In the spirit that has become so important to me of revealing what it’s like, here are ten things I did without effort before 9 am today that depression didn’t allow me to do at all:
- Have a shower.
- Clean my teeth.
- Choose clothes that go together as an outfit.
- Wear a formal dress and tights to work not warm comfortable yoga pants.
- Text a friend to ask how she’s getting on. Care about the answer.
- Take the right quantity of my pills – neither forgotten, nor self-medicating by doubling the dose.
- Stick with the morning’s work meetings rather than cancelling at the last minute with a flimsy excuse I then feel guilty about all today.
- Be fairly confident I’ll get through the day without desperation and tears.
- Check my emails without fear.
- Get to work on time.
Point of clarity: I’m not here harking back to the period of my deepest depression – then I was in hospital, unable to move. I’m talking about the point four years into my treatment when I was back at work and the outward appearance was pretty good.
This was what I fought with when people around me thought I was doing well.
It took all my energy to try and fail to do those simple things.
That’s worth remembering when you hear that someone you know is struggling with depression. That’s the sort of thing they’re likely to be fighting against.
But it changes; we get well. The world has not changed to allow me to do before 9am simple things I couldn’t do at all a couple of years ago. Instead, with a lot of effort and help, pills and therapy, tears and screams, time, my brain has changed. Life is basically good. ‘Tis a miracle. A miracle.