Monday, 24 January 2011

So you think you know me?

Well, this is odd.

If you'd have told me that today I would wake up and feel compelled to write what I'm about to write then I would have laughed in your face and asked if you knew me at all.

But that's it.  That's the thing.  My blog is in its fourth year now and the very fact that you think you know me (or think you have a good idea about me) is why I feel I should write this post.

I blog about my beads, random life things, my obsession with all things red, white and polka dotty, my love for chocolate and my gardening plans (still no further forward there) and you all leave lovely comments, send me wonderful emails and some of you brilliant people even post me birthday cards and occasional gifts because you feel as if you know me.

But I sometimes feel guilty because most of you don't know me.  Not properly.  Because I have kept something about me quiet.  Well, not quiet but I've kept it to myself.

I'm not intentionally bigging up the reveal.  I'm not a nudist or a trainspotter and I don't collect unicorns.  But there is a thing about me that not many people know.  Some of my family and friends don't even know.

Here goes.

I suffer from depression.

There.  I said it.

Hang on, don't go away.  Don't sigh to yourself 'Oh, bloody hell, not depression.  I'm off to check Facebook and read less ... well ... less depressing stuff.'  Don't do that.  Please stay here and let me explain further.

I've always tried to keep my blog jolly.  I like it to be a place that you come to, look at the pretty beads, read the random things I've written, leave a comment (I like comments) and then go about the rest of your day.  I hate reading blogs that are more whinge, moan, misery, blah, anger, rant and bad mood than anything else.  They're boring.

But as I said at the start, for some odd reason today I feel compelled to tell you about me and my crazy brain.

I've got standard clinical depression.  I'm not bipolar.  I'm not so down that I've ever thought about, let alone tried, doing anything silly.  I'm not on a cocktail of mind-numbing drugs.  I don't sit here crying all the time.  But my depression does affect me.  And my work.

I was diagnosed and started on the antidepressants (I hate writing that word) about six years ago but I strongly believe that it all goes back further than that.  Possibly to when I was in my early teens.  Mum used to say I was 'moody' and 'emotional' and yes, yes I really am.  Isn't everyone?  But my moodiness and emotionalness have always been a little bit extreme.

I also have (and I expect this will come as zero surprise) a degree of OCD.  Chris finds the fact that I will get upset to the point of tears about the fact that the house needs hoovering and it needs hoovering RIGHT NOW a little baffling and probably slightly disturbing.  Now, I'm not saying that I wash my hands seventeen times an hour and have to have every surface sparkling clean and that I will Mr Muscle the worktop after every cup of tea I make (heck, you should see my shed - it's proper untidy) but I can suddenly flip out about the washing up or the compost caddy.  I think Chris is slowly getting used to it, though.  Bless him.

So what's wrong with my brain?  Something to do with serotonin levels.  I don't know exactly - it's scientific and if I'm honest when I see my doctor and she starts getting all technical I kind of zone out and start studying the pen collection on her desk.  But I get the gist that my serotonin levels are a bit out of whack.  I take a tablet each day to try and sort that out (Fluoxetine, in case you're interested) and most of the time it works.  I'm three and a half months into my current six month course of tablets and then I will go back and see the doctor, she'll ask me how I'm doing, I'll say 'Great, thanks!' she'll tell me to slowly come off the tablets, offer me some counselling, suggest some CBT (and I refuse both and please don't tell me how good it is because I know it's just not my thing) and recommend a self-help book with a patronising title like 'Your Brain : It's Not Broken, It's Just Different' and I'll skip off happy thinking 'Yay!  I'm normal again!'  Then about six months down the line I'll get the warning signs that my brain's off on one again and I'll become the moodiest, snappiest, most horrible version of myself.  I'll find it harder to get out of bed in the mornings, even harder to get motivated, become totally withdrawn and before long I'll be sat there crying and/or staring into space thinking about nothing. I'll do that for a couple of weeks and then I'll admit that maybe I need the tablets again and it's off to the doctor where she'll make me answer a set of standard nosey have-you-thought-bad-thoughts-and-if-so-how-often questions, offer me some counselling, suggest some CBT and recommend a self-help book with a patronising title like 'Depression : It's Alright, You're Not Going Mad' and I'll mope off with a prescription for The Tablets.  I'll start taking them, feel instantly happier because I'm doing something about The Depression, suffer ridiculous headaches that even make my teeth and hair ache for two weeks and then my serotonin levels will even out and I'll feel normal once more.  And then the whole cycle will begin again.

You see, I strongly believe that all health things and a lot of general life things go in circles.  I know it's a bit hippyish and new age but that's just what I think.

Right now I'm in the middle of my course of tablets and things are good.  I'm working long hours with no troubles, I'm blogging regularly again, I'm interacting with people (albeit in a virtual Twitter sense) and right now there are two dirty mugs on the table and I'm not freaking out about it.

So that's that.  I think now you know pretty much all there is to know about me.  While we're at it (and I'm aware that this could lose me a couple of followers if the depression stuff didn't already) here are a few more Laura facts for you :

  • I hate olives.
  • I am an atheist.  I don't believe in any kind of God.
  • I don't read a newspaper.
  • I refuse to rinse out Marmite jars before recycling them.
  • I fancy David Mitchell.
  • I'm irritated by youths who play music OUT LOUD on their mobiles.
  • I swear.  A lot.  But hardly ever on my blog or in tweets.

Yep.  I think I can now go about my everyday business without that nagging feeling that I'm keeping something from you.

I do apologise for starting the week off with a 'misery blog' but I tell you, I do feel a lot better now I've got that off my chest.  I hope that any friends or family who are reading this now have a better understanding of me too.

If you've read this far, thank you.  It's much appreciated.  Normal blog service will be resumed shortly.

There, you can trot off to Facebook now.

Happy Monday!

45 Comments

Utterly Scrummy said...

Great post! Very open, honest and articulate. I didn't sigh or run away to Facebook LOL A very good friend of mine suffers from much the same thing and it's just part of her life she would rather not have but manages with medication.

Thanks heaps for letting us readers know via your blog. Now we know you slightly better and you feel better having let it out. Good on you lovely xx

Izzy said...

Hi Laura,

I started reading your blog some months ago. I'm a beadmaker from Austria and I love your color compositions and your designs.

Today, after reading your newest post, I decided that I should send you a comment.

I think that if you lost some followers just because you told us that you are suffering from depression you didn't need them anyhow. ;)
Everybody can become depressive. And it comes faster than some people think.

Please go on making these wonderful beads. And stop thinking about what people might think. ;) I think in this case I have to advise myself to do so ;)

Have a wonderful day!
Isabella

Purple Princess Designs said...

Dear Laura

Thank you so much for that inspiring and very honest blog today. Was it a 'misery blog'? absolutely not, it made me laugh out loud. Will I trot off to Facebook, nope. Depression doesn't make you a horrible person in any sense at all, in a way I suppose, perhaps it makes you a bit more normal... does that make any sense?

you see I too have a problem with which I have to deal on a daily basis, which I don't mention to people because I don't want them to buy my jewellery on a 'sympathy' basis. I have glaucoma which affects my eyes. Sometimes making things is very frustrating because it has become more difficult to see what I'm doing. The drops have to take daily... forever... are now controlling it nicely, but it has been very painful, and I can't now take certain 'over the counter' medicines, so if I have a cold, I just have to suffer until it goes, no Benylin or Sudafed etc. as they inflame my sinuses, and the glands in the back of my neck, which is excruciatingly painful! Also no exercises that put further strain and pressure on them.

Perhaps you too may now want to disappear off to Facebook lol.

So I won't trot off to Facebook, I enjoy reading about your garden plans, and seeing your new beads, and what you're up to next, it's great. I hope you enjoy mine too.

BTW I also hate olives, can see what you mean about David Mitchell, me too. Don't like youths who do that either, I also swear a lot, but never on FB or Twitter, and I'm very concerned about the selling off of forests etc. by this government.

Good luck with coping with it, and also with your beading. If I could afford it, I'd buy loads, I think they're stunning.

Pauline
@Purpleprincessd on Twitter

Fiona said...

Hi Laura. It's nice to read an honest post and get to know you better. As you know I love your beads. My husband suffers from depression so I know what it's like to live with but not to suffer from. If you go quiet on here I know why now. Best of luck with everything and just remember when you feel down and demotivated that your beads make us all feel happy.

Sue Doran said...

I've too much to say for a comment so I've e-mailed but hopefully you know, I'd never go anywhere. I admire you for posting about this, sometimes it feels there's a stigma about depression and there shouldn't be, this will only help dispel it. Your posting doesn't put me off; I am addicted to your blog! :-) I'm so glad that you've got it off your chest and that it has helped you.

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

Thank for your posting of this. It was open, honest and very personal, so thank you for sharing. You won't lose me because I need my Laura Bead daily fix and your wonderful random postings! Have a wonderful Monday too.

hello gorgeous said...

hey gorgeous.....that's as far as I got 'cause there is SO MUCH trying to spill out of my brain that it's fallen over itself and landed in a heap!

If I try and say it then I will be here forever.....so, just for clarity "you rock" with or without depression, never feel you should hide it {but at the same time don't flaunt it either} just be you...open and honest and a genius bead maker!

What you say resonates with me a million percent...I too have a "crazy brain" and suffer with depression {clincial}... altho' in a better place today than three years ago...it is still difficult going from day to day...the OCD sounds familiar too {and made me laugh out loud!}

And guess what: I hate olives!; don't believe in God; hardly ever read a newspaper; never wash out the Marmite jar; find David Mitchell intriguing; am irritated by youths {whether they play their music loud on their mobiles or not!} lol! and have been known to swear {in the house, under my breath, out loud but NEVER in company!}

sending you crazy brain hugs

hello gorgeous xxx

Noemi said...

Hi Laura,

Depressing post? I don't think so. In any case what I read in this post is encouragement.

I think that everyone has their own demons that have to live with. I do.

sometimes we just need a little help to make it through life. So what? Life isn't easy, we know that already, but it is such fun to live life. Think positive, every day comes with new challenges but also with a new sunrise, with a new opportunity to change things, to change the way we look at things. Our circumstances may not change for sometime but our attitude can change the way we see them.

I love you work, and love reading your blog. You, among others have inspired me. Thanks for opening your heart a little bit.

By the way, it looks that I am not the only one that doesn't like olives around here. So many people!!

I do believe in God though, He is where I find the strength to carry on.

I do read the news.

Hate Marmite, so no Marmite jars to recycle.

Don't know who David Mitchell is.

I'am also irritated by youths who play music out loud, and some other thousands of things they do.

I don't swear. Well, most of the time. Except when I see youths playing music out loud!

You are amazing just the way you are. Things will get better as long as you make them work.

Lots of love and a BIG hug, from Spain. Yes, I might be the only Spaniard that doesn't eat olives.

Irit said...

Thank you for sharing your "true" story.

I started reading your blog because I fell in love with your beads, but now I also fell in love with you. :-)

You may suffer from depression, but you're aware of the problem and are doing whatever you can to combat it. And I applaud you for that.

You sound like an amazingly creative and interesting person, and I am looking forward to reading more about your life (and your beads!).

Incidentally, although I like olives, I'm also an fellow atheist, refuse to read the newspaper, and get mad as hell when I hear teens playing music on their MP3 players/phones. So we also have a few things in common.

karen lorenz said...

Love olives and believe in human beings and their capacity for goodness, which the comments on this brave blog prove. Depression is only one part of you Laura, you are talented, funny and beautiful.

No one can see the rheumatoid arthritis that is part of me, and despite the pain and the frustration somedays I truly believe our crazy brains, bones or whatever are what makes us so unique.

Silly Moo said...

I suffer too and I make a joke about it . But I am really ashamed deep down. But I take my tablets and have good and bad days .

It is really nice for someone to open up that much of themselves.

I hate Olives too, am an atheist, never read the paper, we now have a swear jar because I swear that much . And is David Mitchell the one from Mitchell & Webb . If so you really are brave confessing to that one . Good blog I enjoy reading it

Tina said...

We could be twins.

The hardest thing I find is that people think we should be all doom and gloom, and the most common comment I receive is 'but you're far too cheerful to suffer from depression'!! Like being someone who is prone to depression automatically makes you a totally 'sad' person all the time. Weird.

olives; yuck. Actually we can't be related, I cannot stand marmite ;)

Daniela Ellenberger said...

Hey Laura, you have a new reader.
I will not post much as my english is not perfect. Youre post was open, honest and very personal, I admire you for that. Everbody has his own demons to fight with.
I hope to see many many more post from you.
You have a wonderful Blog.
Greetings from Switzerland
Daniela

TesoriTrovati said...

Thank you for baring this part of your soul, Laura. I try to keep my blog an upbeat place as well. I am a half-full kind of person. But there are darker moments too. Things that I would rather not speak of. Nothing is every as rosy as it seems no matter who you are or where you are. You and I are incredibly similar. I hate olives. And that loud music blaring from cars. I am not sure what Marmite is, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't rinse the jars out either. And I have some very sad times. Most days and it is a struggle. I once was on some anti-depressants but just saying that made me sad, so I stopped. I wonder sometimes if that would help me today. Most of all I am proud of you for being so brave to share something so personal. Because that does help us connect. And if someone chooses to go off and read fluff someplace else, then you don't need them here.

My favorite quote: "Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day." Find your something good every day and soon you will realize that it will find you.

Enjoy the day.
Erin

Vintage Sea Muse said...

Hi Laura,

Just found your blog. Your post was very open and honest; I'm following and I'll be back. Have a good week ... :0)

Shirl x

Caroline B said...

Well Laura, I am shocked and find we can't be friends any more...YOU DON'T LIKE OLIVES?? I've just today received a food parcel from my sister in Greece with a pound of the beauties in it...

Seriously, I take my hat off to you for being so brave in writing such an honest an open post. I think you handle your depression admirably; recognizing the signs and getting help when you need it. It can't be easy and even tougher to have to explain it to people when so many others use 'depression' as an excuse for malingering. As I've said to you before, I think it goes with the territory of creativity, as does OCD (don't get me started there!) Just keep on doing what you are doing, it seems to work!

David Mitchell....not so much; but Robert Webb on the other hand,in that leotard, yum - and you think you've got problems!

Mellisa said...

Definitely a non-whiny blog post that is clearly from the heart. I don't share health/big deal things on my blog...I'm just not comfortable putting it out there so I admire your bravery!

Patty said...

Laura, I too admire you for opening your heart so wide and sharing with us. I am not shocked - depression is more widespread than most would think, but is too often kept hidden. I'm glad that the medication allows you to function somewhat normally most of the time. Nobody should have to suffer. Perhaps your "touch of OCD" explains why you make such precise, *perfect* beads. :-) Hugs to you, and I hope your week rocks!

P.S. Olives are fantastic! There are so many different kinds - surely one might appeal to you. I mean, if you could eat something like marmite certainly a little olive couldn't hurt. ;-)

Vicki said...

Great post! Although it is hard to deal with it, it's a reassuring thought that other people go through it too! You are not alone... and you're right, some times just opening up to the world (or virtual world at least) is the easiest things to do... It good to write your feelings down sometimes - means you can see them as and what they are and put them into some sort of order! Fingers crossed this lot of tablets are the right ones for your body and you will continue with your work and life as it is now! Best of Luck! xxx

Sandy said...

What a brave post! I would never have guessed you suffered from depression because here on your blog and on Twitter you're always so friendly, bubbly and damn funny! Okay you have the weirdest of dreams but then who doesn't!!

So pleased that Chris is so supportive and understanding. You've also got a whole network of jewellery-making/blogging/twitter friends who will listen to the odd rant every now and then whenever you feel the need! You rock girl and we love you!

Keep blogging, twittering and in between making all those fantastic beads Laura!

Love Sandy *big hugs*
xxxx

Mary said...

I was ready to walk away when I read your comments about olives (I am Greek after all) but the David Mitchell comment saved you (must be those puppy eyes).

Seriously though Laura, thank you for sharing your feelings with us. I feel so grateful that you give us an insight into your world with your blog (the same goes for other bloggers too), I would not dream of having any opinion on your life or anyone else's for that matter.

This is you and these feelings, even though they do not define you, are part of you. It seems to me that they are a by product of a creative mind.

So thank you for sharing this with us now. I'm giving you a very squeezy hug and sending you lots of love.

Surely, you like olive oil?

SilverNikNats said...

Happy Monday x

Nicky F said...

Hi Laura,

I feel privileged to have read your post today - that you decided to share so much with us all. I wouldn't feel guilty about not spilling the beans before - its up to you what you share!

I don't think it was a misery post at all. (After the year you've had, that could probably be justified too...) To me, you seem like a genuinely lovely person, and your work is truly wonderful.

MoonRae said...

YEAH Laura!! So glad to see you're a normal,regular person with ups and downs like the rest of us....
You're still the Bead Queen of dots and squiggles AND you're human TOO....perfect in my book
Smiles
~Sharon~

Frau Putz said...

So... you are suffering from depressions. Well... so are a lot of good people, and it certainly doesn't affect my liking you (or the blog-version of you, which just got a bit more nuanced today ;) but still is only the blog-version, I know). And it does not stop me from following you :)

The only thing I was left wondering was: Why do you take your Fluoxetin as a "course". I am a pharmacist, and in Denmark people diagnosed with an endogenous (Is that the English term?) depression don't take their antidepressants as a course, but as a lifetime treatment.
That means no withdrawal-symptoms, and no fallbacks to the depressive state. And no start-up-treatment-sideeffects, that you experience.
Your brain is not "fixed" by the tablets, just kept in balance, so why stop once balance is achieved?

If you want me to dig out "scientific articles" on this subject for you and your doctor to see just let me know.

Right now I think you should put up your feet and be proud that you had the guts to tell the blog-world a big scary truth about yourself.

~ Karina

Jonah the dog said...

Hey Chick,very brave and much admired blog!! Have sent u a mail rather than type all my gumph on here.

Remember, u are a fabulous lady - u always were and always will be. U crack me up so often and still laugh at all the memories like the wedding with the hoover with Anna et al - what were we like?!

Big cuddles, and lick lick from Jonah Dog xxx

kalorlo said...

Hey there :)

Most of my friends and several close family members suffer or have suffered from depression. There's a lot of it going around, and I hope that the more people that know about it, the more it becomes understood.

Marcia Antle said...

I'm sure it helped to admit your problem and please keep getting anti-depressants until they find the right one for you. I take Celexa and Wellbrutin both and have felt absolutely wonderful for years. I think of stopping the meds once in a while, but like the doctor says "it is not hurting you so why take the chance of going back to depression again?" I agree about the counseling, I have been there and done that and it has not helped. Most of us have gotten over any childhood mistakes our parents made and it is stupid to keep discussing that crap. Depression is actually a chemical imbalance and nothing to be ashamed of. My dad was miserable to live with but they did not have the good meds they have now. You would be surprised how many people are on anti-depressants, so please don't be afraid to take them, they really do help! And look at all of the support you are getting, that in itself will probably be a big help. Marcy
www.queenmarcyoriginals.typepad.com

Janine- Cherished Trinkets said...

Thank you for this Blog post Laura! It was a very inspiring read... What you do is fantastic and with or without your depression you're still one of the nicest (and entertaining)people I know!

It's also nice to know you're not alone and reading that someone else has the same thoughts as you really helps!

Thank you

J x

Laura said...

Dear Everyone,

Wow. Actual wow. I can't believe your response to my post. You've all overwhelmed me with your messages of support.

Thank you to each and every one of you for reading and taking the time to write such marvellous comments.

Some of you have asked questions so I will write another post and answer some of those there.

Thanks again

Laura x

rebekka said...

Dear Laura,

You are right about that "misery" blogs can be very boring, but you have the honesty, that so many blogs lack, that your blog can hold it, and it is okay to write about all kind of stuff, we all know the feeling, clinically depressed or not!

It sounds really dumb that you have to be taken off the medication every 6 months, are ther no other way? Maybe a psykiatrist, would be better helping with your medicin???

all the best Rebekka

Clemme/Trine said...

Dear Laura!
Just a smile to you from Denmark. Great blog post :)

Lucie B said...

Hey Laura
What made you think we'd all scarper!? I wish I could be so honest about how I am or what really goes on in that head of mine, we all have our own demons, and we all have our own ways of coping & have our own lovely support network!
Like the others, we have lots in common - hate olives, am an atheist, don't read newspapers, quite partial to David Mitchell, and because I'm slowly turning into a grumpy old woman, youths are starting to p*ss me right off - see, I swear too!
Lots of love Laura xx (your new Twitter friend)

Anonymous said...

Dear Laura
I often wonder why, if people arn't hurting anyone's feelings, or doing something wrong, that they feel they have to explain themselves. Everyone is an individual, full of quirks, issues and their own form of strangeness. It's what makes us unique. Laura, I have known you a long time, and I must tell you, we love you just the way you are!

Kerryn x

Lisa (beadsnmore) said...

Laura - sending you much love.

Such honesty and sincerity helps me retain my faith in humanity. You set a great example, we all have our issues that 'challenge' us - but some, like yours, are more challenging than others. I wish you all the best on your journey x

Oh and I'm totally with you on David Mitchell... yum! :)

Rach said...

Such a brave blog post, well done! I suffer with mild depression and OCD, my OCD is worse in times of stress, when i'll end up cleaning windows at 11.30pm! x

Jessica C. said...

I always enjoy reading your blog...your open, honest post today was very brave! I just want you to know how much I appreciate all that you do...I have learned so much from your tutorials and YouTube posts and your creativity always inspires me!
Take care!

Benja Blue said...

I've had depression and OCD since I was very young, and I say, don't come off the tablets! I have made peace with the fact that I will be on them for the rest of my life. They make my life so much better, and it sounds like they make yours better too. I realised that I was actually meant to be a happy person underneath. Great blog post.

Aiya said...

all i can say is YOU FANCY DAVID MITCHELL?!!!! wtf !!!! forget the anti depressants and get to the opticians ;)

seriously though i hope you feel better soon. i think a lot more of your readers probably identify with what you are talking about than you think. lots of love caz xxxx

Sooz said...

You really should wash out your marmite jars, thats SO naughty !!

Laura said...

Rach - my obsession over the cutlery draw gets out of control when I'm stressed out. Those pesky spoons!

Benja Blue - I'm definitely going to ask the doctor about staying on the tablets. Thank you. :-)

Jessica C - Thank you so much and I'm very pleased you've found my tutorials helpful.

Caz - You make me laugh, you daft bugger. There's nowt wrong with David Mitchell. Lisa agrees with me! ;-)

Laura x

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

I regularly read your blog - I hadn't thought of following blogs until I found yours while browsing beads - and have bought some of your lovely beads. Just read this entry - how brave to share this. The funny thing is (not funny ha ha!) I often have a lot of those feelings which can drag you down for days at a time (especially at this time of year) and one of the things I like to do now to cheer me up is check in to your blog (and a couple of other lovely artist ones)- you seem to go about things in such an orderly way and get such a lot done (and I realise now this is a double edged sword for you!)and produce such lovely things - I find it inspirational and therapeutic at the same time! Anyway - will continue to enjoy your updates and wish you good health and creativity for 2011. Sheena x

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

Great to hear from you, good and bad, it's always good to have a blow out or rant and rave, I know it always makes me feel better.

I am not surprised by your confession I kind of got that feeling from the odd blog now and again but hope you feel better after telling all your avid followers including me.

Something I learned a few weeks ago which might be very useful to you is that before Christmas I went to visit one of the complementary therapists that do some work at the Hospice I work at as well as private work and she ogffers a treatment called "Hoopi" and i can't remember exactly but it something to do with putting some special wax in your ears (I think) and anyway it's proven to be very relaxing and beneficial to those who suffer from headaches and depression so you might like to try some pampering treatment, I know I am going to treat myself when payday comes round at the end of this month.

Take care,

Love and best wishes,
Lisa (lisapmac2000@yahoo.co.uk)

ps. love the bracelet

jelveh Designs said...

Hey Laura girl, you rock and you speak my language too...I have been there and back a few times myself and did the whole cycle thing for a while too...
love you
miss you and hope to see you again soon someday...
by the way having seen your work bench after you made some beads I have to say that at the most messy your work bench is still cleaner than mine on a clean day...
much love
Jelveh
Peace

Stephen Schwantes said...

I read this a few years ago and I wasn't interested in a lot of social media then (and really I'm still not that much interested) so I couldn't comment as I had no account (so much work, setting up an account, another password to keep track of, ha!) but your "confession" was honest and refreshing and it stuck with me all these years.

Just wanted to say thank you.