x depression

The first half of March

So… I wrote this cool poem and I wanted to record it. But only the first half came out right. Anyway – so you, dear readers, get the full thing and those who listen only get half. But please listen anyway, because it sounds just how I want!




I’m just trying to know things

trying so hard

like, is February always difficult

and March always sad?

or is it just this year

and has something gone bad

cos I hope

it’s just my brain

come to trick me again

and maybe the dark

is always

just a lack

of light


I wait

in shadows, hoping

for something

to come out right



WordPress link (for the first half only) https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/half-of-march

This sux, baby

Grumpy mum/to-be

After my recent moan about motherhood, I thought I may as well have a pop at pregnancy too – go for broke.

I’m totally bummed this whole second baby has got off to such a horrible start. I’ve been unwell, unhappy and uncomfortable for most of the pregnancy. I had all these rosy tinted dreams about having baby no. 2. I don’t know why I assumed it would be so wonderful but I guess I felt like the first time around, while it was all new and (relatively) exciting, it was more about getting through, moving to the next stage, wondering and worrying about what would happen next. And I think I was a bit thrown by it. Maybe even slightly… embarrassed? So, this second and final time, I was keen to embrace it, and even enjoy the pregnancy.

The first fly in the ointment of this plan came with trimester one’s fairly ick morning sickness. I wasn’t spewing but just felt rotten most of the time, physically and mentally. Unfortunately this also created a perfect storm/vicious cycle of not wanting to go out much, which meant my feelings of loneliness, isolation and lack of friends/support here were compounded. I did, however, have the slight comfort of assuming the baby would be a girl, purely by dint of the fact that I was so unwell. But I was wrong about that too.

The second trimester was all right. I felt a bit physically uncomfortable but I was mostly in Australia, so I was enjoying myself and managing to block out a lot of the negative feelings I’d been having. Also I had friends and family to talk through stuff with. Plus all the grandparental support made it easy to take it easy.

Since being back in Zurich, I’m pretty depressed again. It’s cold and dark and – surprise – since I’ve done nothing about it, nothing has magically changed about my life here to suddenly make it great! I’m feeling achey, tired and heavy and my 3.5-year-old son is annoying me just by being a 3.5-year-old (I read this article about how Time-Outs are damaging your child, oh how I laughed… don’t the authors realise that time-outs are so the parents can calm down and regain their composure?!)

I’ve read up a bit on antenatal depression. Unfortunately there’s not that much info – there’s more on PND (postnatal depression). I don’t know if this is because AND is less common, less talked about or purely the fact that there’s a time limit to it. So, for what it’s worth here’s what antenatal depression feels like to me:

It feels like: a big ball of regret and failure – physically and mentally.

It feels like: I can’t have this baby.

It feels like: I wish I wasn’t pregnant.

It feels like: is it too late for an abortion?

It feels like: knowing things are going to get worse before they get better – because how could this situation possibly be improved by adding a squalling, boob-sucking, sleep-deprivation machine?

It feels like: hating my body. I look disgusting.

It feels like: no one has touched me for months except my little boy. No one’s felt the baby move except me.

It feels like: drinking an extra glass or two of wine because you’re unhappy and alcohol has been your crutch for the past 20-odd years and it’s really hard to break that habit now, even though you know it’s doing untold damage to the unborn baby. (However, the stuff I’ve read on AND says it’s advisable to keep taking your anti-depressants. I am not on any SSRIs.)

It feels like: over-eating because I’m depressed. Then feeling sick and overfull – oof!

It feels like: I haven’t talked to the baby or “bonded” with it like I did with my first pregnancy. I can hardly bear thinking about this one.

It feels like: being angry a lot of the time with my beautiful, wonderful 3.5 year old because he won’t walk, or won’t come and get ready NOW, and insists on wearing a nappy even though he’s fine to use the potty.

It feels like: being terrified of PND – and not knowing how to prevent that.

It feels like: being scared of completely cracking up and/or doing something really dangerous to myself and/or others.

It feels like: being trapped. I really don’t know how to get out of this.

It feels like: there’s a sort of primal need to find a “safe” place to give birth and a part of me is frantic that I don’t have it.

It feels like: I should have stayed in Australia but I let convention and la-la-la-not-thinking-about-it guide me back here.

It feels like: I should just shut up with my #firstworldproblems because women are giving birth in refugee camps and other horrible places all the time.

It feels like: I’m afraid of the pain of giving birth. If I don’t even want the child, how can I endure labour? Should I be planning for an epidural? C-section? Would that make it worse?

It feels like: what if I don’t love the kid once he arrives? Everyone says “oh you will” but what if they’re wrong?

It feels like: not being sure if my marriage can survive this.

It feels like: smiling awkwardly when people say – you must be so excited about the baby!! Being envious but slightly appalled that other mums-to-be are thrilled to bits.

It feels like: wincing when people say: wow you’re getting big/ looking really pregnant / walking like a pregnant lady.

It feels like: No one wants to hear it. I should just get over it.

It feels like: when bad things happen to other people, it doesn’t put it all into perspective. I just feel worse, like the world is a bad place.

It feels like: I’m wasting all these amazing opportunities but I just can’t seem to find contentment, let alone happiness.

It feels like: I must just be a cold, nasty, unfeeling person.

It feels like: I’ve made a huge mistake.

It feels like: I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it.

It feels like: a life sentence (ok: bad pun). But if motherhood is not really doing it for me already, how’s it going to be in six months, 3 years, 10 years… 😦

It feels like: being really, really tired.

It feels like: being bored.

It feels like: I hate myself and baby, you suck too.

What’s My Scene

And another thing, I’ve been wondering lately

Am I crazy

To believe in ideals?

I’m a betting man, but it’s getting damn lonely

Oh honey, if only

I was sure what I feel…


I spent half of the afternoon putting away old, non-maternity clothes. They seem like outfits from another life. Much of it is office wear. I don’t know if I’ll ever put those things on again. Some of it is clothes I bought in Australia more than eight years ago. Is it time to let that stuff go too? For good?

Since coming back from London 2 days ago, I’ve felt unfortunately adrift. I don’t know what I’m doing here – I’ve got no connection to this country with its foreign language I might not ever properly learn. We are trying to potty-train P and I don’t even know how to have the conversation with his Swiss-German carers at the kinderkrippe. Then there’s the stupid heath insurance (don’t get me started), the crazy-expensive everything. The slightly different culture that, while it doesn’t exactly grate, just rubs, giving a slight feel of unease, creating sore spots in unexpected places.

I read an article about Peaches Geldof’s death from a heroin overdose and it was upsetting. Maybe it was an accidental OD. But if two little children and all the trappings of a “very nice life” could not keep her tethered to it, could not solve the emptiness inside, the destructive urge for Something to fill that hole in the soul… Poor Peaches. I sort of understand, you see? And that’s worrying.

There was a lot of talk among my friends in London about the demise of the goth/alternative scene. A festival got cancelled and it seems to have been the catalyst for several people to say ‘over and out’ on the whole shebang. I “retired” as a goth several years back now but it still makes me a bit sad. One less thing to return to, to be involved with, albeit marginally.

I also read about funding being cut for women’s refuges in the UK, and I know similar is happening back in Australia. Along with a raft of other benefits cuts, the way the First World is treating refugees etc, that’s more upsetting. These are people that really need help – people without anything like the resources of those such as myself and Peaches bloody Geldof. What is the world coming to when we are edging the most vulnerable people in our societies ever closer to misery, destitution and even, in extreme cases, death?

Before I moved here, I was very concerned about feeling lonely, isolated, and poor, with a lack of occupation. And all those things have come to pass. I thought I’d shored up some safeguards against it, mainly to do with indulging my creativity. But I’ve found I feel too empty to write much. And I still don’t have that One Great Idea to spark into a novel. So I’m stuck tapping out the occasional blog and spending too much time on Facebook. It doesn’t feel like there’s any place for me right now. What’s my scene?




Dark thoughts

Hokusai: The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Source: http://blackburnmuseum.org.uk

Depression is like dark water seeping into the crevices of my brain. It drips into the small cracks and faultlines, widening and deepening them through a process of erosion. I shake it out and think I’m free for a moment, an hour, a day, but the liquid is just taking its time to settle elsewhere, sometimes almost without my noticing. It always finds the lowest point. Oh you’re here now?

It can be an evil sea, a cruelly happy tide rushing into a familiar harbour, finding those same rocks and outcrops to smash against like welcoming arms. Wearing them a little lower, a little smoother, offering less resistance.

The waves crash and buffet old and new defences. Some sea walls have crumbled with age and a lack of use, thinking they were no longer required. The viscous, vicious tide smacks into them, immediately finding holes, flowing right through to whet old fears and replenish ancient anxieties.

There are some barriers more recently constructed that I thought were strong. But the dark water finds chinks or merely surges up and over. I should have made them higher, better, stronger. I was an arrogant fool to build them at all.

Some shores it hits are bad habits. It almost feels like a relief to bathe in them once again, to have the bubbling tide race over and across them, caressing them, reinvigorating. The comfort of familiarity, even if in its wrongness. I know this, I have experienced it before, let me just enjoy it for a while before I have to stop again…

A king tide comes, deceitful in its slow buildup. Those gentle waves, at first almost a reassurance – I expected this – suddenly become overwhelming. I’m trapped by the water, I can barely see back to land. My boat is so old, it’s an effort to even think about sailing it. And I’m sure it leaks. I consider swimming but the water: I’m afraid of it. Afraid of its violence, its killing cold, the unfathomable menacing power (which also fascinates). I’m afraid of the effort. I’m scared of drowning. I don’t want to start swimming unless I can be sure I’ll succeed. And what if the tide is still rising?

It’s a trickster, a manipulator, an arch procrastinator. Endless distractions, a monkey splashing in the shallows. It doesn’t want me to sit still, it doesn’t want to be solved. Moments of beauty, boredom, terror, interest, never the main game. Or is it? What is that sunny green field so far yonder but a Fool’s Paradise? Surely the Real World lies in the intelligent complexities, the excitement and the drama of my dark waves? See the truth! The water of life! The drowning stuff! It erodes while it builds, weeping the rocks away to form the stalactites and stalagmites of new structures. Oh it’s clever.

Then when it has gone: how absurd! There was no oily liquid darkness here. What pretty rocks the receding tide exposes, the few small, inky pools left behind just provide important contrast… no lessons? Just a new stretch of terrain to explore.