It’s no secret that I’ve recently been through a pretty horrible depression relapse. In all honesty, I can’t remember a lot of it. Apart from a few hours, I have a memory blank of a couple of months. I’ve been talking about it with my flatmate recently, reflecting on the past few months, and things really weren’t great. At the worst of it, I was struggling to talk, or move. My body just shut down.
I’ve been working hard, with the help of some wonderful people, and some new medication, to pull myself out of it.
Over the past few weeks (or maybe months, my concept of time is still a little squiffy) I’ve been very slowly participating in life again. It started very small – a trip down the stairs in the block of flats I live in, a visit to the GP, meeting up with a friend for an hour, but it’s grown, slowly, and I’m beginning to be able to do more things.
This week I went back to work. I haven’t been able to go to work since the end of November. I’m going back very slowly, with a huge amount of help and support from my job and colleagues, and started on just a couple of hours a week. It’s so lovely to be back – it’s great to be back in a routine. It’s amazing to feel useful and productive again. It’s wonderful to begin to feel a little like a person, rather than a shell, a list of symptoms, or a problem to be solved.
I am absolutely exhausted, though! Getting to work requires rather a lot of steps – working out what time to take my medication on an evening, in order to sleep properly and get up on a morning (this one is a bit of a work in progress), washing my hair, putting on some make-up, finding some acceptable clothes (preferably ones not covered in paint… though I did discover some blue acrylic on my skirt yesterday, oops), remembering everything I need to take with me, working out my food for the day, getting out of the flat, getting into the car, finding somewhere to park… all of these things before even getting into the office. They might sound like insignificant, fairly everyday activities, but depression makes everything more hard work. It makes everything take a more-than-would-be-usual amount of energy, and if that wasn’t bad enough, it also depletes your energy, so even before you do anything you’re already working with a reduced energy reserve. All in all, things that are ‘everyday’ to the average joe, can become a real challenge when depression gets involved.
Today is being spent in my PJs, doing the things I did to do from the comfort of a big blanket and some daytime TV. I am completely worn out.
I find myself getting frustrated. I want to be better. I want to be able to do things. I want to be able to work full time, to see my friends and family, and to keep up with my hobbies. I want to be active and productive. I want to be able to drive here, there, and everywhere. I want to be able to volunteer again. I want to be the person I have been in the past.
The reality is, though, I can’t do that. My body isn’t well enough, my mind isn’t well enough, and there’s little I can do about that other than keep trying to manage what I can.
I’m slowly poking my head out of a big, black, hole. I’m slowly trying to do things again. But I’m not ‘well’. I’m better than I was but I’m not ‘better’.
I have an illness, and I am trying to accept that (for now, at least), I have to work within the limitations of that illness. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to do more of the things that I want to do, but it’s going to take time. For now, I will keep trying to do the little things, keep working on recovery, and keep trying to reacquaint myself with life, bit by bit.