15 12 2017

Much to my surprise, i am signed off with depression. You think you’d know, right?

I’ve been on antidepressants for nearly 12 years and suffered on and off with it. Surely I of all people would recognise it? But i didn’t. At first i was just signed off with workplace stress. I WAS aware i was under a certain amount of stress, I was aware I was beginning to fly apart and needed a breather to get my head together but depression? Didn’t cross my mind.

Only once i had stopped work (and got over the stinking cold my immune system had been saving up), i realised that i was really pretty unwell. I felt hollow and empty and numb, like i was carrying a heavy weight around. At the same time i was panicky and anxious and short-tempered. It was like I felt no positive emotions but the negatives were twice as strong. I couldn’t sleep, i couldn’t laugh, all i wanted to do is hide in my bed and never come out. There was nothing i wanted to do and nothing to look forward to. Everything was just too much hassle.

I realised that actually, i had felt like this for most of the year. Initially due to study and exam pressure where i had had to give up everything in my life except study, work, eat and sleep. I thought once my exam was over and degree was secured, i’d feel better. But i didn’t. All i wanted to do was sleep. So i thought “Well, its taken its toll. 7 years of study, no wonder i am knackered” and i slept. But it didn’t improve. By that time (and we were busy with work and short of staff), i had long since stopped self analysing or even thinking about how i felt, i was focused on just putting one foot in front of another. Getting through the day, getting the kids to school, working hard, coming home, going to bed..repeat, repeat, repeat. Things were so hectic that i didn’t really wonder at the fact that all i had the energy and willpower to do was sleep or lie and read. I didn’t miss my photography, i didn’t miss my walks, i didn’t miss being outside. It was just the new normal.

A week after being initially signed off, i went back to the doctor with my list of symptoms and she said “Goodness, you’re nowhere near ready to go back are you?” And i am not ready, even now. Even though it has been two weeks since then. My medication has gone up a dose and initially i felt better. I have rested, i have exercised, my creativity mojo has come back (and OMG how could i have not missed it? It is the core of me). And then i woke up feeling very anxious and panicky one morning and spiralled down again. I tried to exercise. Now across from our house is some woodland bound on two sides by railway lines. I tried but all i could think of as i walked was “Would it hurt to be hit by that train?” Well yes it would, obviously, but it would be quick. I gave up on the photography there and decided to take a trip down to a seaside town near me. Running water is an essential part of my chill time and the beach always helps. Except all i could think was to wonder how long it would take were i to wade out. Would i get freaked out and regret it? Would i be a wuss and take three or four steps in before the chill drove me back and left me looking like an idiot with soggy jeans? Would i get beyond the point of no return and realise that I desperately wanted to live?

Needless to say, given that i am typing this now, i came home without trying any of this (partly because of the catastrophic effect it would have on my family, especially my sons, and partly because i can’t help feeling i’d have fucked it up) and spent a couple of days hibernating and sketching and reading and sleeping. I feel a lot better now. Not well, not by any means, but better. I am not due back at work until January and i hope like hell i do not have to go back to the doctors between now and then. I am keeping the number handy, just in case. I am still numb, still unemotional, but i feel a little less hollow. The weight I am carrying is a little less heavy.

Baby steps….







2 responses

15 12 2017

Depression has been with me my whole life. I’ve learnt to deal with it and I guess you can say we are best friends now 😣

14 01 2018

Hiya, sorry for the delay, this is the first time i have been back on my blog since i posted the depression post.

I am so sorry you are struggling too. It really is a hellish condition. The best friend you really wish would leave you well alone 😦 xx

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