It’s time for be to be a little serious in this blog: it is, after all, a chronicle of my attempts to overcome depression, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to gloss over how I got here in the first place. It’s now the day after my birthday and I’m truly lucky to be alive; no-one knows why, so don’t be shocked when I reveal this… suffice to say it was my lowest ebb and I got over it the following day.
My life basically went off the rails in 2011: the optimism I’d felt in 2010 taking IT courses had been overwhelmed by the daily drudgery of working in admin, and taking months just to revise for one exam. I’d been living with one friend for many years, and during that time we’d had a succession of “third housemates”, the last of which was really, truly getting me down (remember my earlier comment about hating incessantly cheerful people).
The good housemate announced in late 2011 that he was getting his own place; good for him, he was escaping both me and the useless third housemate. As my 34th birthday passed, I began to brood on the future, on how my life was going nowhere due to my own inertia. Then one night in October I had to listen to the useless third housemate — there’s only one word for it — banging his girlfriend literally all night. (No, not beating her up, at least then I would have had a right to stop what was happening…) Thinking back on my own futile love life, I found myself deeply wishing I could leave my life behind and flit back across time and space to Michigan in September 1998, the one time I ever got anywhere with a girl, but more than that, I just wanted to get away from my life as it was back then.
But that wasn’t the lowest ebb, and nor was my breakdown on Facebook (yes, I know, serious business and all that, but still) in November, which some of you may remember. No, it managed to get even worse in December, as my good housemate’s leaving drew closer and the weather got worse. On a day that I have henceforth referred to as “Twelve-Twelve” (as though it was a terrorist attack), I awoke in a deep depression likely brought on by a simple nutritional imbalance (I had a tendency at that time to munch on salty peanuts while lounging in front of my computer, so I may have “overdosed” on salt and protein), and this combined with dreary weather and a sore foot walking to work just drove me into my shell. I began to have dark thoughts as I dragged myself through the day, and worked out how many days it was until my 35th birthday… yes, I’d come to a decision: if I couldn’t sort myself out within those 300-odd days, it’d be the last birthday I ever saw.
But don’t worry! After spending a whole day in a stupid and entirely unnecessary state of misery and self-loathing, I was snapped out of my funk the following day by my supervisor at work, a very nice lady who was genuinely concerned for me and recommended counselling (much like my first year at university, it wasn’t counselling that helped me get my emotions under control but the threat of counselling — it’s one step away from the psychiatrist’s couch!). I decided I wasn’t going to top myself on my 35th birthday after all, and although there have been times since “Twelve-Twelve” that have been even worse on the irrational depression front (12th January 2012 was particularly bad — that’s a story for another time), overall things have improved.
What’s better for me now, in 2012? Here’s a list:
- I’m socialising more — it really is being alone that preys on one’s mind, I feel, and the nights I have at home playing video games and watching TV are a refreshing change rather than a soul-destroying sameness!
- I found somewhere to live in 2012, and I feel I owe my very life to my main housemate (who acts as proxy for the landlord) — I now live with some… interesting people, instead of alone in a studio flat (which was the prospect in January 2012)!
- Thanks to my mother, I’ve taken up climbing for exercise and bravery; I thus owe her my life too (more so than for the simple act of giving birth to me in 1977… just kidding, Mumsy!).
- I’m doing more computer classes, so we’ll see if I can finally make the transition…
- Although I can’t walk to work any more due to no longer living on Caledonian Road, I don’t get massive TV interference from motorbikes due to no longer living on Caledonian Road!
- Getting the Tube every day encouraged me to get a smartphone (NOT an iPhone, I despise Apple!), which is a delightful gadget that never ceases to amaze me. I had a Psion Series 3a palmtop computer in 1995-8 that was about the same size but far, far less advanced!
- Thanks to the aforementioned landlord’s proxy, I’ve actually been disciplined into helping to keep the house clean (one of the main complaints of my former “good housemate”).
- Every time I buy a Doctor Who DVD that I won’t be able to watch for ages (since I’m watching the entire series, in order, from 1963 onwards), it’s like a pledge to go on living. Yes m’lud, that is my defence for spending money (that and helping the UK economy)!
- I’m earning more at work than I was back then (albeit temporarily “acting up” during two staff members’ simultaneous maternity leave), and I don’t have to do the infernal audio typing any more (they have a temp for that)… there’s one deeply annoying person in my office, but she’s been off this week, so I’ve been able to bring in sweet things for everyone else to enjoy!
So there you go — although things aren’t anywhere near perfect, I’m a lot closer to my dream now than I was in the dark days of 2011. To summarise: your life will never get any better if you’re dead, so keep on living, no matter what — that’s where my blog gets its name!