Officially it started in August. Before that…I don’t know. I’ve felt parts of it for years and secretly I’ve struggled. I guess you try and trick yourself into believing everything is ok so you can cope, right? I think I did.
So, back in August I knew something was wrong. Those subtle parts I’d been feeling for years had all suddenly come together and were starting to overwhelm me. I knew something was wrong but I could not have explained it properly to anyone. How do you explain the feeling of having a black hole inside of you, sucking all the emotion and energy and enthusiasm out of you? Words only go so far. Either way, I knew something was wrong. Very wrong. Knowing, however, and doing something about it are two very different things…
I vividly remember pacing up and down the hallway, trying to put my feelings into words. My stomach was churning, my chest was tight and I was very breathless. At first I thought I was having a panic attack but I’d never had one before, as far as I knew. I paced and paced, mobile in my hand, and eventually called the one person I knew could help me.
My Dad is brilliant. One of my strongest supports. I know that I can turn to him when I’m stuck and he will patiently sit there and help me work it out. Whether it’s IT support, a soundboard or someone who will help me put puzzle pieces together, he does what he can to help me. One of his biggest plus points is his ability to make it look like he’s not worried. I can tell him anything and meet that calmness that says he’ll try and fix it no matter what. I don’t know whether he realises this. That said, I phoned him.
The explanation was hard. As I said: how do you explain a black hole inside of you. I start by saying I feel down. Not the sort of down where you’re having a bad day but one that’s deeper. Thoughts tumble through my head like an avalanche and I’m not sleeping well. I’m finding I hate myself. Other feelings, hard to describe, clouding my mind and adding to the cacophony. Too many.
Dad’s advice was simple: visit the doctor. Stupidly, I didn’t.
A few days later, someone else noticed something was wrong. I don’t know how but she did. My mask had slipped and someone had seen the darkness behind it. Unflinching, she looked for a moment and asked if I was ok. Admittedly, the answer I gave wasn’t completely honest. Still, it prompted me to book in with the doctor and I got the confirmation of my suspicions.
I have depression, anxiety and insomnia.
At that point I didn’t know much about it. I’d heard the words and I have a few friends who have those labels with them but I didn’t know much. As the doctor gave me that diagnosis, pieces started to click into place and with those pieces came understanding. Unfortunately that understanding also brought a plethora of questions to mind that, some of which I still don’t have answers to. I remember feeling scared, realising what my mind was and still is capable of. Sometimes I remember that feeling and still go cold all over.
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