Saturday 10 February 2018

More Talk and a free class

Thank you for all the comments from last week's post Time to Talk.  This is another long, wordy post.

I wrote the original of this blog post as an email to some friends in September 2013 while I was suffering from depression.   I am sharing it now to further our discussion about mental health.  And also to help those of you who don't have problems to recognise when your friend or colleague is having a problem.

September 2013
It is very difficult for me to even write this. I'm not terribly keen on making myself vulnerable and admit that I need help.

I am currently very depressed and feeling like I want to cry – but daren’t in case I can’t stop. I've just done a questionnaire on a website and probably answered 95% of the questions as being depressed.

I'm very good at giving the appearance of being altogether, having my life altogether and being strong. I am very independent and rarely ask for help.

I just need to explain to you what's been going on. I have in the past been diagnosed with clinical depression and so over the years I’ve always known when it was creeping up on me and I've been able to take avoiding action. But this time it has crept up on me without me noticing because I was keeping myself busy. A lot of it stems from the whole of the last 12 months with my dad being ill and living partly in Solihull, partly in Pembrokeshire and then sitting with him while he died. Then keeping myself really busy by clearing out the house and still living partly here and partly there. This has meant with the sale of the house every little thing that pops up to stop the signing of the contract seems to be a major issue for me and I'm not dealing with it very well.

I can probably trace it all back to January 2006 when Andy left home and left the country and I didn't allow myself to cry. Somebody had said to me that him leaving home would be like a bereavement and I thought that this comment was really silly & spent the year saying well everybody's children leave home, lots of children go off to college and lots of people's children emigrate so I didn't allow myself to grieve in that sense.

In 2007 when my mother died I think I cried for about three minutes but really more from the shock of seeing someone die and so I continued on my merry little way.

Then there was the issue of the ending of King’s Church, which I have dealt with in terms of forgiveness and other things like that, but didn't allow myself to grieve about the loss of something that I'd invested 13 or more years in my life into. (I had been the church administrator.)

I very much like to be in control of things, to know exactly what's happening and how things going to pan out. In the last 12 months obviously that's not been the case. I never know whether I will be at church, or at group, not knowing whether I would be in Solihull or whether I’d be in Pembrokeshire. I've really felt that my life was totally out of my control and this obviously added to the stress.

As you know I haven't been sleeping well and the noise in my ears is quite appalling & have really struggled with the fact that despite lots of prayer that God hasn't done anything about that.

I’m currently feeling stuck as though if I make any movement I will fall into the abyss – in order to write this I had to start by dictating it on my iPad. The inability to start something is really trying!

It’s easier to borrow the words from the website I was on to describe how I am.
• I am low-spirited for much of the time, every day
• I feel restless and agitated
• I get tearful easily
• I feel numb, empty and full of despair
• I am unusually irritable or impatient
• I find no pleasure in life or things I usually enjoy
• I feel helpless
• I’m not doing activities I usually enjoy
• I am having difficulty remembering things
• I find it hard to concentrate or make decisions
• I blame myself a lot and feel guilty about things
• I am having a lot of negative thoughts
• The future seems bleak
• I have difficulty sleeping
• I feel tired and have no energy
• I have physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
• I am moving very slowly

I have been told I should allow myself to grieve and that my emotional ‘tank’ is on empty and I need to give myself time and activities to refill it. So I would appreciate your support as I deal with all of this.

Thank you.


You may find this video useful to watch if you want to help people: The Power of Empathy

February 2018
My friends did support me and I'm pleased to say that I overcame.  In 2014 I was asked to construct a class for an online class called MADE.   I accepted and called it Redefining Normal. Using a BrenĂ© Brown quote: 'grief is the absence of normal' as a starting point the class explores the things that naturally occur in life - children leaving home, parents dying, job events, retirement - the things that happen to almost all of us. The class investigates what is our normal and how we deal with a new normal.

I am offering this class for free.  Click on this link: Redefining Normal to get to the class.

Thanks for reading all of this and thank you for joining me today.


  1. Thank you for the energy it took to write this for us.You are appreciated.
    Brene Brown is a good teacher.

  2. Bernice, once again thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart as well as your struggles. you are an inspiration and I'm sure others who struggle with depression will be encouraged to be open about it and share it with people who will support them. You inspire the rest of us to be open, honest and vulnerable with our stuff as well. Thanks again for sharing this. :)

  3. It is brave to show up and share vulnerability, but also a life line to others who might be struggling or feeling alone with these same feelings.

  4. I joined a women’s book group last month. We are reading ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown. I love her work and this book is about picking yourself up and it speaks a lot about showing vulnerability and how this can help the recovery and healing process.

    1. Yes I have all of Brene's books and have read them and will probably read them again :)

  5. Wow! It's like God told me to click on this! I have s several mental diagnosis and everything you described of how you feel is ALL ME too. It gets really bad at times. But every single thing you mentioned is me. I know I have God to help me. But here on earth I really need someone to help me with it cause it's gotten VERY bad again all of a sudden. Thank you for this! God Bless you hun

    1. I hope you will try out the class and join the Facebook group where we can talk more.


I would love you to leave me an encouraging comment. Don't forget to put your name. I love to know who is commenting. Thank you.