There’s a lot of media fuss about depression and anxiety these days. Celebrities seem to be eager to jump on the mental health train delivering its cargo of press fodder and column inches to the careers of our venerated tortured artists. I am not for a second belittling the struggles of anyone: rich, privileged, talented, good looking or otherwise: depression is ignorant of status. But I do want to make the point that there is nothing glamorous, attractive or sexy about mental illness and all that that term encompasses.
I am not lounging in beautiful clothes staring wistfully into the middle distance, my hip bones protruding, my thigh gap as alluring as my other worldliness. I’m not drawing my thoughts artistically or creating soulful, moving music. I’m not writing Pultizer Prize winning poetry.
I’m lying on my bed which I managed to get out of an hour ago. It’s three in the afternoon. I made my bed, my biggest achievement today, and put on clean pyjamas. I stink. I haven’t cleaned my teeth, washed my face. My hair is dry and matted and my scalp is flaky. My nails are chipped and my body is a mixture of flab and pale undernourishment apart from where my skin is patchy and blue tinged from the cold. I’m too stuck to shower, to put socks on, to brush my teeth. The central part of my body is hot, clammy and uncomfortable yet from the knees down I am numbed with January grey. My lips are cracked, my tongue is coated both from dehydration because the kitchen is too far for me to go to get water.
There is no milk. There is very little in the fridge even if I could be bothered to eat. The house is chilled and weeping frozen tears. The carpet is dirty. There are no scented candles. No music plays. Just the whirr of other people’s lives outside.
This is not pretty nor is the ugly purple scabbed scar on my thigh. Under my eyes are black and creased from two day old mascara, lack of fresh air and water, and exile.
I am grotesque. The worst possible version of myself. I know this and yet there is nothing I can do. The coping mechanisms I have been taught, the medications, the therapy… Useless. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to see anyone. Not even ElsaDaughter. Not even the dogs.
Cop the fuck on to myself.
I can’t go near a window: stay low. The fear of somebody rediscovering my existence today is crippling. I wish I could deactivate my being temporarily. Just hide my profile until I’m ready to face the world again which I want so desperately to happen. I want to be able to go get milk.
Nobody who feels like this wants to feel like this. I don’t do this for attention.
Why do you write so openly then if not for attention?
Why? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s the only thing I can do because my voice won’t speak the words. Sometimes, on better days, I want to help people, I want to let others know they aren’t alone and for those who have escaped this misery to help them understand what it’s like. I can’t look out the window at the city population going about their lives because I’m so envious of their place in the world when I have no right to one. I’m like a sleazy voyeuse ogling life from my stalking point behind my curtains.
But you are young, you are educated, you have a loving family.
I am and I do. But I would walk away. I would go, I would live alone in a hut to escape.
Why do think of suicide? It’s the most selfish thing. To leave everyone behind to suffer and miss you.
Yes, it is selfish. I would do it for myself, it would be for nobody else. The pain would be over. The Torment. The Swirling. The PricklyBurn. The Burning Paralysis. The struggle to get up. The struggle to lay down. The fury, the detachment. The jealousy of and the hatred I feel for Good Day Me.
Nothing is worth this. A lifetime of this to come. A couple of good weeks aren’t enough to get me through these valleys of dry river beds where once there was flow and energy. I am drowning in sand.
You’ll get better soon. Are you better yet? You seem to be a bit better.
I’m grand. Yeah, not to bad. On the mend, thanks.
You just need to keep moving and think positively. Get a good nights sleep. Eat well. Breathe. Train yourself to think differently. Distract yourself.
Yeah, I’ll try that thanks. Good idea. It worked for you? Oh, I’ll look into it. Cheers.
You mean well. I wish I could be better. I don’t want to be like this. A nuisance. A black hole sucking your life out and shitting it into a pile of frozen misery in the sewer of pitch loathing.