I need books! 

Major achievement today – I’ve read a book from cover to cover! Woo hoo. Go me. 

What’s she going on about I hear you say. 

Let me try to explain. When depression strikes, I find it hard to focus. To concentrate. To spend time on just doing one thing without my mind wandering. Worrying. Thinking what could happen. Will happen. What am I doing wrong? How are my kids suffering? Will it ever get better? 

Due to this, I avoid activities where this could happen. Reading is the main one. 

This is hard as I love books. My family loves books. They help me connect with my Aspergers dad. Share with my mum. Recommend by my brother. Read to and by my daughter. 

Dramas. Thrillers. Crime detective series. Chick lit.  Biographies. Self help guides. Best sellers. Independent authors. Travel guides. Facts. Poems. Quotations. Children’s books. 

You name it I love it and I’ll read it. My house is filled with books. Every room has some nook filled with books. They stack, pack and pile in. 

  Since September they’ve been really piling up though. Towering in some rooms. Teasing me. Some days I would pick one up, read the back cover, get excited and start reading. Never to pick it up again. 
Too much concentration needed. Too much time. Too much. 

So you see? Mega achievement. 

So what’s different you now want to know. 

The book. The circumstance. The desire to read. The time to read. 

Bought whilst shopping for my mum’s Mother’s Day present. 

The title got my attention. The back cover even more so. Shortish chapters. I read one whilst standing at the book store. Knew I wanted to read more. 

Moving, funny and joyous. A true story…triumphed over a mental illness. It’s a book about making the most of your time on earth. 

The first section was hard going – reading about the depths of depression. Took it slowly. Put it down. Wasn’t sure I was going to pick it up again. Left it on my bedside table (along with THE tidying book) as I wanted to read it. Waiting for the best time. 

Then that time came. I injured my back. Putting on my boots of all things. Bent over and tore something.  Collapsed with the pain. 999 diagnosed sciatica. GP said ruptured disc. Osteopath said torn ligament. Everybody said bed rest so it could heal. 

Lying in bed trying not to let the fog roll over me. Vulnerable. In pain. Immobile. All I could see were my books. And one in particular. Picked it back up and didn’t put it down. 

Short chapters. Easy to read. Lots of white space. An illness I identified with. A personality I aspire to be. Honest. Funny. Inspiring. 

I’ve folded the corners down on this book. I’m recommending it to all I know who I think will get comfort from it. I tweeted it. I’m blogging about it. I’m finding the positive despite being in pain physically.  

And I’m thinking about the next book I can read. Recommendations welcome. 

Thank you Matt Haig you just saved a life. 

What is depression?

It’s invisible. It’s not always about feeling sad. Or guilty. Or anxious. Or frightened. But it sometimes is. Depression is unique. It affects people in different ways. 

Depression is complicated. 

Birth causes it. Guilt causes it. Pain causes it. The cause isn’t always known. It’s just there. 

Depression is mysterious. 

You can’t man up. Pull yourself together. Get over it. Ignore it. Find something else to think about. Yes it could be worse but not in my mind. 

Depression is alive. 

It’s not fixed by pills. Or by talking about it. Or by support and understanding. Or by the pure pleasure I get cuddling my two kids. Or stroking my cat. Or from taking beautiful pictures. Or writing about it. But these things help. 

Depression is an illness. 

There are things that make it worse. Lack of sleep. Too much sleep. Not enough time to be myself. Alcohol. Stress. Being alone. Not talking about it. Rain. Criticism. 

Depression has moods. 

It’s hard to look towards the future. To focus on reading a book. Or even a magazine. To imagine what could be. To dream again.  To imagine life free from pain. Without pills. 

Depression is all consuming. 

When you are depressed you feel alone. You feel that nobody is going through what you’re going through. That nobody wants to know. That nobody cares. That you’re not worth it. 

Depression lies.