It’s no secret that I’ve had a bit of a hard time these past two years. And the truth is that things got bad, really bad. When I think about it now I am shocked at just how dire the situation got, not that you would ever have been able to tell by how I was in public or what was posted on my social media. But after all this time, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m coming out of it – I think I’m finally reaching the other side of depression.
I used to be one of those ignorant people who would see articles about mental health and roll my eyes. I know, I hate me for it too. I had always been of the annoying and ridiculous opinion that people should just be able to pull themselves out of it and decide to get better. Maybe everything that happened to me was karma for believing that. All I know is that I was so, so very wrong.
It’s also not until now that I can see the absolute madness of everything that went on. I was completely and utterly lost, an entirely different person. But now I’m starting to feel like me again, I’m coming back. I’m sharing this partly as a celebration of the fact that life is on the up, but also because I’d like to give hope to anyone that may be struggling that all is not lost. Six months ago I didn’t care if I lived or died – now I’m getting back my zest for life. It felt like this was completely impossible, but it’s not. So if you’re reading this, please hang in there.
Zombie State of Mind
The biggest thing that has changed is my attitude towards life in general. For the longest time I would get home and just sit on the couch, staring into nothingness. I had no desire to do anything at all. All I wanted was to fall asleep and not wake up, I wasn’t living, I was merely existing.
This is an extract from a diary entry I wrote at the time:
It’s pretty upsetting to read that back, but I’m happy to say that I have come out of this now. My passion for life and adventure is slowly starting to redevelop. I’m making plans and thinking of the future. It’s been a long time since I felt like I just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up. And while I’m not quite 100% back to my old self, I definitely feel more of a drive to live my life and make the most of it. I’ve started trying new things again and saying yes to invitations and meet ups. I tried an adult ballet class the other evening and I loved it, it felt great.
My relationships with other people have changed dramatically as well. I’ve never been a social butterfly, but for a long time I absolutely dreaded social interactions and avoided any non essential ‘peopling’ like the plague. I lost a few friendships along the way, I was unreliable and I let people down. I didn’t have the energy to be a good friend. And some friends just couldn’t bear to watch me destroy myself anymore and had to bow out. I don’t blame them. I can’t explain why I was like this, I wish I could. There were things I knew I had to do but I just couldn’t force myself. I missed one friend’s wedding, and another’s funeral, for no reason other than that I just couldn’t make myself move, I couldn’t get my ass out of bed and out the front door. I can’t take those things back now, but if any of those people I let down are reading this now, please know that I am so sorry.
Now that I’m coming out of this I am learning to nurture my relationships again. I am trying to make sure that people that stuck by me through this terrible time know how much I appreciate them. I am committing myself to not disappointing people. A crucial part of this has also been finally cutting out some of the toxic people that were in my life, one in particular. Finding the strength to let go of toxic people and situations has played a huge part in my getting better.
Looking After Myself
I have begun taking better care of myself again. I had stopped valuing myself and it showed in how I treated my body. I mistreated myself so badly I even ended up in hospital a couple of times. I’ve started paying more attention now to what I put in my body, and making sure it gets exercise and sleep. I’ve started making an effort again and taking pride in my appearance, trading in the ‘cat hair covered leggings, no makeup, unwashed hair’ look and taking a bit of time to pamper myself and pick out clothes that make me feel good. It sounds superficial, but it makes a huge difference to the way I feel the rest of the day. I’ve also started paying more attention to my surroundings. My flat had become just a kind of box that I hid from the world in. It’s not so much that I didn’t care that it was messy, it was more like I didn’t even notice. I’m now seeing things that need done that I wasn’t seeing before, and I’m taking the time to make it homely and a nice environment to be in.
Love of Food
I’m very pleased to say that my love of food has returned. Food has always been a great love of mine. But when I lost my appetite for life, my actual appetite went along with it. (perhaps the greatest tragedy of all of this!). It’s hard to explain because it’s hard for me to even fathom now that my love of food has returned, but it was like you could put the most delicious, indulgent meal in front of me and I’d just see it like it was a soggy, tasteless piece of tofu. That mixed with the fact that I felt so anxious all the time that I was vomiting on average about 3 times a day for the best part of a year meant I was completely malnourished and quite unwell. Thank god all that is over because it’s coming up for lunch time and i am HUNGRY.
Smelling the Roses
Lastly, I’ve begun to notice the little things again. Life’s small pleasures like the warmth of the sun on my face when I’m walking home from the bus, or the smell of the crisp fresh air first thing in the morning when I open the window. I notice my gratitude and appreciation of the world around me has returned. Even silly things like when a song I like comes on the radio, it makes me happy again instead of the insufferable indifference.
Don’t Give Up
So please, if you are going through a hard time, if you have been feeling depressed or anxious or even just low, please know that it is NOT permanent. I honestly never thought I’d feel like me ever again, and now I am on the other side I am so grateful for my life and everything and everyone in it. You can’t rush it, it’s not the sort of thing you can just ‘snap out of’ or ‘decide to get better’, I’m sorry for ever thinking that. It takes time and you need to be patient, but you will get yourself back again, just hang in there.