I’m struggling with depression again. I wanted to share, but I honestly don’t know what else I can say that I haven’t already said over and over again on the blog. I feel like I’m boring you. Who wants to hear that the joy has been sapped from my life, again? Who enjoys hearing about how hard it is and how much it sucks?
What else can I say? What can I tell you that I haven’t told you already?
I’ve already explained that I struggle to get up in the mornings. I’ve shared that I can’t be bothered to shower. I’ve bored you with descriptions of how little I feel, how little joy I find in things I would normally love.
That excerpt above was written in May of 2016. When I look back on 2016 now, I thought I was doing OK in May…I was wrong.
And here I am again. Now it’s 2017. Now I’m nearly 29. Now I’ve been through therapy, come off my medication because I thought I was ‘better,’ and realised that I’m not better.
Because I’ll never be ‘better.’ I’m not that person who has depression for a period of time and then it goes away, never to return. I am that person who has lived with depression forever. I am that person whose thoughts have never been ‘normal.’ I am that person with chronic mental illness.
Right now, in this moment, my mood is pretty good. That is a relief after nearly 2 months of praying not to exist, crying regularly and feeling in so much emotional pain that I couldn’t function. But that doesn’t mean I am ‘better.’ I still feel hopeless, and that worries me because that makes it more likely that my mood will crash again, soon. After all, if you have no hope then what is there to be happy about?
I made a (short) list of reasons for recovery, it was suggest by a therapist I follow all over social media and who does a lot of work on YouTube. I thought that it would help, that it would focus me, that it would show me that there are things worth living for.
I made the list, and even as I wrote those things down I didn’t believe that they would ever happen.
Of course, top of my list was to hug TiLi, to see her joy at agility sessions, to watch her grow. But even if we put aside the fact that I believe she would be better off without me, there is still the fact that when I cuddle her my mind is filled with the knowledge that she will die. I tried mindfulness, I snuggled into her and I did all I could to focus on the feel of her fur, the beat of her heart, the rise and fall of her chest. I love her as hard as I can, with all I have, and still the thoughts come; “she’s going to die,” “she won’t be here forever,” “you won’t be able to save her,” “you’re going to watch her suffer and die.”
She’s not ill. She’s 3 years old. I know, intelligently, that I probably have years with her, and that yes, she will die, but I should be cherishing the moments I have with her. You have no idea how much I want to be able to cherish those moments, to create happy memories and just love her. But those thoughts come, always, even when I’m not in the throes of depression, they run through my mind and there is nothing I can do to stop them.
What else made the list? Marriage & kids. And it’s true, I want that, I feel like that would be worth living for. Only I don’t believe I will ever have that.
I’m nearly 29. I have been single for about 7 years. I have two, failed, long term relationships behind me. I have tried dating here in France, I tried really hard. I signed up for several online dating sites, I met a few people from them, I even met a guy in a Supermarket and had a date with him. Nothing.
And that’s OK, I don’t want to settle, again. I don’t want to be with someone just because they want me. I want love. Real love. The kind of love that says, “Sure you can cut/colour your hair, I love you for you,” and “It’s OK that you have a mental illness, you are still valuable.” I want love that revels in our shared ideals for a better, fairer world. I want love that allows me to be me.
That kind of love is hard to come by. But it’s even harder to come by when you don’t believe you deserve that kind of love.
I’ll stop writing now. This post is long enough. But there will be more, and it may well be the same stuff you’ve read here a thousand times before, but it will be real.
Also published on Medium.