by Lori Dwyer on December 16, 2013 · 18 comments

I tell people I’m not well right now, and it tastes like a lie.

If this was a physical illness (and maybe it should be called just that), I’d tell myself not to push too hard. To be kind to myself. To fill myself up with nourishment, to rest and allow myself time to just sit and be still and heal. For fear of becoming sicker.

There’s a nagging voice that tells me this is mind over matter, this is all in my head.

Both those things are true, but not true. The depressive’s paradox.



From the Robot Hugs blog.


I remember Charlie the shrink asking me why I kept it all in, why I pretended I had this all under control, when clearly there was so much still to deal with.

Because I don’t want to do it alone, I told him. Because I want someone there to break my fall. Someone to fill in the pieces of my self esteem that I couldn’t resurrect myself. 

And now I’m here. The Most Amazing Man is a constant. He holds me when I cry, makes me laugh when I hate myself. And he doesn’t stop loving me. Never once threatens to take himself away because the emotional fire of this onslaught is too hot and it burns.

It sucks for him. To have me, but not have me the way I was. The person he met is not the person I am now. The essence of me is still there. It’s just that all the strength has left me. I am a wasted wreck of the person I once was. I’ve found my safe space and I wallow in it, confident that when I breach the surface for air, he will still be there.

And he is. Every time. He supports the threads of our life, so I don’t have to. It’s not what he signed up for, we both know that. But he never complains, never resents me or the kidlets for it. 

I trust him. I believe him when he says I will get better, and that he will still be here, no matter what.


One day at a time. Small things. Tiny goals. Touchstones with which to connect to reality. I shower. I take my meds. Today’s goal is writing this blog post. I try to keep myself busy. I pay attention to my thoughts, put up big red Stop signs in my head. Attempt to pinch off horrible thoughts before they spin themselves into a vortex I cannot push back out of.

I try to take control of my mind, one minute at a time.


If nothing else, I can do Christmas. The kidlets are so little. They deserve Christmas and all the good fun things that come with it.

It’s relatively uncomplicated and the process of buying, wrapping, listing, and caroling has very few horrible memories attached to it.

I mix things up. Occasionally I forget the little white lies that exist to keep Santa a real, believable concept. But the excitement of it, the magical element of the season… that allows me to fool my children with my shoddy, hard-won enthusiasm.

Our Christmas tree is a metaphor for my life right now. It’s lopsided, the decorations thrown on haphazardly. But it’s there, in all it’s symbolic glory.

It’s the best I can do right now.

It’s enough.



Thanks to everyone who left me a comment, or sent me an email. It reminds me that even when I can’t bring myself to care very much about me… there are other people who do.



by Lori Dwyer on December 10, 2013 · 29 comments

I’m still here. I’m just not… really.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Or, worse… I know exactly what’s wrong with me. I’m so depressed I don’t even want to cry. There’s not enough feel left in me for those kind of emotions.

I’m losing whole days and I’m not even sure what’s happening to them. I feel a bit like I’m walking through weightless, opaque fog. The world is a movie set. One tiny push of my finger will disturb it and the world around me will shimmer and crumble and suck itself down into a whirlpool of black nothingness. I wonder what that would be like.

Not much different to this, really. Existing in a black vacuum, where nothing echoes because nothing is real.

Some days it’s hard to follow conversations. Reality confuses me. I say things that aren’t quite right. I trip over my words, my tongue is useless and too big in my mouth.

I stop writing anything at all. I don’t want to sit and pull great big gloops of myself out of my head and onto the screen because that might hurt.

I sit in the office of my newly-found shrink, Luke, and I cry. I curl into myself and pour out pain and despair and desolateness. He tells me I have severe post traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, severe depression.

I knew all that. I just don’t understand why it’s so bad now. Why I’ve been able to be so strong for so long. Why I’ve been relatively functional the last few years and now everything’s a mess.

I don’t know how to fix myself. I’m just waiting it out. I make myself do things, little things. Luke the Shrink calls it ‘behavioural activation’. I think that means that I’m trying to trick myself into not being so stagnant. Remind my brain of the physiological benefits of activity.

So I wash my face. I clean my teeth. Some days I’m incapable of even doing that.

But I’m here. Still. Just. Kind of.

This too shall pass.

It has to.



The Garden.

by Lori Dwyer on December 2, 2013 · 3 comments

After leaving the lush decadence of the TinyTrainHouse’s backyard, it’s very lovely to have a garden again.

In the midst of all this blackness, it’s the Most Amazing Man who begins to build a veggie patch in the urban backyard of The New House. The very back edge of the block we live on was once a laneway. A ten foot stretch of land that runs along our back fence is raised by a foot or two, and was overrun with thick kikuyu grass and an ugly, greedy cactus when we first moved in.

The Most Amazing Man puts old rugs over the bright green grass to kill it, starving it of a sunlight for a few weeks. Then he attacks it with a pickaxe, turning up lumps of yellowed weeds until the soil is revealed, rich and dark and moist-smelling; filled with fat, happy worms.

We plant veggies. Tomatoes bought as saplings from Bunnings. Tiny chilli and basil seedlings. We rescue a small parsley plant from the corner of the raised section, making us think it’s not this patch of ground’s first incarnation as a vegetable bed.



We plant seeds to sprout- calendula, sugar snap peas, star and moon watermelons. The tiny chubby hands of the kidlets pushing dirt across freshly planted seeds carries whispers of everything that’s good in the world.

Gardening makes me miss my gran so badly. But there’s therapy in it too. Something about dirt under your fingernails, pulling stubborn grass from the ground as it re-grows and makes a mess of the garden bed… it’s therapeutic. It’s soul food.

It’s satisfaction. We weed and water and tend to it daily, the Most Amazing Man and I. We watch the slowly unfurling leaves,the flowers that bud and bloom. We watch in wonderment at what we’re creating here.