This is how it feels.
It can be triggered by a number of things. Lack of sleep. Lack of food. Something going wrong at work. A mistake, or a frustrating comment. A loud noise that takes me by surprise, that just won’t stop. Being trapped, physically, being nowhere near an exit by some frustrating conglomeration of people, tables, chairs and narrow walkways. Or, sometimes, it just happens as a result of nothing – it just rears its ugly head, and then it starts.
It’s both aggressive and lethargic. It attacks everything I’ve ever done, or wanted to do; every man or woman I’ve ever wanted or loved or missed out on, denigrating my life and hobby choices. You’re not going to make it to America. You’re barely going to make it out of Lancaster. Stand-up? Fuck off. Only you could get a hobby which is basically standing in front of an audience screaming “VALIDATE ME!” All you’ve got is an empty bed and some completely unworkable ideas. Look around the office. They all hate you. They all hate those stupid jokes you make. Shut up. Shut up. Shut the fuck up.
At the same time, it drags me down. I walk slowly, methodically. I flinch at loud noises, at fast walkers, at enclosed spaces, at any questions, no matter how reasonable. I’m good for nothing but sleep – nothing is more appealing than pulling the covers over my head and shutting out the world. My eyelids droop. The litter and mess in my bedroom piles up around me. It’s too much effort to walk the few yards to clear it up. I’m being dragged down into the bog by this THING in my head, which picks the most inopportune times to remind me of everything idiotic I’ve ever done.
He never did get back to you.
All that fun you have but no one’s in love with you, are they?
That doesn’t matter.
Go to bed. No one will miss you if you’re not around.
And linked in even with that is both incredulity and guilt that I’m even feeling like this in the first place. My life is fine. I have a job I enjoy, wonderful friends and a brilliant, supportive family. I’ve experienced no trauma, no tragedy, no injury. I’m the farthest thing from alone. Why on earth am I feeling like this, and making it worse by overblowing it in my own head? There are people who’ve experienced some awful things that cope better than I do. Anti-depressants. Jesus. Anxiety and self-deprecation about depression – it’s like some fucking Mobius strip.
And, in flashes, occasionally – never explicit, never planned, never aspirational, only speculative, the thoughts which really worry me. It could be easy. Not being here anymore. There’s no point, after all. I can’t see anything good happening beyond here. I could do it. There are all sorts of ways.
They never last, and they’re hardly in focus, these thoughts; like the world outside the bus window when it’s raining and it’s steamed up from the inside. But they’re there, and that scares me.
It lifts, after a while. My energy and positivity returns, my hyper and happy bouncing and chatting and foghorn laughing – the sort of attitude which has friends declare, “But you’re the happiest person I know!” I love those times, and I exist within them the vast majority of my life – everything is fun, life is endless and ridiculous and I’m sharing it with the most brilliant of people. Some of them might be reading this. If you are, you have no idea how much I appreciate you.
But I can never relax, because I know the low is coming, and I’m dreading it. I’m waiting for it to grab me by the ankle and drag me down into the bog again, and I worry that it’ll drag me all the way down this time, without any glimpse of the sunlight.
But through friends, medication, CBT when it eventually starts up again (that’s a whole other, incredibly infuriating story), positivity and things to look forward to, my head’s above water.
More comedy and silliness soon. I just had to get it out. How it feels.