Tuesday, March 26, 2013
So last week, I was supposed to attend the social media event for parents in Australia: the Digital Parents Conference.
Held in Sydney over two days and nights, I had even been chosen to present a speech: My Blog, My Story.
I had accepted, in better times, when I'd been feeling happier and well.
But come DPCON13 time, times had changed. I was in the grip of a crippling depression and my finances were abysmal.
Not only could I not justify the expense, I was not physically or emotionally capable of making the trip to Sydney on my own. Let alone getting up to speak in a conference room full of my peers. As wonderful and welcoming an audience as it would have been.
Depression has turned me into a recluse in recent times. A shaky shadow of the confident globetrotter I used to be.
Oh, I'm able to do the things I need to do to be my childrens' mother. I go to the shops for food, I walk them to school, and participate in events that are important to them. I join in the cheers at the swimming carnival, I help out at school disco. I cook them nutritious and (mostly) tasty meals.
But I do nothing for me.
There are no girlie outings with friends. I can't remember the last time I had a haircut - it was mid-2012 I believe. An invitation to dinner? I make an excuse. Coffee with a friend? Suddenly I have to be somewhere else. Yeah, somewhere else like home. Alone. Alone with my thoughts and my tears. Just what a depressed person needs.
It's even hard to do things I need to do like check in with my doctor, look for work, or take a walk - it's so important to get some kind of exercise to raise the endorphins.
Sometimes just calling a friend to say I need help is all too hard.
So getting myself to Sydney to be at a conference became a jumble of times and logistics and fears that my mind couldn't cope with.
Then there was the sheer fear, irrational I know, of being away from my kids for anything other than an essential reason.
And the what-ifs. What if I got one of my debilitating migraines and had to be admitted to hospital? I'd miss my flight back. What if I had a panic attack and had an, erm, accident? What if I was hit with fatigue and slept through the whole thing?
But I couldn't afford to go anyway, so the depression had a win. And that made me even more depressed!
I tried to use the kid-free time wisely though. (The children were with their Dad).
I saw my doctor again. I cleaned house (gasp!). I visited with family, several times, and it was nice. I finished off paperwork that had been sitting on my bedside table for months.
I reached out to a couple of people for support, and I found it. (Bless them).
And although reading the tweets and Facebook statuses of my peeps who were lucky enough to go to DPCON13 were bittersweet, I realised that staying home wasn't the end of the world.
Getting my health right, and living within my means, was much more important. And it's still very much a work in progress, but that's okay.
Readers, what have you done for you lately?