• D for Depression (eek)

    Smiling or atypical depression

    Today something amazing has happened. After years of feeling that my depression is somehow wrong, inauthentic or inadequate in some way, I read an article yesterday which changed everything for me in terms of the way I view it and my feelings of not quite belonging to the genuine depression club. The article describes something called ‘smiling’ or ‘atypical depression’ and literally every line of the article resonates with me. I have talked previously about feeling like a fraud when I think about or describe my depressive feelings to others, and this article has helped me understand why I might feel this way. The symptoms of atypical depression Atypical or…

  • D for Depression (eek),  Motherhood without the manual

    Being a depressed parent – the effect on children

    Being a parent is one of the hardest things in the world, we all know that. Being a depressed parent is even harder. Of course I can only speak from my own experience in which I see my depression affecting my parenting in horrible ways every day. I snap at my children and my husband, and anger easily (I’m ashamed to admit that I have sworn at my children more than once.) I don’t want to play or interact with them, and then the guilt mounts to top it all off. Catastrophizing is also common, especially when my son has had febrile seizures and I think he is going to…

  • Work, Careers and muddling through

    The interview: tips from an amateur pro

    After having what must be something like my 600th interview recently, I’ve increasingly found myself thinking that they are actually pretty pointless (and I’m not saying that out of bitterness at not getting the job, because I can say I did get offered it with some smugness). Now I have probably interviewed for jobs more times than most, for various reasons (the most notable of which being that I am never happy in what I’m doing and so am always searching for “the one”). As time has gone by my interview to offer ratio has happily increased, but I guess it’s bound to when you’ve had as much experience as…

  • Food and fatness

    Obesity and health warnings – why aren’t they enough?

    I think on some level none of us really believe that we are going to die. This certainly isn’t my uppermost thought when I shovel another heavily-laden spoonful of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream into my big fat gob; the connection between this unnecessary heap of calories and a possibly early expiry date is somehow lost or denied to the point of non-existence, despite the many warnings we all receive via the papers or social media. I can read an article about how being obese shaves years off your life, or how a significant proportion of deaths are a direct consequence of a poor diet, but somehow it…

  • D for Depression (eek)

    Depression as a default state

    In my sporadic attempts to unearth the root/s of my frequently depressive state of being I have often been asked why I think I might be depressed and what it feels like. This is something I always struggle with because, when I say it out loud (that is, when I am actually capable of articulating it), it sounds as conceited as it does disingenuous. People always say that depression is felt and experienced in different ways by different people, and I understand that, but my experience of it has always felt somewhat fake, and my attempt to define it even more so. So whilst other sufferers describe feelings of withdrawal,…

  • Motherhood without the manual

    Toilet Training Troubles

    One year. That is how long we have been toilet training, or attempting to, our youngest son for. Charlie has just had his fourth birthday and it was just after his third birthday when, after an earlier unsuccessful attempt, we decided to really crack on with it. I didn’t expect that we would still be doing this a year later! There have been many times during this year when we thought we had finally conquered it, and numerous occasions of wanting to give up and just stick a nappy on him. Today was one of those days, irrespective of our reaching the illustrious one year milestone. Upon picking Charlie up…

  • Food and fatness

    Food as a form of…

    Self-harm I’ve started to wonder if consuming this type of ‘meal’ almost daily is a form of self-harm, a way of punishing myself for pushing my body into obesity by, paradoxically, making it even more obese and thus confirming its grotesqueness. I don’t wish to diminish the more traditional experiences of self-harm, but I can see similarities between inflicting a physical wound and frequently ingesting large quantities of unhealthy food in an almost manic way. First there is the restlessness and persistent thoughts of committing the act which you battle against constantly; this is followed by the unstoppable urge to perform the act or else you will disappear into a…

  • Work, Careers and muddling through

    Impostor Syndrome at work

    I know a lot of women like myself suffer from Impostor Syndrome, that constant nagging doubt about our skills, knowledge and abilities which affects various areas of life. This can be to a moderate, significant or debilitating degree depending on the scenario, how we happen to feel that day, or what comment someone might have made about us in passing. Sometimes it is just our own devilish thoughts about ourselves which get blown out of all context and proportion due to raging hormones, the pressure of societal expectations or an unexpected problem we can’t seem to solve. For me, my Impostor Syndrome manifests mostly at work, rather than at home…

  • D for Depression (eek)

    Mental health and physical health

    I’m sure there has been much written on the effect of physical illness on mental illness and vice versa, but having been unwell (albeit not seriously) for a few days now, I’ve been noticing how much my mental health declines when I am under the weather. For some reason, everything else spirals out of control when I’m ill, a tsunami effect over which I feel I have no power. When I’m physically ill, even if it’s just an annoying lingering cold and rattling cough (like now) or a sickness bug which will no doubt be short and not so sweet, I begin to catastrophise for some strange reason. Everything else…