For the last two and a half years, I’ve been clear of mental health issues – yes, I didn’t even have any bad days.
However recently, the good weather took a hiatus and I have had some really bad days. For no reason, my mood plummeted into depression and everything that I could pick on about myself surfaced.
As part of my personal training regime, I have been ‘bulking’ and even though this is purposeful, it has led to me looking in the mirror and getting upset about my love handles. Another day, it was wondering whether I had fallen out of favour with my coffee buddy at work because she didn’t ask me for coffee at exactly 10.15am because she was in a meeting. And another day, it was wondering whether a nose job would change the way people looked at me from “She’s not even a 1/10” into “She’s maybe a 7/10 now”.
Despite this, I’ve known that I’m stuck in a rut, but I’m doing okay. Mental illness is an episodic thing for me, and I know that I’m not doing as well now as I could be. I left work early on Friday to have a cry in my car and just let it all out. Why? Because I needed it and I needed to be honest to myself that I wasn’t holding up as well as I could. But don’t worry, I will come out the other side, and when I do, I will be back to my same bubbly self once the skies have cleared a little more.
In all of this, I have been so grateful to everyone around me. I am grateful to be able to tell people that I’m not doing okay, and to have them know that I am not myself, and I am grateful that my friends have given me the space and the patience I need.
Whilst I have never been one to verbalise how and why I feel when I have an episode (nothing can really describe the feeling of having your soul crushed by being unable to open a jar of mustard!), in having the first depressive episode I’ve had in a long time has highlighted to me the incredible support I have around me.
From my psychologist, who I called upon and who instantly found time to see me that day, to a friend down in Canberra offering me his ear if I needed it but still emphasising on my space to recover, to my personal trainer who sat with me on the gym floor when I burst out crying for no reason, it is sometimes difficult to see how much people do care about you when you think nobody does.
But the biggest lesson I have learned is that of honesty – the capability to say that I’m not doing okay. There isn’t always a reason. There isn’t always a problem. Even when people expect there needs to be. But there is time and patience. It’s little chats with Dad about astronomy over a miserable one-pot dinner. It’s meeting up with an incredible and strong woman who is doing the best she can do and is still learning more about herself everyday. It’s smashing out that last rep at the gym that you struggled with the week before when you in a better mood even when your thighs are burning like the sun.
I’m not doing alright right now but ask me again very soon and I will be.