Beating the Well and Climbing the Stairs

I’m having a grey day. And before you look out the window and decide it’s the weather’s fault (it’s raining here) I want to explain a few things. My grey days come from lots of different places and unless I pull myself up somehow, they rapidly descend through the shades into black, which can be dangerous.

So I have worked out several different ways of pulling myself up; depending on the place that the day has come from.

Today the mood has come from TOH’s absence.

He’s been away for a few days, spending time with his ninety year old grandmother and making up for the weekends he hasn’t been able to spend with her. I understand his reasons and agree with them, but that doesn’t stop me from missing him.

So I’m feeling grey.

To pull myself back up, I start with music – this is one of my favourites to shake me up.

Pink has an amazing voice and I can completely lose myself in this song as well as the others on the album – and I always listen to the whole album.

My next choice tends to be something to pick my mood up out of the grey area.


Katy is one of my favourite female artists – she has this way of laughing at herself that reminds me that life isn’t supposed to be so serious ! Firework also reminds me that I have something to add to the world, there are people in this world that would miss me and (possibly) my writing…

Then there’s Shakira. Anything that gets me up out of my seat and moving is bound to make me feel better, so I tend to play this song a lot – it makes me dance…

So having reminded myself that I’m female, I start looking into the sexier end of my playlist… and this next song is the one that does it every time!

So I usually finish up my ladies list by visiting my past. When I was a kid, Eurythmics / Annie Lennox was the one voice that stood out to me and hearing her sing really does take me back to happier memories…

Once I’ve picked myself up off the floor and I’m listening to the music, I throw myself into working on something – it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it takes me away from how I am feeling.

Yes, that’s what I’m doing right now.

Why am I doing this? Explaining how I get out of the grey and back to feeling colourful again?

Well, I started on this path a good two and a half years ago.

Losing my baby was the trigger that dumped me down the deep well of depression. Not being able to work because of it  – I had panic attacks when I went for job interviews, stepped into a classroom or tried to exercise my teaching skills – dug the well deeper and when I managed to deal with the initial cause and come to terms with it, I was still depressed because of the inability to get back to work.

You see, when you’ve had a lot of sick time, you’re considered unreliable. And I couldn’t get anymore job interviews, so I went for Supply Agencies. I’m still not sure that was a good idea – I can’t drive (legally that it – I’m still learning) so I have to rely on public transport and the good will of others, so while the agencies all said “It won’t stop you getting work”, I suspect that the lack of personal transport combined with my “unreliability” record, have meant that I haven’t been able to get supply work either.

Yes, I know, I don’t know any of this for certain, I’m assuming a lot of things and while I know that I’m a good teacher, but it doesn’t stop me analysing things that have or have not happened.

Anyway,  I reached the dubious milestone of being “officially” out of work (ie: claiming JSA) for a whole year…*sighs*… and this combined with having had no supply work to get myself back into the swing of teaching and being in a classroom dropped me back down the well a little. I dragged myself back up a bit, but despite finding jobs to go for, I still couldn’t get interviews!

So I started volunteering at Brownies (over a year ago now) to make myself feel as if I am worth something (it’s worked a little) and I’m now almost to the point where I have completed my training.  Going to Brownies each week makes me feel wanted and that my skills are being used, rather than going to waste.

Starting the Art & Design course makes me happy as well – I love learning and I’m hoping that once the course has finished, I’ll be able to get back to teaching properly again.

But I still have the grey days and I don’t want to drop back down that well, so I learned coping strategies… are you still with me? Good. I haven’t bored you to tears yet.

So, let’s recap, To cope with grey depressing days I:

1) Listen to music that will lift my spirit (not drop it further back) and remind me that there is still a way for me to make a difference, no matter how small.

2) While I am listening, I throw myself into doing something that will absorb me and take me away from how I am feeling.

3) Remind myself how I got here and how I have lifted myself out of the Depression Well – recount my achievements if you will…

Now we come to the hard bit. 

Once I have got back to the Contentedness platform outside the Depression well, I have to start lifting myself up the steps. I’ve already come a long way in a short time, but I want to lift myself up towards being happy, not just content.

While I am listening to the music and working, I start forming goals to aim towards. This time of year, it’s easy enough because I have NaNoWriMo looming on the horizon. I also have the monthly goal of getting the webzine out as well as the coursework on my Art & Design Course to sort out and “The Tower and The Eye” to write…

So here are the goals I am setting myself:

1) Meet all my coursework deadlines for next week – that’s Ceramics, Textiles and Graphics, as well as having done further work on Fine Art and the Art Context Essay.

I’m pleased to say that I have manged to finish Ceramics (as far as I can – just the Evaluation and Final Product photos to do – can’t do those until I get back), I’ve progressed on my Essay and Fine Art and I’m now working on my Graphics (it has the most to do…) – I’ll do the Textiles tomorrow.

2) Get November’s Edition ready to go live on 1st.

I have all my submissions and just need to put them up on private pages to schedule their publication.

3) Get ready for NaNoWriMo

I’ve already got a rough plot, the world and updated my NaNo profile, so I’m in a good position to start on 1st Nov – my word count goal is 2,000 words a day.

4) Finish Book 4 of TTATE

I’m almost to the fun bit in the story (the dungeon raid) so that shouldn’t be too hard to get going on!

Ticking at least three of these off the list will take me up the Happiness Stairs, so having stepped up one step already by being in a good position to start NaNo, is a smile worth having.

Thank you for reading – I hope that you’re having a colourful day and if you aren’t, why not try some of my steps… it can’t hurt to listen to some upbeat music can it?

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3 thoughts on “Beating the Well and Climbing the Stairs

  1. Michele Brenton says:

    It’s my birthday today – so I’m sending you all the happiness and joy people send me for my birthday and hope it makes a difference.

    Mandy you’re a special girl
    and I don’t mean that in the iffy sense
    I mean you’re full of good ideas
    and bright and sparky and your spirit’s immense.
    So when you’re visited by grey
    and your mood is none too nifty
    remember you’re young and the best is yet to come
    and be glad you’re not like me – fat and fifty 🙂

    XXXXX (((hugs))))

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