It’s been five days. Five days of holing myself up at home, curtains drawn with the television playing in the background as I absentmindedly swipe through Facebook, Instagram – anything that will distract me. I haven’t achieved anything during these five days. Sure, I’ve managed to do menial tasks – do the washing, maybe clean a bit. After an hour I get tired and I want to go back to bed.
I’ve lived in my pyjamas.
I tried going into work on the Monday and again on Thursday. I’ve had a cold and had to go home. I was mostly relieved. It was hard because a lot of me wanted to be at work where I could focus on something other than what was in my head, but when I turned on the computer and started scrolling through my emails it was exhausting. My patience was gone and I just felt angry and confused.
I tried to make sense of what was happening, I’d felt like this before but it had been about a year since it had got this bad. I was ashamed but desperate, lonely but not wanting to see anyone – do anything.
A few people had started asking me what was wrong, a close friend had been trying to help by going through what I was feeling, nothing worked. I am usually very productive, if I do have the luxury of being at home I will knuckle down and Get. Things. Done. To put this into perspective, once I had a killer bout of upset tummy, firing from both ends – it was disgusting. And yet, between racing to the toilet and sculling water, I managed to rearrange the entire study, including a couple hundred books, while I was stuck at home. If I had the fire – boy, I was unstoppable.
Due to my over-eagerness I had managed to block out every week until next February with tasks, whether it be helping someone with painting or making myself available for other projects. When I look at my diary I feel a strange mix of sheer terror followed swiftly by satisfaction. I may not be able to finish anything in my own life, but I’ll be damned if I can’t help someone with theirs. Unfortunately, there’s only so much I can do, only so much I can fill my time before the reality of ignoring my own faults pushes itself to the surface.
Every day I have taken a nap in the middle, put my earplugs in and waited for someone to wake me, which they inevitably would. Prior to 2018 I had maybe napped a handful of times, maybe less. I hated napping because when I woke up it was like being thrown into a tub of cold water, disorientated and pissed off because I never knew what year it was. Now I wait with longing to be able to crawl back into bed and pull the blankets back over me.
My eye has been twitching for the better half of the week, so even if I do go out I have the look of a deranged homeless woman, hair a mess, face covered in acne due to comfort eating takeaway food, and a twitchy psychotic eye. Safe to say, I look certifiably insane.
Sometimes I am afraid that I will feel like this forever. I don’t want to be like this for the rest of my life, waiting for the fog to lift. The undeniably irony is that when I am at my lowest I write the most, poetry, stories, letters to the editor (just kidding). When I am ‘good’ I have no time left over to do anything, let alone write. I throw myself into projects, make myself as useful as possible. I want to be helpful and invaluable. After all, the truth comes when I go back-wards, I have nothing else to give.
It’s been five days. I am still tired. My head still hurts from the anxiety-induced headache I gave myself yesterday when I was fretting over family. I still look absolutely insane, and the seven kilos I gained in a week and a half unfortunately haven’t gone, either (funny, that).
But, it’s a pretty day and my cold has almost gone, maybe I can take Billie for a walk.
If you, or someone you know is experiencing depression, anxiety or just down and out, visit the below links to get better acquainted with what you can do to move into a better space.
In the lead up to Australia’s R U Okay Day (13th September, 2018), I want to make it more acceptable to talk about the demons in our own heads. I am a safe person, and I have my own safe people. These are people I trust to talk to me when I am feeling like I was, when things feel so bleak it is almost impossible to move forward. I am also a safe person for some of my nearest and dearest.
Join the movement, ask the question and make it OK to talk about mental illness.