To anyone who knows me in real life, it won’t come as a terrible shock to discover that, three years ago, I was diagnosed with depression. And actually, if you’ve ever met another human being, there’s a 50% chance you’ve met someone who has depression. If you’ve met lots of human beings, then you have definitely met someone who has depression.
Three years ago, when I was diagnosed, it wasn’t the first time I’d been depressed. Over the years, I got fairly good at identifying my downward spiral, and taking steps to stop, slow or embrace it. But in the summer of 2013, there was no stopping the black cloud that engulfed my head.
Everyone experiences depression differently. For me, it’s like a giant black mushroom cloud that wells up inside my head. When it’s in full flow, the smoke leaks out of my eyes and ears and nose and mouth, and makes everything look, sound, smell and taste wrong. (METAPHOR. I’m not actually walking around gushing smoke from every orifice. Which is a shame, because that would amuse me, and probably make me less depressed. Especially if I could turn it on and off like a Red Arrow aeroplane.) It fills up every crevice of my brain, and mutters things to my inner self, about uselessness, and repulsiveness, and loneliness, and terror. So much terror. Terror about me, about the people I love, about the people I really loathe. Terror about big things, like World War Three, and terror about small things, like walking the five minutes to work. Terror about fucking things up, and terror about not fucking things up.
It’s totally illogical. And for the most part, for the last couple of years, I’ve been on some really good medication that has kept that black cloud at bay inside a box in my head. But recent events have smashed the shit out of the lock on the box, and the black cloud has come roaring back. Like the smoke monster out of Lost, it emerged, making a roaring noise and looked me straight in the eye. And I crapped myself and tried to hide. It got me anyway.
So the third reason I’ve been unblogging for so long is because at first I was ducking and diving, trying to avoid the inevitable engulfing, and then more recently, because the black cloud had got me.
However, I am down but not out. The moment I realised the black cloud smoke monster had me on the ropes, I hied me to the Good Doctor, who nodded understandingly and talked me through my options. And I opted to change my medication. Which means I am currently going through “withdrawal” as the dose I take lowers over the course of a couple of weeks, in order to introduce the new type of tablet.
What I have discovered about this lowering of the dosage is that, without chemical assistance, I have three settings when I’m depressed. I can only hope this passes quickly.
Number One! Weepy/sleepy
If I’m not crying, I’m yawning. If I’m not yawning, I’m sleeping. If I’m not sleeping, I’m crying. I don’t even cry about anything….you know….real. I just find my face leaking tears and my breath catching in my chest. And when I’m not crying, I’m sleeping or thinking about sleep, and wondering if my eyes are supposed to feel this heavy.
Number Two! Creepy/sleepy
This is what I like to call the “insomnia and racing thoughts” category of mood. I skulk around until the wee small hours of the morning – usually in the semi-dark, in the hope my eyes will droop – reading the entire internet (or at least, attempting to) and searching people I used to know on Facebook. I also find that, in this mood, 3am is the perfect time to work out what I’d do in the event of an earthquake, that triggers a tsunami, that washes away my hometown, and destroys all the roads. As my friend Lord Voldemort put it this evening, “Well, you’ve got a protocol for every situation, don’t you?”
Yes, Voldy, yes, I do. That happens when you lie awake at night and think about every possible permutation of every possible situation that has ever happened, or could ever happen. I am ULTRA PREPAREDNESS GIRL! *superhero pose*
Number Three! RAGE BLACKOUT
Weepy/sleepy and creepy/sleepy are inconvenient, sure. They come with their own problems, like buying enough tissues, and RSI from clicking all the internet links. But they’re essentially benign. Their impact on others can be minimised.
But the rage blackout? Not so much.
I never see it coming. One minute I’m just quietly dealing with some paperwork, and then BAM! I’m plotting the death of the stupid person at work who’s just asked the stupidest question of all time.
Please note, the relative stupidity of these questions is debatable. It’s entirely possible, and in fact probable, that the questions are entirely reasonable. But my rage is irrational, powerful and comes with some fruity language. “What do I do with this form I’ve never seen before today?” – a question so reasonable that really, it shouldn’t need to be asked, as someone should be paying attention to that situation – is met by a shrieking harpy, hissing about stupid morons who know nothing and should be shot, repeatedly, in the face, with a pellet gun.
Example: someone had the misfortune of meeting Rage-Blacked-Out L&F today, and when they answered my question incorrectly, I slammed the phone down so hard, the handset went through the phone cradle, through the desk, and dropped to the floor below*, before I banged my forehead against the desk, shrieking “What a bloody moron!”
Complete over-reaction. And I gave myself a headache. What a tosser I am.
…but he was a total moron.
*occasionally, just occasionally, I might exaggerate things for comic effect. For example, I didn’t slam my phone through my desk to the floor, because that would require me to have the upper body strength of the Hulk. And whilst the green rage monster and I could be twins when I’m in this mood, I alas am not super strong. But I like the imagery. And a girl can always dream, can’t she?