A Typical Bad Day.

So I thought I should detail what a typical bad day for me involves. I'd like to make it clear before I start that mental illness manifests itself in many different ways. I have severe clinical depression and anxiety, and I'm actually quite lucky in that my symptoms, realistically, aren't that destructive.

A bad day for me often begins the night before. It happens a lot less now I'm on medication, but it typically begins with a sort of of... wave. I could have had a perfectly good day, but I'll suddenly start to feel numb. That's when I know it's beginning.

During the night I won't really sleep - I'll keep waking up, I'll be very uncomfortable. I'll often burst in to tears for no reason. This is one of the worst parts of the cycle, because it's like feeling yourself enter a car crash in slow motion. It's at this time I'm at my most self-loathing too. I become furious. I think of all the logical reasons for why I shouldn't feel the way I do - decent background, good brain, roof over my head, food in my stomach etc. I think to myself "you're just a bourgeois joke; you feel sorry for yourself over what? This is pathetic!". But the truth is, these feelings are like bad weather - they can come out of nowhere and for no good reason.

I often try to reach out to people at this point. Or try to. I'll text friends, family, anyone I think might be able to "help". But 9/10 times, once I get through to them, I'll just lie and tell them that "Everything's fine, just fancied a chat at 1am". That's when things get really dark. I usually, literally, writhe around in bed, whimpering and trying to fight off a whole host of illogical and horrible thoughts.

"You deserve to be miserable."
"Nobody cares about you; you don't deserve care."
"Do you think anybody cares about your pathetic, comfy, middle-class little life?"
"Run away. It's the right thing to do. Leave these people alone. Never come back."
"Go get a belt. Find a tree. Hang yourself."

It's like your mind is taunting you. You become truly distraught because you don't want to feel this way, you know there are an overwhelming number of reasons why you shouldn't feel this way, you get angry about the illogical thought's you're having and you scare yourself when a voice is telling you that you should die.

After battling with this for most, if not all of the night, I wake up exhausted and broken. On the really bad days, I will stare at the ceiling all day. I won't even get out of bed to eat or drink. I just stare, feeling like there is no glimmer of hope. I feel alone. I think about how my life has lead up to feeling like this; I wonder if I feel worse or better than the last time this happened; I try to tell myself to get up and get out of the room. I tell myself this isn't normal, and that I am wasting a day of my life. That usually upsets me - the idea that I have lost another day... another day I will never reclaim.

Sometimes as I stare at those walls I consider what the world would be like if I wasn't here. I picture my funeral, and I wonder who would turn up. Then I picture a few years afterwards. Sometimes a voice argues that, after initial grieving, the people I love would be better off overall.

Eventually I make it out of bed. I eat or drink, and if I'm feeling up to it I go for a walk or to the shops. I conjure up all the lies I'll have to tell people, and the e-mails I'll have to send my tutors. "Sorry Professor, I had a sickness bug". "Sorry for not meeting you for coffee Mary - I got stuck in the library". "Sorry for not answering my phone - I left it at home, how silly of me!". I've become decent enough at lying that I get away with the tapestry of deceit. I feel ashamed of my lies though.

The generally depressed state in which I do very, very little can last up to four days. In this time I'll barely eat. I'll tell my housemates I'm sick. I've even locked my door and texted my housemates to tell them that I'm at a friends house when I'm actually just in my room. I'll wait until they're gone the next day and emerge to get a drink or something.

As you come out of this state you feel very desperate. This is a danger zone, because you tend to reach out to people in a desperate and distraught manner. You tell them things you don't want to tell them, or you project things you don't want to project.

When it's all over, you're left with an overwhelming drive: you've lost time you need to make up. Sometimes I've missed all my classes and read nothing I needed to read. My only option is to concentrate upon the next week. I've been through phases though where this cycle of depression occurred once a week. Needless to say, I struggle when it comes to work.

Next time you notice someone sporadically miss classes, or indeed never turn up to certain classes, please don't be judgemental and presume they're a slacker. They might be going through something. They might need a friend. They might need your help.

Comments

  1. Please don't stop writing. I check your blog most days for new posts. Another Warwick student here, returning to finish my degree next year. First two years were horrible beyond belief, what a miserable place.

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  2. I have so much respect for you. I have never read something that I have related to so deeply. I urge you not to stop writing just because you feel that your message isn’t getting across, if it can help only a handful of people surely that’s better than making a large scale impact, however amazing that would be? Reading just a few of your posts in a 20 minute time period has helped me more than you know, and that is something you should be very proud of. I thank you.

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  3. I really admire your honesty and although I cannot relate on a personal level to the feelings you describe I urge you to continue writing these blog posts. Yes, some of the things I read shock me (and I'm sure they shock others who have not suffered from clinical depression) but what's the point glossing over the detail when you're trying to help the general student body understand how it really is. Keep writing.

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  4. I dropped out of uni, largely due to depression. At least at home I had people that I'd built relationships with before it really set in, but building meaningful relationships with depression is impossible, this is obviously a vicious cycle, as being lonely when you are literally surrounded by the largest group of like-minded, similar aged people you will ever have access to in your life doesn't make you feel very good at all.

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