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Not the Me That I Want You to See

parachute

“FACT: 98.5% more enjoyable than depression.”

I have no words of wit or scathing biro-stabbing wisdom this week so I shall try a spot of honesty. It will probably come back to haunt me, but it seems everyone else out there has written one of these, so here’s mine.

I don’t feel very well right now. You wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with me if you were to look at me; I still have a snarl of red lipstick and a click-click of high heels as well as the inimitable spritz of Chanel No. 5. I also have all my limbs and vital organs exactly where they should be, but I don’t feel very well. In fact, to say “I don’t feel very well” is a gross understatement but it serves to fend off polite enquiries as to why I am not myself right now, without ensnaring myself in a  complicated weft of lies, or further pokings of nosy noses.

I have depression. It isn’t the first time and I dare say it will not be the last. Ever since childhood, I have had recurrent bouts of it for no tangible reason – I can’t even blame the abominable existence of TOWIE or Crocs – it just is what it is. I have had therapies, counselling, tests, medication, herbal tea and sympathy, and while it goes away after a time, fairly soon it rears its ugly head and descends like a thick fog again, leaving me almost catatonic with melancholy and morbidity. I’ve been lucky to have a couple of years mostly free of feeling its choking grip, but now, like a mask-wearing, blood spattered horror cliché, it’s back.

Most people don’t know there is this side to me, and why should they? This is not all that I am and it is not the me that I want you to see. I am all the things people know; the jokes, the laughter, the exuberant foolery, but I am also this. I have never spoken openly about it before as it carries a stigma and welcomes judgement from those who don’t understand, from those who try to quantify it and propose that looking “on the bright side” will clear it all up. Thanks for that, bright siders, but that’s like telling a diabetic not to be so hard on Haribo. I am that humorous, vivacious person still, but I am also this. Sadly, at the moment, “this” has taken over.

I don’t really need to harp on about how it feels to be depressed, you can read all about it on various healthcare sites and unless you’ve personally stared into that abyss, you will never truly understand (you can try, but I think it would be more fun to take up sky diving or learn a language). Someone once put it to me better than I could; they said that it feels “blurry, sore, insipid and dead, that you don’t think you will ever be able to feel rich, vivid, fun and vital again, that everything is vacuous and pointless”. These are good words indeed, but at the moment I would just say that existing hurts so much, I wish a strong gust of wind would disintegrate me and carry me off as a cloud of dust so that I wouldn’t “be” any more.

I have become rather good at spotting the signs of this bleak demon creeping up, almost as well as I can spot the signs of a commuter getting ready to vacate a seat on a packed train – in both instances, it pays to pounce. I have had to admit defeat and faced the difficult decision to go to my GP, where I spent my allotted 2 minutes weeping, as I faced the probing questions and patronising suggestions of “going for a walk” (not always helpful to suggest to someone who feels like “walking” in front of a bus) and the humiliating review of my back-catalogue of mental health. N.b. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t really throw myself under a bus, buses are vile – anything but a bus.

Yet again I have had to swallow my pride along with a pill, because as much as I don’t want to be one of “those” people, the very cruel nature of depression is that it robs you of the ability to do the very things that will help stave it off. Right now, I can barely speak, I can’t stand music or laughter, can’t joke, I don’t want to go to the places I enjoy (merely getting out of bed involves tears – more so than normal), can’t do the things that lift me and I don’t want to be around the people who love me most. I want to give up on trying, to give up on hoping. As I have no ‘forward, back, up, forward, up, down’ cheat code, I think pills are a fairly good alternative.

I don’t need sympathy, I don’t need pity (dear god, not the pity. That’s almost as bad as the bright siders), I don’t need solutions or flowers (ok, flowers might be nice, but not bloody lilies. People always give me lilies, like they’re pre-empting something), I need normality. I need the world to carry on turning and for people to carry on teasing and joking and sending me emails regarding their bowel movements (you know who you are) and perhaps a smidge of allowance for my not being the me that I want you to see. After all, I’m not a two-headed, Croc-wearing psychopathic circus freak, I just don’t feel very well right now.

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

56 responses »

  1. lorimillerprca

    I love your posts. The irreverent humor and shocking candor. But this one speaks to me like no other. Thank you for writing it.

    Reply
  2. Oh! Pull yourself together woman!
    (How many smilies must I put in to prove that I was being ironic?)

    Reply
  3. Yep that’s how it feels 😦 :-). :-/

    Reply
  4. Well done! I have shared and the response is as I expected, but not from the people i expected. Which goes to show, we never really ‘know’ people x

    Reply
  5. A witty, articulate and well written piece about the black fog. Thoroughly enjoyed it. For as long as I have huge bowel movements I’ll be sending you my out pourings. Literally

    Reply
  6. missy amber

    If you’re on meds, does this mean I get to drink your ration of vodka this weekend?
    I say ration, like it’s doled out in exchange for coupons along with powdered egg and tripe. I mean your half of the bottle.

    Reply
  7. Jennifer Woods

    Perhaps Crocs don’t cause depression, but they certainly can’t help.

    Reply
  8. I wanted to reply to this with some sort of insightful comment, but every sentence I thought of writing just sounded trite.

    So, all I’m going to say is, I hope you feel well soon … and I’m thinking of you.

    (Not in a creepy way though. Unless that’s what you want. In which case, you have my phone number.)

    🙂

    [Smiley face for you, because I know you just looooooove them.]

    Reply
  9. That was brave. Well done and hope you feel better soon, soon.

    Reply
  10. Excellent post.

    Weird aside: the pic is of a paraglider, not a parachutist (vastly different). I recently took up paragliding and the thrilling freedom and rush it gives me is the polar opposite of cloying depression.

    Not a cure or even treatment (I guess) but a day floating around the clouds, and the endorphins thus induced, gives you a guaranteed depression-free day.

    Reply
  11. Thanks for your honesty in this post.
    I really do think that you are one of the most talented bloggers in English.
    But maybe not in Swahili….

    Reply
  12. Elaine Williamson

    I could never put my life into words the way you have. Thank you. Its good to know I’m not alone. Hang in there.. (’cause thats what I’m doing) x

    Reply
  13. Sorry to hear you are not feeling the greatest, it just plain sucks when that happens. I have those spells too, that come and go for no apparent reason. When I was still working I some how managed to put on a happy face for 8 hours a day while in the office because I knew I could go home and be miserable all I wanted after – only to hear “Oh, so and so is so depressed – not like you, you’re always happy” yes, either that or a brilliant actor. Now that I’ve been off work for 6 months it’s been a little harder to put the happy face on, because why? The suggestions to get exercise make sense, you do feel better when you work out even just a little, but when you feel like poo it’s a little hard to even convince yourself to try. Judging from these comments you are not alone in feeling this way, not that makes it better, but I hope you feel better soon!

    Reply
  14. springtimerose

    If there ever was a gross understatement, it is that you are an amazing blogger and writer. Wow.

    Reply
  15. Get well soon me deario – need those weekly caustic insights

    Reply
  16. Be good to yourself. (I have been there.)

    Reply
  17. For someone that makes me grin each time I see you on my TL (without even reading) you’ve totally caught my breath reading this. I won’t stop grinning but I will at least know the effort you’ve been to for my grin. Don’t stop doing it………. ever

    Reply
  18. Follow you on Twitter … Always make me laugh. Reading this strikes a chord with me as I have been there and still am. You describe it perfectly and I agree no one can understand unless they have been there. Things that piss me off the most ‘try exercise’ ‘but you have beautiful children’ etc – that makes me close the door to a lot of people . Wondered if you stopped taking the pills between periods of depression? I did . Because obvs don’t want to be taking them and when you feel better you think you don’t need them. However I was told by a therapist probably best to stay on a low dose all the time … Anyway loved the blog. You will feel better in time and that fucking bastard black cloud will lift ! X

    Reply
    • I have to confess, I stopped taking the last lot as they made me feel nauseous and then I was getting on without them so well, I never went back. Until now. Silly me.

      Ah yes, the good old “but why? You have so many wonderful things; a job, a roof over your head etc”. Yep, I also have loose wiring in my noggin.

      Reply
  19. Fuck I just wrote a fairly decent reply and then it didn’t post … What I basically said was I know how you feel completely . When someone says that however I know I think ‘no you don’t’ but I get many things you talked about (esp crocs).
    Things that piss me off even more when depressed ‘ you need to do some exercise’ ‘but how can you be sad with beautiful children?’ ‘You need to cheer up’ …. Etc *stab stab*
    Can I ask if you had taken meds before and then stopped when feeling better? This is what I did and was told by a therapist to remain on a low dose all the time which is what I do to maintain ‘balance’ . X

    Reply
  20. No matter what you do, sometimes the fog catches. Impressed you still manage the snarl of lipstick and the click click.

    Reply
  21. I had a feeling this was part of you. I understand. I hate it for you. But you said it–you know what you must do. You know what tools you have that will help. You don’t want to use them–I so get that–but you must.

    I’m about a week behind this post, so perhaps you’ve already started. If not, do that one thing today that might help–the walk, the call to a friend–whatever it is.

    What you’re feeling is real. And it is just the illness. It’s not you. The dank thoughts slogging through you head are not you. The drag of hopelessness is not you. It’s the illness. You’re still in there. You’ll come back.

    Reply
  22. Reblogged this on Raising Jonah and commented:
    Glad to hear it’s not just me then. As accurate a description as any I could summon up from the depths.

    Reply
    • Apparently we are very much not alone.

      Reply
      • Modern life is rubbish. Except when it’s not. I blame my parents, my hormones, my kids, my husband but mainly just myself. And everyone else. And not getting enough sleep. Or doing enough yoga. Or getting paid enough. If all those things were sorted, I’d be happier, right? Nah… I’d probably just get knocked up again…

        I hope you’re feeling jollier today in any case. I cried at my desk. At least that cheers everyone else up…

        Reply
  23. Ah, you become more beautiful to me the more you become more human. Depression, like poo, happens. Some of us, myself included, get hit harder than others. I have had those tell me to just “get over it” or some such. One person told me things and I found out he had never been depressed. It was difficult to watch him when it finally did hit as it struck him harder than most of us. He is better, but now, I think, he understands a bit better.
    I suffered from it for many years. Since the stroke, I have changed mentally and my stroke therapist says she doesn’t think I have much of it at all. She is more concerned about anxiety, so I work on that. She’s correct. Anxiety is bad also.
    Anyway, just letting you know I understand, sympathize, and won’t say “just take a walk”.
    Scott

    Reply
  24. Very we’ll put. I hope you feeling better. I am glad you wrote this because it is go to know that others understand.

    Reply
  25. Andy Dakin

    I follow you on Twitter & find you utterly hilarious, which right now, is much needed. Like you, I suffer from the black mist. The melancholy & morbidity are stronger some days than others. It came about initially after the death of my father. It then caused the breakdown of my thirteen year relationship. Then an injury occurred which leaves me in perpetual pain & that in turn, cost me my dream job… So currently, the black mist has a firm grip on whats left of my life. Your tweets & your blog bring a much needed smile to my face. So you are doing more than you realise to help conquer the demon, not just for yourself. I wish you luck with your battle 🙂

    Reply
  26. For a person staring into the abyss as we speak i can say with certainty that I enjoyed this immensely. You have a sort of sassy writing style which i just freaking love!

    Reply
  27. Totally can identify with you when you just want to feel “normalised”. The world doesn’t understand what we are going and the bizarre thoughts that run through our head. We cannot have control when the thoughts go spinning round and round. But we gotta know that we can control and conquer it. I know it is very difficult but we gotta stand up for ourselves cos no one understands what we are going through. We are the only ones who can help ourselves. Hope you are felling better soon!

    Reply
  28. Thanks to you and those like you with the courage and skill to put this into words. You give those of us lucky enough to have no real concept of what living with depression must be like some small insight into your world.
    I hope the clouds lift for you soon.

    Reply

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