This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
It’s Saturday morning. I have 4 hours until my sister’s hen party kicks off. That’s plenty of time to wash, exfoliate and get dressed. I feed the cats first and then take a seat on the sofa for a few minutes. No, I can’t face this. I am going to have a nap under the duvet for an hour. That’ll still give me enough time to get ready. You may be thinking this isn’t a clever idea, well you’d be right, this was a mistake. I can’t get back up. I start to wish I wasn’t even going. How shit is that. My own sister and I am trying to think of ways to stay at home. Somehow, I find the strength from somewhere deep down inside of me to get up. It’s not easy, it takes a lot.
I do finally get up though with 50 minutes before I am meant to be at the restaurant. Bugger. I hop in the shower for a full-on exfoliation and wash. I am somewhat surprised the water doesn’t turn grey! I also tackle the leg hair as my outfit involves a skirt. Every minute of washing and getting ready feels like it needs super human effort. Having applied a small amount of the new, way too expensive, exfoliator, I am not hopeful this is going to have the miracle results the price tag suggests it should. The shower takes a long time. I seem to be moving in slow motion. I am going to be late but I am going to be there, that’s what counts. I manage to apply make up for the first time in nearly 8 weeks. It’s so strange, I feel like I have forgotten what to do! The last 2 weeks at work, prior to my admittance, were tough and I wasn’t coping. I was at the dressed and at office though and therefore felt I was coping. I probably scared a lot of people with my eau natural look. So, here I am, dressed, in wedge heels, in a sparkly ¾ length skirt and black top, with make up and perfume on. Wowee, I didn’t think I’d get here. I order a taxi but this goes wrong. There don’t seem to any nearby and then, when I finally get one allocated to me, they drive off in the wrong direction. I feel like crying stood here on the pavement. I call a minicab instead but now I am going to be 30 minutes late. I’m so scared and the taxi delay is making it worse. My sister’s friend meets me outside and gives me a huge squeeze to make me feel better. They’ve saved a seat next to my sister for me. She takes my hand and gives me a couple if squeezes. I needed that. It’s only when I lift my glass that I realise I am shaking.
Over the course of the lunch, my sister gets a little emotional. She’s overwhelmed by everyone being here for her and, for a woman who didn’t want a hen party, she sure seems to be loving it. She tells me I can leave whenever I want, she is simply happy I made it at all. The food and wine is great, my sister is so happy and everyone seems to be in high spirits.
After lunch, we head back to her friend’s house for a couple of games, more drink, more food plus to glitter up ready for the 80’s disco. This is bittersweet, this part of the hen party was meant to be at my flat. I couldn’t have coped though, I know that, but still, she’s my sister, I should have done this. The two friends who are in the know are being brilliant and come to make sure I’m ok at various points in the evening. I make myself useful by filming the Mr & Mrs game. Her friends arranged for my future brother-in-law to video record his answers to a list of questions. It’s brilliant, he was so nervous but got all the answers spot on. It was emotional to see how much he loves and adores her. I am so happy (and not even the tiniest bit jealous this time) that she has found someone who is going to love her like he does. I am so proud to say he’s going to be my brother-in-law. Fiancé K, you are awesome, welcome to our crazy family.
The next game is guess the memory – who does each memory belong to. This is fairly easy but also hugely touching. We are going to print them all into a memory book for her. One of my all-time favourite memories was the summer before I started A-Levels. I’d caught glandular fever and felt truly awful. Due to a mix up with my blood tests, for 2 weeks they thought nothing was wrong so my mum was telling me to stop being lazy. Finally, the doctors realised the mistake and I was given sympathy. Mum worked night shifts at the time so to keep me occupied, my sister was doing her utmost to make me laugh. This included ‘riding’ our Henry the hoover like a horse and messing around. With Henry as her stead, she went to go over some imaginary jumps. Lifting the hoover pole up to exaggerate the movement, she smashed the metal pole into the lounge crystal chandelier. A few tingly drops later and half the crystal was smashed on the floor. My sister then spent the next 2 hours going around late-night stores trying to find glass superglue. She managed to find it and somehow glue the glass back together. Mum would have been none the wiser except, me being the wonderful little sister I am, told mum one drunken Christmas a few years later. I was not my sister’s favourite person at this point. My sister has always done her best to make me happy and take care of me. I love that she was messing around to help me. Also, the fit of giggles as the glass came shattering down was one of the best remedies for the pain I was in. My sister disagrees on that point though!
After the Mr & Mrs and a guess the memory game, it’s time to scoff some fish finger sarnies and head to a bar. I take charge of being chief crimper. Yes, one of her friends has found a genuine 80’s hair crimper! We cover each other in lots of sparkly glitter to really finish the theme off. The bar is packed but we have a room in the back. This is good, I couldn’t have survived a packed bar otherwise. To top it all off, the bar has a cat that sleeps on the bar! This is amazing. I am going to have to come back here. My sister is definitely drunk by this point and emotionally repeats how much she loves me. Oh, my darling, I love you so much too. The group start prepping to head on to a disco night at a club. I am not sure I can manage that. I’m slightly tipsy and I’ve been on lemonade for the last hour. Turns out nearly 7 weeks off drink has made me a lightweight. Right, Patient C, do what’s best for you. You sister knows you love her, you have nothing to prove. If going home is what’s best for you, do it.
So, I head home at 2300, that’s a whole 10 hours after I left the house. I’ve done it. No, I’ve not made the club but I hate clubs in general. I head off home somewhat tipsy but so pleased I made it out today. To my darling sister, you are an incredible person who is so loved. I am so happy you’ve met ‘your lobster’ in life and can’t wait to have a brother-in-law. Hopefully, one day, I’ll have the strength to show you this blog.
I’d planned my Sunday but it turns out I was tipsier than I realised. I wake up still tired and a little wobbly on my feet. I watch something on tv before I realise I am in need of more sleep. My sister has called, they were out until 0600 and she’s been sick. All in all, that’s surely a good sign of her hen party. Unfortunately, she’s had an allergic reaction to the glitter we poured all over her for the 80’s disco. Oops. Her fiancé has arrived home with a basket of her favourite hangover goodies. He’s opened the sofa bed and lined up a box set for them to watch under the duvet in the lounge. Sister, you got a good one there.
I tuck into a thoroughly unhealthy breakfast but I don’t care. I will get my food back on track but a slight hangover is not the day to start. I curl up on the sofa watching who knows what on tv as I start to fall asleep. That’s it, nap time is needed. I crawl back to bed and let the cats follow me, this is a rare occasion. Stuff today’s plans. Dr E and I agreed pj days are fine if the intention behind them is correct. My intention is that I am tired and somewhat hungover having barely drank in 7 weeks. I decide these are good intentions and therefore I am allowed to ditch the rigorous schedule and relax.
3 hours later and 2 missed calls from my mum, it’s time to wake up. The cats, which are never allowed to sleep in my room, are curled up next to me as living, breathing hot water bottles. Right, now I am going to face up to things. Stop 1, mum. Her line is engaged so she’ll have to wait. Stop 2, my father. About 10 days ago he left me a teary voice message. It’s been worrying me as he’s not one for showing emotions. We have a difficult (ha, understatement) relationship but I need to know he’s ok. He answers and asks what I’ve been up to. Right, father, time to hear your daughter is now officially crazy. I’m shocked at his response. He takes it so well. In fact, dare I say it, he takes it better than my mum. He says he’s read that group therapy is meant to be more powerful than 1:1. Yes! You’ve understood. He doesn’t tell me to pull myself together, instead he says I should take the time I need. He’s worried my bulimia will come back but I assure him I’m handling that. Ok, who is this and what have you done with my actual father. The one who doesn’t know my birthday or age. The one who has consistently hurt me. Then, it comes out. My worst fear about my father. He’s been in a motorbike accident. This has been my biggest fear for years. At the age of 68, he still races super-fast motorbikes. His nickname with his friends is Peter Pan – fitting, right? My fear is he’d be in an accident and given my awful relationship with my stepmum, I’d never have the chance to say goodbye to him. The accident wasn’t life threatening but he has had to have his shoulder re-built with metal pins. Shit. Oh bugger. I feel like crap. I’ve just told him all about me being ill and this whole time he’s been sat in his office which a half body cast and 3 open wounds in his shoulder. See, this is why I am a bad person. He tells me I’m not to worry about him and if I need him, just call. Ha, ok, this is the father I am used to. No, father dearest, the last time I called you for help, I received an invoice in the post! No jokes people, an actual invoice for £2,500. It gets worse but let’s leave it there.
So, with that guilt on my shoulders (whilst trying to tell myself it’s not my fault), it’s onto mum. My mum is brilliant in so many ways but she’s also never truly moved on from my father leaving her. It was brutal to be fair. He left at Christmas with my mum’s best friend. Yes, really, my life could be a storyline for EastEnders. Or worse, we could fit in on Jeremy Kyle! I don’t know why, I think it’s because I am shocked, but I tell mum about dad’s accident. She doesn’t take this well. She doesn’t mean to but she goes on and on about his Peter Pan activities. Look mum, I get it, this hurts you but you need to move on. Mum is freaking about the return of the online shop too. I’ve already emailed her that it’s being sorted but she’s worried. Next up, my dear mum asks if I am allowed outside and can be trusted away from the hospital for a spa day with her and my sister before my sister leaves for her wedding. Yes mother, I am allowed outside now, I am in fact at home! It’s a generational thing I think, she doesn’t understand and at the ripe age of 70, I am not going to be able to change her.
Final stop of the day is my sister to give her a heads up about father’s accident. She, like me, regularly avoid his calls so we don’t have to deal with the hassle. She needs to speak to him about this though.
At 20:00 a get a text. I’ve signed up to the charity SANE who offer a text message service to help depression sufferers. I’ve set it up for 20:00 on a Sunday, often the time I start to feel shit about myself. Each week I completely forget about it though so it’s a pick me up week after week. I highly recommend it if you need some support. You can sign up for it here.
Sat on the sofa, my cats curled up next to me, I go into planning overdrive. This is a distraction for the difficult emotions I am feeling about my father – I am confused by guilt for not being there for him, anger at the pain he’s caused me, love for his caring messages about me being ill and finally the heartbreak of hearing him near tears. The benefit of all this planning is I’ve packed my swim bag, maybe tomorrow can be the day I finally walk to the hospital and hit the pool for a swim on the way home.
Fingers crossed I can get a good night’s sleep, although at 0100 I’m still awake trying to sort the recycling out. Oh, I hate my lists.