People say that to be a successful writer you have to write about what you know. I only know what I have experienced. A person can touch others with that alone I hope. This blog for me is a progression, something that I hope to learn from and a way to let out what I feel as and when I feel the need to share it. If you fancy joining me, great. If not, that’s fine too. It’s not for everyone.
Today’s attention in my life and others has been on depression. Recently, I have tried, I thought, to help someone I loved dearly to get help with theirs. Sometimes the truth can hurt, but the risk of losing the friendship of someone I loved was always worth it to me if they then got what they needed and addressed the problem, something I am happy to say is now happening I think. I was told today, however, that I don’t understand depression or what my loved one is going through. Heres why I very much do.
I am depressed. There, I have said it. I have been depressed for about two years since my life unfolded. Admitting this to myself recently was the first step. Its taken me time to get there but I didn’t really know it was that. In the last 12 months my life has changed drastically. I am no longer with my partner and after caring for my Nan she has now passed away. These were two changes I never wanted to happen and still to this day wish didn’t happen. I let myself grieve for them as and when it needed to flow. I also acted as I needed to at the time, something I refuse to apologise for or feel ashamed for, following my heart and hoping for better things always, actively processing what had happened rather than ignoring the fact it had and hiding from the world instead. I acted true to myself and each day was an honest one. Trust me, I let it all out!! It hasn’t always been pretty, it hasn’t always been approved of, but it has allowed me not to cave in on myself, something I feel I have been more than close to in recent months and would have done had I not been allowed to process things the way I have. A lot of people pretend nothings happening and health wise I feel that’s much worse in a way.
For the last two months since Nan’s death I have been at my lowest point ever during my entire adult existence. Dont get me wrong, I was a mess when my partner left me. I was even worse when I realised things hadn’t been as they had seemed and he wouldn’t be coming back. And even worse after that when I didn’t like what had happened and blamed the world for it. I was angry. Really bloody angry. I don’t apologise for that either.
Above: A photo mom took of me in my room at my brothers wedding last year, 9 days after my partner walked out on me and my baby. I hate this photo and swore I would delete it, but, I feel its important to share this. Its one of my lowest times. My daughter is asleep behind me after a day of celebrations that were simply a blur to me. I put on my evening dress and wanted to look nice but once mom lifted the camera I lost the will to smile and broke down crying just after this. My saddest photo and the start of my depression really, properly anyway.
But just lately, a black cloud has hovered over me, sending me into an overall sadness that I have never experienced before. In all honesty it has scared me. It’s really terrified me actually. For the first time in my life the thought of not living anymore seemed really rather nice. Life is hard, we all know this and when you have been thrown a big steaming pile of shit its damn hard to stand back up and clean yourself off. Nans death was the final straw for me I think. Its like I died for a few weeks actually. I think I did inside. I was hurting still. Suffering inside. It’s still there inside of me. Like an empty feeling constantly making my chest feel heavy. I am really sad a lot of the time. When I am alone at least. I’m not sure when it will go away. But I am at least confronting it and dealing with it rather than pretending it isn’t happening.
During these weeks, I still did what I needed to do. We went to play group (She had fun whilst I sat in a dream) We went to Aldi (She scribbled on my shopping list and took advantage of my dazed state by putting sweets into the trolley whilst I stared at things and got in people’s way) We went to the library (She enthusiastically read to me whilst I pretended I could function enough to listen). I was physically still trying to carry on with everything you simply can’t stop doing. Afterall, all we can do in life is to try. I can say that I did that at least.
However, mentally I have been a zombie. I would get in from shopping and just sit there. One of my favourite jobs is unpacking the shopping and putting it away (Sad I know!). My mom will testify this as far back as when I was a child (although I am quite sure that raiding the bags for iced buns and crisps back then was the real purpose of my offer to help!).It got so bad that I have woken up most mornings and wished that I hadn’t. It was a relief to sleep. When I could sleep. I don’t think I have had a good nights sleep in 12 months. To wake up again each day to what felt like an empty life felt like a torture to me. Even with my absolutely beautiful girl next to me hogging my bed she has claimed as her own, I knew full well how lucky I was, how lucky I am, to have her, to share my days with her, yet nothing much mattered. I honestly didn’t want to be around.
My daughter would ask for Milk and for me to get up and play, which being as it was usually about 6am, I didn’t muster the energy I usually would (something that annoyed her greatly ha.) I would hope for her to sleep a little longer purely because I couldn’t move myself. How crap is that? Hoping that the person so full of life who loves you most in the world and shows it doesn’t wake up yet? How guilty do you imagine I feel for having felt that way up to now? It wasnt personal of course. My body hurt. My mind was overwhelmed. I was simply exhausted. I still am. I stopped cleaning the house almost completely for a week or so. Can you imagine what it looked like with a three year old doing her stuff?! I am so glad I didn’t have visitors that week!
I could have so easily lost myself. I was at the point for weeks. Nobody would have known. Then I thought of her. Stuck here alone if something happened to me. I have never felt as guilty for even entertaining those thoughts than I did in that moment. It’s amazing how children can bring you back from the brink. Last week I was playing with my daughter and she smiled at me with her massive big blue eyes and said that she had missed me whilst she was asleep the night before. I cried. She asked why of course (how to explain ha). Then we cuddled and I kissed her, we laughed at silly mommy crying and I told her I loved her and that was my moment. My wake up call. She was in front of me all along, the embodiment of life itself aged three, yet I had not been able to see. I love that girl more than anything in this world and more to the point, she loves me. She wants me here. She wants to tell me she loves me. How lovely is that? She has time for me and needs me. She is my purpose each day at the moment and she is the reason I woke up and chose to choose life over sinking. I don’t think even I realised how close I had been to giving up. I very nearly did.
Above: My reason to carry on. One of them x
The next day I took myself to the doctors. Not to get any pills. I don’t believe that masking the problem with pills will heal anyone. I just wanted it on record that I am struggling, so that I am not dealing with it alone. So that someone checks in with me once in a while. To admit it is the first step to fixing it. To say it to a stranger makes it real. I asked for advice and people I could talk to if I needed. That is all. But that was enough as I said, to make it very real.
The next step has been being present again in my own life. Enjoying more with Emi. Not missing anymore precious time with her. Age three is an amazing time. We are making good memories and bonding. I look forward to going to bed for a cuddle and although it’s still a struggle in the morning as I still don’t sleep well I adore being woken up by that face (Ok, maybe not at 6am!), she is a joy to be with and I will never take her time for granted again. These are all things I will continue to work on.
The next stage is me. Seeing my positives and setting my challenges. We all need things to look forward to. I thought I had none. Turns out I could make my own. I have signed up for an English Degree which I am really looking forward to and am loving seeing the different readers on my blog each time I post one. It brings me comfort I can reach out to others with my own experiences. I also went running for the first time in about 6 years last night and loved it (My shins didn’t!). Healthy body healthy mind and all that. I am really actively trying to live again and it feels good. I am not saying I wont have down days anymore. I still don’t like certain things and they hurt a lot. I just hope they don’t take up the whole day. I can let it out for half hour when she’s in bed but it doesn’t have to control my life anymore.
So to the person who told me I don’t understand depression today, I know it came from an upset place, but I assure you, I really do and I hope that if this post helps only one person either understand it a bit better or come to terms with their own, I will be happy. Heres to trying xx