So last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and I had plans to put up a post a day, inspire some people and help other people out. But my depression had other ideas and I spent most of last week in a bubble of self-despair. My ideas crumbled and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.
Then I thought to myself, isn’t that what mental health awareness is all about? Highlighting the fact that the struggle affects my daily life and I’m not just a lazy, unorganised turnip? That some days it’s so difficult to actually make myself a meal that I go without? That sometimes I will beg the time to pass, just so I could justify why I was in bed as soon as I got home, even if I had just been to the shop for milk?
In that vein of thinking, I’m comforting myself about being late. About everything being late. Though I know the dark cloud I live under hasn’t completely past, today it’s been pushed aside by some refreshing rain, like a wake-up shower. (Just for the record, I like rain, so this is me actually saying my mood has improved and I feel better. As all fellow gingers and pale skinned people can understand, the sun is my enemy. And I especially hate the phrasing of the sun will make everything better. As my burnt skin and high cost of factor 50 sun cream will point out – it does not. I like rain.)
That is the thing about depression. It will make you think that it’s too late. It’s too late to change your habits, change your way of thinking, change your attitude, change your life. You’re trapped now and there’s no way out.
This is not true.
I’m in no way saying it’s easy or it doesn’t seem impossible. When you’ve spent so long barely living on microwave meals, the thought of cooking is highly intimidating. When you reject every social invite on the principle you’ll be having a bad day, planning ahead is scary. When you dress in the morning to reduce attention, the thought of making yourself look human is daunting. But you can do it. You can do whatever you put your mind to. You just need to try.
Try, you do. Fail, sometimes you do. Win, sometimes you do. No matter what happens, you should be proud of what you do. Sadly, this is the trap my depression has me in.
Take this blog post. I’ll pop it up, get a few likes, a comment if I’m lucky. That will validate my sense of achievement and I’ll think, well done Emma. Now you can take a break. And I fall right back into the trap, but this post will make me think I’m doing well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m pathetic and I don’t do enough. What I need to say is, ‘Well done. Now do something else.’
It doesn’t have to be much or anything different. It can be as simple as washing my coffee cup, or pairing my socks. It could be, start typing up the next blog post, or planning it. What I’m trying to say is, you need to keep going. I need to keep going. As I tell everyone, fighting depression is an uphill battle and you always need to keep going. This is the usual, I never take my own advice post. I never keep going and I always fall back to where I was.
But I still get back up. I still struggle and fight my way to get back to where I was. And maybe this time, I’ll take another step forward. And another.
No matter how your depression affects you, how many times you’re trapped by it or how long you’ve struggled with it: Get back up. Keep going.