I’ve been trying to lightly explain it away by putting it down to a mid-life crisis, to put my inability to write down to writers block, to put my exhaustion down to “it’s coming up to the end of the year”, but it’s more than that.
When you’ve struggled with depression, at least for me, it never really goes away. It always feels as if I’m standing on the edge of a big dark black hole. I can take steps away from it, into the sunshine, but it’s always there. Lurking in the shadows. Waiting for my return.
Lately, and I’m not sure exactly when, or exactly how, but I seem to have stepped back into the darkness.
I thought it would pass. I didn’t think anyone needed to know. I thought I was past this kind of thing, that I was just in a funk.
After having come out of something like this once before, I thought it would be easier to recognise the signs before it got out of control. Easier to admit something was going on. Easier to ask for help.
The only thing that is easier is using the right words, saying the right things so that no one knows. Knowing the right ways to explain away the symptoms.
It’s easy to put it down to a lack of sleep, even though our baby sleeps like a dream. It’s easy to put it down to ‘that time of the month’ or to use the ‘baby had a rough day’ to explain why nothing has been done, or tidied, or washed.
Great news is, if I ever wanted to get into the con man business, now would be the time.
Anger is the instinct reaction when someone sees through the act. Depression tells you regularly, and loudly, that your feelings are a burden to other people. That you are a burden to other people. That no one wants to deal with this. That it’s ugly, and stupid and that you must not bother anyone else with it.
It gives you anger instead.
To help to push everyone away.
For their own good.
It feels so heavy. As if there are lead weights attached to my every limb, my eyelids. I feel on edge constantly, anxious about everything, I have little patience and am so quick to tears.
Everything has begun to feel pointless – everything will still be there tomorrow, so it’s ok to leave it for today.
My head feels cloudy, and it’s getting harder to focus.
It’s easier to be physically sick. I got a tummy bug over the last few days and I was relieved. Relieved that I could cocoon in the safety of my bed for a couple of days, and not have to explain any more than “I’m sick”.
B and I fought last night. I went to bed and I didn’t cry.
I didn’t feel anything – I feel a little bit like I’m watching my life happen from a birds eye view. I want to control what is happening, but I can’t. Words come out, actions occur, but I’m not really conscious of what is going on. I just want to sleep.
Nothing bad has happened, no major event that I can put these feelings down to – in fact, life is going great. We have been adventuring, it’s been a while since Coops grew any teeth, which seems to be the only time he’s ever not an angel. The kids are happy, AJ is doing well at school, the weather is amazing, even the dogs are finally getting a handle on their training.
How do I explain what I feel when everything is going so well? How do I ask for help? What do I need help with?
I left it too long last time, I let the voices of depression tell me that I was being dramatic. That it was an inconvenience to feel this way and to keep it to myself.
I think the thing about the “it’s ok to feel not ok” message, the attempts at taking away the stigma around mental health issues is that they help the people around those feeling depressed to be more open and accepting. But. It takes a lot more work for those actually dealing with the issues, to overcome the guilt, the shame, the feelings of inadequacy that hit so quickly when you realise something is not ok.
It’s easy to talk about this kind of thing openly, once you get to the other side of it. Once you’re feeling better. Once you’re back in the sunshine.
Maybe we need to be more open before that.
Maybe we need to talk about how hard it is to admit to ourselves that there is a problem, before we even begin to be able to tackle the difficulty that comes with telling other people.
Maybe we need to say how hard it is to quiet the voices telling you that this is too much to put onto anyone else. How hard it is to admit you need help – especially when you’re not really sure what kind of help. Maybe it will help us to put our big girl pants on and do it anyway.
Maybe there is a simple solution. Maybe this is one of those times where admitting something is wrong was the key to being able to take that first step back into the sun.
Sometimes talking about it is all it takes, because in talking about it, you can work through whatever it is, with a little more clarity. With some input from someone with a more logical outlook than yours right now.
Maybe there isn’t a simple solution.
Sometimes there needs to be some work put in before the clouds clear. Some help from a councillor, some help from medication.
Any solution is better than staying in the black hole.
I need help.
Today I’m going ask for it.
It’s cold and lonely here. And I want out.