So I guess this is where I talk about how I feel right now… by Ash Pryce
I’m what you’d call a Clinical Depressive, or a major depressive, or just depressed. I fall into the “Moderate Severe” category as far as the NHS is concerned. Not sure how you can be moderate AND severe but there we go.
I didn’t used to be like this. I didn’t used to turn the phone to silent, make sure the door buzzer is set to privacy and make sure my mobile was off. I didn’t used to be worried about leaving the flat, going from bedroom to computer as a daily routine so common and normal that the idea of getting up, dressed, and leaving the flat seems not only daunting but a strange new concept as well. I haven’t been gainfully employed for 3 years, first I was desperately looking for work, and then the issues came along which resulted in me being removed from the active job seeking role and onto the statistic list of mental health patients.
Now, when I say my daily routine is simply from bed to computer I’m not exaggerating, though sometimes I’m lucky if I am able to leave the safety of the bedroom before mid afternoon, no matter what time I get up. I don’t have a regular sleep pattern. For several weeks I will be a night owl, waking at 7pm and staying awake until 10am. Other times it will be the reverse. Days bleed into night and nights into day. I would say I feel more comfortable at night. People don’t phone you at night.
My life consists of waking up, getting a cup of tea and migrating to the spare bedroom, switching on the computer and that’s it for the day. Not because I’m lazy, not because I can’t be bothered to go out, not because this is something I can just “snap out of and pull myself together”- but because I can’t go out. It takes a lot of effort for me to leave this flat. I need to plan it in advance. I leave the flat maybe once a week and that is usually to go to the shops, on other occasions I may go to a friend’s home- its safe there. Maybe once every couple of months I might be able to make it to a pub to see other friends, but this is such a rarity I don’t even consider it part of any routine.
During August 2011 I went out several days in a row, then I had a breakdown. Too many issues came along at once, too many days of being out of my safety zone. And I snapped. I ran away 300 miles to friends and family because I couldn’t stay here. Shaking and rocking back and forth. Petrified. Anxious. Scared. A dozen problems had descended on me (admittedly some of my own making) and conspired to force me to snap.
I consider it a good day if I can get dressed instead of just into my dressing gown. A very good day if I can get a shower AND get dressed and a soaring high if I can get a shower, get dressed AND go to the shop. More than that usually leads to more fear and paranoia. And that’s something I didn’t expect- paranoia. I genuinely believe most people dislike me, putting up with me only out of some misguided sense of forced compassion.
I drink, a lot of the time to escape, I self medicate with it. I don’t drink often, maybe twice a week but I’ve certainly noticed myself using it as a crutch at times. Not a pleasant thought, though fortunately I don’t have cravings or addictive tendencies related to it- I just self medicate with it. But not at the moment, I’m taking some time off as it has serious effects on my mental health. For several days after drinking the paranoia and anxiety is at an all time high and I just want to hide away. And hide away I have done frequently.
I self harm. Not recently, but I would be lying to myself if I promised never to do it again. All I can say is I hope I never do it again. Luckily none of my scars are deep and in the right light not particularly noticeable. In fact all but one seems to be disappearing over time. Great, I can’t even self harm properly.
My day to day life is difficult. Sometimes impossible and certainly debilitating. I don’t know how I’m going to feel from one day to the next so working isn’t a realistic option. I doubt many would be willing to take on someone whose ability to leave the flat can change in a second. Because sometimes I am ok. Sometimes I do feel that I could go out, but then I do and it isn’t always easy. It’s scary out there. I don’t go for walks any more, if I get to a stage where I need to be back into my safety zone then I need, right that minute, to be back there. If I’ve just been for a 1 hour walk then I’m one hour away from my safety zone and I can’t do that.
I’m more socially awkward then I used to be. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk to anyone at all even good friends. People irritate me more than they should and it isn’t their fault. If I’m in the wrong mood I can’t take other people.
Sometimes I do feel sad. I do feel worthless and I do feel a failure. I am a failure. Tried to start a business 3 years ago and that went no where. Don’t act any more. Don’t write or direct any more. I can’t, and the more I can’t the more of a failure I become in my mind.
I enjoy magic. I enjoy directing. I enjoy working in photoshop. I’m guess I’m what you’d call a creative individual. But there are people out there better than me at magic. At photoshop. At directing. So why should I bother? I don’t see the point. Anything I do is going to be pointless and a waste of what precious energy I have at times when someone better than me is out there. I never used to feel like that. And it’s stupid.
It’s part of the whole “I’m worthless” package many people with depression get.
As is paranoia. As is anxiety. As is fear of going outside. As is fear of failure and oddly fear of success. How could I possibly commit to a lifestyle that involved success? Having to be relied upon? Having to continue and do more and more work. The idea of succeeding at something actually scares me about as much as the fear associated with the failure.
As is low self esteem. As is easy frustration. Emotional ups and downs. I’m not bi-polar but certainly I have moments of being rather energetic and buzzing, however most of the time I long for the achievement of getting dressed in the morning (or night) as I’m in such a black mood.
I go through strong emotional phases. Becoming attracted to women but then having it die and disappear when I become convinced they hate me, or I find something about them that seems far worse than it probably is, a little personality trait. Or maybe I get the sense they are ignoring me when they aren’t. Again, the paranoia. I never used to feel like that before all of this started. This illness, and it is an illness, has destroyed who I was. But not who I will be again, with any hope.
Now I am a mixed up bag of feelings and emotions, almost as if I were a jigsaw that some child has decided to hammer and bang together mismatched pieces of to make an abstract image, instead of the neatly slotted together correct version.
This is my life. This is how I feel at the moment. This is how I nearly always feel. When I have good moments, when I have good days I cherish them. Because they are so few and far between.
Depression can affect people in so many ways and I use this as an example of some of the ways (yes there are more) it effects me. As someone with depression, I’m not just “a little sad”. My life is a mess and my brain hates me.