Three months of depression, and escape thereof
I didn’t call it ‘depression’, not for the longest time. It was ‘loneliness’, it was ‘a malaise’, it was ‘ennui’. But it’s about time I called a spade a spade…
I don’t know where it came from, it creeped up on me, like a phantom in the night. It’s not like it’s an unfamiliar feeling, I’ve had it before – but the last time I had a therapist, he insisted that it was ‘sadness’, and that I shouldn’t call it depression, because to name it what it was gave it power.
That therapist broke up with me a few months later…
He also said I shouldn’t call it ‘a break up’.
As a result of the depression that I wasn’t calling depression, I was paralysed with inaction for three months of last year. If I got out of bed, that was a good day, if I managed to respond to an email it was a very good day. If I managed to leave the house, it was worthy of a celebration – but of course, I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate with anyone…
Round and round it went – didn’t help that I had quit smoking at the same time, so I didn’t even have my old vice for company. I was alone, and even though I have plenty of friends who have been through the same thing – who still suffer with it – I couldn’t bring myself to message them, let alone say the words out loud.
I had deadlines – there are always deadlines – but I was hoping to get two books a month out in 2018, and the date was swiftly approaching. Luckily, I was ahead of myself. The months before it hit were incredibly productive; three books in one month, two books in the next, I had got to around February/March in terms of content, so I ‘allowed myself’ to take the time off.
All through this, there was actual work to do – and I put on a brave face, went out into the world, got shit done. If it was work for other people it was easy, my heart wasn’t in it, but I could do the damn job, because that’s what I’ve always done.
But the writing wasn’t happening… My first love – hell, my only love for the last five years, it was a strange bedfellow, one that I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to find love for again.
Could have seen a doctor, could have got meds, but I’m terrified that meds would impact my writing. For two books to be out a month, I need to get at least 5k words a day, if not more. If my mind is dulled in the slightest that isn’t going to happen, and even though I wasn’t writing, I couldn’t risk it.
So I suffered. Alone.
At new years eve, I gave in and bought some cigarettes. The first lungful of poison was a revelation, I wanted to leave the party, get to my desk and churn words out. I had enthusiasm again, excitement. As much as I wanted to lay praise at the feet of tobacco, it wasn’t the smokes – it never had been.
It was people. It was the ambience, the vibrations in the air from being around so much joy, so much love. There were over a hundred people I knew, each of them so creative, so productive, each with a passion for their artform. I drank their ether in, just by being in their vicinity I was intoxicated on the thrill they took from doing what they loved.
And as a result, I realised I could do what I loved again.
I was still drunk on New Years Day, and possibly January 2nd… But when I sobered up, I could sit back at a screen and type to my heart’s content.
I’m not offering advice, I’m not saying that this is a cure for anyone else, or depression in general. I just wanted to share my story with you guys, on the off chance you’re in a similar situation, isolating yourself from the people around you when they in and of themselves might be the relief from the suffering that’s been inflicted upon you by spectres of the mind.
Much love to you all,