Last week I bought (yet another) notebook and a lovely skinny pen, and the first thing I did – apart from sketch a thing that could have been a Sunday roast or an arctic roll being frowned at by an angry-looking fish – was write a to-do list on the back page in an effort to get thoughts and deeds in order.
Hello lovely readers (if you’re still out there after a month of silence).
It’s that point in the evening when the sun drops low enough to sit on next door’s roof. If I’m sat on the sofa, working – which I am, and have been all bloody day – the light blinds me for about five minutes. It is very pleasant to be wilfully dazzled. Seems like the time to crack open some cider.
For the purposes of this weekend, I have renamed cider ‘Don’t Care Juice’. Continue reading
This week (12th – 18th May) is Mental Health Awareness week.
I wrote a poem, ages ago, for submission to a themed Mslexia issue. Theme: troubled minds. I didn’t get into the issue and I’ve sent the poem out unsuccessfully since then. It popped back up in my inbox yesterday, still homeless, and though I’m sure if I keep sending it out there it’ll get picked up at some point (maybe), it seemed appropriate that it’s reappeared as a free agent this week. So I’ve decided to put it up here. Continue reading
I am really, really grateful for my friends (even those that are currently not in touch and who I miss badly). They’ve been keeping me going this week, even if they’ve not realised it. Although it’s been a great few days in terms of passing hours and spending time with people, I feel as though I’ve been snatching at ways to be happy with increasing desperation.
It’s partly my own fault. Against everything I intellectually know about health and tests and waiting times, I stupidly managed to convince myself last week that the doctor’s appointment on Friday would be IT. That that Monday’s blood test would be the concluding result, they’d stick me on meds, I’d be fixed and life goes back to normal. And that didn’t happen, of course. Instead there’s more tests to be done; referral to a respiratory specialist with at least a three-month wait; results to wait on before I can expect some sort of workable information. It seems like an age.
This year, in which I managed to get places in so many balloted races and which I was so excited about, is a write-off in terms of physical activity, and Friday was the first time I really had to face up to that. I had a bit of a weeping break down outside the doctors, then went out to a wine and cheese evening where I smiled and chatted to people and drank and deliberately didn’t think about it. Then I cried again on the phone to my mum in the morning, and then kept busy busy busy all weekend, meeting a new friend, chatting to my sister, going to the fair. It wasn’t until I was sat in front of a computer at work on Monday that I realised how much just keeping busy and seeing people had been holding off a fairly dark depression.
And yes, I know it could be worse. I have nothing fatal (I’m assuming), I can walk around and do most things, I have my job, my life as a whole is not so disrupted – so yes, bearing all of that in mind I’m just being a brat. But the total lack of endorphins, and the lack of reason and ability to get outside and away from people and turn off my brain because I’m thinking about nothing but breathing and moving, is the equivalent of going off my antidepressants long-term and without psychiatric approval. As a friend of mine said in response to an email I sent (which may have contained the line, If one more person asks me if I’ve considered maybe going for a walk instead of running, I’m going to kick a fucking wall down): “I read somewhere that runners are people who have figured out how to self-medicate for depression.” Exactly.
Another thing: I’m losing my sense of self. I wrote to my friend –
“… Also, I realised today that the more out of shape I get, the more effort I’m making with make-up and hair, because I don’t feel good about myself any more and I’m trying to cover it up. There’s a direct fucking correlation between how good I feel and how much of an effort I make with my appearance. I am wearing LIPSTICK and a FUCKING DRESS. This is like code red territory.”
Yes, there was a lot of swearing in that email. I’m cussing like the metaphorical sailor these days.
Ordinarily I don’t care about make-up and clothes much, but I’m spending more and more time and money on gussying myself up. I don’t really recognise myself in the mirror at the moment, and I don’t like it, but I don’t know how else to get myself up and out of the house at the moment, either. Maybe the effort is nicer for people who have to look at me, but I was always a scruff even when I cared, and I’ve spent 2+ years not caring so much because I was happier in myself and could have gone out in pyjamas and still be happy with myself. I really, really miss that confidence. I don’t know this person who tuts because her lipstick isn’t in her bag and who applies eyeliner on the train. I don’t like her very much.
This weekend, I should have been at Wimbleball. Tomorrow morning I would have been travelling to Devon. Plan B, after cancelling my entry in the race, was to go to Devon anyway, but that has had to be called off. So instead I was at the doctor’s again this morning (spirometry test) and now I’m stuck in London, looking at day trips I can’t afford (because I’m broke because I spent all my fecking money on red lipstick and hairspray) with no clue precisely how I’m going to avoid thinking about all the things that I would have been doing this weekend if circumstances were different.
Monster and I signed up for a jive dance night on Saturday, which should be good. I’ve organised a few bits and pieces (the dancing, go loosely swimming, meet up with a couple of friends – including another blogger who is currently dealing with the hell of finding a social group in London). I’m really tempted, though, to just bring in an awful lot of whiskey and wine and drink myself into a stupor for four days. Because that’s the mature, adult way to deal with this.
So this is a day late yet again – but in my defence, Rest Day Monday demands either the pub or the cinema, and this week I managed to do both (Winter’s Bone and Fargo – very suitable given the weather). Which meant not managing to do my weekly writing and yes, I did consider just leaving it for another week. But following impatient cries from my rabid fans… Continue reading
We’ve just returned from a Sofia Coppola (or Giovanni Ribisi, depending on your poison) double bill at the Prince Charles. The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. I wasn’t sure whether to go or not, because I’m a bit low and watching those films could, I figured, push me either way. I’ve never seen The Virgin Suicides on a big screen before – I bought the music before I ever saw the film (by Air – check it out), love the book, love the film. I had forgotten or blocked out the more upsetting bits.
Yesterday a good friend of mine, who has gone to travel and live in a couple of other countries for the next year, got in touch. He was upset – someone he knew, but wasn’t close to, died. It was a very short conversation, but it got me thinking about absent friends.
It’s not a secret, exactly, but it’s not common knowledge among the people I see day-to-day that I have depression.
I don’t mind people knowing about it and I don’t mind answering questions. I don’t think it’s something that ought to define me, but there’s a stigma attached to it and it’s definitely not a glamorous quirk, so I tend not to drop that side of my life into general conversation when someone asks me about myself.