I sat last night, drafting out a blog post, in my head. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. Now though, my mind has drawn a blank and I’m struggling to put my thoughts into words.
On waking, I checked my emails and found this deeply personal post by Mummy Never Sleeps. This is what I will write about. Mental health is something that is not talked about nearly enough. Perhaps if people like Mummy Never Sleeps, myself and other bloggers out there were to write freely about our experiences of it, it may just help – even just a little, to raise some kind of awareness on the subject. It may even encourage others to share their own stories.
I’ve written about my dealings with Social Anxiety before, but with my depression, I’ve hardly scraped the surface. Let me solve that for you.
Yesterday was a hard day. Raising children is hard. Full stop. Yesterday though, was harder than most and when all of the children were asleep, I slumped onto the sofa, feeling like a complete failure. There wasn’t any one thing in particular, that made the day seem impossible. It was more the accumulation of thoughts, feelings, stress, irritability, dissatisfaction, exasperation, desperation and then the longing for solitude, that turned a normal, difficult day, into a monstrous roller-coaster of emotion.
That’s what living with depression does to you sometimes. Other times, it could be a total different set of feelings. For me, it manifests itself in different ways, depending on the situation. One day I could be so withdrawn into myself, that I hardly notice what goes on around me. The next, things might seem to be moving so fast, like a whirlwind and I find it hard to breath. If it’s too noisy and I can’t hear myself speak, I get irritable, anxious, and long to run out of the nearest door, in search of solitude.
It would be nice to not have to feel all of that.
It’s a double edged sword. Those feelings, those manifestations of my inner turmoil, has been a part of me for so long, that it’s become who I am. I believe that without it, I wouldn’t recognise myself. Sometimes it’s like a much loved glove, that when slipped onto the fingers, instantly makes you feel warm and comfortable. Other times, it’s like plunging those same fingers, into ice-cold water in the middle of winter, and holding them there, until it burns. It’s something that is a part of you, but is also completely alien.
I can’t imagine myself without it.
Many people don’t understand. We’re told to ‘snap out of it’, to ‘get a grip’ and ‘pull yourself together’. I’d love to pull myself together. At times I feel as if I’m falling apart at the seams, my stitching torn, broken, coming loose, even as I reach out with my fingers and try and keep the stuffing in. Some times it sticks. Other times, my insides are there for everyone to see and I’m stared at cautiously, quizzically as if it might be catching.
“Why do you have to be like this?” I’m told, “It’s always about you!” and this makes me feel worse, because yes, a lot of the time it is about me. I don’t want it to be. I’d rather melt into the background and not be noticed at all, but even that – that simple act of wanting to be invisible, gets me noticed and so it ends up being all about me.
I have to step out into the real world once in a while. I have children that need fresh air, play time and a run around. Slowly with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I’m getting there with that one. I’m starting a self-esteem focused Group Therapy course next Tuesday. Two hours every week, until the end of December, in order to give me enough self confidence, to go out and function almost normally.
The depression though, I don’t think that will ever leave me. It’s a dark cloud that could be there one minute, then gone the next. Some days it’s fleeting, or it could last for hours, days, weeks even. When I’m under that cloud, I can be at my most creative. Words, poetry, art, it all floods to me with no warning, and I can loose myself in it. When the cloud has dispersed and I’ve reached a level of neutrality, my creativity flies out of the window and I’m left empty handed – empty minded.
For others depression may show itself under a different guise. For me, it is my muse and my worst enemy. My friend and my jailer. I want it and loathe it at the same time. One thing it will never do, is take over me completely.
That is our little agreement. We coexist and by doing that, I exist.