I wasn’t sure whether to write this post. Not because it’s too personal (is that not the point of a blog?) but because I was worried people would see it as trivialising or glamourising what is a very serious illness. And depression is a serious illness. It takes lives, or at the very least alters them irrevocably.
But I’m a big believer in owning the situation. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and when life gives you depression… well, use it as blog fodder and hope someone out there will take something helpful from your struggles.
The thing about my depression though is that I don’t think it will be the end of me. I think it will be the making of me. I believe there is a positive side to depression, and it’s making me a better person.
But before we get to the ‘good’ bits (I’ll call them that for the lack of a better word) I wanted to share some of the more peculiar side effects I’ve experienced with depression. Low moods, sleepless nights, lethargy… sure, that’s all part of the illness, right? But raging a war with my thumb crease (you’ll understand soon) and developing an addiction for bread-based carbohydrates were little mental health nuggets I was not expecting.
Some of the weirdest aspects of my illness include:
Pyjamas have become my nemesis – Me and the ol’ PJs have developed a love/hate relationship. At night I can’t bear to wear them as I feel like they are strangling me, but during the day I come crawling back, saying I’m sorry so I can wear them all day.
I’m kept awake by any physical discomfort I have ever felt ever – and if you’re me that’s a lot of random annoying discomforts. Last night I couldn’t get to sleep because my thumb crease felt uncomfortable against my hand. I shit you not.
I am an asexual being – It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just… actually, I don’t want to. But even if I did, stuff doesn’t WORK. Maybe all this is preparing me for the immaculate conception of the Second Coming. Probs not.
My jaw hurts – Like the rest of me, my jaw is tired. I feel like I’ve gone to a weekend toffee eating festival and vowed to get my money’s worth.
Bagels are BAE – The bibles says ‘man shall not live on bread alone’ but I’m doing a pretty good job living on just bagels tbh. My inner health nut is telling me they are low fat with a decent protein to carbs ratio, but my depression likes that they are minimal effort and taste delicious.
As you can see my depression has been totes lols so far. But when I’m not in my eat bagels/ don’t sleep/ cry/ repeat cycle I’ve found myself really reflecting on who I am and what is important to me. It’s amazing how your priorities change when you enter survival mode.
I’ve stopped worrying about being perfect. My whole life I’ve had to be the best. I’ve refused to sit still for a moment and pushed myself, clearly beyond what my body and mind can handle. But money doesn’t buy happiness, and a glamorous career won’t keep you warm at night. For the first time I’m genuinely putting myself first, and not focusing on what I feel I should do to be deemed as successful.
Not being able to look after myself has made me realise who really cares about me and equally, who I care about. Depression has given me a better emotional understanding of others. It has made me appreciate my family and friends and consider what I can do for them, not just what they can do for me.
Depression and it’s pal anxiety are hideous illnesses, and I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. But there are so many brilliant minds out there who I admire who also struggle with their mental health. I believe it’s that madness within us that nurtures our creative spirit and sensitive soul.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will beat this.
Now excuse me while I go eat a bagel (should my jaw allow me) in my pyjamas,