I try to keep my blogs as positive and inspiring as possible but when life’s waves drown me, I can no longer find the motivation nor energy to garnish my writing with intricate detail and fictitious hope. And that’s when I get stuck in the cycle of not writing for five months straight. So today I’m trying something different. I’m not attempting to write gracefully, I’m not attempting to inspire, all I aim to do is be honest and express how dismal my bad days are in hope that they will at least relieve some burden from my own mind, even just for a moment. And if any rays of light manage to shine their way between the lines, well maybe they’ll at least be to my own benefit.
On my dark days people tell me to hold onto hope but when will they see that this is the issue? I do hold onto hope. But that’s where I’m going wrong. I’m holding onto hope that is non-existent so really, it is no surprise that I’m falling. Falling into this void of non-existence. It’s no wonder that as the sun rises I don’t always rise with it.
The problem with my bad days is that I become uncontrollably narrow minded. I know that I have unlimited amounts to look forward to; a trip to Paris in August, going back to University in September to study a course I have fallen in love with and so much more, but I automatically become so helpless that none of this matters. All that matters is right now, and right now I just want all the negativity to vanish. Unfortunately, negativity in depression doesn’t just vanish, thus with this desire also comes the thoughts of ending my life because it’s the only reliable method I know that will make all the pain go away. On my bad days, staying alive is hard work.
Reminder to self: suicide does not end suffering; it passes the suffering onto somebody else. Oh, how difficult this is to remember on the bad days.
Each time I fall into the deep, dark hole of depression, it gets deeper and more inescapable. Each time I try to claw myself out, my nails drag further down the soiled walls. People tell me “you’ve got through this before, you can do it again” but what if this time I can’t? What if this time the walls of the hole never quite meet the light of day? I feel trapped. Suffocated, as second by second more soil collapses over me. Each descent into darkness, I’m falling further until I’m scared that one day, I won’t stop falling.
My dark days consume the entirety of me. My body aches. My brain forgets how to operate. I simply cannot think as my mind becomes a tangled mess of thoughts I cannot isolate. Every counsellor I have ever worked with has always advised methods of distraction when the cycle of negativity spirals out of control; distraction using my hobbies. However, with hobbies such as writing and art, this becomes an issue when a direct consequence of this downhill spiral is such brain fog, a fog that strips you of your thoughts and creativity. This blog alone of less than 1,000 words has taken the majority of my day to construct.
When my steps are shadowed by the big black dog of depression, the dog tramples on every ounce of motivation and energy I possess. Every task feels like walking up Mount Everest; so much effort that I just can’t fathom as my bed holds me hostage. I begin skipping the simplest, most basic of duties such as brushing my teeth or hair. I do not change out of my clothes before going to bed, nor waking up the next morning, nor the evening after that. Last night I managed to take off my jeans before getting into bed and for anybody else this would still be considered laziness with the rest of my outfit still intact, but for myself, after the week I’ve had this is a colossal accomplishment.
Today is a bad day, as was yesterday and the day before, and the day before that; for reasons I will not divulge but those reasons do not matter. What does matter is not how I got here, but in where I go next. Stepping one foot in front of the other feels impossible as if my feet are wading through thick, tenacious mud but what I must remember is that as with any mud, there is always a way out.
There are certain things that as a support network, my friends and family can do (or not do) to help when the going gets tough.
Do not tell me to distract myself. Instead, work with me. Give me a reason to be distracted. Give me a task to do because the fog in my brain will not allow me to use my own initiative. Do the task with me. Initiate conversation. Help me to keep busy.
Tell me that you are proud of me. This simple sentence helps me to fight the voice in my mind that tells me that I am not worthy of getting out of bed. It helps me to believe that I’m making progress when everything else feels like I’m going nowhere. It convinces me, even briefly, that maybe I would be missed if I were no longer in this world.
Do not press me to tell you what is wrong. Most of the time, I do not know what is wrong myself. Having to explain to you that I feel overwhelmed with sadness for no apparent reason only reminds me that I have no right to feel this way, in turn exacerbating feelings of despair. Instead, accept my emotions for what they are. I am allowed to feel this way, so help remind me of this.
Keep inviting me to hang out with you. Even if we both know that depression will lead me to say no, it’s still nice to feel wanted. I may not want to spend time in company other than my own, but this does not mean that I still care about you, and by inviting me to events I may be too depressed to attend reminds me that you still care about me too.
Offer me a hug. Sometimes, words do not need to be shared to show me that you are there and that you are supporting me through this. Do not throw yourself at me though, sometimes when I am feeling particularly low, I cannot bear the thought of human contact. Give me the option, and if I allow you to hug me, please believe me when I tell you to view this as a gesture of trust.
Do not tell me to cheer up. If I could simply “cheer up” at the drop of a hat, I would not be feeling this way to begin with. By telling me to cheer up, you are suggesting that I have a choice in the way I am feeling. Nobody would ever choose to feel as low as I do when I am having a bad day, a bad week or a bad month.
Shann x x x