where the past five months went

WithLove-janecoquillon-heart3-shadowSo, without bringing anyone down, I wanted to share what we’ve been through in the last 12mths.
I know I’m not the only one who suffers on-and-off with depression and it’s important that our stories are shared.

This could be a bit of a long post, so please bear with me…WithLove-janecoquillon-heart1-shadow

I’ve had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since I got Glandular Fever (mono) at 16, which was plenty of reason to feel down over the past 25 years (I’m 41). This time was different, so we all kind of missed the warning signs for quite a while.

I learnt something…
depression doesn’t necessarily mean feeling sad
instead this year my emotions were numbed,

I lost interest in everything around me.

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To make it easy to follow, here it is in point form:
WithLove-janecoquillon-flower2-shadowOctober 2012

  • Hubby made redundant
  • Lasted 6wks – he took on a 12mth contract because Christmas was coming up

WithLove-janecoquillon-flower1-shadowDecember 2012

  • My mother had open heart surgery for a valve replacement – we joke that she smells like bacon now because of the pig valve!
  • L finished year six in the same week (lots of tears & worry), with her presentation evening the same day as Mum’s surgery.
  • Mum came home on Christmas Eve, to stay with us for six weeks.

WithLove-janecoquillon-flower2-shadowJanuary – February this year

  • Hubby was working incredibly long hours
  • L started high school (and loved it)
  • Mum went home

April –WithLove-janecoquillon-flower1-shadow Mid June

  • By now, I knew that everyone else was going to be fine
  • I began to feel kind of numb & disinterested in the things and people around me
  • Lost my appetite (and 10kg / 1st, 8lb)
  • Stopped painting, stopped enjoying anything

WithLove-janecoquillon-flower2-shadowLate June

  • Realised that I was depressed and saw our doctor
  • Began medication on the same day Hubby was made redundant for the second time.

WithLove-janecoquillon-flower1-shadowSeptember

  • I began to feel again
  • Began enjoying things again
  • Picked up my paintbrush and had a ball!

WithLove-janecoquillon-flower2-shadowNovember

  • Hubby found a great job and started work!!!

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Needless to say, life could have been better – but it certainly could have been a lot worse..WithLove-janecoquillon-heart2-shadow

Nobody died, my marriage didn’t fail and we didn’t lose the house.
Yes, it could have been a whole lot worse, and for a lot of people it is.

WithLove-janecoquillon-heart3-shadowIt took three months for me to feel I was almost whole again, and I’m so lucky to have had my wonderful husband at home to care for me throughout the episode, regardless of the reason.

Mental illness is a terrible label for this, depression is a physical illness, with physical causes and often at least a partial physical cure in the form of medication.

There’s nothing shameful in taking a tablet for blood pressure,
and the same is true for depression.

WithLove-janecoquillon-heart1-shadowEven someone with experience dealing with depression can still miss all the signs.

If you’re having difficulty coping, it is just so important to ask (and keep asking) for help.

Feeling Blah

We all have our bad days & “bleagh” weeks, and lately it seems to have been my turn.

process pic - mixed media painting

Nothing especially terrible has happened, I’ve just been feeling down & am finding it a little tougher than usual to pull myself out of it.

Another process pic - mixed media painting

Painting has helped, but it’s kind of hard to get past that ugly stage that I usually push through with little effort.

World Go On - process pic - mixed media painting, jane coquillon

So here’s some horrible, ugly stage paintings that should make anyone feel good about their own creative efforts.

Dressing Up - process pic - mixed media painting - jane coquillon

This last one I’m stuck on the area around the feet. Just totally stuck. Hate it.

Hope you’re all having a great Paint Party Friday.

Towards the Light…

The past couple of weeks have been kind of tough, healthwise.

Towards The Light - mixed media girl painting on 4x4in canvas panel - available as a print

I had to deal with the CFS “payback” after R’s birthday party, the cleaning that involved, four dental appointments for R after he broke a baby tooth (bad momma, how could you let that happen?), and L’s three school assignments.

TowardsTheLight - detail 1 - mixed media painting - depression

When I look back at it like this, it’s no surprise that I’ve spent so much time sleeping since then.

TowardsTheLight - detail 2 - mixed media painting - depression

So, there’s been lots of going back to bed after the kids left for school (zzzzzzzzz).

Lots of asking my mother for help – she did the school run for me, thank goodness.

And lots of feeling frustrated and scared because I haven’t felt this way since last year, and I was afraid that I was going to have a relapse & go back to being useless again.

TowardsTheLight - detail 3 - mixed media painting - depression

Thankfully, I’m feeling a whole lot better today.
I feel like I just got off a flight with terrible turbulence – just let me at that ground, I’m gonna plant a big fat wet kiss on it!

TowardsTheLight - detail 4 - mixed media painting - depression

It’s reminded that I do have limitations, and to make sure I respect them.
But beyond that, I also have much more physical & emotional resilience than I realised.

I really am a lot more healthy than I was last year, and I have my art to thank for that.

I’m just so grateful to have found my way to where I am right now.