It’s back again.
I have felt it looming around in the past few weeks. I’ve felt the weight of it, it sits on my chest on a morning when my alarm goes off, sometimes it lets me doze back off, sometimes it will keep me awake, just to make me watch the clock “tick tock”, past the time I could have gone to the gym…. “tick tock”… past the time I could have had to make myself a healthy breakfast, “tick tock”, past the time where I could have had time to put my make up on…it stays there , just the right amount of time, just long enough to make sure that when I finally get out of bed I am racked with guilt, self loathing and generally feeling like shit. Then comes the sigh, the sigh that signifies the next phase, the release of the invisible asshole that has been sitting on my chest, the sigh that means I can no longer put off the inevitable, I need to get out of this bed.
Another day in Paradise.
No make up. No breakfast. No gym. No diary entries. This is the checklist, this is when I know my little visitor is making its way back into town, this is when I know I need to up the self-care routine and put in place my coping mechanisms, but this time, it caught me off guard, it used anxiety as a way in, and came at a time where I didn’t have either the strength or the inclination to put any wheels in motion in order to fight it.
The past few weeks, I have felt my levels of anxiety slowly increasing, it is something that I have been aware of, but also been too exhausted to fight. It starts with little things like noticing my patience for certain situations dramatically decrease, feeling instantly irritated by little things, muddled thoughts, foggy mind, constantly feeling unsettled, nervous but not sure quite why. This time around I have also had an increased sense of fear, irrational fear, one minute I could be worrying about my ever escalating visa bill and the next minute I am worrying that someone is going to die or have a terrible accident. I haven’t experienced this feeling before and I hope it goes as quickly as it came because quite frankly I have got enough to worry about thinking about my own demise, I don’t need to be worrying about everyone else’s as well.
Of course this could have been triggered by the recent death of my grandfather, or maybe it is just another part of the journey that I was always going to have to go on at some point anyway. I don’t know, all that I do know is I am tired. I am tired of the dance, two steps forward, three steps back, four steps forward four steps back, its like a Quentin Tarantino version of Strictly Come Dancing, and in the past few weeks due to feeling like this, I stamped my feet and did nothing.
I didn’t exercise when I should have, I didn’t look after my diet, I didn’t put any coping mechanisms in place when I felt I was coming into difficulty and that is how I found myself driving home from work one day, once again, wishing I dead.
For the first time since last November I found myself wishing it was all over, and oddly enough once again I was in the car on the way home from work, it is a lovely drive though the countryside, but the monotony of it, the monotony of the evening ahead, the monotony of the weeks ahead all just hit me and out of nowhere I burst out crying and for at least ten minutes I was visualising every car crashing into me , every ditch, every fence , every lamppost, everything became a possible answer. Problem solved. Pain over.
I was so confused, where did this come from?, how am I here again?. Thought’s whirring around and around in my head, why can’t I do it?, why can’t I just bloody end this thing? ….and again. ‘If this is my life I would rather be dead’, I said it out loud to myself this time, but then in amongst all the rage and tears and upset, I heard another little voice, a quieter, softer voice that sounded so out-of-place amongst all of the ‘car drama’ that I had whipped up for myself, a little voice in my head that immediately slowed down my breathing, slowed down my thoughts.
But what if it’s not?……..
What if something excellent is just around the corner?, then my thoughts turned to, what if I am set to become a successful journalist in the next couple of years?, what if I eventually finish my book and it becomes a best seller?, what if that leads me to travel the world?, shit, what if everything that I want to happen, happens?, what if it’s already written on the cards, and I miss it all because of now, because of today?.
And just like that she was back, the little girl in me that knew she was never going to be satisfied with anything less than something fabulous, the dreamer, the believer, the part of me that has always made me feel a little different to other people, the part of me that has always driven me to keep going and led me to some wonderful opportunities and unforgettable experiences. Here she was, and she was coming in to bat for me against this horrible cruel monster who was trying to get me to give up.
The amount of times in the past year or so I have wished for a crystal ball, someone just to tell me that things will get better, that this isn’t it. This isnt how its going to be, or tell me this IS how its going to be and then I wont waste mine and everyone one elses time by trying any longer. Let me know what is coming and I can decide if this fight is worth it, but of course life isnt that simple.
Depression is without a doubt one of the craziest, most unpleasant, scary experiences I have ever been faced with. I have never felt such deep-rooted unhappiness before, I can almost feel it running through my veins. It ruins you for the present , it tortures you about the past, and if you are not careful it has the potential to rob you of your future.
I have been writing this blog over the course of a week or so , and each day I have come back to it I have felt differently. The day I started it I hated the little girl who was giving me hope, she was keeping me somewhere I didn’t want to be, a few days later, I loved her for saving me and today I am just ambivalent to her and that is depression in a nutshell.
One of my favourite mental health writers Matt Haig tweeted today that when he began as a writer he was in debt, in pain and suicidal, convinced he would be dead by 30, and thought nothing good would ever happen to him, he tweeted this as he was off to meet some of the actors who will be starring in the movie that is being made out of one of his books. He finished his tweet by saying ‘Depression Lies’.
Someone asked me the other day what my plan for the future was and I genuinely couldn’t answer. I know what I would like to do, what would make me happy, but as I sit here today do I feel 100% sure I am going to be able to hang on long enough to make it happen?. I genuinely cannot answer that question, but all I can say is I want to and I will be trying my hardest every single day.
They say curiosity killed the cat, but in this case, it is curiosity that is keeping me alive, the curiosity of the little girl inside me, asking me every day …’what if?’, and as long as she keeps talking to me, the closer we get to defeating this horrible cruel illness that is trying to rob me of my future.
Keep wondering. Keep trying. Keep ‘what iffering’ – (yes I just made that word up !).
Lots of love as always,