When I tell you that I have a full time bookkeeping business, that I am one of 3 people who voluntarily runs a charitable organisation (Blurt) for those affected by depression, and I write, it’s not because I’m arrogant in any way, shape or form but because I often can’t believe it myself.
I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of person. I’m either really into something or have no interest whatsoever, there is no middle ground. It’s the same with my battle with depression; if I’m feeling well I’ll whizz through my to-do lists like a ninja, flatten my inbox and still be buzzing for the next thing to do because I know that when depression takes hold, which it always seems to, I won’t be doing a single darn thing. I won’t be getting dressed. I won’t brush my teeth. I won’t want to speak to anyone other than my husband and my Mum. I will forget to eat. I won’t be able to think. My brain turns into a foggy mess and my life as I know it, gets put on hold.
For me, it’s the way it works and because I do give into those dark times, they seem to pass by rather quickly. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t easy. They make me doubt everything that I am, everything that I do and I become paranoid that I am a burden to all those who love me. It took me 8 years to learn that during those days, it’s the depression talking. I acknowledge that and try to ignore it. It also took me 8 years to learn how to have a work/life balance which would let me cope with those dark days.
This is how I do it…..
I have to work to deadlines where bookkeeping is concerned which means I can quite often feel under pressure. I have to be organised. I have a daily to-do list and a monthly to-do list. I have to liaise with accountants and clients as well as spend time keeping on top of legislation changes. When I’m feeling well, I crack on with the things which need doing to meet deadlines. Because most of our clients contact us by email, I have minimal distractions when I’m feeling well and cruise through my work. I know from a glance what needs doing and by when. I have to prioritise my work. I also know that I tend to feel exhausted by the end of the week. It’s as if my brain says ‘hold on a minute, I need a break’, so I make my week top heavy – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the days I get all the deadline work done, Thursday and Friday are the days when I tend to stick to admin and put an auto-responder on my emails saying that I am out of the office.
Blurt is all done online so I tend to get into my pyjamas, grab the duvet and plonk on the sofa when it’s Blurt O’clock. Apart from making sure all mentees are assigned quickly, there are no deadlines. Kerry, Dom and I work at our own pace and generally different hours. We use Dropbox to share files which makes it easy for us to pick up work and put it back down again. We also set ourselves things we’d like to get done in a month, mostly we nail the list do but sometimes we don’t. Blurt is much more flexible, allows me to use my creative side and is quite therapeutic. It doesn’t feel like work at
all. All my writing is done on a Sunday. Sunday is my day where I’ll float around and see where the day takes me. The day may take me to pamper, catch up on sleep or for a run but it always takes me to writing. Writing for me is an outlet for all the things buzzing around in my head. It doesn’t matter what I write, just that I do it.
I have to admit that when I’m having my ‘not getting out of bed, not even for chocolate’ days, I feel an overwhelming guilt. I feel lazy. I can’t help it. It’s hard to stop but I know that if I don’t, I will suffer the consequences. If I don’t stop, depression always reclaims its control over me later on down the line in a much worse way. It was by not listening to my body that I ended up losing 6 years of my life to depression and I am determined to not let that happen again. That has become my mantra because losing an odd couple of days here or there is nothing compared to the time I lost before.
Thank you, lovely Jayne. Read her blog over on It’s a Beach Bum Life. If you are affected by depression check our the work that Blurt do online. If you have a Guest Diva story to share of how you cope with chronic illness, drop me a line.