most of the time.  But, we don’t have that much money right now so can’t get out there as much as I want/need to

I know that I have a lot to be thankful for in my life, and I hate that I have these feelings dragging me down when I should be enjoying my blessings.  There are people that have so much less than me, but are so much happier.  I envy them for their awesome personality and wish that I had their strength

So now I am taking back control by baring my soul to the world and publishing this blog post.  Let’s hope this works!  I’m not sure if it will, but you have to try everything right?!  I promise to start blogging as regularly as I used to once I exorcise these current demons.  I’m a fighter – I can do this!

p.s my doctor prescribed gifts of cake and invitations to dinner.  If you would like to help get Martina in Jozi back on track, get yourself in the kitchen 😉

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32 thoughts on “Where has your blog gone?

  1. I would suggest muchly a Vitamin B Neurobeon bum shot. it’s an injection of VUMA! and does a great deal to get one off to a spiffy start again 🙂

  2. Martina I never knew this, you really do hide it well! You’re always such an upbeat, out-going, and “up-for-anything” person that I guess I just never saw it – I was so surprised when you told me you had been depressed in London.

    In any event, I’m glad you’re strong enough to confront this and take charge of your life, everyone has their own issues and I think the degree to which it impacts your life depends whether you’re a strong enough person to recognize what they are and make a decision not to let them take over your life.

    Love ya lots lady!

    xxx
    Jenna
    ps Is Rob’s Mom here – otherwise you guys are welcome at our place for dinner this Saturday! Were moving at the end of the month and I want you to see our view before we go.

    • Thank hun – you are one of the friends here I know I will stay in touch with when one of us moves away!

      Rob’s mum arrives on Thursday morning and leaves on the 18th – hope you move after that! xx

      • Yes! We’re only moving on the 30th, so we’ll try and do something between the 18th and then, before all of our stuff is packed up in boxes :/

        xxx
        Jenna

  3. Thank you for writing this. Reading it has really helped me. And I know from experience that writing it, and processing the insightful and supportive comments that you are bound to receive in return, will really help you too 🙂

  4. Hey Martina,

    I really admire you for having the courage to share so openly. It’s not easy, but it also marks the seriousness with which we often have to face up to yourselves.

    Go on girl, stand up tall 😉

    Two more comments: perhaps it’s time to explore, chat and walk some with Jesus and then to hook up with a charity or cause where you can serve others through your life experiences?

    Blessings, Stanley-Carl

  5. I think everyone has their blah days, you’ve just been a lot more honest about it than us. I’ve also had that feeling that I don’t have real friends, but the next month I’d feel different, and then the next I’ll be back to square one. I think the trick is not to expect anything in return, then you can’t be disappointed. This is a lot easier in theory, I haven’t quite cracked it yet… I’ve been SO disappointed with friends before, but then I realise that I’m not always the best friend I should be to someone else. Life’s tough, it’s ok to throw your hands up sometimes, especially if you’re holding up the middle fingers.

    So, you guys fancy a day trip out to Kyalami? 😀

    • Yes I want to come to Kyalami! Not only for the Lippizaners 😉 yes, everyone has their things going on but I just needed to put mine out there, just in case it really will help!

  6. Respect to you, your honesty is refreshing and I admire you putting it out there. There are certainly things you mentioned that we can all relate to, though wouldn’t necessarily have the guts to say. I hope the release you need comes soon. Big hugs.

  7. Wow Martina, I didn’t realise. Your blog really really touched a raw nerve with me. I wouldn’t say that I have depression, but after a rough childhood filled with abuse, running away from my own father, and having my past follow me around, I really understand the feeling of always feeling left out. I started living on my own at 16 and wanted to be fiercely independent- but I isolated myself a lot in the process. When I came to London at 18, I knew no one, and went straight into the bar industry-and almost got lost in it. I think that meeting Nori and starting a family was a way of anchoring myself in this world, of creating a home and a sense of security I never had. It’s made me so much more confident, and on the days when I feel like I have messed everything up, it’s so lovely to be able to curl up and know that I have these 3 people that love me just how I am. We have a routine and I’m on the go a lot too…but since I’ve had kids I do appreciate down time and also alone time 🙂 But its been really hard meeting moms my age who I get along with, and I do struggle with that some days. But I find that exercising and being healthy really helps. I still often feel like the odd one out, and I get times were I don’t touch my emails or facebook, and I try to spend as much time as possible under my duvet hiding away. It’s part of why I haven’t been writing my blog…some negative comments and snide jokes made me wonder whether its worth it only to have people bitch behind my back…And now I have left it for so long I’m not sure how to pick it up again.

    You’re fantastic for being so honest and open and just being yourself. If i had read this blog and you were in the Uk I’d be hassling you to meet me for a coffee tomorrow. For what it’s worth I think you’re an amazing gal and true friends are often far and in between so don’t let it get to you too much. You’re more honest than most people and that’s so refreshing.

    xxxxxxx

    • Annika! Our stories almost match! Apart from the whole having kids thing, which I really do hope to do one day. As for the young mum thing, I’m going to put you in touch with one of my best girls in the UK – I think you two would really get on (she lives in Croydon which is not far at all). Re your blog, don’t let the haters get you down. I get hate mail sometimes from absolute strangers that assume they know me, and I’m sure that there must be people in my life that discuss my blog behind my back too. You just have to have a thick skin. Those people are probably not very creative and can’t imagine the purpose in blogging, but if you enjoy it then I say f*ck them! Get back to your blogging best! You could always start a new blog for a new start, but I love your one. If you enjoy it then don’t let it go. How you find time to do it with kids and husband is admirable! xxx

  8. Hi Martina, I have been reading your blog for a little while, I remember you from high school.
    I hope you don’t mind me writing a comment – but I understand how you are feeling, in a sense.
    I have never fitted in anywhere at any point of my life and I have been Agoraphobic for almost 10 years and because of my illness I lost my ‘friends’ one by one until they were all gone (I now realise that these were people not worth knowing – if they can’t accept you for who you are, then they are not worth your time), so I understand the shame you feel and when you hit low points, life feels like one big battle and it takes so much emotion and energy to fight the feelings, that just getting out of bed in the morning is a huge effort.
    Everyone always says or you always try to brush it aside by thinking ‘There is always someone worse off than me’…but that never offers much comfort does it? Because at the most vulnerable time in your life, when the chips are down – nothing could ever possibly feel as worse than what you are feeling at that particular moment.
    Think of your achievements and best qualities – you are much stronger than you think.
    Do things for you – try and find things that will help you – Music, local social clubs, new hobbies – the possibilities are endless!
    You are not alone – try and remember that. 🙂 xxxx

    • I’m intrigued as to who you are! I don’t keep in touch with many people from my “old” life so interested to know how you heard about my blog! As for your message, thanks for taking the time to leave it. A lot of what you say rings true with me, and I hope that you are able to fight your agorophobia the same way that I am fighting my depression – one day at a time, an up hill struggle but so worth it in the end! Check back every now and then and let me know how you are doing 🙂

      • I doubt you would remember me – but I remember you as a Peer Counsellor at school. I found your blog via facebook.
        My dream is to go travelling one day, so I love reading ‘Travel blogs’, it teaches you more about the world than any travel guide could ever teach you, from a real perspective.
        I hope you manage to fight your depression and that things improve for you too, I will continue reading your blog and will comment a bit more often on future posts. x

      • All I want is to travel too! Unfortunately money is an issue as everything is just so expensive, but let’s save up and meet across the other side of the world for a cocktail! 🙂

      • What an awesome idea! My top place to visit would have to be New Zealand (with Australia running a close second – and I wouldn’t lack for a place to stay in Melbourne – All of my family live there) – there is just so much variety and culture, you could spend a lifetime there and never see or do everything – every day would be a new adventure! I like the sound of ‘going off the beaten track’ and being free – I done the whole tourist thing as a child and hated every minute of it, if you fall off the map for a while, you can find some great, unspoilt places. 🙂

  9. Dear Martina,

    I have been a silent reader of your blog for some time now, this post has inspired me to reach out. I am also a London-lass living out here in Joburg, i arrived last September to a totally new life, but of course the old inner challenges remain the same. The fact that it can be a stunningly beautiful day outside in this city- the bird song, the nature, the whole friggin adventure of being in Africa, and yet i can still feel so hollow is certainly testamony to depression being a real illness.As others have probably said- you’re not alone, and i would be more than happy to follow what the Doc has ordered for you- if you ever want to meet for a coffee and exchange stories of life here with a fellow Londoner please do let me know!

    Love,
    Lisa

  10. Hi Martina, as many have already commented here, you did a very brave thing to put everything out there! We all have our inner demon(s) – I sure have some very stubborn little bastards I would like to kick out- but I don’t think we would all have the courage to tell everyone about it.

    As far as friendship goes, I used to be pretty frustrated about that (sometimes I still am) because I had the feeling all the efforts had to come from me, didn’t understand why and can you call that a ‘real’ friendship then? At one point I decided to stop thinking about it because those thoughts weren’t making me any happier and also because I believe my frustrations were maybe due to a certain insecurity on my part. In the end, it’s not the quantity but the quality of your friendships that counts and it sounds like you have a great bunch of true friends there!

    I hope all the nice comments here will help you get back the ‘good days’.

    xxx

  11. BIG hugs! I know what it’s like. I’ve struggled too. Sometimes it’s a major victory just to get up get dressed and have breakfast. Some days even that is too much to contemplate. But you are not alone. It will get better.

    xx

  12. I’ve just found your blog through a blogger friend. When I saw this post I was like ‘wow that’s the post I’ve been wanting to write’ but it felt a bit too crazy. I’ve also suffered from depression for about ten years. I can totally relate to the losing friends thing, I had lots of friends in school but as my depression started to surface most of them lost interest because I was no longer doing the expected thing, getting a good career, getting married etc. Anyway, I too have learnt to accept it’s part of me, and it has shaped my life massively, and I’m not where I thought I’d be, but actually, it’s not so bad and maybe depression forces us to really get to know ourselves and figure out what makes us happy! I’m glad I found your blog and thanks for posting this 🙂

    • Hi Kate, Thanks for your comment. Even when I was reading your comment I was nodding and agreeing with every thing! Maybe we shouldn’t feel like outsiders as it seems that all of us that suffer from depression go through such a similar story – we are in a club! I hope that we both get to that bit where happy is meant to be 🙂

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