SO I’ve been signed off work with depression, again. I am signed off until the new year (my return to work date is Dec 26th and the office doesn’t reopen until Jan 3rd). I hate myself and I hate that it’s happened and I hate that I’m still ill and I hate that I can’t be cured and I can’t move forward and I hate that I’m always stuck in the same place, physically and mentally and financially and geographically and everything else-ically. I hate that my brain hates me. I hate that for the first time in a number of years, I’ve been massively trying (and failing) to resist the urge to self harm again. I don’t cut anymore, but that’s all I want to do. And it scares me. It scares me hugely. It scares me that I’m out of control and I’m trying so, so, SO hard to keep my head above water and I’ve gotten so good at faking and putting a front on and pretending things are ok and carrying on as usual and being cheery in public – because that’s the Laura you all want to see and expect to see. But that isn’t Laura. That just isn’t me.
I am a horribly introverted, self-depreciating, self-hating bully, who has anxieties about everything, who has a touch of body dysmorphia, who has to have a meal plan at the age of 28, who has to really, properly, truly FORCE herself to do anything. I hate asking for help, I physically cannot do it. I hate telling people that I am ill, I am in constant denial that I am. I struggle with my illness on a daily basis. Some days I can hide it better than others. Some days I can quieten the voices and the noise and the tinnitus and the brain whirring. Some days it gets so overwhelming I just lie on my bed with the lights off and really loud music in my headphones, because deafening myself is better than the constant noise my brain produces. I’ve bitten holes on the inside of my cheeks and taken chunks out of my lips. I’ve gouged holes in my fingers from picking huge pieces of skin off. I’ve got scars from where I just pick that same piece of skin over and over and over and over and over and over again. I have grooves where I just sit with my fists clenced to make marks from my nails just so I can feel something. I’m mentally numb most of the time, I’m emotionally vacant and my brain is constantly busy and the brain fog is SPECTACULAR at ruining everything. I can’t think straight, everything flutters from one thing to the next and I get sensory overload and just need to escape and I can’t explain how I feel all of this EVERY SINGLE DAY ALL OF THE TIME because it just isn’t possible.
So when you see me, off work, ill, struggling with suicidal thoughts and self harm and eating disorders, and you see me, off work, outside, doing something (anything!!) and SMILING and heck, sometimes even LAUGHING – do you know how big a deal that is? To feel alive? To feel happy to still be here? To fight your brain and win? To feel like people want you in this world to join them on a walk, or cutting down trees, or at a gig, or dancing in the shop to Christmas songs, or eating loads of cake, or to bitch about dickhead people, or to even have someone to poke you awake because you’re fucking exhausted from fighting yourself all of the time?
Yes I am off sick. Yes I am ill. Yes I am on medication. Yes, I am depressed.
I am human. I have good days when the black clouds are grey and there’s a bit of light coming through. I have days with some hope and joy and laughter and gladness. I have a plan to fill up my coming five weeks of sick leave & holidays with THINGS and STUFF that get me outside and to remind me of why I still fight. To remind me that I’ve been here before, multiple times, that I’ve survived. That I’ve won and conquered and defeated my stupid lizard brain.
So if you see me, off work, ill; ask me how I am. Talk to me. [Ask if you can] hug me. Smile. Let me enjoy a good day, because I know they are few and far between and I cling to them like they are everything – because to me, they ARE everything.