‘I suffer from depression. I’m also lucky enough to suffer for GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) because why have one when you can have two, right? …’
For many years, I’ve gone from thinking I was odd, lazy, mad as a box of frogs, bipolar and, largely, just not made to fit into the world around me.
These days, although I know I’m none of those things during my calm moments (at least once a year; sometimes even twice) having a diagnosis doesn’t actually make much of a difference to my days. I still don’t understand how my mind works and I find that others don’t, either. This is a typical day in my head:
5:45am: jumped out of bed to nip to the toilet and starting worrying about all the things that could go wrong during the day. Went back to bed; put on my audio book to drown out my inner voice as she’s a neurotic idiot….
7:45am: realised I’d overslept and will now probably, definitely, maybe be a few minutes late arriving at the office. This is clearly the WORST thing in the world.
8:00am: ran out of the house and realised that my car needed scraping. Started to panic slightly and drove off with a half frozen windshield because my employer clearly could never understand this and anyway, I should have been up earlier and now I’m going to get stuck behind a tractor and be even more late and, oh god, why am I such a failure at life and how did I even get my job?
9:02am: arrive at office two minutes late due to some rather questionable driving and fly through the door, waiting for the disappointed stare from my colleagues who, obviously, have just been discussing how useless I am and how I’m always late and forgetful and disorganised and, basically, a total drain on everyone’s happiness. No stares were forthcoming.
10:30am: Cover for a colleague and forget to ask a customer a question while she was in the office, meaning that I don’t have the info I need. This results in a phone call and more work and makes me feel twice as useless as I did before.
12:45pm: have a chat with my Manager, who makes two statements which I then dissect for the 35 min drive back to my base office. End up burtsting into tears behind the wheel after getting myself so anxious about it, but still manage to kill my version of Eric Church’s ‘Round Here Buzz’ whilst sobbing.
13:00pm: drive home and hit my desk to answer emails and catch up with the writing that I’ve been missing. Get an email which annoys the hell out of me concerning a payment for freelance work and I quickly respond, informing the writer of their mistake.
14:00pm: receive a very apologetic email back, explaining the mix up and that ill be paid immediately. Instantly feel terrible for having stood up for myself and feel compelled to write back and apologise, despite not really knowing what I was apologising for and not having made any mistakes that caused her to email me in the first place.
14:30pm: receive email from my husband, asking how I am and telling me to pop to the surgery to visit him if I’m around at 4pm. Know that I can’t possibly do that because there are people there and the GP practice is on a really narrow road and it’s not easy to park and I’d have to walk into the building and ask for him and he might be consulting and I used dry shampoo on my hair this morning and I don’t have any makeup on and people will stare at me and wonder how the HELL I forced a handsome Dr to marry me because I’m such a mess.
14:47pm: Respond to husband saying I’m busy.
15:00pm: can’t concentrate on writing because of the conversation with my Manager and the email from the contractor I do freelance work for…and the off words I had with a customer…and that woman I accidentally bumped in to at Co-op the other day…and the guy who parked next to my marginally squint car in the Asda car park in Shrewsbury last Sunday…
15:01pm: go to bed to quiet the noise.
15:02pm: worry about all the things I should be doing with my time instead of laying in bed. Make myself feel worse about it, but still can’t get back up. Try to distract myself from the shit swirling through my head by putting my audio book on to block it out.
16:00pm: prise myself out of bed as I need to prep dinner and I have writing to do and I’m clearly a terrible, lazy, useless woman who is failing at life by trying to escape on a Tuesday afternoon when I have a million other things I should be doing. Like feeding the fish. And exercising. And reading classic books.
18:30pm: welcome husband home and, when asked about my day, say it was absolutely fine because I’m too tired to try explaining it.
20:00pm: try to convince myself to exercise, but can’t. Go to bed and chastise myself for being a lazy, fat, ugly, waste of space.
20:05pm: look at dogs on the internet and crack my first genuine smile of the day.
20:30pm: put X Files on so that I can, at least, be thankful that I don’t live in the same apartment block as Eugene Toombs. Remember that I haven’t taken my meds and wonder if I’ll literally lose my mind if I miss a day. Decide it’s not worth the sleepless night waiting to find out and get up and take them.
23:00pm: turn off the TV and switch on my audio book. Recall that my sister once said that listening to audio books isn’t really reading and wonder if she thinks I’m stupid, because I’m not and it’s just because I don’t sleep well and I find it relaxing and I’ve been using them every single night for 5 years and have become so dependent on them that I literally can’t sleep without them and can’t deal with the concept of trying to break the habit…
23:30pm: WTF was that noise? Did I lock the door? Why is there noise when I live in the middle of nowhere? WHY do I live in the middle of nowhere? Why did I leave Scotland? Should I have had kids when I was 30? What have I done with my life? Why am I still unable to operate my Nespresso machine? How the Hell did I make it through University being this stupid? Maybe I’d feel better if I had a dog. Yeah, that would definitely help. Make a mental note to tell Les in the morning
24:00am*: switch iPad back on and go straight to Doug The Pug’s Instagram until I’m too exhausted to continue being awake.
Repeat daily for the rest of my natural life.
* Is 24:00am an actual time? Should it be 12:00am on a 24 hour clock? Now I’m worried about it…