Friday, April 22, 2011

When a rut becomes a manhole

For ages I've been saying that I'm stuck in a rut. A few months ago - around December time - that rut became a very deep, dark manhole. Since then I've not really been able to function. It was the beginning of March that I realised that there was something seriously wrong and that this was no ordinary stuck-in-a-rut scenario. Not even for me.

I was on the bus going into uni, that March day. It was a lovely sunny day, not too hot and not too cold. As I was going in I realised that this was the first time in two months that I had voluntarily left the house. For two months, I hadn't opened the shutters to my bedroom. I hadn't been able to sleep at night and I'd had serious difficulty getting up in the morning. Even when I was awake, I still coudn't be bothered to get up. I only did the absolute bare minimum necessary - teaching, chores for my mum and that's it. I spent the rest of the time in bed on my laptop reading crappy celebrity gossip blogs or asleep. I didn't even feel like watching any films or TV, or reading any books. I stopped my knitting and as for exercising - hah! When having a shower is an effort, forget working out. I also stopped reading blogs. With my life being such a dismal existence, I really didn't want to read about other people successfully getting on with their lives. Occasionally I'd read a post, but rarely could I find anything to say in a comment.

As I sat on that bus, passing some beautiful green fields, I realised that this was not normal. It wasn’t a normal down-in-the-dumps phase, and even if it were, it'd gone on for far too long. What did I do? Nothing. I don't know why, but it really didn't occur to me to go to the doctor, even though I knew that I was depressed. Somehow, by the grace of God, this depression has lifted, and now, a few weeks later, I'm starting to get my life back.

I'm not gonna lie - it's not like I realised I was depressed and suddenly chose to snap out of it, because it’s just not in my control. It's not even like it's decided to go away suddenly, because that’s just not how it works. It's taken a few weeks for it to gradually lift, and then I got some really, really good news not that long ago and it's made a world of a difference to me in terms of motivation. That, combined with my newfound ability to get out of bed and get off my arse and do things, has made me feel much better about myself and my life. Today I was dusting my telly and I realised: I'm happy. That's the first time that I've felt genuinely happy for longer than I can remember.

(And I wasn't happy because I was cleaning. I was happy because I am happy.)

It's amazing to me that today, a day that I had deliberately set aside to do nothing, was one in which I still chose to do stuff. I did a bit of baking, a bit of cleaning, and here I am now, writing this blog post - the first in 4 months.

So why didn’t I write about this before? Why didn’t I go to the doctor? Well, I think that a very big part of my problem is that I hate being negative. I hate other people thinking I'm less than fine. I know it's normal to get down from time to time, I just don't like to show it. It makes me feel like a failure. So I suppose it's no coincidence that the first time I get around to writing a blogpost in all this time is when I'm feeling happy again, and can talk about all the horrible stuff in the past. It's over. I'm happy. So obviously I'm not a failure. I know it's stupid - depression isn't anyone's fault. But when I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning I just felt like such a loser.