2007 seems a world away from my life today, and many of the changes have come about because of the writing I started five years ago on the Storied Mind blog. Depression felt a lot more dominant then than it now does, and prospects for living as I hoped to a lot less bright.
All that has changed. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the close support of my family, the opportunity to redefine my work life, the restorative dialogue with you in the online community and many other forms of help. The result has been a life that is healing and enriching in every way.
I do need to take a short leave from blogging just now to finish the ebooks I’m working on and to consider some new directions in writing. For the next few weeks, I’ll dip into the archives, add several resources and make a few improvements on the tech side to keep things going.
But mostly my mind needs a little vacation space to stretch out in.
There are a number of changes I’m considering for the blog, including video posts, and I hope you’ll add your suggestions about what you would like to see more (or less) of here.
Please feel free to get in touch either by using the contact form, by replying to the address on the email posts or by writing directly to me at john at storiedmind dot com. I know I’m terribly slow at responding, given the volume of emails I’ve been getting, but I hope you won’t be deterred. Each one means a lot.
Thanks for all your support.
John hello and best of luck with a time out from blogging.
I’d like to report a positive as there doesn’t appear to be enough of this from depressed people and their partners after the depression lifts, most want to forget the pain and get on with things – which is absolutely understandable.
While experiencing this trauma with my partner I was desperate to find positive outcomes, I searched the web for information on this illness and it was few and far between (trust me, I know, I was the ‘google’ queen of anything to do with depression) of couples reporting successful relationships after the illness lifted.
So let me tell you about this early stage of my partners recovery:
He has improved immensely (it’s like dawn has broken and he’s finally roused, I recognize him again – the smile; the eyes are focused; he’s looking at me directly; I’m a person to him again rather than an object to be avoided).
It has been a long (over 12 months) of gut wrenching; mind bending emotions on both of our behalves as all in this situation will understand. We had a few false starts where I thought he was alright, just to be faced with a relapse a day or sometimes hours later. We are now weeks with him returning to normal emotional behaviour so I’m brave enough to think we’re in for a good period (hopefully forever).
My partner has acknowledged he has wasted a lot of time and is asking me to come back and I’m over the moon about his health improving, however, I’m not running back the way I thought I would, I’m far more cautious than I could have imagined. Again, I’m so happy he is well and this is what I had prayed and cajoled and exhausted all my energy on to achieve and now that he’s there I’m timid to the idea of being with him. The goal of getting him well has been achieved and now I feel like an athlete who’s run a marathon and is exhausted. While my partner is keen for us to resume our happy lives, I find I want reassurance and understanding (not from a book or forum or other media source) I need his side of the story – what does he remember; does he know the depth of hurt he inflicted, I know he’s aware of some of it but I want recognition for all – I don’t want to beat him over the head with it, I need the acknowledgement of what I’ve also been through that this wasn’t just his journey. I ask myself ‘am I being selfish’ and ‘yes’ is the answer’, but it’s preservation after so much giving I need to reclaim my worth and have his devoting to me and us again.
Please be aware we live apart currently; two sides of the world, but then when you’re in a depressed relationship distance is relative to nothing as I was forced into his position by his insisting I don’t return (I left to spend the last weeks with my dying father and have remained here for over 8 months now).
To all suffering: I hug you and hope to give you some relief in knowing that this illness can pass and your partner can be there again. The strength you’ll need to bear this is mammoth and those that choose not to remain I wish you happiness you’ve done well this is horrible (I’ve watched a father die from cancer; a son suffer anxiety; moving to the other side of the world; learning a new language, but for stress this tops those events). Those still suffering I give you these points which helped me:
When they tell you they don’t feel anything, including love for you (accept what’s in your heart and not what is racing through your head – you know your partner and yourself otherwise, without blind faith your self doubt will beat you up).
Try not to push more communication than short visits/skype/text (really brief and expect and accept two word formal replies)
Keep communication polite (respect is the only way you can eventually forgive)
Walk and walk and walk and vent and cry – not only will you get a fitter you but the congestion in your head will decrease (mine took a lot of walking)
After finding out about the disease and maybe joining a forum don’t become obsessed (there’s a lot of negative talk going on and your insecurities will escalate – I’ve read thousands and thousands of pages….don’t do it). Find a few informative sites, that’s enough.
Share your experience with a few trusted people, you’ll be surprised how many have been or are going through similar situations.
Try to eat (I lost 10 kilos in 2 months – and I was a healthy 64 kilos at 170cm to start with).
Put yourself first because (a) your partner really cannot care at this stage, so you must (b) you are worthy of first place (c) two broken people cannot find their way out of this (d) there is a good life without your partner
Make a choice to be happy (I told my partner this while he was still under the spell of depression – basically that I was going to be happy from today) this was after a long time and a lot of heart ache but at this stage I truly believed and wanted it.
These are early days, but if anyone is interested in hearing the progress I’ll be happy to post an update.
I hope you are all doing better today than yesterday.
John Folk-Williams says
Hi, biglove –
Thanks so much for telling this difficult and encouraging story. It’s so rare to hear about the follow-up to the crisis and so helpful to know what you did to come through. Please do keep us posted on how you’re doing – and all my best to you for continued progress.
This has been the hardest year of my life! I’m still in “crisis,” I would say; but maybe at the beginning of recovery. I, too, have lots of support and can only imagine what this must be like for those who don’t. I’m interested now in findings ways of nurturing myself and my tiny, fledgling hope. I am on medication/in therapy/seeing a naturopath/exercising and on and on. Hopefully some day, this will not all be about “managing depression/anxiety.” Many days and nights, I’m hanging on with my fingernails hour by hour; but then some little thing will happen and I think maybe, if I can just hold on, there will be new experiences and new feelings. I’m quite functional and social in my life and this has made it much harder to get the help I need. It’s been hard to convince anyone of the severity of my illness, until I finally found a doctor and therapist who believed me. Thank you for this site. I look forward to learning with you.
John Folk-Williams says
Hi, Nancy –
I’m glad you are working with several helpers and methods – you sound like you are pulling them together in an active way. It can take a lot of time, but I have no doubt you can get to a state of mind more focused on living your life rather than waiting for the next problem with depression or anxiety. I have found it helpful to work with people who go beyond monitoring for symptoms and help me draw on my own resources and resilience. Please let us know how your learning progresses.
jack foley says
Its fantastic that your depression have subsided due to your writings..
Hope you have a great break and that you find it very refreshing
John Folk-Williams says
Thanks, Evan –
The break is turning out to be very refreshing indeed. I hope you’re well – thanks for reminding me by example that a break is a good thing to try from time to time.
Silvia Rodriguez on Facebook says
Janet Singer says
I hope you find this “blog break” revitalizing, though it sounds like you’ll be plenty busy. I’ll “miss you” and look forward to seeing what’s in store when you return. Your blog has truly inspired and educated me.
John Folk-Williams says
Hi, Janet –
Thank you – I am feeling better, especially with lots of restorative sleep. Sometimes the brain doesn’t take any backtalk about obligations and deadlines and mercifully shuts you down for much needed rest. I hope you’re well.
Best wishes for a productive and rejuvenating period away from your blog. Your topic, the quality of your writing, and your insight make this a unique and much appreciated place on the Internet. Reading your posts marked a turning point in my life away from simply relying on meds and toward examining and changing the way I live.
John Folk-Williams says
Hi, Galen –
Thank you for these kind words. I’m so glad that the posts here have helped you in your recovery process.