When I was 17 I fell into the deepest darkest spell of depression I’ve ever had. Why? Because one too many things were out of my control in a very stressful environment. The trigger? Failing my driving test. Looking back I can see that it was a life experience and something that so many people go through. But I was already so vulnerable at that time for so many reasons and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
17 years on and here I sit with the same numb feeling I had the day after I failed my driving test. The trigger? Sadly Monty (our autism assistance dog) couldn’t cope with the physical environment of the countryside where we lived. Too many smells that he wasn’t used to and he found it extremely distressing. He has had to be sent home. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just one of those things. The only thing that matters is that he is happy and safe now. Yet here I sit, at 2am in the dark doing the night shift with kiddo who thinks that Monty dog has just gone home after a holiday with us. And I feel lost. My mind is swirling with an empty fog. Ive lost my focus and I’ve lost my direction. Where do I go now?
This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to a relapse of depression. Ive had other spells over the years. If anything that’s what makes the signs so easy to spot. Perhaps this time it will save me. Perhaps not. A lack of control accompanied by extreme exhaustion is such a dangerous cocktail. And the last few months have been even harder than normal. Why am I telling you this? To save myself. Because if write about it, if i make it real, there’s no hiding. There’s no running for cover. And that thing you do when you’re terrified, that thing you turn to when you’re overwhelmed (whether it’s indulging in food or diving under the duvet), that’s the doorway to the underworld. The underworld of mental health disorders.
I mustn’t open the door.
There is so much positivity in my life. So much beauty, passion and light. It’s in this I must take comfort now. All that energy that I use to fight for kiddo? I must use it on myself. Because if it were him suffering I would find it. I would dig into the depths of my soul to save him. Funny how we don’t always view ourselves as being as deserving of that passion.
So here it is. The next few days will be rocky. I may need to lie to myself and pretend everything is ok so that my brain starts to believe it. I will be sad for a number of things. That’s healthy. But the cloud that I can see approaching, the storm that has the potential to surround me, I must not let it. If you know me personally and you’re reading this, do me a favour, hand me an umbrella. Something tells me I might need it over the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading,