This time two years ago I posted the photo below to Instagram and said I was having a girly-night to myself and made it sound so positive.
What I didn’t say was that I’d had to go on Just Eat to find somewhere local which sold food and beer/wine because it felt like an overwhelming physical AND mental impossibility to go to the local shops. I was so hungry and really needed something to cheer myself up too.
I’d gotten into the habit of not getting (dragging myself) out of bed until 4.00pm (sadly after it had gone dark) so I hadn’t seen daylight for five days. I’d stopped being bothered to get dressed or comb my wildly frizzy hair or to tidy up.
The bloke had to be elsewhere and he was so stressed and busy he really needed to get on with it and I was trying to be as supportive as poss. But I was on my own all week, until weekend and felt really lonely. But I also felt guilty and silly bothering him.
I realise looking back that the Depression had crept back but at the time I was kidding myself that I was having fun enjoying not having any responsibilities or structure.
Ironically that is exactly what helps me, as it stops the endless days and nights all blending together. Plus someone to bounce my thoughts off so they aren’t swimming around in my head and growing more negative and repetitive is vital for me.
I wish I’d put an honest caption on Insta about how I was feeling at the time or told my Dad or my bloke how I felt. BUT I’d been fighting for decades to have my disabilities and chronic illness recognised and to get on ESA benefit so I could rest at home all day. I felt guilty that I wasn’t now happy and thought I must be being ungrateful or overly-dramatic. But actually, when you can’t or aren’t doing much, whole days and nights alone can seem like an eternity.
After doing this on repeat for about a month (literally just living for the weekend when my bloke would be able to come back basically) I phoned him in floods of tears.
We talked for an hour and worked out a better way of doing things and it made a vast amount of difference to my mental health.
There isn’t always a reason though. Sometimes clinical depression can hit you for no reason at all and that’s perfectly normal, not your fault and just as valid.
If you are feeling crappy or apathetic to stuff you normally love doing or are struggling to keep your head above water, please don’t fool yourself you are ‘fine’. Admit to yourself that you aren’t feeling okay and then tell someone else, even if it’s just one other person (i.e. a considerate family member, a friend, an empathetic friend of a friend or your GP for instance) IRL or online.
You don’t have to be fine all of the time and forcing yourself to try can do more damage than good. Being open and honest about your feelings can lift a huge weight.
It’s ok not to be ok 🙃