5 Things I Used To Enjoy Before Depression
Depression is a no good thieving swine. It robs you of many things, including enjoyment. Today I’m posting a list of 5 things that I used to enjoy before depression stole them from me.
In no particular order…
5) Cooking: So I was never Nigella or a budding Master Chef contestant but I used to take a real pleasure and sense of contentment cooking home meals for eldest or other people. I’d cook pretty much every day. Or if I wanted to show off a little bit! And I was ok at it, mostly. There was even a time when I’d hand bake bread with eldest on a regular basis; and I loved it!!!
These days, its a chore and whilst I will try to make the effort because I’m conscious of my family’s nutrition, if I can get out of it I will. It’s a chore I no longer take pleasure from. Sometimes it’s the case that I don’t have any energy and can’t do anything, other times I can but I don’t enjoy it. My slow cooker is now my best friend. Often S cooks. Deliveroo has helped ease my guilt and conscience because I can order higher quality food that’s more nutritionally balanced (vegetables!!) if I’m ever reduced to getting a delivery. I hear there’s something called an Instant Pot on the market now which sounds promising!
4) Polishing: Weird one. Anyone who’s known me long enough knows I was never into cleaning and tidying up. Never what you’d call a domestic goddess. BUT there were some tasks I didn’t mind and even found quite enjoyable. Polishing was one of them; there was something immensely satisfying about it and I loved that it was so easy and made the room instantly smell fresher (scent was always important to me for its ability to alter mood, set an ambience or prompt a memory) . These days it’s slid away from me into the mass of household chores I find overwhelming and unbearably frustrating. Along with vacuuming, ironing and arranging the bookshelves(!)
3) Reading To My Children: It’s a small but very real tragedy if you ask me that youngest has never known a mother who truly relished reading stories. Years ago I absolutely LOVED reading stories out-loud to eldest. I recall reading Fantastic Mr Fox animatedly to him before bed over a number of weeks. It was my favourite Roald Dahl as a child and I loved sharing that with him; passing it on. Once at a child’s party I was caught in the next room reading a story book to a small crowd of children. The mother walked in smiled and commented
“You’re in your element!”
Reading stories was something I was good at! Now, I will read when pressed to but I don’t make efforts to anymore. Sometimes I’m asked and I feel a flash of panic and give S a side-eye signal to take over. And sometimes I find the zone and I’m in my element again. Occasionally. But mostly, reading out-loud has become a chore I no longer enjoy. It’s something I’m quite sad about
2) Bedtime Routine: I used to quite like doing the bedtime routine about as much as anyone can anyway. I always liked ‘cosy’. Cbeebies bedtime hour, bath, teeth, pyjamas, story, sleep. Same every night for years.
Over the years as my depression has worsened and probably not helped by the struggle of having a child who either physically struggles to fall asleep or outright refuses (I’m not sure which at this stage) and thus making the bedtime routine drastically more difficult and dragged out, I have slowly sidled out of my role in this aspect of our day to day lives. At the height of the School run that nearly broke me (see previous post) I couldn’t function anymore at that time of evening. I was wiped out and in physical discomfort too. I couldn’t cope with anything and certainly not the struggle that was attempting to put youngest to bed
Gradually, S’s involvement in bedtime became more and more prominent until he’d pretty much taken over and it became ‘his’ thing. These days I function a little better but I no longer know where my place is during the bedtime routine. When I make attempts at becoming involved I feel like an outsider. I have become the ‘substitute’. Which doesn’t feel nice to say the least
1) Flowers: I love colours! I love scent! I love flowers! I do, but I just don’t have the energy for them these days. Time was, I would make a point of purchasing flowers to have around the house. They instantly improve a room, and I loved the colours. I liked lilies for their heady scent (but the pollen is a bugger). Irises for their colour. Daffodils for their bold sunny yellow and childhood memories of Wales. Tulips for their colours and smooth curves too. Roses for their richness and romantic connotations. Hyacinths! Peonies!
But, of course, each time I bought new flowers came the same routine of finding and cleaning a vase, trimming them stems and leaves, getting my fingers pricked by thorns in the case of roses, mixing the feed, arranging them….This wasn’t a problem initially, for a while it was one of the few things I could still claim as my role, but over the years as my mental health dwindled the routine of this seemed to sap more and more energy. I began to buy them less and less and eventually my buying flowers was such a rarity you could pretty much say I’d stopped
S continued to bring flowers for the house even as I stopped buying them myself. But as my interest in caring for them waned and they went neglected he too gradually stopped bringing them home as much, to my relief in fact as each time he did I felt an obligation and pressure to cater for them despite feeling touched by the gesture
Today on impulse I bought flowers for the first time in an age. Daffodils and tulips. They’re pretty low maintenance and yet high impact. The supermarket was filled with them and I just thought “Why the Hell not?” The Daffs aren’t in bloom yet but I’m loving how the tulips look in my living room; the flash of colour, the satisfying shapes. Who knows I may even buy more later? Maybe even fill the house with them!