I just spent five minutes gardening – spreading new mulch on one of the flower beds – and in those five minutes, I managed to collect two mosquito bites, which I took as a sign from the universe that I should stop and retreat indoors. Clearly, the only outside time that I can cope with involves a banana lounge, lots of shade and a passive contemplation of the great outdoors.
I’ve been sort of hibernating indoors for the last couple of weeks. There were 3 or 4 days of frenetic activity to get ready for Christmas Eve, then my parents came and we had a lovely evening eating, drinking and watching Carols by Candlelight. On Christmas Day they packed up early and took themselves and my boys off to Melbourne.
In the quiet house, I took my sweet time resting, doing nothing but eating, drinking, sleeping and watching Netflix. I did manage to go shopping a couple of times and spent some time with a friend, but otherwise it was my typical, slothful week of ultimate self-care. Time to indulge in non-productive activity and chocolate.
On New Year’s Eve, I drove to Melbourne for a delicious dinner of roast duck and dumplings made by my mum, packed up the boys and we were back home around 7 pm. We watched two Terminator movies as we waited for the New Year and finished the night off with some sparkler twirling in the back yard.
I also managed to grab a selfie of us three.
The next two days were a bit frantic again, as I totally panicked about my older son heading off to the Australian Scout Jamboree and making sure that he had everything he needed in his bags. We still managed to watch Terminator 3 and my younger son was delighted that Arnie was back, after crying as he was lowered into molten steel in Terminator 2. Funny, sweet boy.
Ben headed off to Sydney on the coach on Saturday evening, leaving Sam and I to each other’s company. It is very strange in the house with just the two of us. We’ve already had one sleepover and are trying to organise some more play dates. Every day, he wants us to do something, but doesn’t know what and I’m feeling very slothful again, so we end up doing nothing much. He on his devices and me on mine. Is there really anything wrong with that? Maybe we’ll go swimming tomorrow. Or on a bike ride. I need to try to get up earlier and not have a headache, which usually means a very late start to our day.
The poor kids at Jamboree are suffering through Sydney’s cool and very wet weather. Some activities have had to be postponed and today some of them went to the beach. In the rain. And here I was worried about sunburn! They’re finally expecting some sun on Saturday, but that means a whole week in the rain. It makes me feel a little bit sad for Ben – so much excitement and anticipation only to be rained on for a week. At least he’s remembered to dig out his wet weather gear out of his bag.
We have so many DVDs to watch these holidays – two more Terminator films and all of the Star Wars saga. We saw The Force Awakens in December and while the boys loved it, I thought it was just OK. It was clearly a homage to the first trilogy, with so many similarities and no wonder that most fans are loving it. Now I want the boys to see where it all began and who’s who and how it all played out. Sam has made Kylo Ren’s light sabre out of his Trio blocks and bought the Darth Vader and Kylo Ren Lego figurines with his Christmas money. I secretly want to steal his Darth Vader and put him on my desk. Now that would be something for my psychologist to unravel.
My depression has been staying at bay for the last few weeks. Perhaps I’ve been too busy, or too distracted. I have plenty of books to read, Netflix to watch and granny squares to make. I no longer take everyone’s Facebook statuses as personal criticisms and reflections on my own life, as I had been. I realised that, for me, Facebook is a way to connect with people, it is not a keeper of my memories, or a highlights reel. I don’t post happy statuses and photos often, because I’m too busy enjoying my perfect moments and taking mental pictures of them for my memory. (Except for cat photos. There are never enough cat photos on Facebook and Instagram.) I tend to use Facebook to share things that are important to me and to seek support when the Black Dog bites. Staying off Facebook for a few days also felt very healing, as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Generally, I’ve had much lower expectations of myself lately, which makes it far less likely that I will fail at anything. Getting out of bed and showering constitute an achievement during school holidays. If we get out of the house, it’s a level 2 Achievement. Being out and about sounds great in theory, but as I’m not a fan of the Australian summer, I find it more exhausting and annoying, than anything else. We’ll get to the beach a couple of times, once our new pop-up beach shelter arrives and that will be a level 3 Achievement.
Living with depression means that being kind to myself and making my needs a priority are necessary parts of my health management plan. If you’d like to join me in learning more about Living Well with the Black Dog join our Facebook community.
My word for 2016 is EASY. Everything comes easily to me and at the right time.
Do you pick a word for your New Year? Or do you make resolutions? Or neither? I’d love to hear your New Year traditions.
PS: I haven’t been using my kids names until now because of some external expectation that I shouldn’t and also not wanting to give my ex the satisfaction of reading their names. But as I was writing this post, it began feeling awkward, so I decided to use their names from now on. Make of it what you will.