The Aftermath of a Bad Night With Depression
Today has been a bad day.
The sun has been shining, but I haven’t really seen it.
The aftermath of an episode of chronic pain and anxiety last night, which lasted nearly six hours. Six hours I spent in bed alone, hungry and in pain, desperate and alone. Six hours I spent choking on my own tears and struggling with each breath. An over-exaggeration, right? I’m sure a lot of people think so. But not even my own memory of it can really express just how horrible it was — or how difficult it was to go through alone. I tried reaching out to people. It took hours for me to text my boyfriend or to try get in contact with my mum. And when I finally did they tried to give me advice, which didn’t help. It’s not their fault. In that moment all I wanted was to not be alone. All I needed was to let out everything going on inside me with someone there beside me just for the sake of having someone there with me to love me. But the thought of having to leave my room and show myself to my house mates was too much. And no one else could get to me.
I was sleep-deprived and anxious and I hated myself more than anything. I hated myself for feeling so pathetic, for feeling sorry for myself when people have it so much worse. I tried telling myself to stop it. I tried reminding myself how blessed I am. But that only made it worse. The pain wouldn’t stop. I felt hopeless and I couldn’t describe or understand what was going on in my brain or my body. The Samaritans phone line was busy, and I felt so defeated.
Eventually I rolled over and left my phone on silent because I couldn’t bear the light and I couldn’t bear the conversations people were trying to have with me. I lay there for a while until my tears dried and my thoughts became quiet enough for me to sleep.
I woke up still with pain in my back, lethargic, ashamed and unmotivated. I went back to sleep, and when I woke again nothing had changed. I was dehydrated and hungry, but the thought of eating made me feel sick.
I felt incapable of leaving my room because I didn’t want to be seen. It took hours of failed attempts to get myself out of bed to get food after not eating at all last night. Around lunchtime I managed to bring myself to go downstairs and get myself breakfast and come back to bed.
It took me another four hours to get myself in the shower, even though normally I hate the thought or feeling of being dirty. It’s something I can get quite obsessive about. I put my clothes back on and I looked at myself in the mirror. Looking at myself is hard at the minute. As silly as that sounds, I just hate it. But I stared anyway… and I thought about the many times I’ve been here before, and I thought about the steps I’ve taken to recover after these battles. And I realized…
I’ve got this.
And although I didn’t feel great in myself I decided to grab my phone and take a picture — because even though it’s been a bad day, it’s not a bad life, and as much as I tell myself it sometimes, I’m not a failure. I’m not lazy, I’m not bad… I’m not ugly. I’m radiant. I cover my face because I’m breaking out… but that’s OK too.
I had to cancel my driving test this morning due to headaches, back pain and panic, and that in itself feels like yet another failure and disappointment. Normally I stick to a healthy diet, I prepare my meals in advance, I work out and for the past few months I’ve been able to make myself get up and keep busy, but the last couple of days have been really tough, and in several ways I’ve felt like I failed, miserably, but that’s OK. Because I survived. I survived this before, and I will again. In many ways I’ve failed, but in one specific way I have succeeded. I didn’t hurt myself.
And that is progress. And slowly, I will get myself up again and I will carry on. And that is a magnificent triumph.
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
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