Wednesday, 17 February 2010

keep yer chin up

I'm not having a particularly good day today. There's no specific reason, though there are I suppose some related causes. I had a long day yesterday - I was up for 20 hours - which included a round trip to London for an audition. I finished the evening having dinner with a friend I'll call the Lady (because she is) and some of her friends. Then I caught the last coach back to Cardiff, making it back into my bed in the wee hours of this morning. It was an excellent day: I enjoyed the audition (I've met someone creatively interesting, even if I don't end up working with her); it was lovely to see the Lady and catch up. But I'm tired. When I'm tired I'm more susceptible to having bad days.

I suffer mornings most of all
I feel so powerless and small
by ten o'clock I'm back in bed
fighting the jury in my head

"have to drive", Amanda Palmer

I didn't see 10 o'clock this morning as I hadn't got up yet (bedtime was 4 a.m.). But I still have the feeling that I want to crawl back into a hole, that even the weak light of this drizzly Welsh day is too harsh. What should I do on days like this? Try to fight it? Go out for a run, ride my bike, apply for a job, cook something elaborate? Or do I just surf this particularly black wave until it subsides: go back to bed, sleep if I can, play games on my laptop, watch back-to-back episodes of "Battlestar Galactica", stare at the ceiling...

It's getting dull, you know, having days like this. At the same time, I feel anxious about seeking treatment for my depression; after all, it feels so much like part of who I am that I worry I'll lose something vital of myself if it's gone. Irrational, I know. Because it doesn't "go away", I suppose; I just need to be able to manage the disease. I had a registration appointment at my local surgery the other day, part of my attempt finally to start seeking help. You don't actually get to see anyone with any medical qualifications at a registration appointment; you get a "health assistant" instead. She was a nice enough lady, and at the end she asked if I had any questions, and I did - how to go about getting treatment and so on. What was fascinating was how immediately out of her comfort zone she appeared to be: she got flustered, told me some information I already knew. She advised me of the procedure for getting emergency appointments if that's what I felt it to be. I felt like saying, I've made it to age 30 so I think I can make it another fortnight, but I didn't. I thanked her and got up to go. And she told me to "keep my chin up".

She meant well. She didn't have a clue.

I had a great conversation with the Lady last night. We'd had dinner with some friends of hers, which was not enjoyable, but in an amusing way. It felt a bit like I was stuck in an episode of "Sex and the City", without the occasional lines of witty observational comedy or the distraction of pretty frocks/shoes/New York. I sat there, trying to be nice to the waitress (someone had to be), slightly worried because my friend's friends were so clearly not my people. But she and I managed to flee after dinner for a hot chocolate elsewhere and she confessed that she hadn't enjoyed the evening either, which was reassuring. We ended up talking about depression - keep writing, she said, if it keeps you honest - and the stigma attached to it. I guess that might be what I encountered in the doctor's surgery, of all places. It upset me, that day, in that context, just because the idea of seeking treatment is challenging enough in its own way. I'm not concerned about blogging publicly about depression. I wouldn't be ashamed of having a cold. Or cancer. So why depression? Like being queer, I suppose it's something you should be open about in order to combat prejudice; come out, come out, depressives of the world, wherever you are...

Anyway. No conclusion; I think I've said all I want to say today. I might go back to bed and think about running.

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