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Not sure how to explain Blips

(8 Posts)
NanaNina Tue 11-Oct-11 18:09:02

I'm sure some of you will know me on the MH thread. Still not fully recovered from major episode of depression Easter 2011 (3 months in psych ward) - Through this year I have seen my %s of good days steadily climbing up, but I still get blips every few weeks. There is no trigger and they last on average about 7 days, and when they come I am like a stranger in my own body and am scared of the phone ringing or door knocking. I am terrified of anyone seeing me like this apart from my DP and my close women friends. They understand that I can't make definite arrangements as I might wake up with a blip and so they know to check with me on the day we were meeting.

I have tried to explain it to my adult sons and they sort of understand but don't really know what to say. With the youngest it's difficult because he and his wife and children live in Ireland and we like to go over every 6 weeks and I have to book the flights beforehand. I have been fine on most occasions but struggled on one or two visits. My step grandson has started Uni relatively close to where I live and is talking about visiting at weekends etc and I just don 't know how to tell him that I might not be ok.

I feel so embarrassed at telling people, because as we all now, the majority of people don't understand depression or any mental illness, let alone the concepts of blips. My eldest gr/dgtr (age 11) has gone to an independent school and even though her parents are teachers, she gets more holidays than they do, at half term and all the others. She is making plans to come and stay with us and I am so worried that I won't be ok. I see her often as they only live 30 mins away from us, but I just don't know how to explain to a child of this age about blips!

Kizzie are you around, or Madmouse could do with a bit of your straight talking!

Would be grateful for any advice.

orangeflutie Wed 12-Oct-11 16:10:34

It's a tricky one and not sure what to say. I have a daughter of 11, the same age as your gr/dgtr and haven't yet told her I take ADs and suffer from depression. The subject hasn't come up yet but I think she would understand if I explained simply. She is quite mature for her age and has surprised me before with how she absorbs things. You may find your gr/dtr is more accepting than you think.

Hope this helps a bit. I'm sure there will be others on here who have more advice than me.

Lottieloulou Mon 17-Oct-11 18:24:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tianc Mon 17-Oct-11 18:55:58

I can only think of what lottie said – explain it the same as you would a chronic physical illness, like asthma or epilepsy, where you can have "attacks". And that this is simply part of the illness and something you all have to live with, and you're not fit company when they happen.

So maybe something along the fairly matter-of-fact lines that you've described above: "I have attacks. I know from experience they tend to last about a week. I'll be fine afterwards. So I can't commit to having you come and stay."

Handling other people's expectations and fears is such a difficult additional burden, isn't it? Like you don't have your hands full enough dealing with the illness.

Tianc Mon 17-Oct-11 18:57:04

Such good news that your underlying trajectory is up, tho! smile

kizzie Mon 17-Oct-11 22:31:26

Hi nana nina - as you probably guessed I have exactly the same issue. Have had more good days than bad this year so far too but unfortunately still having blips which have a real affect on my ability to plan things.

Because I 'seem' ok on the surface people dont really understand why i might be nervous about planning or committing to things.

I think the advice everyone has given here is good. Plan everything as you would normally but then dont feel guilty if you need to 'bow out' of activities because its not a good day/week.

If it was any other illness then of course we would just say it straight. But I think there is so much guilt associated with depression/anxiety - it makes it harder.

I have tried to be more assertive with it more recently though. 'Im sorry Im just not up to doing that today.' I find that much better to be honest than trying to do something major which just leaves me in a state - and which makes me feel more of a failure.

I also try and ignore the 'oh come on - dont be a spoil sport - it will make you feel better'. Actually I know by now what makes me feel better or worse - and forcing myself to do something that I really dont feel able to do rarely improves things. And I try and tell myself 'they wouldnt be saying that if i had a kidney infection, or a broken leg.'

I know that when Im fine Im up for most things and love being out and about and doing lots of things. So ive just tried to accept that sometimes I need a much quieter day. i also try and not make too much of a drama of it - just quietly make my point.

Re your grandaughter - i loved loved spending time with my gran. Just being in her company. Really didnt matter what we were doing - or whether we were doing nothing. She did have chronic asthma and wasnt always well - but i didnt mind in anyway - just wanted her to get well. Im sure your grand daughter will understand.

Sorry this is a bit of a ramble - just on my way to bed - and didnt want to not post anything x

Ineversignedupforthis Tue 18-Oct-11 05:45:38

Nana Iam bi-polar but pretty well kept at bay by tablets. My teenage dd knows that I have MH issues ant take medication. I am quite straight with her, but don't burden her with details of marriage problems etc. If I need to sleep more, because I am stressed, have been unable to sleep, and need to catch up, I just tell her. Having to make meals, keeps the house to basic standards etc gives me a focus, and if I am only capable of doing the bare minimum that's what I do. I also find having a furry pet is a great lifter. They love you unconditionally, and sometimes I think that's just what I need.

Lottieloulou Wed 19-Oct-11 22:51:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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