My goodness, where do I even start with all this? This is going to take some time, so bear with me. I’ll try and do the short(ish) version.
First things first, I’ve been (and still am) a depression sufferer for a few years now. Around the summer of 2016, things had actually started to pick up – I’d come off my anti-depressants gradually, like you’re supposed to do, and now wasn’t on any at all.
Then I got dumped.
Before I go any further, I need to point out that it wasn’t the dumping alone that sent me into what I can only describe as a Shit Spiral. A lot of other stuff happened around the same time – some connected, and some not.
This boyfriend in particular had said time and time again that he would stick by me through this depression, that he wasn’t going to go anywhere, and that we’d work through it together. And then he said he couldn’t do this anymore; it was hurting him too much and tearing him apart, and he didn’t want to “put himself out there emotionally”. He said said a little later that day to a mutual friend that he was really upset, and felt like he was failing at life, so it’s fair to say that he was pretty upset by it too.
(If I sound like I’m being quite flippant about any of this, I’m really not. It’s just better than sobbing over my laptop).
You know when you have a shit relationship followed by another shit relationship, and then you meet someone who seems to be so entirely on the same wavelength … who cares about you and shows it, who you are genuinely proud of, and who pushes you to be a better person? That’s what he was to me. I didn’t realise at the time that I had depression (it happens; I thought I was *fine*), and I behaved like an utter twat. I was awkward for the sake of being awkward. I couldn’t believe that he really cared about me, and I pushed him away by being needy and clingy, which is not who I am at all. What I wanted to do, more than anything, was to apologise, to take that all back and to TRY AGAIN, but he said at the time that he’d made his mind up and that he wasn’t going to change it.
And this is where it gets weird. This relationship had only been going two months. TWO MONTHS. Who falls for someone that hard in that short amount of time? I do, apparently. It was so different to anything I’ve ever felt before, and he said it was the same for him.
Enter the start of the Shit Spiral.
How did I not know that depression was creeping up on me again? I don’t know. What kicked it all off was a play that we were in together.
I auditioned for one of the main parts (this is amateur theatre, by the way, not a life or death, my-rent-depends-on-this-part play) and didn’t get cast. Fair enough. Then the director contacted three of us ladies who hadn’t been cast to ask if we would consider being extras, notably for a song that involved three women. We thought about it and eventually said yes. But we turned up to every rehearsal, twice a week, only to be put in a back room and asked to practise the song while the rest of the cast rehearsed in the main rehearsal room.
I really should have pulled out of the play when I realised how unhappy I was, but I got suckered into staying – my boyfriend wanted me to (he’d got the lead part), I wanted to see him, I thought I would kick myself if I pulled out now, and I also didn’t want to leave the director in a difficult position by making her find a replacement. I also felt that nobody would cast me in anything else because they saw me as a “diva” who leaves a play because she doesn’t get the part she wants. It backfired massively though. I got worse – continual crying (and I mean, crying for absolutely no fucking reason), constant talk of leaving … People clearly thought I was awkward and difficult to work with. They even said as much to my boyfriend, albeit in slightly different words.
But let’s put all that aside for a minute and come back to the Shit Spiral.
Sometime after the break up, we got back in contact. We started talking via text, very on and off, but it was all starting to get more normal. Then he stopped texting a few days later. Just didn’t reply. Bit weird. Quite shortly after that, I found out why.
Basically a complete dickhead from this theatre group had been pestering me all about the breakup, asking what had happened, and saying really horrible things about my boyfriend. *Really* horrible things. He wouldn’t let it go and I just ended up telling him what happened on the day, a simple run-through of the bare facts, and then I asked him to leave me alone. I didn’t consider he would go and tell my ex, as I thought it was in confidence. Apparently not. I hadn’t even said anything wrong.
The few months that followed have been the worst experience for me. Thank fuck for the Samaritans and my friends. That theatre group blanked me completely – or so it feels – and so I’ve lost what I thought was a huge group of friends. I’ve been on the phone to the Samaritans more times than I care to remember, crashed at friends’ houses in tears, spoken over and over about it all to other friends – which has given me very conflicting advice – but nothing was helping. It came to a head when I broke down at work and was sent to Nottingham’s urgent care centre, where I sat for two hours with two doctors, telling them I wanted to kill myself, and them talking me through why that was a bad idea.
I felt like I was going insane. I watched my ex get on with his life like I never existed, and doing things with the friends I thought were mine as well. I was constantly in tears. I lost a shed load of weight. He was in my head and my dreams and nightmares, so I couldn’t even escape him there. Shortly before this, I had actually been fired from my last job for having depression which worked out for the best, in a way, as I would have been in no fit state to go to work.
I don’t know how much better I am. I’m kind of in a much better place mentally, thanks to a number of things. I deleted many of the people on Facebook from that theatre group, because seeing stuff about it was making me feel worse. I needed to distance myself entirely but every now and again, something will pop up that takes me right back. Slowly, I’m getting myself back onto some kind of even keel but it’s taken a lot of time to get to this point, and will probably take a lot more time, too.
A few years ago, I decided I was going to do this ’52 New Things’ project but as a set of newspaper articles. Since this bunch of shit happened to me, though, I decided 2017 was the year for it instead. So that’s the plan – every week (sort of) I will complete one new thing that I have never done before / haven’t done in years. It will be a challenge, yup, but will also have an ability to make me realise that yes, I fucking can do brilliant things and no, depression doesn’t always mean that you have to stick your head under the covers and sleep (although that is good too. It really is).
Depression can be an absolute dick. I don’t know why I suffer from it, but I will try my absolute best to not let it win.