There’s a brilliant scene in 500 Days of Summer (one of my favorite films starring a person with a fringe) where the screen splits and shows the main character’s expectation of how he thought his night would go at the same time as showing the reality of what actually happened. Welcome to my life.
Having suffered for a while with horrible things like depression and anxiety; I think when you’re going through things like this it’s hard not to hope that one day you’re just going to wake up and everything will be fixed. I’ve spent the last year thinking that my recovery would happen with a bang. That I’d just feel amazing one day. And then I’d go on feeling amazing forever and ever the end goodbye. But unfortunately I think that might only be true of people in American TV adverts for anti depressants.
I made a lot of progress earlier this year but the last month has sucked. And what’s so hard about the ‘two steps backwards’ part of recovery is that it’s all the more painful because you’ve seen a glimmer of how beautiful life will be once you’re better.
For me night times are the hardest, night time is the time when my illness takes over and tells me that resistance is futile, that I might as well give up because I’m never getting better. For me most nights look something like this.
11.00pm – Get into bed. Feel tired, lonely, confused, other sad emotions. Sleep seems like the obvious solution. Sleep or a snuggle with Catsby.
11.30pm – Catsby not interested in snuggling. He is a teenager now and far too cool for physical affection. Sleep it is.
12.00am – Sleep not a thing that is happening so decide to watch The Good Wife as that is a lovely show with a slow soothing pace suitable for putting me to sleep.
12.30am – The good wife is my hero of life. She is also sad but her hair is always shiny and she seldom cries. She is like the Beyoncé of sad people. Tomorrow I will be more like the good wife and then all my problems will be fixed.
1.00am – The Good Wife is literally the best show ever. Watch another episode.
2.00am – Realise that one day I will have seen every episode of The Good Wife and will have none left.
2.05am – Start crying while imagining my life without The Good Wife.
2.10am – Realise this could possibly be the depression talking. Good Wife good but maybe not good enough to warrant tears just thinking about it being over.
2.30am – Finally fall asleep.
But then I wake up in the morning, and things look maybe a little less bad. And I realize that I must treat my illness much like the world treats Kanye West. Appreciate and acknowledge it’s existence but not give much credit to what it’s actually saying. And I try to get on with my day, and do things I know won’t make me feel worse, and try not to criticize myself too much for not getting better quicker.
Recovery is slow. Super slow. And it’s always going to have it’s downs. But having a down means that you’ve had an up. Which is a beautiful thing. And it means you’re going to have more ups in the future. And one day one of those ups with last a bit longer, and then it will just be life. Because in the end the only choice I actually have is to keep trying to get better. And even if sometimes it feels slower than an episode of Mad Men, I know I can get there.
Have an awesome week.
p.s. The cartoon of the dog is from my favourite tumblr of all time Please Stop Being Sad.
p.p.s. Emma Mitchell a.k.a. Nicestpersonever wrote the kindest things anyone has ever written about me on her blog. I am smiling a lot. You can read it here. And you can also follow her amazingness on Twitter.