When the black dog rears its ugly head, there is one thing that always comes with it. One single thought, endlessly repeating in my brain. And my brain, being the wily, cunning thing that it is, gives me evidence to support this thought. It is a simple phrase, but one that seems to carry with it an incredibly heavy weight.
you are not enough
It reverberates around my head constantly. It is accompanied by a feeling of worthlessness and a strange kind of loneliness. Depression has a way of isolating those that suffer from it, and there is nothing worse than feeling like nothing, and having to try and maintain a normal facade despite it. You worry that you can’t mention how you’re feeling, because people will get sick of you. You can practically feel the eye rolls and hear the sighs, and so you pretend that everything is ok, even when all you want to do is cry.
I don’t cry in front of people. I wait until it’s dark, and no one can see me. And it never makes me feel better, but what else is there to do? Being constantly beaten down by your own brain chemistry and intrusive thoughts is draining, man.
I don’t know how to teach my brain not to tell me such unkind things, and I don’t know how to make myself believe that those things are not true. There is no physical enemy I can confront here, no one I can yell at, nothing I can physically push away. I am trapped inside my own negative thinking, and I can’t get out of my own head.
I need a break from everything, I just want to sleep for a year and wake up and just be ok.
Please scroll past this post if reading about unhappy things is going to ruin your day. I may not enjoy Christmas, but I don’t wish to put a damper on anyone else’s joy.
With that out of the way; today is Christmas, and it’s 5:02 in the morning. I’m awake, again, because of an unfortunate and cruel twist of fate that brought me into this life as a woman. So of course, because it’s Christmas and because I’m awake, 25/12/18 is off to a bad start. And this time, it’s not just because I’m a common garden variety Grinch.
Christmas has long since become my least favourite time of the year, but this year I’m feeling especially melancholic. It’s a stupid mental health issue, you see. My brain decides that, on a day when so many people are feeling joy and happiness and closeness, it is going to screw around with some chemistry and make me sad. My brain and I are at odds with each other a lot, and today especially, she’s being a rather heinous bitch.
I feel very alone. I have family events to attend today, but right now the very thought of going anywhere or doing anything, exhausts me. I feel like I need to cry but it’s as though the ability to do so has dried up. Isn’t that just the worst thing, when you need to cry but you can’t?
I realise this is a miserable thing to say on a day like this, but I wish it was tomorrow. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the rest of the day.
I almost started this post with “the problem with anxiety and depression is…” but the truth is, there isn’t just one problem. There’s about five billion. So, let’s begin again.
When an outgoing and gregarious friend unexpectedly tells you that they’ve been to see someone about anxiety and depression, it kind of knocks you for six. It’s easy, you see, to look at someone’s outward personality and assume everything is ok. It’s easier still, to not even consider the possibility that they may not be ok, because they’re not the kind of person you readily associate with the black cloud of mental illness.
Anxiety and depression can affect anyone. In fact, statistics show show that 1 in 4 Australians will experience anxiety, whilst 1 in 6 will experience depression at some point in their lives. That’s a fucking lot of people. And, unlike a physical ailment that can be fixed with a bandaid, mental illness is not so easily remedied. It’s all consuming and bleak and confronting, and there’s no easy fix.
I’m a ‘suffer in silence’ kind of person in most aspects of my life, so I can understand why it’s easier to pretend things are ok than to tell people that you’re having a difficult time. Why it’s easier to lock the bad things behind a door and pretend it doesn’t exist than talk about it, or face the hard reality of it. And that’s why it’s never a good idea to simply assume that someone is ok.
Ask. Check in. Be there to lend a shoulder, or an ear, or to just sit in silence. Because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
So, I think there’s a chance I might actually be becoming a proper adult. I know, I’m just as scared and surprised as you are. It’s just that recently, I’ve made a few changes that seem like very grown up decisions to the perpetual child in me. And perhaps it’s not an altogether bad thing.
The first change I made was taking out the piercing in my tongue. I’ve had my tongue pierced since I was about nineteen, and at the time I thought I was so cool…despite the fact that it took me two weeks to rid myself of the tongue swollen lisp; that was very much the opposite of cool. Anyway, I’d had that piercing in for the better part of five years and finally decided that the damage it could do to my teeth wasn’t worth the supposed ‘cool’ factor. It felt like a very adult choice, and I feel better for it. So does the dentist.
The second thing is that I’ve been branching out with my somewhat meagre cooking abilities. With my housemate in India for three weeks, I have carte blanche to make whatever I want, at whatever time I choose. Now admittedly, last night I did eat four hash browns for dinner because I’m a little broke after impulsively purchasing an electric guitar (ok, so maybe not a completely responsible adult just yet), but that doesn’t change the fact that some of my recent creations have been inspired. Zucchini slice, chicken soup, chilli…I’m no masterchef, but I’m certainly improving.
And the last and most significant change is the fact that I have once again started to apply for jobs. Now, Christmas is either the best or the absolute worst time to be hunting for alternative employment. But it is utterly essential for my mental health, and outlook on life. As I mentioned in my last post, they moved me into a new shop, and despite the fact that I tried to be positive about it, I was in tears three times in three days. That’s a pretty crap track record, and it has made me realise that no amount of money is worth my complete and endless misery. And anyway, the only reason I’m on such good money is because I’m working 51 hours a week, including all weekend. You’ve all heard me complain about it before, so I won’t go into it again, except to say that I need to make a change before I have a mental and emotional breakdown. And trust me, the way things have been going lately, I am well on my way.
So there you have it. Little old ‘adulthood is for losers’ Amy is finally on her way to becoming one. Gods help us all.