Beck Eleven: When the black dog of depression comes sniffing around
OPINION: Here we go again. I'm probably depressed. Or getting that way.
I've had depression, or at least been Officially Diagnosed with it, for about 12 years. Before that, there was anxiety, left unchecked for years because I just assumed I was going mad.
The silly thing is that it's taken me all this time to start learning the warning signs. Depression wears socks and walks on carpet. It's so sneaky, so difficult to detect.
Maybe I won't realise every time, but thankfully this time I have, which means perhaps I can help myself before it taps me on the shoulder and says "you're it".
It's like a light on a telegraph pole has winked out but the street was dim anyway, so it's barely noticeable.
So here I am on the Slide to Darkness (apologies to any metal band who have that lined up as their next album title).
It really does feel like slipping down a playground slide while jamming your feet hard along the ridges, trying to bring yourself to a halt before you reach the bottom where, in this instance, it's not a group of friends or your mum cheering and waiting with open arms. It's a joyless pile of black sludge and on the southern shore of that, there's a far-reaching pit of sinking sand followed by grim and foggy moors.
I don't want to be flailing around in that kind of psychogeography for an unknowable amount of time so I'm going to try and pull myself back up.
Please note, this isn't always possible. So, if you have a depressed friend, please don't give them any helpful advice, like "cheer up", just give them a pat and maybe tidy up their lounge or garden.
I'm travelling one word at a time. Trying to comprehend the space/ time continuum where every movement feels like slow motion except a week can slip by in a blink.
I'm a remote control with dying batteries. A balloon tied to a letterbox indicating a party was here last weekend.
This morning I washed my hair twice before realising the reason I didn't have a headful of foam was because I was using the conditioner. I mean, usually I'd find that amusing and think, "what a doofus" but this morning I just felt stupid and useless and utterly incapable of doing something as easy as having a shower.
I don't know what changed. A few weeks ago, I was waking up around 6am or 7am and getting up. Now I can't sleep until 2am and then I wake up a lot, finally falling into a deep sleep precisely when I should be getting up. I could sleep like a cursed princess but I'm the one who has to hack back the weeds as well.
My bones feel achy, I have no energy and concentration is an unfamiliar concept.
But as stink as it sounds, I'm not at the bottom yet. I will keep taking the pills. I might even make myself a star chart – a gold star for getting up, having a shower, getting dressed and sitting at my desk. Maybe one for replying to emails and opening bills.
I will read about self-care tips like going for a walk – even if that walk is just to the dairy – and I will remember I've been here before and I came back.
This feeling will change. Old Beck is still there, hanging in the wardrobe, just waiting for a nicer day to be put on and taken out.