I can’t, I have Depression!

Recently I engaged in a discussion with a fellow blogger somewhere (thanks meds, can’t remember who or where!) about knowing somebody who uses their illness as an excuse to get out of doing things. Since then I’ve been thinking quite extensively about it, as it’s something I’ve dealt with for a large part of my life. A close family member suffers from depression and they played a large part in my own failure to accept my issues.

For the longest time I thought that maybe I was just like them – wallowing in self-pity or inventing an “illness” that was a convenient excuse to hide my own shortcomings behind. I thought there was nothing wrong with me that a good kick in the ass wouldn’t cure. That I needed to stop making myself out to be suffering from anything other than weakness and get on with my life. 

Once I successfully cleared the hurdle of seeking a diagnosis and accepting my label as a depressive, this person’s presence actually became a more positive one. Actually, that’s not true. It’s more accurate to say that their presence became less negative. I don’t mean that they changed into a supportive person or shared some insights into their actions that gave me a lightbulb moment of clarity. In fact, this person doesn’t even know about my diagnosis. They continued on much as they always have – living in their bubble of self-absorption and self-reference.  What has changed is my perception of them and the influence they have on me and my emotions. 

These days I hear the usual “oh I could never do that” and “I had such potential and then the awful life I have had happened” and instead of anger, resentment and guilt I feel pity and more importantly I feel motivated. I spoke recently about the concept of being a high-functioning depressive and what that means to me. I guess I left out a major driver in my life – my determination not to turn into this negative, self-absorbed person who has had such a negative influence on my mental health to date. 

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I can’t, I have Depression!

Someone drew me on the Internet

Recently I discovered that an old favourite of mine, Allie at Hyperbole and a Half, had written a new(ish) post – a follow up to her amazing 2011 Adventures in Depression.

When I was first diagnosed and nosing around the interwebs to find comfort, information & maybe even a silver lining in this whole crazy thing, her post was one of the first things I read that really struck me. It made me feel so much less alone, so much more “normal” and I realised that there were actually other people in this world who felt exactly like I did. That’s a pretty powerful thing when you’re at your lowest point and you feel that no one understands you. To find a person who gets the “hidden” you that you struggle to hide from most people is pretty rare – for that person to be someone on another continent, who you’ve never met and who doesn’t even know you exist….well, I did say I was crazy right!

Allie struck a chord with me because she expressed my thoughts and feelings better than I ever could and with so much humour and creativity. Then I realised she also drew me! Right there in part two. This is now my phone screensaver, because the instant I saw it something in it connected with me. I love my coffee, I love to hang out in cafes & I always glare at people who are making noise or daring to have fun in my vicinity. Why are they laughing? Why are their lives so easy and mine is so hard? Are they laughing at me? I’m such an outsider. Nobody likes me. STOP MAKING JOYOUS SOUNDS OUT OF YOUR FACE.

Since I started this blog I’ve had 42 follows and a handful of comment-exchanges with others. I have made a teeny tiny wave in the world and I have interacted with people just like me, something my “real life” never gives me the opportunity to do. It might not seem like much, but to me sitting in my home, trying to make sense of the hand life has dealt me, it means the world.

Someone drew me on the Internet

Why I Hate: Tuesdays

Forget Monday. As far as I’m concerned Tuesday is by far the worst day of the week.

You know what you’re getting with Monday – everybody has experienced dying inside a little bit when setting the alarm on a Sunday night, knowing in 8 hours you have to pretend to be a functioning member of society again – for 5 whole days.

Wednesday is a great day – hump day as many call it. If that’s not an excuse to hit the pub/cinema/shops then I don’t know what is. It’s also usually a good night for the telly.

Thursday, well that’s the day before Friday. Shops are open late. Some lucky people get paid. New movies are released. And it’s become the new Friday in terms of after work drinkies.

Friday needs no introduction. A quick 8 hour stint at your desk and then you’re free as a bird. Afterwork party? Spur of the moment hiking trip? Hop on the train to Paris? The possibilities are endless and the hope carries you through to 5pm. You might even start by having lunch out, given that its a Friday and all. Maybe even a cheeky dessert.

Saturday & Sunday are mainly determined by your marital and family status. Single – hungover and “never drinking again”. Cohabiting – getting lost in IKEA before throwing a wine and cheese gathering for your couple friends. Parents – panic buying a slutty doll or ‘roided action man for little Britney or Jerimiah’s birthday party and cooking your freezer meal stash for the week. At 11pm all threads of society come back together again for the collective groan of agony when someone remembers they forgot to wash their work trousers, or that tomorrow is that board meeting they forgot to prepare for.

Ah, so nice and predictable. These obliging days have a predetermined purpose based on their place in the week. You are anchored in them, anchored in the global activity of passing another day with your fellow humans.

But not on a Tuesday. Oh no. Tuesday you wake up and all you have to do is repeat Monday again. There are no days off on the horizon, not even a glimmer of Friday peeking through a crack of the curtains of Thursday. Your past is Monday and nobody wants to think about that again. Sometimes we try to deceive ourselves by taking a class or joining a team – we try to force meaning and purpose onto Tuesday. Then we can say things like “oh Tuesday, that’s Tag Rugby day”. Whatever you need to get through to the safety of Wednesday I suppose!

I sometimes feel as if my life is a never ending Tuesday. I can’t remember the good times, they are too far gone to be easily called to mind. The past I can remember is a hazy blur of awfulness. And I’m so far from a reprieve it seems as though the light will never come.

Why I Hate: Tuesdays