This week has been a tough one - I don't know if its that we're a few weeks into being back at work or it is indeed the January Blues. Lots of travelling and being busy at work has added to my tiredness which I know doesn't always help with my moods.
I wrote this post a while ago and was never brave enough to publish it - then for a while I didn't think it applied to me any more - I hadn't had a tough day for a while, I'd talked a lot of things out with a counsellor and I've felt so much better and been so grateful for that. But this weeks knocked me for six and left me feeling a bit naive about my own mental health again... so today I'm sharing it not only because I needed to remember that not every day is perfect and we get through them, but maybe one of you guys did too.
***Also I hope this isn't a triggering post - if you suffer with depression (or other mental illnesses) and its recovery, I'm 100% sure you'll relate but its a very raw post and an honest one about how it is - not how other people might see it. Please don't read it if you think it will make things harder for you or upset you further in any way - this is not my intention***
Probably the thing I hate the most about depression and its recovery - is that you never know how you're going to feel when you wake up in the morning. You can do all the right things but some days you wake up with a heavy head, eyes that are on the brink of crying (big ugly sobbing tears) and a fuzz that so heavily clouds your mind and there is nothing you can do, nothing that really caused it and mostly you're a mixture of confusion and disappointment as well as overwhelmed. On these days I know as soon as I wake up that its one of 'those days' and all I want to do is close my eyes, roll over, go back to sleep and try again tomorrow.
But I can't - I have a job, I have a train pass that I should really use every week day to make affordable, I have fruit in the kitchen that will go bad if I don't eat it, I have Thomas who wants to share his day with me as much as he can, I have friends that will email and notice that I don't reply... I have to get up. So after sulking, snoozing and a lot of pep talks (from myself and sometimes from Thomas) - I manage to get out of bed. I often worry that if I don't get up just once, there's a chance I would never get out of bed in the morning again.
I attempt exercise. It helps. It doesn't help.
I have a shower. I helps. It doesn't help.
I eat a healthy (fruit) breakfast. It helps. It doesn't help.
I go out in the sunshine and feel the breeze on my face. It helps. It doesn't help.
I make jokes with my colleagues somehow. It helps. It doesn't help.
I distract myself with work. It helps. It doesn't help.
I sneak a biscuit with a cup of tea (bourbon biscuit, if you're wondering. I have a weakness) It helps. It doesn't help.
I go for a walk in my lunch break. It helps. It doesn't help.
I do crochet, knit, paint, meditate or yoga in the evening. (I try it all ha) It helps. It doesn't help.
My aim on these days is to just do everything as I should do it. I try to eat the right food (biscuits are never wrong though right?!), I make sure I walk and exercise enough and get enough sleep. And it helps... it definitely does help. But on these days it also doesn't help at all. It doesn't clear the fuzz, or dull the ache of pain that has no real source, it doesn't stop the tears from always being right behind my eyes just waiting for an escape...
Somehow I get through the day without crying, without hiding in the bathroom for some time, so I reward my exhausted body and mind with an early night (behaving 'normal' is exhausting) and go to sleep (eventually) and hope that tomorrow is better.
I know that with depression and anxiety I got off considerably lightly, I've got myself to a much better place compared to two/three years ago . Some people can't win the battle to get out of bed, some people don't have jobs because of their illness, some people will always be on tablets and some people don't live to survive it. Depression is mean enough that it will make you think unfair comparisons with other people and its even crueller that it will attack you further for it and make you belittle yourself.
BUT depression comes in all shapes and sizes and it is just as dangerous for someone like me - a reasonably functioning anxious depressive - as it is for the next person suffering - and it needs to be talked about and shared because even when you are doing all the right things as much as you can and things look to be okay from the outside - you just never know exactly how you'll feel when you wake up in the morning or where you truly are in your recovery process. And depression is relentless.
I had a solid number of responses in my survey last year saying that they'd like to read about my depression recovery and now that I think about it more and more, I realise that talking about these things publicly is so, so important. I was always so scared of what my readers would think - what my family who read this blog would think and what it would say about me to publish this kind of post but If just one person who is in a similar situation to me - getting through their days and trying their very best - feels a little bit better for knowing that they aren't alone then I think its worth pushing publish and sharing how I feel.
(And I was finally brave enough about 6 months later with posting it - mostly because its still just as relevant now as it was then and it probably will be for my whole life.)