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’
Following what feels like a horrendous few days, ‘Normal’ blog posting resumes and we are on Friday, with the whole weekend ahead!
This morning was always going to hurt after a late night last night. It felt good though, to go to bed having tackled the blog write ups, the cat litter tray and some colouring. I really am a bit more anxious about seeing Aunt than I realised though. I don’t like being perceived as vulnerable and I feel my letter to her has left me stark naked with a neon vulnerable sign flashing above my head. Ah the neon sign. It’s been gone a while! I most definitely don’t need the ‘NEWBIE’ sign that kept me company at the beginning of this story, a whole 11 weeks ago, so it feels only right it be replaced with another one.
So, breakfast consumed, a spritz of dry shampoo and perfume, taking care to get them the right way round, and I am out the door walking to the bus stop. Yes, Patient C is tackling the bus again. Go me! The audiobook is doing a fantastic job of keeping my anxiety level to a just bearable point. I am going to be cutting it very fine today, not because I’ve not left enough time but because one of the junctions takes the bus 4 times to actually get through. Darn London traffic and lack of yellow boxes! After a quick sprint, I am a beetroot shade of red but allowed into therapy. It’s Therapist W today which is great for me. Everyone checks in and I am last to go. I have been feeling quite confused this morning about what exactly I feel. I even write down that I don’t know how I feel. I know Therapist W won’t accept ‘I don’t know’ as a feeling so I probe myself before he gets the chance. I am scared that I feel this hopeless, I am still lying to my psychiatrist about how things are going and I am nervous to see Aunt tonight. Due to the lying, I also have a spoonful of shame to add to the mix. There you have it, it turns out I do know how I am feeling. I write down some other feelings, that don’t make it out my mouth… I am feeling hurt as after a stellar effort from Father to try to care, he’s gotten bored and I’ve not heard from him in quite a while. I’m feeling abandoned by the psychologist I was seeing who appears to have forgotten all about me. I was struggling with her but still, I’d rather not be abandoned. Finally, I am feeling tearful that this all feels such a mess. The medical leave office told me a date that I am no longer eligible for my full pay from them, it would need to be taken over by the insurance. That date has become etched on my mind. I fully intend to be back well before that date. However, I fully intended this ‘little blip’ to be just 1 week. So, I am scared. I am scared that I need to make that date my ‘be better by’ date. If it is, and I am not, then what? Is that when I should call it all a day?
Therapist W wants to start the focus on me! Apparently, when other patients say something nice to me, I immediately have the answer ‘yes, but…’ and try to find something else to prove them wrong. Wow, ok, I’ve become that annoying patient that doesn’t take on board other people’s advice. We’ve seen a couple of those throughout the blog and I have found them thoroughly annoying. I don’t want to add my name to that list. Therapist W uncovers I am embarrassed to ask for help but, by being embarrassed, I am fuelling my own self-hate. I don’t think I can say all the things that need saying to Dr. E so I agree that I am going to email her this weekend. That sounds like a sensible plan. I also need to destroy the textbook of hate I’ve made for myself. I also discuss my fears over ‘the date’. A date that technically means nothing and shouldn’t be given the weight of responsibility that I have given it. Through a wave of tears and snotty bloody nose (oh yes, the nose bleeds are still coming!), I say we can move on.
Patient H2 takes some time and comes up with a brilliant statement that I am going to steal… he feels he has mental constipation! Yes, yes yes yes yes yes, I feel this too! I’ve abused far too many laxatives in my eating disordered past so I really should know! How do I get a laxative for my brain? I have a feeling these aren’t available in Boots.
I start to look at the ceiling. The carpet isn’t questionable, just hospital green and I can’t face looking at the rest of the group so I look up. This is a mistake. There is a questionably stained ceiling. What is it with this place and questionable stains? Is it written somewhere that all rooms in this hospital must have a patch of stains somewhere?
Group ends with some wise words from Therapist W: Shame comes from punitive thinking, it’s a judgement.
I head to the restaurant for lunch and pick the Asian bean burger with a small portion of chips. I stick the earphones in and try to avoid direct eye contact with anyone so I can be left well and truly alone to mull over how shitty I am feeling.
I head up to IPT and I am not sure I’ve got the energy to contribute today. I state as much during check in. I also state that I am feeling low, a bit shut down and that this morning was tough. Therapist J opens up the group and some other patients go first. I am wishing that I didn’t have anything on this weekend. I am wishing I could go home after this, shut the door, shut the blinds, put on pjs and hide with just the cats for company. I can’t though, Aunt arrives today, a friend is staying tomorrow night, I am meant to be at both a party and at Sunday lunch on Sunday.
With 5 minutes to go, Therapist J wants to check how I am going. Oh bugger, I thought I’d gotten away with this. I haven’t. In fact, the group runs 10 minutes over trying to talk to me. Trying to tell me that I am worth the time and help. Just before we finally finish up, and once I’ve dried the snotty bloody tears again, Therapist J suggests we try to put our trousers on differently. Apparently, we’ll have a usual lead leg that we put into our trousers first. He wants us to stop, change leg and see how it feels. It’ll feel weird but ultimately, we’ll have still got the trousers on. As soon as the group ends, I make a hasty exit, I still feel like there are more tears on the brink of pouring down my face so I don’t want to talk to anyone in case they start. So, I head home, via taxi. I’m sorry blog, I really couldn’t face the walk or the bus. I’m also feeling bleurgh. Not just in the head, in the body too.
I feel queasy. Like I might be sick. I’m not a headache person but I think that’s what this is. When I close my eyes the room feels like it’s spinning a bit. Is this stress from a heavy day at therapy? It’s crappy timing. I’m meant to be on my way to my sisters for supper with my aunt. The cats are currently going bonkers chasing each other all around the flat. The final stress is that the flat is a tip and a friend is coming to stay tomorrow straight after the opera. I know she loves me regardless of fancy job, clean flat, perfect facade but it bothers me. Let’s make matters even better and have a nose bleed. Perfect.
Finally make it into an uber and I’m on my way. I’m not even remotely excited. That’s how shit depression is. You know all the things you love and get pleasure from? Depression robs you of the ability to enjoy them. Seriously, going for a red wine fuelled dinner with Aunt and Sister was something I loved. I’d rather be curled under my duvet right now though.
It’s awkward. How else can I describe the elephant in the room? I don’t feel like me and Aunty isn’t acting how I expected Aunty to act. In fact, this is far from enjoyable and being in a 90-minute therapy session would probably be better. I drink the G&T but slowly, very slowly. I snack on the olives but I feel like, similar to my drinking speed, the world is all in slow motion. In fact, every time Sister and Brother-in-law leave the room. It’s painful. Aunty visits, which I love very much, is normally such a happy weekend. This time though, I’m panicking. What to do or say? How can I prove I’m getting better? How can I sort this out? I’m so relieved Sister has moved to a bigger place as at least I don’t have to host all night.
We talk, we drink (I estimate I drink about 1 glass to their 3) and we eat. It’s stunted an awkward and I’m regretting writing the letter to Aunty. Once it hits 2245, it’s my cue to uber my way out of there. I’ve managed a respectable 3 hours 15 minutes.
Once home and in the safety of the flat, I feel shit. When, when will this hell end? When will the world stop having fun without me and let me back into the party? Even my cats seem to have more fun without me. I don’t want to see them all tomorrow. I don’t want to go to the opera. I want to stay at home, in my pjs and dressing gown, hiding under the duvet. That’s something I’ve not said in a while. A duvet day. Also know as a ‘let’s hide from the world’ day. This normally signifies all is not well with my brain. I think that’s an accurate statement for where I am at the moment.