Finally Admitting I’m Struggling With My Mental Health

Finally Admitting I'm Struggling With My Mental Health: A Raw, Honest Account | Catherine Summers, AKA Not Dressed As Lamb

It’s taken me a while, but just recently I finally admitted to myself that I’m struggling. Struggling with my mental health.

Not exactly what I’d planned to be the next post published on the blog, and not one I actually planned to write at all.

In fact, I decided to write it about five minutes ago*, and here I am.

I have no idea where this is going, what my point is or where it will take me, but it might just resonate with one or two people out there who, like me, have always thought they had this whole lockdown situation in the bag. You know, in answer to the question How are you doing?’ it’s always been, ‘I’m absolutely fine to be honest’.

Now? I’m not sure that I am. And by that I mean I was neither being honest, nor am I fine. If lockdown really were the only thing I had to worry about I might REALLY be ‘fine’, but unfortunately it’s at the bottom of my list of worries. Let’s put it this way: it’s not helping.

*that was ages ago, it took me wayyyyy more than a week to finish

 

Trigger warning: This post, or pages it links to, contains information about mental health which may be triggering to some. Please note that I am not claiming to be any kind of expert about mental health or depression – far from it. This is merely me writing about my own experiences and what I have been going through lately.

 

[Reading time: 9 mins]

 

What triggered this realisation about my mental health

I can’t definitively answer that question – I don’t know exactly what made me realise that I’m struggling.

~ Maybe it was yet another 5pm rolling around and me thinking how I hadn’t actually eaten properly that day, like yesterday and the day before.

~ Maybe it was looking at that pile of clean laundry that I STILL hadn’t put away, god knows how many days later.

~ Maybe it was the tears that came out the blue and for no real reason at all that were pretty much like the tears the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that.

~ Maybe it was me wondering when the last time I felt truly happy was.

~ Maybe it was me getting stressed by looking at my overflowing-to-the-point-of-bursting Inbox and, instead of sitting down and tackling it, I decided to pretend it didn’t exist yet again.

~ Maybe it was me lamenting the fact that last year I got superbly fit and healthy but soon let it slip after one too many niggly health issues PLUS Christmas PLUS the cold, wet weather.

~ Maybe it was me not wanting to look at my tired face and aching body and lamenting the fact that I hated what I saw in the mirror.

~ Maybe it was me seeing my dirty hair one morning and not being able to remember when I last washed it. Or even BRUSHED it.

~ Maybe it was the muscle I pulled in my back last weekend that added to the tennis elbow pain I’ve had for a year (and can’t get physio for #becauseCovid) plus the leg injury pain that seems to have resurfaced, plus, plus, plus.

~ And a week later, the minor skin surgery I had to have a not-nice looking mole removed (and worrying about the results back from the lab).

~ Maybe it was the constant, always-on-my-mind worry about my parents’ health problems I’m having a really hard time coping with.

~ Maybe it was the news I received about a friend last month that shook me to the core and am having a hard time coming to terms with, thinking I wasn’t a good enough and ‘available enough’ friend when they really, really needed someone.

~ Maybe it was when I looked at some of our finances and me wondering if we would ever get the chance to go on holiday or do anything exciting outside of our area, like, EVER again.

~ Maybe it was me getting to yet another weekend and thinking that I couldn’t come up with anything I’d really achieved that week.

I could go on and on with loads more things I’m dealing with, but I’ll spare you the full sh*t show that is what I’m feeling/going through right now. I won’t go into the other things (and that are really too personal to share), but I think that list above will suffice to give an idea of what’s going on in my head right now. It’s not fun.

 

What I “see” when I read others’ posts about their mental health

They say you should never accept someone’s life as presented on social media as real life. Which is true, and I don’t. I know it is, for the most part, staged.

Whether it’s a selfie blasted out with extreme filters or just the tidy corner of their house on show with piles of laundry and toys purposely shoved out of sight, there are very few of us who show our lives, warts-and-all, on social media. OF COURSE we want to show off the good stuff. OF COURSE we don’t want to depress our readers and followers by showing the unattractive side of life that we all experience.

But something that has caused me conflict within my emotions are the posts that ARE honest: not so much visually, but the ones which DO mention mental health and how they’re struggling.

Which is great, because we need to talk about this stuff.

What causes me inner conflict is how I often find that the same people who say they’re struggling also show the fabulous, nutritious dinners they make every night. Then they’ll give us their To-Do list for the day on stories and cross off everything as the day goes on. Then they’re doing a makeup tutorial, and in the next post still talking about how they’re struggling. And they post on Instagram every day like clockwork, without fail.

(I’m 100% not judging… I’m explaining the emotions it stirs up in me. No one has the right to judge someone’s life/emotions/mental health based on the outward impressions they give.)

Meantime, I’m forcing myself to even brush my damn teeth. To do ANYTHING before 1 pm. Post on Instagram?! Pfffft, forget it. I’m forcing myself to not sit and stare into space because I just don’t know what to do with myself, and anyway I hate myself too much to put on nice clothes or even look at myself in the mirror. To do everything I can to NOT have yet another day when I’ll sit and cry for an hour then realise I’ve done literally NOTHING for the past four hours except sit on the sofa.

RELATED  "Yes, Your Bum Looks Big in That" - Brutal Honesty: My Thoughts

Yet when I’m asked, “How are you doing? How’s lockdown been?” I’ll still say I’m fine, because I didn’t ACTUALLY think I was finding it hard. I’ve worked from home for the past eight years; I’ve got this down to a fine art.

But, comparison being The Thief of Joy such as it is, I’d look at those Instagram posts and stories and wonder how they’re struggling with their mental health and yet manage to function on an everyday basis. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not functioning. I’m barely functioning at all.

Yet even with all that in mind, I kept telling myself I wasn’t struggling.

 

Finally Admitting I'm Struggling With My Mental Health: A Raw, Honest Account | Catherine Summers, AKA Not Dressed As Lamb

Staving off a three-day headache

 

Trying to work out if I’m just blue – or something else

Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m pretty convinced I can’t be (shouldn’t be?) in any stage of depression. I don’t have a serious illness or disabling condition. I’m in a happy, stable relationship without the stress of children (by choice). I have a loving, supportive family. We have a mortgage but we’re not in any sort of severe financial debt. We have (an albeit) modest, lovely home and don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or being able to pay the bills. I have so much to be thankful for.

So my thinking has always been, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE TRULY FEARFUL OF, CATHERINE. No way can your mental health be a problem.

Not that I planned this at all, but this week mental health has been a forefront topic in the media. Meghan opened up about her mental health in the Oprah interview. Channel 4 and the BBC aired their documentaries Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death and Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency** respectively.

Last month was the one-year anniversary of the death of the TV presenter Caroline Flack who tragically took her own life. I saw the trailer for the documentary about her a few weeks ago.

I saw the trailer when I was at a REALLY low point. I sat there watching it, thinking about how she must have been feeling to do what she did. And for a split second, a little part of me actually thought, ‘You know what, I can totally understand why she did what she did’. 

The VERY SECOND I thought that, the realisation hit me like a bolt of lightning. The mere thought that taking your own life (as an option I could sympathise with) popped into my head – no matter how briefly – scared the f*cking bejesus out of me.

So although I started this blog post with the words “I don’t know exactly WHAT made me realise that I’m struggling”, I can at least answer the question of WHEN I realised I was struggling.

It was THAT moment. The moment I realised I had sympathised with someone for taking their own life and not finding it as shocking as I thought I should find it.

I guess that was my turning point, and it was soon after that that I told Keith “Look, I’m not doing so good”. I didn’t exactly feel a whole lot better… I definitely didn’t feel like the weight of the world had suddenly lifted off my shoulders. But I knew it was an important, significant step.

To work out the extent of my struggles, I didn’t know what to do except Google ‘symptoms of depression’. All the time still thinking I was, essentially, “fine”. That’s EVEN WITH the sympathy I felt for Caroline Flack’s state of mind. That’s EVEN WITH the fact that I’d frightened myself the second I thought it.

I hadn’t actually come even REMOTELY close to thinking that I’d be better off not being in this world at all. If you’re a close friend or family member DO NOT panic, this isn’t a cry for help. It’s merely me thinking aloud and getting these thoughts down ‘on paper’. I know myself well enough to know that I am a very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY long way from being even remotely in that frame of mind; I’m not even a tiny bit close to remotely in that frame of mind.

I just think that a lot of people were, have been, are and will be in a similar frame of mind to mine at some point and that’s why it’s so important to recognise symptoms in others.

Recognising mental health problems at an early stage is, I guess, what it’s all about. Both in yourself and in others.

Looking at that list of symptoms/signs of depression that I Googled, these were some of the things that jumped out at me, the ones I could recognise in myself (with a few descriptions tweaked to describe my own situation):

  • Lacking self-esteem and hating yourself
  • Feeling numb, empty and helpless
  • Feeling tearful and crying a lot
  • Feeling irritable
  • Having little motivation or interest in things
  • Getting no pleasure out of life
  • Feeling constantly anxious, restless and agitated
  • Feeling physically exhausted and lacking energy
  • Having disturbed sleep
  • Avoiding doing any work or housework
  • Neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • Drinking more than usual

That’s not a healthy list. It’s also not a short list. We all go through a lot of these things at different times throughout our lives, but when you recognise these things as stuff that’s happening on an almost daily basis… that’s not good. It’s A LONG WAY from good.

And of course, there’s one other thing that does spring to mind when you consider I’ll be 50 next year: menopause. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in perimenopause for a few years now, but I’m not in full menopause. I’m still getting regular periods (albeit light ones) and hot flushes haven’t happened yet, but my prediction is that irritability and mood swings will be my body’s menopausal symptoms of choice.

So I certainly don’t think (peri)menopause is The Problem – I’m sure without all the sh*t I’ve had to deal with lately I’d be peachy. I’m ruling it out as the only cause, but, like lockdown, it sure ain’t helping.

 

Going forward

This is the part where I come a little unstuck and draw something of a blank. To be totally honest I don’t know what comes next, what I’m going to do going forward. What I’m NOT looking for is advice, and I really hope this doesn’t sound ungrateful, but I’m not in a position or in the right frame of mind to be told what to do yet… no matter how good the intentions.

RELATED  My Greatest Photographic Moments of the 2010s

Therefore, I’m kindly asking –  with the greatest respect – that you please don’t leave me lots of advice in the comments. However, by all means share your own experiences. I wrote everything down here both to help myself (my theory is that if I say it out loud by writing this post it may help me be a little more objective about what I do and where I go from here) and hopefully also help others realise they’re not alone.

Maybe you too, or someone you know, are struggling and you just didn’t know it – much like myself till just recently. Maybe you think you’re “absolutely fine” and that lockdown hasn’t affected you that much either.

Well maybe lockdown hasn’t affected me all that much, but looking back on what I’ve written it’s all too obvious that I’m far from okay. And YES, I know “it’s okay to not be okay”. (That’s been bandied about the internet A LOT the past 12 months.) But that doesn’t really help me at the moment.

This week? The skin surgery I had over a week ago has dragged me right back down again – because of where the mole was, the wound has been incredibly painful and debilitating and the slightest movement has hurt me. The pain was so bad I got extra strong painkillers from the doctor, only to find they made me faint (three times – what can I say, I’m a fainter) and nauseous (constantly for two days).

So I stopped the prescribed painkillers and I’m just putting up with the pain now. Eight days later and it’s the first day I’m not in excruciating pain… maybe today is the first day it’s getting better. But it’s stopped me from going on my morning walks, clearing up the house or being able to wash my hair. Keith can only do one of those things for me and maybe help with one other. I’m tired and irritable and no fun to be with (and my hair looks like sh*t).

Overall I need things to change. I need to see light at the end of the tunnel. I need to see a way out.

Thankfully, just in the last couple of days, something has happened in the family which is BRILLIANT news. It’s something that’ll be amazing for the people involved and will be really, really good for the rest of us too. It’s something to look forward to this year.

Now it’s almost finished I’ve read back over this post, and it’s been cathartic. Not everything will get better, and some more, as yet unknown, sh*t may well fly my way in the coming months.

But I’ll just have to deal with that as and when (and if) it happens. One day at a time.

 

Please do share anything in the comments without leaving advice or judgement (for me, or anyone). You can leave a comment anonymously, meaning you can just use a pseudonym… the fields will ask you for an email address but you can make one up and it doesn’t get published or used. Thank you so much for reading and for your understanding x #BeKind

 

Stay safe, stay well, seek help if you need to XOXO

Catherine signature

 

** The Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death documentary is available to watch on Channel 4 and the Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency documentary is on the BBC iPlayer, I saw both on Wednesday night. Both were an extremely hard and harrowing watch, but it’s a MASSIVELY important topic. We can all learn so much from both programmes, I thoroughly recommend them if you are able to access them where you are.

A couple of exerts from Roman’s documentary about male suicide that really hit home:

Ashley’s death prompted the three friends to share more about their own feelings. “We would talk before, but it wasn’t as in-depth,” Lysander explains. “Now we have the two ok rule. ‘How are you doing, but how are you doing really – mentally? Are things a bit hard, are you down?’

“I love that,” Roman responds. “The two ok rule. If you don’t mind, I’m going to use that. I wish I’d said to Joe, ‘Mate, I know you know this but I’m going to tell you again. I am that person that you can talk to about that stuff…’

#TwoOkRule

“Asking someone if they’re ok, is a question we ask each other every single day. We glaze over it, that’s the fastest part of the conversation,” Roman concludes. “When really, that’s the most important one. ‘Are you ok?’ is the most important question you can ask a friend.

 

A final note on getting help…

If you’re having the sh*ttiest time in life then please, please, please reach out to someone. Whether it be a friend, a relative or a professional, just reach out and ask for help. Things can get better… just don’t try and get through it alone. There will always be someone who can help you.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of these issues, please seek help or simply talk to someone. If you are in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or go to their website https://www.samaritans.org. As their website says, Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.

If you’re in the US, call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXhiddenimagesforpinterestXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Linking up to… Monday: Inspire Me Monday, Ageless Style Linkup (first Monday of the month), My Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Spread the Kindness, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: Style Me Wednesday, WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish || Friday: Fancy Friday, On the Edge, Fabulous Friday, Fabulous Friday’s Link Up

Follow:
Share:

102 Comments

  1. Hannah
    28 April 2021 / 3:19 pm

    Thank you for your honesty. I’ve been following your blog, or should I say your life, for more than 5 years now, since you and 5 or 6 lovely ladies created your little group. A lot has changed since then. Some changes are good, and some, well they just have to happen. As my Ukrainian grandma used to say, “Once you are on the horse and once you are under.” As long as you are alive and we get to enjoy your bright smile! Depression can be tricky to diagnose. But it is manageable. I’ve been suffering from one most of my adult life seems for no reason, but every so often I just have to remember my grandma’s words. Good luck to you Catherine.

    • Vicky
      7 May 2021 / 4:05 am

      Thinking about you. Miss your posts. Hope you are taking extra good care of yourself.

      • Catherine
        Author
        7 May 2021 / 1:46 pm

        Vicky thank you thank you – normal service will resume soon, I promise… I’m writing a blog post to explain what’s been happening (things are on the up I’m pleased to report)! I just had to take time out to get my mind AND body back to a good place, and I’m almost there. Expect new content very soon, much love xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 May 2021 / 1:44 pm

      Hannah thank you for such a lovely comment… I do like your grandma’s saying!! It can be tricky to diagnose, you’re right, and since going through this I think it’s made me a lot more aware of recognising symptoms in others. Things are loads better I’m happy to say, thanks so much my lovely and I hope you are doing okay xx

  2. 28 April 2021 / 6:09 am

    Since you wrote this I’ve seen your walking posts on Instagram and am hoping that continues to help lift your mood. Well done for talking so honestly here. And hurrah to all the lovely readers and their wonderful comments. Take care lovely!

    Hugs
    Anna xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 May 2021 / 1:42 pm

      Thank you ever so much Anna – things are much improved and I’m so glad to be able to get out every day and walk (lots of fitness too). And yes, haven’t the comments been amazing…? I’m so grateful for everyone sharing their stories and taking the time to comment, it’s such a boost <3

  3. 16 April 2021 / 12:19 am

    You are not alone. ❤❤❤ I feel you and I’m sorry.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 April 2021 / 1:55 pm

      Thank you Shellie my lovely, hope you’re doing okay (things are much better now though since writing this I’m glad to say 😀 )xxxx

  4. Angela
    10 April 2021 / 6:44 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Catherine. I think a lot of us fear saying and sharing the things you have shared for fear of being judged by others. And the guilt we put on ourselves about how we shouldn’t be feeling bad or upset because there is always someone worse off than ourselves.
    The single best thing that was said to me a number of years ago, by my doctor, when I found myself with depression (long story on how I got there, I’m good now, but still have my moments) was that we all have “a breaking point”.
    Life can test us, and has, but I think by accepting there may be a breaking point it forces us to stop and check in with ourselves, without judgement, without criticism, without guilt. And allow us to take the time and the steps we need to take for self care/ self love, and to get life back on track as best we can.
    Just remember to be kind to yourself and accept that at this moment you are doing the best that you can, as we all are, and you are not alone : )

    • Catherine
      Author
      13 April 2021 / 11:46 am

      Angela thank you so much for the kind comment… you’re right about the fear of being judged by others. I’m totally okay about not giving a sh*t about what people think about what I wear – this was much harder to admit and say out loud! I definitely had my breaking point as you described – luckily things are on the up and I’m getting my health back on track. I’m sure the rest will follow as they’ll be easier to cope with <3 xx

  5. 30 March 2021 / 2:52 am

    I have so much sympathy for you because from my perspective, you have been a ray of sunshine on the internet for quite some time now; you’ve put so much of yourself into this site, and worked so hard. You deserve so much in return, especially, it seems to me, because of all the energy you expend to create yourself anew every post. You have been an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to many, many others. Maybe you need to know that you have inspired at least one occasionally-depressed person, and that’s saying something; I live my sartorial life through others online. Now that I’m approaching 62, I can (I hope) reassure you by saying that peri-menopause has certain specific markers (the unwarranted or even warranted crying is one) and they do go away, either with medical intervention, or on their own. In my opinion, these side-effects of hormonal changes are nothing to fear (although I did have one week back in my 50s where my boobs seemingly exploded 3 sizes and I could not wear clothes until whatever weird hormonal thing was happening subsided; a very upsetting week). Having been sick or broken (broken feet, broken limbs, spinal injuries) through my 50s and now into my 60s, I know how debilitating physical pain is, and how depressing and upsetting it can be for someone who has always been active to be stopped in their tracks and suddenly have to deal with pain + changing hormones. It’s frustrating until it finally makes you cry. The first time I was injured severely, it took me 1-1/2 years to learn how to walk again, but I remember the day when I threw my crutches across the room, and I also remember the day I was able to walk upstairs again. Right now, I’m recovering from Shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia, both of which are incredibly debilitating and can absolutely add to what has been lifetime depression. I just wanted to say that anyone suffering from depression for any reason (for any seeming cause) absolutely deserves to be heard when they’re ready to talk about it. Having lost an important friend to suicide at the beginning of my 50s, and knowing how impossible it would have been for him to let anyone know how much he was suffering, my hope is that society is changing, and we can be open about our feelings, to find someone compassionate enough to really hear us (and to choose that person wisely). We’re not always able to ‘buck up’. Sometimes we have to collapse a bit and ask for help. 🙂

    • Catherine
      Author
      6 April 2021 / 4:01 pm

      Oh Alison that first part of your comment was so lovely, thank you ever so much…! <3

      You're absolutely right, the physical pain and debilitation are the worst. They make everything else SO much more difficult to cope with. It sounds like you've been through the wringer, I'm so sorry for everything that's happened to you - including losing the friend (this is what *nearly* happened to me as mentioned in the post, and I honestly think could have broken me). I too hope that society is changing, I think it is (slowly but surely) which is nothing but a very good and very, very important thing.

      Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it, and for your kind and wise words too. Sending many healing vibes and love to you xoxoxo

  6. 26 March 2021 / 1:27 am

    Oh I am sorry and Catherine and it’s clear you are not alone, and I hope if nothing else you feel better after writing some of it down. It’s hard to open up about feeling down when you’re not quite sure if you are technically depressed or just having a rough patch (this has been my experience anyway, like I definitely went through a patch of sleeping a lot and not looking after myself as well as I should last year, but never having been diagnosed with depression it’s weird/you don’t want to seem dramatic or attention seeking). This has undoubtedly been one of the hardest years ever for many of us, yet if we have not personally suffered a loss or some real strife it’s hard to feel worthy of feeling sad or blah or bleak more often than we would normally, which is crazy, of course we have a right to feel scared and sad right now, regardless of our situations. I know you aren’t looking for advice but (sneakily ;-)) I will say what has helped me feel more human at low points recently: basic self care. I know it’s uninspiring but just washing and moisturising yourself, maybe with a product somewhere at the back of the shelf you’d forgotten about, just to change up the humdrum routine feeling. Yoga With Adriene (Youtube), a cliche I know but her meditation and yoga videos, even if it’s just a sleepy 10 minute stretch at the end of the day, make me feel much better. I hadn’t done yoga in years and I was feeling very unmotivated to exercise, the daily walks became tedious (although fresh air is obviously good for you), and as an introvert I really need actual alone time, so even just having an hour to myself during the day for yoga or vegging out (ideally more) is helpful for me personally. Just be kind to yourself wherever possible, and it’s ok to cry whenever you feel like it. Totally agree perimenopause/hormones may be at play, I am 46 and only just started reading a few blogs on it and can really play havoc with us and it’s not talked about at all. Hope you feel better soon, and if not maybe speak to someone who you feel comfortable with, I know it’s not easy (I really do) but any friend or loved one worth their salt will gladly be there for you in tough times too. Hugs xo

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:38 pm

      Steff thank you ever so much for your lovely comment, I really appreciate it! I agree with you 100% that self-care is the key to dealing with the rest of life (especially with what’s it’s throwing at us all right now), but it was the fact that I was prevented from doing my daily walks by all the damn ailments that were just piling up that got me down so much (and unable to cope mentally with everything else). I’ve done daily walks for about 15 years and really enjoy them, to have them taken away from me created a domino effect with everything else suffering as a result. Now that I’m [fingers crossed] reasonably ailment-free again I’m back on the walks and things are definitely improving.

      It was very hard to see past feeling like utter sh*t (physically) to work out whether feeling like that mentally was really a problem or just a by-product of my low energy and fitness levels. I’m now thinking it really was the latter as I feel more empowered and a lot stronger and ready to cope with the practical, personal and logistical crap I have going on. (For example, I was in too much pain to even wash my hair… it’s amazing how not washing your hair can make you feel so damn awful!!) Thank you EVER so much for your support, they’re wise words for all of us. I do hope you’re okay yourself and are getting lots of love and support xoxoxox

  7. 23 March 2021 / 9:40 pm

    I generally flatter myself that I am a total realist, and can deal with almost anything. That said, I don’t always get the support I need from others. I’m so impressed that you “reached out” by writing about your own state of mind, Catherine. I think writing and sharing are two of the most important things we can do to help ourselves. This past year has been a real eye-opening, where I have vacillated from not having to go out to going insane having to stay in! I have a little fear now of a fear to go out!! Yikes. Is that agoraphobia?!! In any case, we all have some kind of demon and it takes courage to not only talk about it with others but to share it in writing. Here’s to the journey ahead, and hoping yours leads to a better place.

    xx Darlene

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you Darlene, yes I think it was actually very therapeutic for me to get this all down ‘on paper’, it really helped a lot. I can see things a lot more clearly, and having listed all (well, a lot of) the things that I was so worked up about and my behaviour these past few weeks I can tell that things are getting better… it seems a lot of the anxiety has dissipated somewhat and I’m getting back to my normal self! I’m sure you’ll deal with the agoraphobia in your own time, I’m sure when things are more back to normal you’ll feel that way about life too. Thanks for sharing, sending you much love xoxoxo

  8. 23 March 2021 / 10:07 am

    Dear sweet Catherine, all I can say is that I relate to this 100%! I will definitely not leave you any advice because you asked us not to, but also because I know how very frustrating that can be! I have been dealing with depression and anxiety and bipolar disorder for my entire life and unsolicited advice is just about the worst thing a person can offer. I have found in my experience that the best thing to offer is relatability and community and support. You have all of those things from me. I also want to offer you an ear if you ever do need it. Because I do understand all of it and I have walked this path for a very, very, very long time (also recently exacerbated by premenopause) so I think I have a lot of helpful knowledge if and when you do want or need it. Sending you all sorts of positive healing energy and virtual hugs, my friend. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. There is more power in that than you may even realize!

    xoxo
    Shelbee

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:21 pm

      Oh Shelbee you are such a love, thank you EVER so much for the support. Peri/menopause has a lot to answer for in these times and hasn’t helped the anxiety and stress that so many older women are feeling right now – it’s as if we need menopause to just go away for a couple of years while we get through the current pandemic, don’t you think?! Everyone has been so lovely here and on social, and I thank you for the love you always send my way, it is greatly appreciated. Sending you ALL the love and ALL the support, C xxxxxxxx

  9. 22 March 2021 / 8:05 pm

    Sorry to read that you have been feeling this way Catherine, but I am glad that you have put pen to paper on this. Always better to share with someone, even if it is only strangers over the Internet. It is hard to share our true feelings like this, but I know that this will help someone who reads this. Thanks for your sage words on Internet life vs real life, it’s a reminder that is much needed. All the best to you!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:18 pm

      Thank you ever so much Miss J, I will admit I find it slightly easier to share with strangers on the internet than IRL… I think it took a lot for me to say it out loud to Keith (and admit it to myself)! I hope you’re doing okay, sending love xx

  10. 22 March 2021 / 7:18 pm

    Catherine that was a wonderful, honest and brave post. I thought I was doing fine and kept congratulating myself on how we were coping. Then a few weeks ago I had a TGA episode. Temporary Global Amnesia. spent 2 days in hospital I wrote about it on my blog. The consultant said it was due to stress and anxiety. I had been denying I was stressed or anxious. You take care of you ..xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:16 pm

      Oh Hilda that sounds frighteningly familiar… almost as if that was the stage I very nearly got to before I ‘fessed up to Keith? I’m so sorry that happened to you, and wow you must be have been very unwell to have ended up in hospital (especially during these times when they only admit you to hospital if absolutely necessary). I hope you’re feeling much better now, and at least you can now recognise the fact that you ARE stressed and anxious so it doesn’t happen again? I do hope so… sending much love to you xxxxxxx

  11. 21 March 2021 / 1:14 pm

    My mum committed suicide when I was 13, Catherine, and my family and I didn’t admit it to each other for many, many years (even though I found the letter she’d written). It was one of those subjects we avoided. We’d tell people she died of pneumonia (which was technically true because after her kidneys failed from all the pills and alcohol she took that night, it was pneumonia she contracted in hospital a few days later that killed her), Whilst reading your post, I didn’t think about her until I read some of these comments and then it suddenly hit me—what she might have been feeling in the weeks up until her death. It’s heartbreaking that so many people go through this, some without support which must be horrendous. I wish I’d have known what she was going through, but I was too young. I’ve suffered a little bit of depression in my life, and my poor brother and sister both suffer from it, but I’m fortunate that I seem to have found my way out of it. I’m sending you the biggest virtual hugs, Catherine. I hope you can find the strength within you to get yourself out of it and back to your upbeat, positive self.
    Love Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 4:11 pm

      Oh my goodness Suzy, words fail me… I’m so incredibly sorry that that happened to you at such a young age. I’m sure the not admitting it part didn’t help you (or the rest of your family at all), but although you said you have suffered from depression it sounds like you’ve come out the other side smiling. I do hope your brother and sister get the support they need.Thank goodness things are now, to some extent, a lot better now with understanding and people talking about it more (compared to when you were young I mean). We have a long way to go, but hopefully we’re all getting there in terms of knowing more and mental health not being such a taboo subject anymore.

      Thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences, and sending all the virtual hugs and love back atcha xoxoxoxoxoxo

  12. 21 March 2021 / 6:22 am

    Hi Catherine, I have much respect and admiration for you, for saying all of this. I hope these comments show how you are not alone, and how well liked you are. My mental health used to be awful, including being suicidal, but I have been consistently well for a long time now and never ever want to go back to that place. I actually work for a mental health research institute now, so I talk about mental health all day long! During the past few years, life has been a roller-coaster for me even without the pandemic, and I have had to really pay attention to any early warning signs of low mood, and act swiftly. The benefit of having experienced a big dip like you are talking about, is that next time (and unfortunately, that is statistically likely), you can notice earlier. My big warning sign is that I start writing depressing poetry(!). The things that help me dipping down again too much are going back to the basics of self-care, so goals for the day become: shower, eat healthily, and get some fresh air! I also write a gratitude diary entry and try and do things for other people (easier sometimes than doing things for myself, and boosts self-esteem and mood). You are an awesome human. Sending much love. Absolutely happy to chat to you, I am here and I will listen with no judgement or unsolicited advice xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 1:12 pm

      Gosh Porcelina it sounds like you’ve had a really tough time of it, I’m so sorry you’ve had such a torrid time with your mental health… but how wonderful that you’ve put that experience into something that helps others. I’m so proud of you, I didn’t actually know that’s where you worked…!

      I agree 100% about the basics of things like showering, good food and fresh air. The fresh air is the thing I put above all else because I know it means I do the other things, so for me to not be able to get out and walk because of all the damn ailments I had meant everything else was affected. Thankfully I’m feeling [touch wood] pretty much ailment-free right now so things are starting to fall into place.

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment and for sharing, much love to you xxx

  13. Meriwynn
    21 March 2021 / 1:29 am

    Catherine, I think this may be the first time I’ve ever commented on a blog post of someone I follow on Instagram. I LOVE your Insta, your attitude, your freckles, pink hair and honesty — and of course, your style. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve lived with depression my whole adult life — it’s kind of like my invisible roommate who is sometimes just a drag, other times truly horrible.
    The pandemic has been SO HARD. No matter what the circumstances. No one in my family has gotten sick or died from COVID, but it has taken its toll. One of my teenage daughters has developed a Tourette’s -like tic disorder. My other daughter thinks she has lupus and my elderly mom, who lives with us, is so depressed and it’s affecting her memory. I’m mostly holding it all together but I feel like I’m going to collapse in a heap when it’s all over. Weight gain due to tennis elbow and a back injury — yes. The dullness of not being able to work work work and busy myself with simple things like laundry — yes. I have two full baskets of clean, wrinkled laundry in my bathroom, waiting to be folded and put away. I feel a dullness in myself that I’m not sure how to overcome. I keep pretty busy and active but I hate my body right now and it’s been hard to accept aging and moving towards the next stage of my life, where my children are gone and building something on their own. All of this is to say I hear you and feel you 100%. No advice whatsoever, just empathy and the hope and belief that we’re all going to get through this. Sending you big hugs from across the pond.

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 1:08 pm

      Meriwynn thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate you doing that (and am honoured that mine is the first blog you’ve commented on after following on Instagram)!

      It sounds like you’ve had a really hard time of it too, and the pile of clean laundry not put away is the perfect metaphor for the whole situation we find ourselves in, don’t you think… it’s like we’re half present but we just can’t get our acts together and do anything properly. I know the feeling of hating your body when you’re busy and active: I tend to find that if I’m not in a good place no amount of exercise or (what I think is) healthy eating will get me fit; feeling low affects my sleep and my mood and I think what happens is that we end up doing things half-heartedly (and I know myself, I eat junk ON TOP of the good stuff).

      So please don’t be hard on yourself: keep up the exercise and the self-care with sleep and good food as much as you can. The rest will follow – that’s what I keep telling myself. We’ll get through this sooner or later 🙂

      Sending you so much love and strength, thank you again, C xxxxxxx

  14. Vale
    20 March 2021 / 9:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your deep emotions Catherine. Just like you, I have a great life with my husband, no kids for choice and I am approaching the same age. And too often I feel anxiety kicking in, I feel like it takes ages to do normal tasks now, I feel constantly worried…I have a lot of mood swings compared to before the Pandemic, I spend most of my time stuck inside and often I feel misunderstood by the other people. I used to love making plans and now it is even hard to plan what to cook for dinner…Sending prayers and hugs to you and hope for much better times! xoxo Vale

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 March 2021 / 12:47 pm

      I’m totally with you on the making plans/making dinner thing, Vale – eating proper meals has so fallen by the wayside for me! Yes to the better times ahead, the whole Covid situation and everything that comes with it has exacerbated so many problems and anxieties people already have, hasn’t it 🙁

      Thank you so much for commenting, sending much love to you xx

  15. @MissPottah
    20 March 2021 / 6:21 pm

    I hear you. Last year was the most lonely year of my life. It was a roller coaster – and still is (e.g. I haven’t properly cooked in 2 months – been living of take-off/delivery – I feel ashamed). I was mourning the end of a relationship living alone and working from home during a lockdown in a new country (Italy) (I moved here a few months before the pandemics) and a new job (detail: the dream job I wanted for 20 years). I did not see anyone for 2 months. Summer was a bit better ,but did not solve it. Along 2020, I had panic attacks and insomnia thinking I was having a silent heart attack and would die alone. I was not able to sleep a whole night for months. I was extremely concerned about my elder parents living in Brasil, a country governed by a criminal psychopath that not only has no empathy and does not govern, but sabotages what governors and mayors are trying to do, does not purchase vaccines or medicine and promotes “covid treatment” that does not work. Everyday I woke up expecting bad news (still do). I got addicted (really addicted, meaning countless hours of mindless scrolling) to my phone. I had major anxiety issues. had a nervous break down in september and had to take a week off work. and the list goes on. I am better now. CBD oil is helping me with anxiety. I was already doing therapy along 2020 so I continued. I took a month of vacation in November and it really helped. Please just know everything ends and this too will pass. All the best.

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:58 pm

      Oh my goodness Miss Pottah what an unearthly amount of sh*t you’ve gone through… you must be a pillar of strength to have come out the other side. I’m so sorry so many awful things have happened to you, not just on a personal level but on a geographical level (you’re in Italy and your parents are in Brazil?! that’s an unbelievably bad set of circumstances to find yourselves in). I’m so glad to hear that you got therapy and say that you’re better now – different things work for different people and it sounds like that was just what you needed.

      Thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences, I think you’re amazing to have gone through all that (and are still dealing considering we’ve heard another lockdown has come into force in Italy!) and consider yourself on the road to recovery. I hope it continues for you – sending you all my very best wishes and lots of love xxxxx

      • @miss_pottah
        26 March 2021 / 1:17 am

        <3 thanks for responding!! Sending lots of ❤️ 🙂

    • Heather Ayres
      26 March 2021 / 12:16 am

      Sending love and support

  16. Debs
    20 March 2021 / 4:10 pm

    I have struggled with depression for most of my adult life. I have come to realise that those people who suffer from it like this are either suffering from a mental health problem like being bipolar or they are people who care very much about what is going on around them and those people that they love (friends and family). One gets to a point where the worrying and caring becomes exhausting and then leads to very low mood. I have been peri-menopausal I think for a number of years and recently I have noticed that the depressive episodes are worse and more frequent. I don’t get hot flushes but my god the mood swings are extreme. I have sat and cried for hours for something that would have annoyed me previously. You are not alone, this past year has been tough on everyone, particularly women, we are all exhausted, demotivated and emotionally rung out. A disastrous combination at our age. A very wise 80+year old friend of mine once said “this too shall pass”, when I am feeling particularly bad I repeat it in my mind or write it down. Sending a big virtual hug to you and all women going through this. This too shall pass and better times will come.

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:51 pm

      Debs when you said “One gets to a point where the worrying and caring becomes exhausting and then leads to a very low mood”, I felt like you went into my head and described just how I’m feeling… I think that’s exactly the situation I find myself in. I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve struggled with depression, it must be so exhausting to have to constantly cope with that. I hope that first of all, you get the help you need with the menopausal symptoms, and maybe that’ll help you see things a little clearer to be able to tackle the other stuff (like me needing to get my physical health in order before feeling like I’d be able to confront the other sh*t). Thank you so much for sharing your story, I really appreciate you doing that, and the kind words. Sending love xoxo

  17. Hilary
    20 March 2021 / 2:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing and pointing out all the things that “just do not help” the situation we find ourselves in. I too struggle with periodic bouts of “the blues” that I just can’t shake – lack of interest, a pervasive feeling of being overwhelmed but not motivated to do all the things that need to be done. I don’t know the cause, but do know that menopause and lockdown don’t help. I know I have a lot to be grateful for so try to “snap out of it”, but it helps that we share how we feel and know that we are not alone.

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:44 pm

      Hilary that could have been written by myself… you’ve described the situation I’m in perfectly! The guilt from feeling like you should be grateful for all the good things just adds to the anxiety, doesn’t it? I’m sorry to hear you’ve felt the same, and I really hope you have someone in your life that you can share these worries with. I hope things get better for you, sending you much love and strength to get through it xx

  18. 20 March 2021 / 12:59 pm

    Your post really resonated with me because I too struggle with my mental health. I hope that you take the time and start to feel much better soon. Sending you lots of love!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:42 pm

      Danielle that’s really kind of you, thank you so much… I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a hard time as well. Hope you’re okay and have someone to talk things over with. Sending love xoxo

  19. Tracy Patil
    20 March 2021 / 11:41 am

    Your post touched my heart Catherine. I know exactly what you are speaking about, I’ve been there. More importantly I enjoy seeing and hearing from you every week, you brighten my day with your beautiful face and your countryside walks, your cute dog and your lovely words. I’m here for you, I see that you are hurting right now but you are navigating it…I feel sure healing and feeling better will follow in time. Never forget that you are not alone. Sending love and hugs xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:40 pm

      Tracy you’re a love, thank you for those lovely words… the fact that I’ve been unable to walk the past few weeks has really dragged me down, but I’m so glad that so many people (like yourself) enjoy them! It gives me an incentive to get up and go out when I might otherwise feel too shattered to go 😀

      Things are getting better, sunshine and being outside helps. Much love to you xx

  20. 20 March 2021 / 11:28 am

    You have no idea how I can resonate with this post. You’ve actually done a great thing by being so transparent. For a while I’ve been thinking of writing about this subject but don’t even know where to begin.
    I’ve been neglecting my blog due to depression.
    I’ve got products to review but I’m too anxious.
    I feel like a complete failure because, due to ageism, I have a shitty job. I used to have a career. Now it’s a job that I hate sand I’m sick and tired of everybody telling me I should be grateful to be employed.
    I worry that My time, being on the cusp of 66, is limited.
    But here’s the thing-I’m a functional depressive. On thé outside it’s all great, but on the inside-I’m shattered.
    I thank you and love you!

    • Catherine
      Author
      23 March 2021 / 4:38 pm

      Oh Catherine it makes me sad to hear that you feel so low, I know how much you love blogging and to lose that love is such a shame… but I GET IT! Anxiety is a big one for me as well – for me it’s like almost not knowing why I’m so anxious. I mean yes, I can pinpoint a whole load of x y z that’s happened and that are probably the cause, but the constant anxiety is a struggle.

      Please don’t think that Your Time, as you put it, is limited. I’m still sane enough to know that won’t help you get over the smog any quicker, so tackle one thing at a time. For example, if you have products to review and you’re anxious… don’t do it! Unless you’re being paid and it’s part of a side hustle, leave that to one side for now, till you can do it for the love of doing it. Tackle the important things first: for me it was my health. I *had* to get my health back on track and be at least pain-free before moving onto the next major thing to tackle.

      Concentrate on the must-haves like sleep, food and exercise for now. The rest can wait. Sending lots of love and strength to you xxxxxx

  21. Annie
    20 March 2021 / 1:59 am

    I have dealt with PTSD (depression is one of its lovely, frequent accompanying feelings) for several years and can empathize 100% with where you are. I have always managed to come out the other side of the Tunnel of Shite, and you can get there too. When it is just one thing after another, after another, after another…..wow, it’s heavy. The sun will shine again….it did for me, and it will for you too. I hope you find the right help you need and feel better soon. And thank you for sharing. It truly helps others when we can be so honest.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:25 pm

      Oh Annie I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had PTSD, I can only imagine what you’ve been through. It’s zero surprise that depression accompanies it. But how glad am I that you’ve managed to navigate The Tunnel of Shite (what a brilliant expression, I will use that if that’s okay!) and come out smiling by the sounds of it. The one thing after another, after another, after another was definitely where I was the past few weeks. But today is a much better day and yesterday was better than the day before that, so I’m getting somewhere. Sorting out my physical health and my body giving me a break has definitely helped, as has the sunshine today… things are looking up.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I can’t begin to tell you how I appreciate how much everyone’s opened up here. Sending a ton of love to you xxxxx

  22. Lynn Jones
    19 March 2021 / 11:48 pm

    To talk so openly about mental health, as you’ve done, I think shows courage. Even today, after all we’ve heard and read about the effects of the lockdowns, it still takes a lot to say what you have.

    I too had a spell of the Thief of Joy, albeit over a decade ago or so. I would like to wish you success and luck in walking away from its shadow and you can beat it. It may be a long road and there will be days in which you feel it close, but it’s possible to escape. You are not failing if you hear its sapping whispers or cool touch: you are doing the best you can with where you are now and no one can do more.

    Safe journey ❤️

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:18 pm

      Lynn those were such lovely words: I can’t thank you enough for them! I’m really glad to hear you’ve overcome your own struggles. Things are already looking [feeling] better this weekend and today… my physical health is hopefully getting there with three ailment-free days in a row and I know that’s the first step for me to able to feel like I can tackle the sh*ittier stuff. Thank you again, sending love xx

  23. 19 March 2021 / 8:57 pm

    Suffered with depression throughout my life Catherine and this past year definitely hasn’t helped.

    It’s also very weird when it comes on you and you think why is this happening when you think you’ve actually got your shit together? Punished myself for thinking how can you be feeling like this when life appears to be ok? Absolutely no control over it and then punish myself for that too.

    Anxiety got much worse at the height of my menopause and was the catalyst for me leaving my job 3 years ago. Working for myself and with people who support me was the only way I thought I could navigate these past few years. Some days I can’t function until the afternoon and I say to Steve why is today like this when yesterday was a good day?

    Also had some very dark times with some people very dear to me which has broken my heart to the extent you wonder will you ever repair.

    Keep talking and sharing dear girl …. sending all my support and as many positive vibes as this little space will hold xoxo

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:15 pm

      Sharon I knew about your struggles with menopause as you’ve been brilliant to talk about it on social and on your blog, but I didn’t know about you suffering from depression. I think being open and honest like this is the best way for anyone to get through it, it 100% helped me by saying it out loud, both to Keith and writing about it here. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a sh*t time, but it sounds like you have a wonderful husband and family and I’m sure they give you all the support and love you need. I know we’ve not met in person – hopefully that’ll change end of this year or next! – but you’ve been a very good friend to me and I thank you for it. Sending tons of love and strength to you xoxoxoxo

  24. Liz P.
    19 March 2021 / 8:50 pm

    Forgot to add that one really important thing I learned from the therapists is that alcohol is a depressant. I did my brain that favor and never drink now, not even one glass, and don’t miss it one bit. (There is such a thing as “dual diagnosis” group therapy ..

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:10 pm

      Gosh yes I’m totally aware that overindulging in the alcohol was a sign of things being bad, Liz… normally I can happily “take it or leave it” with booze but lately it’s been a lot of take. I’ve just had my first alcohol-free weekend in ages and I’m sure it’s because I’m already feeling better xo

  25. 19 March 2021 / 8:49 pm

    I think many people – myself included – feel we have no right to be struggling when we have a roof over our head and can pay the bills. But this last year has been a big kick in our sense of reality. Whereas the world felt reasonably stable for most of us before the pandemic, we now know that we can be attacked completely out of left field and never see it coming, except in the most abstract of terms. We have been shown that having control over our lives is somewhat of an illusion. That’s a lot to process. I can relate to what you have shared. You are not alone.

    Michelle

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:07 pm

      Michelle that’s a very level-headed approach, thank you so much for the kind words. You’re right about the feeling like we have no right to feel like we’re struggling when life isn’t obviously crashing down around us. Having control over my health is a big one for me; I’m already feeling clearer and stronger [mentally] due to my body finally giving me a break. I think writing this was the turning point I needed. Thank you again, much love to you xo

  26. Liz P.
    19 March 2021 / 8:27 pm

    I suffered from major depression 20 years ago and had professional treatment, including group therapy 3 times a week for 6 months. The classic symptoms are feeling so depleted that you can’t brush your teeth or wash your hair. If I said ” I brushed my teeth today” in Group, that was huge. Group therapy is a miracle and short term use of SSRI medication is also. Twenty years later looking back, I also wish that I had returned to the Faith sooner. When I was suffering from major depression I felt like a very large bird had it’s talons on my head. Well, I do sincerely think now that yes, they were talons, but it was not a bird. My happiness and health was restored when I called on Jesus and embraced the Faith.
    There is a beautiful movie called “Clare and Francis” from Ignatius Press, which depicts how St Francis suffered from depression, that I highly recommend.
    On a broader note, Catherine, you are only human. God created man and woman to be free and enjoy individual liberty, and not to be locked down in our homes or restrained from living a fully open, fully free daily life.
    Writing is powerful therapy. It would be good if you could find group therapy to attend. That was a lifesaver for me. (But, it’s been a battle just to get the churches open, and probably even group therapy is remote now. Please try to meet with others at church or in group therapy.)
    Much Love – L

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you Liz, I really appreciate you sharing what worked for you but I need to find my own way through this. Once I’ve sorted my physical health out and got that back on track I think it’ll be so much easier for me to realise what I need to do next. To be honest I think it might even be the root cause of everything: I’ve had three pain-free and ailment-free days in a row for the first time in ages and I’m already a lot better mentally. I’m so sorry to hear you were in such a bad place but it’s wonderful to hear that group therapy worked for you… it’s just not for me I’m afraid! Sending love xo

  27. Christine K.
    19 March 2021 / 8:07 pm

    That’s a lot on your plate. Sending you hope and love.

    About 7 years ago my husband went thru a very severe depression and I was totally unaware of the extent until
    he told me he was starting to have suicidal thoughts. We were able to get him a therapist and the proper medication. I’m so so glad you spoke to Keith.

    Almost 10 years ago (but it doesn’t feel that long ago) I had sciatica. It was constantly and unbelievably painful. So.. after days of constant pain and not sleeping due to constant pain I walked into the bathroom one morning to brush my teeth. As I looked into the mirror I saw that I was crying. Didnt even realize it until I saw it in the mirror. It’s insidious how our brains normalize bad situations if they go on long enough. Apparently I thought I could tough it out – but my body and brain thought otherwise.

    Virtual hugs from me too. Christine (who comments on your lovely walks that sooth the soul on Insta)

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 1:58 pm

      Oh gosh Christine I’m so pleased your husband reached out to you – from what I’ve watched and read it seems it’s very unusual for men to reach out and ask for help. Thank goodness he did.

      And I TOTALLY understand the sciatica pain – my “leg injury” from 4/5 years ago was misdiagnosed as sciatica and I was given all the necessary treatment for that. Two years later it wasn’t at all better and the pain was constant. Eventually the cause was an abdominal cyst pressing on my nerve running down my leg (the one mentioned and linked in this post). I can remember crying in bed, the pain was so bad… thankfully everything else in my life was fine unlike the sh*tshow I have going on now, so it was slightly easier as it was the one thing I had to deal with. But yes, I don’t think I could have gone on longer than the two years of pain so thank goodness they eventually found the cause of the problem. I can relate to the crying and not realising it thing… it’s hard. Very, very hard.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and I hope you are both in a much better place now. Sending love and strength xoxxo

  28. Sue Dunlop
    19 March 2021 / 7:10 pm

    Catherine – you use your blog in such positive ways to being people together and to share honesty and care. That is true of all of your posts. While you may not feel fierce at the moment – you are. Mental health struggles sap our energy and good feelings until everything feels bad. Having gone through my own struggles with anxiety and depression I can relate. You’re right – it’s so important to ask for help. Thank you for this post. I’m in awe. ( and no need to write a reply)

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 1:52 pm

      Sue I’m so sorry to hear you’ve struggled too, and I hope you’re in a much better place now. I’m sure things will get better for me, once I ‘ve got my physical health back on track it’ll be a lot easier and clearer for me to see where I go next. Thank you thank you for the kind words (and of course you know I’d reply, lol! 😉 )

  29. 19 March 2021 / 6:18 pm

    Wishing you all the best Catherine. You are one of the most intriguing fashion bloggers over 40 and I have been enjoying your blog for a very long time. I find it really hard dealing with news that are mostly frustrating. So finding the resources to deal with that constant flux of emotions has been getting more difficult lately, It feels like you have been out in the water swimming and are getting ready to head back to the shore but the tide is holding you back.
    As a consequence I stopped reading the news about Covid. At least you guys got the vaccination rolling. Whereas…a well, not gonna start.

    Sending you the best of wishes. xo Sabina

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 March 2021 / 1:50 pm

      Sabina thank you… that swimming analogy was perfect, it couldn’t describe how I’ve been feeling any better. Yes, the way the UK has handled the vaccine rollout has been admirable, and it’s done a lot to allay fears where (especially) my parents are concerned. I hope Europe and the rest of the world get it sorted soon 🙁

      Your words were so kind, I really appreciate the support and I’m so glad you love the blog. Hopefully I’ll be able to get myself back into the proper swing of it this year and get some good (and more regular!) content out before long xoxo

  30. 19 March 2021 / 5:11 pm

    Oh, Catherine, I feel this so much: every word of it, really, but particularly what you said about realising you couldn’t remember the last time you felt happy. I had the same thought a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: because, on the surface, I’ve been coping fine, but I genuinely don’t remember the last time I felt happy or excited, and while I know I should at least be feeling like I have something to look forward to with the end of this lockdown (hopefully) looming, I’m actually just horrified at the thought of people seeing what an absolute MESS I am now. (Because, yes, also with you on the ”hating myself” bit…)

    (Oh, and what you’ve said about other people talking about their struggles really hit home too: I’ve barely posted on Instagram this year (And have mostly posted old photos when I have), because I can’t even imagine having the energy for it, and I can’t understand how other people are managing to have immaculate houses and make clever reels featuring their latest clothes hauls. I literally don’t know how they’re doing it. )

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling like this too, but thank you for writing so honestly about it, and not in that, “I’ve been struggling, but ultimately it’s helped me realise how blessed I am!” kind of way that everyone seems to feel obliged to do, either: sometimes things are just shit, and you need to be able to just SAY that, you know? So thank you for that, and I’m always here if you need a friendly ear. x

    • 19 March 2021 / 6:22 pm

      Agree. This pressure to be grateful etc etc (which I totally am btw) is making it even more difficult because it makes me feel guilty and really uncomfortable. Blogged a while about the right to acknowledge that we are feeling neither optimistic nor well at a certain moment.

      • Catherine
        Author
        19 March 2021 / 11:23 pm

        You’ve said exactly what I was thinking, Sabina – “HOW can I possibly be in a bad place mentally, I have so much to be thankful and grateful for!”… I placed a lot of the guilt on my own shoulders after learning about my friend’s struggles [that I mentioned in the post and also wrote about a few years ago]. It absolutely crushed me, thinking I should have done more. But thankfully now I’m more aware, having experienced some pretty low points myself just recently. Things will get better soon, I know it 😀

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:14 pm

      Ughhh the hating yourself bit is SO hard to deal with, isn’t Amber?! I honestly think it was the worst bit of all. I’ve never felt such self-loathing as I have done these past few weeks/months, and the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to even look after myself in terms of just brushing my teeth or brushing my hair was just awful. Then it’s a vicious cycle: you look like sh*t and so you don’t look in the mirror and you then can’t be bothered to look after yourself… not good.

      Thank you for such an insightful comment, and as someone I’ve always admired for their lovely home and amazing style (not to mention beautiful hair), it’s kinda reassuring to know that you too feel what I feel sometimes (and that I’m not the only minging one), LOL)!!!!! I really appreciate you sharing your own thoughts, thank you thank you =sending love= xoxo

  31. 19 March 2021 / 5:03 pm

    Thank you for this. Praying for us all- you’re not alone.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:08 pm

      Lucy thank you, that’s really kind of you xx

  32. Erika
    19 March 2021 / 4:54 pm

    You’ve shown great strength of spirit in this hugely honest account, and saying that it’s okay to say you’re NOT okay. A lot of what you say, I recognise in myself to varying degrees. You ask for no advice and I have none to give…just want to offer virtual support. So very glad that you confided in Keith….love to you all.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:08 pm

      Erika that’s so nice of you to say and to leave a lovely positive comment, I really truly appreciate the support… THANK YOU xoxoxox

  33. 19 March 2021 / 4:53 pm

    Catherine,
    This was a very brave post, and my heart wrenches for you. I’m so glad to hear you’ve recognized this and that Keith is aware. I have zero experience and no idea what comes next, but know that I am sending you every bit of good karma and wishes for healing that can be mustered from the other side of the globe. I know I’m just one of legions of fans who are sending you big virtual hugs right now.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:07 pm

      Thank you lovely MK – I have no idea what comes next either, I guess that’s why I had to end it with “one day at a time”. But I already feel lighter for writing this, and today was the first pain-free/ailment-free day in like FOREVER, so I’m feeling more positive already. Cheers to the weekend xx

  34. 19 March 2021 / 4:48 pm

    Sending love and strength to you both Catherine. Brava on writing this xxxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:05 pm

      Thank you so much lovely Liz, and for messaging me earlier… I really appreciate it gorgeous xoxox

  35. Pinkbird61
    19 March 2021 / 4:47 pm

    My goodness..you could’ve been talking about me in this post. You aren’t alone! it’s been such a tough time – as I told myself for the thousandth time this week…just get some laundry started today! Thank you so much for this open and honest post. I am nearing 60 in June! My God how did I get here! I have been told my night “hots” should be subsiding – well they aren’t, and I am not getting any kind of good sleep. I have no energy, I have no motivation. Besides that of course there ARE good things in my life, and I am trying so hard to focus on those. I am blessed in so many ways. Some days are better than others. I am feeling positive that things will get better, and honestly this post has motivated me and the laundry is in the wash! Thank you. I hope that you are feeling more yourself very soon. Spring is here, enjoy it.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 11:04 pm

      Goodness YES on the laundry, Pinkbird… I’m putting on a wash first thing tomorrow morning (so glad I’ve motivated you to put it on too)! Having no energy and no motivation is VERY hard to deal/cope with, isn’t it? I’m usually such a positive person but even I obviously have my breaking point. Glad to hear you’re focusing on the positive: hope this post helps you in more ways than one [the laundry]. Sending you the love and the strength you need, thank you for sharing your experience xx

  36. 19 March 2021 / 4:41 pm

    Such a relatable post.

    After working at home for a few years before COVID, I wasn’t worried. Then, last week, I ended up blowing up at my boss. I won’t say it wasn’t unexpected or even unwarranted, but it was VERY out of character for me. In the wake of the episode (that’s what I’ve labeled it in my mind), I really examined the feelings I’ve been ignoring and realized that while I wasn’t necessarily unhappy, I haven’t exactly been ‘happy’ the last 2-3 months. I had simply gotten used to feeling underappreciated and had apparently decided at some point to deal with being taken advantage of by my boss by just taking the unfair increase in my workload in stride, even though when added to my wife/mother responsibilities I was left with no time to simply be. And having recently had a hysterectomy, all the hormone fluctuations have certainly not been helping.

    So within the last month, I’ve made a more dedicated effort to building time for myself into my days. The thing that’s helping me the most is twice-weekly yoga sessions with a health coach. I, quite literally, leave it all on the mat, aka I’m disgusting when I leave.

    Lots of hugs for you

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:59 pm

      Oh Ashton that sounds like an awful lot to deal with and your anger must have been brewing (unknowingly) for a while for you to blow up at your boss – and it sounds totally justified too! So glad to hear you’re taking it a little easier, the yoga sounds like SUCH a good idea. I do yoga intermittently but really should do it more regularly, thnk you for the reminder.

      Sending love and strength, hope you continue on this road to healing xx

  37. Helen Baker
    19 March 2021 / 4:39 pm

    Dearest Catherine,

    Thank you for this lucid description of your situation. My heart aches for you.

    When I had depression I felt powerless, useless, guilty, worthless and deeply ashamed. My thinking became trapped in circular patterns of hopelessness.

    Treatment with anti-depressants helped me a great deal, and these days I am working hard to cherish and protect my mental well-being .

    I am learning to treat my mental health as we all realise we should treat our physical health: feeding it healthy stuff and avoiding mental junk food such as too much social media and ranting news coverage; enjoying healthy stimulus with music and books and art; and doing mental physiotherapy by learning new ways of thinking about things.

    It seems to be working!

    Sending warm healing thoughts to you xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:56 pm

      Helen thank you for such a lovely account and for sharing what you’ve experienced yourself: my physical health is so important to me but all the ailments that kept coming at me one after the other literally made me shout OH COME ON: FFS!!!!!!!!!!! one day (I think it was the day I pulled the muscle in my back). It’s SO hard to think of anything else when you feel like utter crap or are in physical pain… I missed my morning power walks and my running and even walking the dog in comfort. But today was the first day I felt “physically well” in a very long time, and I’m pretty sure the “mentally well” will return very soon as a result.

      I’m going to work on my physical health first before checking out whether perimenopause is something that needs addressing next before I know for sure whether this is really deep-rooted and needs more serious attention medically.

      Thank you thank you xoxo

  38. Andrea Nine
    19 March 2021 / 4:27 pm

    I literally have been nodding my head the entire time because I could’ve written this post! I have been feeling the same way for about the past six months. I’m turning 50 in two weeks and that has just compounded it! No celebrations planned, nothing to look forward to, no holiday on top of everything I was already feeling. Thank you so much for taking the time from your heart to share this with us! You are not alone!

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:50 pm

      Oh Andrea I’m so sorry to hear it feels like your 50th is going to be a damp squib (Keith had his in lockdown last year!) – I’ve missed having all the family birthday parties we normally have, but we’re going to have one massive one when it’s safe for us all to do so so I hope you get to do the same. You can celebrate it on ANY day!

      Anyway happy birthday for next month, and I hope you come through the sadness and get to talk to someone in the meantime. Sending much love to you x

  39. 19 March 2021 / 4:17 pm

    I’ve been there girlfriend, and have struggled with depression for my entire life. I’m now 73. Like you, I had a good husband, no kids (extra stress), good job, nice home, and yet I was crying all the time. The only good part was I went down to 112 lbs., if that’s considered good. I finally accepted help at the age of 36 and despite my objections and after a breakdown, my doctor put me on anti-depressants. SAVED MY LIFE! They do not give you an artificial high and are not addictive. They allowed me to return to normal. It took some time for them to work, but it felt like the dark veil literally lifting from my eyes. Depression is tricky. Some days you think it’s all your imagination. You feel OK and think it’s passed. Then a couple of days later, you’re crying again. . . constantly. It took a friend to fix me up with a doctor because I was sure I could manage it without help. I was wrong. Get help.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:47 pm

      Lynda I’m so sorry to hear you’ve struggled with depression for so long, but goodness you still sound like a pillar of strength for accepting help and recognising all the problems you have… it must be so difficult. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I know that everyone’s comments have helped me a lot ALREADY so everything you’ve said may help one person reading this get help, maybe many more.

      Thank you thank you thank you – sending you lots of love and best wishes xoxo

  40. Brenda Williams-Denbo
    19 March 2021 / 4:05 pm

    Catherine, I’m a suicide loss survivor and advocate for prevention due to losing my husband in 2012. Your post really resonated with me, too. Thank you for opening up about how you’re really doing. My husband struggled with his chronic depression in silence and told very few people, and I was discouraged from sharing what we were going through, as well. I think it’s poison to keep that locked up inside, and healing to shine the light on that darkness. Because of my loss I am constantly in touch with people sharing their own struggles or those of a loved one. You are NOT alone. Prayers for you and your sweet Keith as you both try to figure this out. xoxo

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:43 pm

      Brenda I don’t know what to say… I’m so very, very sorry for the loss of your husband. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like for you both, especially when he was mostly suffering in silence as you said.

      Poison is the right word, that’s exactly what it felt like to me – I had just the tiniest taste of it and it frightened me. I think it’s a wonderful thing what you’re doing, staying in touch with people who have struggles or who have lost someone. Thank you for being so wonderful and using your terrible experience to help those that need support and love… you’re an amazing person. Sending love and strength to you in bucketloads xoxo

  41. Kelly Glen
    19 March 2021 / 3:48 pm

    This is a very honest and personal post so thank you for sharing. I know exactly how hard it is to live with depression as I have suffered with it for over 25 years. The past year has definitely not helped but it’s not the only reason. Life is tough and sometimes it just gets to much. I just want to say I hope you have found writing this helpful and that maybe it has been a good way to get things off your mind.
    Take care and all the best.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:38 pm

      Oh Kelly I’m so sorry to hear you’ve suffered with depression for so long: this year must have been especially hard for you. Not the main reason as you’ve said (I had many well-meaning people saying to me, “Don’t worry it’ll all be over soon”, thinking that I just couldn’t cope with lockdown. It was the sh*tstorm of other stuff that I wasn’t coping with, but of course they weren’t to know about all of that), but it really just adds to the pile of crap, doesn’t it.

      It HAS been very helpful to write this, thank you – already I feel like a weight has been lifted and the load is lighter. I’m hoping to wake up a little lighter again tomorrow. Sending love and best wishes to you xoxo

  42. Biba
    19 March 2021 / 3:37 pm

    I had all the symptoms and feelings you’re having even before the pandemic and for me they were definitely perimenopause. All too often women get prescribed antidepressants when what they actually need is estrogen. You don’t need to be menopausal at all to start HRT. It’s not for everyone but it was a saviour for me. After refusal from two male doctors my practice nurse immediately put me on HRT. It’s become much more common practice now as knowledge is increasing. All that said, I’m still really struggling with the pandemic especially as I’m shielding. Thank you for sharing. I definitely could relate to it all as I’m sure many of your readers can. I hope you find ways to cope or get whatever help or support you need during this time x

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:35 pm

      Thank you so much Biba: I’ve been very aware for a while now about looking out for the signs of (peri)menopause and thankfully have discussed HRT, etc. with girlfriends. I’ve always said to myself that if I felt I needed it, I would absolutely 100% ask for it. I know a couple of girlfriends who swear by it and said they went from a psycho hose beast to an absolute angel overnight, hehe 😉

      I already feel lighter for having written this, and thankfully I had my first pain-free day in FOREVER after stitches were removed, back pain disappearing and three-day headache finally clearing. I’m hoping to wake up tomorrow a lot fresher and brighter xoxo

  43. Bethanne
    19 March 2021 / 3:36 pm

    Sending so much love and light your way, Catherine! Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:31 pm

      That’s so lovely of you to say, thank you Bethanne xx

  44. 19 March 2021 / 3:29 pm

    Here to say I so GET this post. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:31 pm

      I’m really glad it resonated Tara, I hope you’re not having too hard a time and can reach out to someone like I did. Much love to you xx

  45. Kathy Terry
    19 March 2021 / 3:23 pm

    This was a beneficial post to read, and really resonated in many ways. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:30 pm

      That’s really kind of you to say Kathy: thank you my lovely! Things do feel clearer in my head already. Sending love xoxo

  46. Christina
    19 March 2021 / 3:11 pm

    Dear, dear, dear Catherine, brave words and oh so sincere. I recognise every word from 10-20 years ago. The most horrible feeling and I’m thankfully out on the other side now.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:29 pm

      Christina that’s wonderful to hear you’re out the other side and sound very well for it. Thank you for the lovely comment, I really appreciate them xx

  47. Dianne Reeks
    19 March 2021 / 3:07 pm

    Sending a virtual hug and hope things improve

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 3:09 pm

      That’s really kind of you, thank you Dianne xx

  48. LaughingGirlSF
    19 March 2021 / 2:59 pm

    I have been going through something similar with the occasional blue period ramping up to feeling like a full on meltdown – I feel like I have determined that mine is perimenopause running rampant (with the hot flashes) and in researching that it came up with all the symptoms I’ve been going through (and with being a working mom, being in isolation for a year now, and a full work schedule). Thank you for your beautifully honest posting – I don’t feel like there is enough support for women our age and I’m glad you’re getting the support and help you need.

    • Catherine
      Author
      19 March 2021 / 10:28 pm

      Thank you LaughingGirl… I haven’t quite reached the full-on meltdown stage yet but I felt it was coming, hence me saying something to Keith and starting to write this post. I’m sure perimenopause has a lot to do with it and it generally just making things worse: I have every confidence that if I can just get my general health back on track I’ll be able to start tackling the practical things with a clearer and stronger mindset.

      I’m so sorry you’re also having a rough time: I hope you too get the help you need – sending lots of love and strength to you xxxxxxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLOSURE: Items marked* are PR products (I never accept anything I wouldn’t choose for myself) and my opinions are 100% honest. I also use affiliate links where I may earn commission if you click through and buy, at no cost to you.