Life After Depression

I long held the naïve assumption that depression and anxiety were conspiring bedfellows. They arrived together on a quest of destruction of everything I thought I knew and held dear.

Instead, as I tick off the 200th day since I’ve taken an antidepressant I come to the sad and hollow realisation that anxiety can and does continue to flourish long after the chaos of depression has subsided.

I’m happy, that much I know.

Yet for reasons both known and unexplainable, my anxiety has bloomed. My nerves are shot, sleep is hard to find, the knocks at the door have me freezing in fear of……something. Unwanted memories overwhelm me at the most unexpected times, taking me down paths I never again want to walk down.  Crowds are still making me twitchy and leave me longing to slam the door, pull the curtains and just shut everyone and everything out.

I’m at a loss.

I’m not depressed.

I’m happy.

But there is something missing or broken in me which is stopping me from making the most of this new lease at life. I hate that I might be wasting something which isn’t granted to everyone who has battled depression and PTSD. I hate that I might not be strong enough to make the most of life, that my fears will keep me locked away in a prison of my own making.

barbed wire

Life after depression wasn’t meant to be like this, I thought the hard part was done, yet it really seems the hard work of reclaiming my life is only just beginning and I’ve no idea what to do.

Charity, Is it better to give than to receive?

I have, for as long as I remember donated to charity, whether in monetary terms, physical item donations, my time or my voice, I’ve given to those charities which have either directly impacted the lives of myself and loved ones, and those which have tugged at the heart strings in such a way that I couldn’t just sit by and do nothing.

I always give, when I can, to the homeless. Not always via a charity, but to the individual.

You see, I’ve been homeless twice in my life.

There really aren’t words to describe the emotions which bombard you when you’re sat on a bench on Wimbledon Common not knowing where you’ll sleep for the foreseeable future. Knowing that everything you had been gifted, collected, bought and cherished is now gone, from cherished birthday cards to the tooth brush you didn’t have time to grab .

That your favourite pillow and blanket will no longer keep you snug at night.

So, the other day, when the boys and I walked out of the newsagents having bought yet more Pokémon cards, my eyes were drawn to the young man sat unobtrusively in a door way.

wanderer

Quietly, and oh so politely he asked if we had any change.

As I herded my overly excitable children to a bench so they could tear in to their Pokémon cards, I looked between the young man and my boys.

At one point in time, that young man could have exited a newsagents, giddy with excitement after his mother or father had bought him a treat.

I don’t know what led him to be sat on the high-street, politely asking for change, and I don’t need to know.

As my boys were alternating between squealing and scowling at the cards they got, I took the change and walked over to the young man.

It was over in seconds, I extended my hand, he somewhat shocked, accepted my small offering.

‘Thank you so much’

‘You’re welcome’

We both smiled and then I herded my children off to continue with our errands.

But, the exchanged lingered for me for longer than a moment.

I don’t feel like I contribute much to the world, but for a one fleeting moment I made a difference, just a small one, but a difference all the same.

I'm not sure who benefited most, him receiving the money, or me, for feeling like I’d made a difference, no matter how small.

Protecting ancient woodlands

Woodlands are something which I have always taken for granted.

Growing up, my siblings and I spent most of our days away school making forts, climbing trees and playing hide and seek between the branches and leaves of various woodlands and green spaces, I took for granted that these places would always be there.

woods in shadow 

I thought, rather naïvely, that all such spaces were protected. Who wouldn't want to ensure that woods and forests were protected from development and destruction? When in reality, there are little to no protections for our ancient woodlands.

autumn woodland carpet

The vast eco systems and wildlife that call the ancient woodlands of the British Isles home need to be preserved, protected and cherished for generations to come, not consigned to history books and photos.

leaves

At present there are 709 ancient woods across the UK under threat, most likely some of these woods are ones you and your family enjoy spending time in.

bokeh

If you want to see these woods preserved for our own and future generations, could you think about signing the Enough is Enough campaign on behalf of the Woodland Trust

**this isn’t sponsored or anything, this is just something I feel rather passionate about**

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