Maybe it’s just a slump I keep telling myself, maybe I just need to rest more. I seem to be tired all the time. I probably need to stay at home and do nothing. But money is running out and I’m not applying for work. In fact, I’m doing almost no work at all, even the things I thought I really enjoy.
A good routine is needed, no wonder I feel fatigued when I’m up all night, sleeping till midday. But getting up at a reasonable hour in the morning seems an insurmountable task. Leaving the house for a few hours to do some work in the library would help but is out of the question.
Let’s focus on self-care then, do a bit of yoga or meditation. Maybe tomorrow, today I’m way too tired to muster the energy for that. At least I’m still writing, pages of stream of consciousness are getting darker and darker. I’m lost.
‘I think you need to consider taking antidepressants.’ my therapist says to me. Okay, so this is depression? Huh, I thought you needed to be suicidal for that or totally incapable of managing your life? I’m not that, am I?
Well, I’m often unable to leave my room because I’m overcome with a sense of dread and fear. I want to see my friends but I can’t really cope with being around people. My phone is on airplane mode most of the time, still powered on with limited function but not really available.
I’m unable to do a weekly shop because I can’t decide what I want to eat on a daily basis let alone figure out meals for an entire week. The five minute walk to the shop requires too much energy for me anyway, so let’s just settle on take away.
I need to accept the fact that life isn’t going to be much fun from now on and get on with it. Ah, depression. That’s it. I get it now. I’ve had this before, maybe not as bad but it seems very familiar. I just called it lethargy, laziness, irritability, weakness, lack of willpower and stamina.
Why shouldn’t I be able to deal with a breakup or workplace bullying or a career change or unemployment? Those are regular everyday life occurences, nothing special. It’s me, it’s my fault for not being able to cope with them. I’m just useless at being human.
But there it is now, an explanation somewhat. Depression. It’s good to be able to look at it, to have it in my grasp, to be able to hold it and give it a name. So you fucker have been sabotaging me all my life and I took the blame? Well, that ends now Mister.
I begin talking to friends about it. So you too? Everybody seems to be carrying that heavy burden at some stage or another in life. Maybe that’s just what life is like. Sometimes it gets a bit too hard and you need extra help. And what are feelings than not transient, passing, they come and go. Is that illness? I don’t know. It certainly is human.
The meds are kicking in, it doesn’t seem so dark and heavy anymore. Slowly I’m emerging from my bed fortress, my safe haven. The alarm goes off at 8am and I get up. I get up and keep going.
Some helpful first points of contact if you’re experiencing depression or struggling with your mental health.
Free phone: 116 123
Text: 087 260 9090
Aware (Depression & Anxiety)
1980 303 302
National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House)
1800 247 247
Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health)
01 872 8684
Pieta House (Suicide & self-harm)
01 623 5606
IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
01 230 3536
Shine: (Supporting people affected by mental ill health)
01 860 1620