11 May 2017

On securely falling back into the pit

Slipping back into a depressive period when you’ve been so stable for a good few years is like receiving a letter to warn you of your fate and then descending into hell with a parachute. 

It’s gentle, expected, and eerie. You know this place, you recognise these feelings, and you’re not so scared and alone as you were before. 

If I wasn’t depressed, I’d be frustrated that I am, once again, depressed. I’d be angry and confused as to why I’ve found myself back being hopeless and helpless after doing so well for so long. But I’m depressed, so I’m not feeling that at all. I’m just looking at those feelings having a strop over the other side of room and thinking, “I can’t be arsed to feel that tbh, it’s too much effort and I just don’t care.”

Finally being back in the senseless pit after feeling its slow, frustrating, confusing, and irritable presence for some weeks is almost a relief. Is that wrong?

I expected this. My life for the first four months of this year was training for, and then running, a marathon. Have I mentioned, etc. I knew the abrupt change to my lifestyle after it was over would be tricky, if not tough. I knew I’d be moving flat immediately after (for a month - we have a long changeover which hasn’t actually been as much of a relief as we wanted) and I knew I’d be last-minute fundraising and preparing for the MoonWalk (15 miles through London at night) which is this Saturday, just three weeks after the London Marathon, because really why not. 

I also knew I’d be going on holiday to Salzburg with my mum between moving flats and doing the MoonWalk, and Riga with Ryan the weekend after our final move-in weekend, which is also his birthday. 

The above is all happening within the same month. I knew this. I know this. It is not a surprise, and nor is this location back to the pit. All of that is a lot for anyone to deal with, let alone a person who is a little fragile. 

I’d heard of the post-marathon blues. Feeling down after a marathon is totally normal and expected, but I didn’t really notice it. I didn’t have time to, I was busy. But my fitness level and diet changed immediately, and I know that what you put into your body, and what you do with your body, affects your mood, so maybe that could be a reason I’m back here at Flat 0, 3 Cries A Night Road, Boredom, DPR SSN. 

Or maybe it’s the fact that on top of everything above, I’ve had to cope with one cancer scare and one cancer diagnosis this week, a frustrating ex-landlady and even more frustrating companies who aren’t making this flat move any easier for us. 

I’m also on my period. Maybe it’s that. 

I could spend hours, days analysing why I feel like I’m living deep inside my body unable to communicate, use my senses, make much sense of what’s happening around me, or care. About anything. But there’s not much point. The point now is to deal with it and wait the bullshit out. I know it won’t last, I know things will get better. I know all this. There are a lot of things I know about my mental health now, and I'm grateful and privileged to know them. 

I know I’m in a depressive episode when:

  • My anxiety behaviours are nowhere to be seen.
  • Any attempt at self care is met with boredom and effort.
  • I can’t concentrate/am clumsy/make constant mistakes.
  • I don’t enjoy anything. I wasn't particularly enthralled about going on holiday.
  • I cry at everything.
  • I have a constant buzzing noise in my ears.
  • My tongue feels numb.
  • I can’t talk to anyone. I don’t know how. The connections in my brain are fucked.
  • I see very little point in doing anything. 
  • I sleep a lot. 
  • I hear nothing on the outside but everything inside my body. Food digesting, skin cells growing.
  • I just. Don’t. Care.

I know the things that will help me are:

  • Constant communication from friends where:
    • replies aren’t expected 
    • how I’m feeling isn't mentioned
    • stupid jokes are made
    • random hairdresser-style nonsense is babbled 
    • you RT my shit even if it's not funny 
  • Food, whether I want it or not.
  • Water, whether I want it or not.
  • Hugs, but only if I want them. 
  • Little verbal communication.
  • Fresh air to try and kickstart my senses again. Even if it’s sticking my head out the window.
  • Listening to good music. I listen to music way more when I'm like this. Send me good music.
  • Just waiting it all out until the ladder appears for me to climb out the pit.
I’m still ok. I’m not in crisis, nor do I need serious support. I’m still stable. This experience of the pit is a very different one to the years I spent in it before. I’m still strong, important, and brave. I’m still incredibly aware of my sense of self; my mental health has just slipped between a gap in the fence. I’m a little fragile, a little unable, and just a little bit exhausted. 

I’m going to make myself comfy down here.


If you're struggling with your mental health and need support, you can visit:

  • The Mix, if you're under 25. Call their free helpline on 0800 808 4994.
  • Mind. Call their infoline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.
  • Samaritans if you're having suicidal thoughts. Call 116 123.

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