10 ridiculous things depression is making me do

As a self-proclaimed work-a-holic, having been signed off work for my chronic depression to get used to my increase in medication, it has left a huge void in my life. In just 3 weeks I have morphed from a Superhuman Multi-tasker with a successful career in mental health and a thriving social life to a filthy slug with some bizarre paranoia and an addiction to avocados. I’ve been assured that what I’m experiencing is normal whilst my mind tries to repair itself, and subsequently my body will follow, so I’m allowing myself to laugh at the weird things depression is forcing me to do, and of course share it with you, in the hope that if you find yourself in a similar position, you’ll know this is apparently normal.

  1. Buy really weird things on Groupon.
    I feel as though those going through a period of mental illness should have their online shopping accounts at least partially suspended until you are well, because being able to one-click your way through new material goods to ease your depression whilst high on Prozac will never go well, no matter how much Groupon tell you that THIS DEAL IS AMERZING. So far, I have a new BlueTooth Fitness Tracker, which is hilarious as I haven’t walked further than to the bathroom in 2 and a half weeks, I have a new curling wand for my hair (which was an obvious must-have, considering I have a really short bob rn), an exercise bike which has definitely not been used but was a bastard to put together (and subsequently made me feel like a DIY Failure) and £42 left to pay my rent this month. Today, I embargoed by account when I almost bought a set of outdoor furniture (despite only  having a tiny balcony for outdoor space) and an Indian cookery class. I just can’t help myself, my mind is saying no, but the depression is yelling “HEY, BUT HOW MUCH BETTER WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE SITTING ON YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM EATING INDIAN FOOD YOU’D COOKED WITH CURLY HAIR.” Fuck you.
  2. Wake my boyfriend up in the middle of the night TERRIFIED that I’d forgotten where China was.
    I had. I don’t even know if I ever knew, or this was a new unknowledge I had acquired thanks to Prozac, but I just didn’t know where it was in the world. He got up a World map on his phone and proceeded to show me. MIND BLOWN. Since when was it that big? AND WHERE THE FUCK IS JAPAN THO? Was Japan always that small? WOAH WAIT. CHINA BORDERS FUCKING RUSSIA. I actually asked the question, “How well do the Chinese and the Russians get along?” and “Why do we never hear about any nice things that happen between them? I’ve never seen a Russian person and a Chinese person be neighbourly or unneighbourly, so like, what happens? Do they like each other?” These questions went on for hours. THEN I SAW ALASKA. WTF. Did you know they want to build a BRIDGE to attach Alaska to… oh shit I’ve forgotten. Maybe Russia. Probably Russia. BUT MY GOD. I couldn’t sleep that night knowing that my world has either grown or shrunk and I couldn’t work out which was worse.
  3. Watch too many True Crime shows and apply to be an Investigator.
    Yep. If anyone watches TruTV or CBS Reality then you will KNOW about the absolute gold mine of TV shows on there that can satisfy your need to solve mysteries and watch murder reconstructions. OAPs Who Kill, Deadly Women, 48 Hours, Killer Twins, Psychic Detectives… they are channels made for my mind right now that needs to know things and work things out. I decided I was skilled enough to be an investigator sometime after 1am when I realised something. If someone has arsenic in the house, they must be planning a murder. I googled ‘other uses of arsenic’ and, after a few hours of searching, found there really weren’t any other uses. HENCE AND THEREFORE if a woman is found with arsenic in her house and her husband mysteriously dies then she definitely wasn’t using it for her FUCKING SKIN CARE REGIME. I’m a genius, says 2am I, I could do this for a living. So I sent my CV off to a place that needed investigators. Yeah, I needed a few years experience in like policing and shit BUT I’ve just solved 100% of arsenic related murders and I think that’s a skill they can’t do without.
  4. Watch every 9/11 Conspiracy Video I can find.
    For about 2 days, I became really passionate about 9/11 and working out what really happened. I’m not going to write down my thoughts because I’ve read that people have been killed for sharing their views on 9/11 (yeah, I really believe this). So I’m not going to indulge you, BUT, if you want to have a few sleepless nights, increase your psychiatric medications and watch Zeitgeist and then realise that you’ve just ruined your chances for recovery this week due to paranoia about people killing you for your views on 9/11. Absolute banter.
  5. Continue my Conspiracy theory obsession by reading about the fact NASA has already set up a colony on Mars and LYING TO US. 
    (Yeah, you think this is bad? Wait until number 6). Basically, liking ‘Anonymous’ on Facebook as soon as I increased my psychiatric medications was probably a poor choice, but despite forgetting where China is whilst I’m writing this and having to google it again, I felt like I was keeping my brain sharp. NOPE. It just led to the absolute shit show that is No.6.
  6. GO TO THE TOILET, HAVE A SIM CARD FALL OUT OF MY PYJAMA BOTTOMS AND BELIEVE SOMEONE IS TRACKING ME AND MY MOVEMENTS AND IT MAY BE NASA.
    This seriously happened, and I still can’t quite explain where the SIM Card came from, but I’m going to say now I’m 98% sure it’s not NASA’s doing. Before you ask, ‘U OK HUN?’ let me explain. I went to the toilet after finally dragging myself out of bed at around 11am, pulled my Pjyama bottoms down that I’ve worn for the past 6 days and out fell a 3 Mobile Sim Card onto the floor by my feet. “Someone must have put that in my vagina!” I actually exclaimed out loud and hence I started wondering who would do such a thing. Since it was in the midst of my NASA Conspiracy obsession, part of me questioned whether it was NASA. When I told my boyfriend when he came home, he told me he’d found it the other day and was going to ask me about it, perhaps it got stuck to my foot as I walked to the bathroom? NOPE. IT FELL FROM VAGINA HEIGHT, I said, and it may be NASA, so he told me I probably shouldn’t read conspiracy theories anymore. Looking back, that was a sensible ban.
  7. Make my body have a period for 12 days straight (and still have it perioding)
    My depression has apparently picked up the phone to MOTHER FUCKING NATURE, the twatmonkey, and said ‘Oh hey, you know what would be HILARIOUS? Let’s give her a period now too. For ages, like, a no end in sight kinda thing. That’ll teach her for believing the NASA Conspiracy theory and not showering for a week.’ And Mother FUCKING Nature said ‘Alright babe. LOLCAT’ And that was it. It’s like seriously MOTHER NATURE, CURE CANCER OR SOMETHING STOP KICKING ME IN THE OVARIES WHEN I’M DOWN.
  8. Become obsessed with Kylie Jenner and hate myself for it.
    That Coachella hair tho. Seriously. Hair goals. I want her lip kit, even though she literally has no right bringing out a lip kit when she’s only had lips for one year. And I hate myself again.
  9. Read over 200 reviews about Gwynth Paltrow’s new cook book with no intention of buying it.
    I just really needed to know about what people really thought of it. Apparently. Definitely mixed reviews, is my definitive outcome from my investigative work. Most comments say you need a Spiralizer. Some people say it is definitely better than her older one as recipes only take around 30 mins to prepare but the cost of ingredients is still quite high… WHAT AM I DOING, GO OUTSIDE TO NATURE.
  10. Actually have a really  nice time with my friends.
    Surprise! It’s not all doom and bloody gloom. I hosted my own engagement party on Saturday – we’d had it booked for weeks before I fell ill, paid for all the food and people had planned their whole weekend around it, so despite my inability to be a real human, I still pulled myself out of bed and decided I would push myself no matter what. And it was really nice. I was surrounded by such incredible people who knew what I was going through, we had some drinks, laughs, we danced, I sang Proud Mary on karaoke so loud I lost my voice the next day and got really lovey with everyone. And yes, I had some wobbles, and did end up falling to sleep on the floor spooning my wardrobe because I was too anxious to ask people to leave my bedroom so I could sleep BUT it made me realise that although my depression can make me bleed, can make me paranoid to the extent that people are planting things in my vagina and make me believe things are hopeless, it can also learn when it’s time to leave you be, just for a little bit while your friends try and heal you.

I think the one thing that has been really tough is the guilt, that’s constant and relentless. I am constantly thinking, ‘What could I have actually achieved in these three weeks?’ and I become so upset at the lack of achievements I’ve made (apart from the fact I could now win a pub quiz solely based on Kylie Jenner’s life) that I find it hard to get out of bed again. And that’s always going to be a struggle. We’re constantly bombarded with messages that we only have one life and we’ve got to make every day count BLAH BLAH BLAH – we know. We really know. I’m really aware of this. Too aware of it, that it’s actually making me anxious about sitting still and looking after myself. I need to constantly be on my phone reading things to the point of obsession, I need to be working, I need to be applying for things that will make my life worthwhile and buying things that will make me happy and I need to be exercising, meditating, learning a language, see all my friends, visit my family, hold down a 9-5, chase my dreams, buy a house, have some babies, write a book, keep things clean, eat good food and FOR FUCKS SAKE PLEASE STOP IT’S ALL TOO MUCH. I just need to breathe. And so do you. And that’s what this past three weeks have shown me. So what I didn’t get out of bed today? I actually really needed to sleep whilst my body adjusts to life again. Sometimes a fucking bubble bath and a cup of chamomile tea isn’t enough – sometimes you just need to dance until you can’t move and laugh until you can’t breathe just to remind yourself you’re still human deep down and this depression can suck a dick. Maybe I don’t want to meditate today? Maybe I want to walk to Starbucks and eat a cake and listen to Fall Out Boy and remind myself that life is tasty and can be as good as I was when I was 16 and Sugar, We’re Going Down.

It’s Depression Awareness Week this week, which my mind has so perfectly synced up to. I really encourage you to talk about it, take the pressure off yourself and know that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to lay in bed for days sometimes and just BE. It’s okay to laugh at it, because it’s healing. And it’s okay to take all the advice you are given, and it’s perfectly okay to put two fingers up to the advice you’re given if you know that it will be better for you. Whatever works, just don’t feel guilty. You got this, there’s so many people rooting for you and if I can make it to the end of this, so can you.

 

15 days on 40mg.

“You’re unfit for work. I’m signing you off for four weeks. I’m doubling your medication. I’ll see you in four weeks.”

I looked at the doctor as though he’d literally shat in his hands and told me he was making a pie. I told him four weeks was way too long, I have so many responsibilities and you know, I’ve coped this far, I’ll be reet.

No dice. His word was final.

Now, I know so many people would revel in knowing they’ve just been given a get-out-of-work free card for 4 weeks, but I actually fell into a state of panic.

Two weeks in, and lying in bed I’m ready to share the effects of doubling your anti-depressants mixed with being a workaholic being blocked out of her work emails. Because my concentration is limited, I’m going to share with you in bullet point format the best and worst things about my last two weeks.

  1. Being brutally honest with people is hilarious. Now, I work for a Mental Health Charity (ironic, I know) so of course my work understands where I am and what I’m going through, but other humans that I need to come into contact with have no idea. I’ve stopped telling people I have a flu akin to ebola when explaining why I can’t play or human today. I’ve been brutally honest. And it’s hilarious. To my drama teacher for example, who told me if I didn’t go to a make up class for the class I missed I wouldn’t be able to continue the course. I responded, in a text message, “Hi David, I lied, I didn’t have the shits. I actually have chronic depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an increase in my medication meant I couldn’t walk in a straight line last week. I also couldn’t bring myself to shower, and I didn’t want to upset you all with my drunk, dirty and disorderly behaviour. I also tried to learn the script for the lesson, but everytime I got to the third line I forgot what I was doing and fell asleep for 3 hours. So, it wouldn’t have been productive for me turning up. But I’m getting better, I’ve been awake for at least 10 hours today, so I hope you will let me continue with the course, because I like acting a lot. It helps me be other people who don’t have chronic depression and I like that. Thanks.” His reply was simple, “Bless you. Please stay with us. I will wait to hear when you’re better. David.” I’m  unsure if his ‘please stay with us’ meant in the class or in life, but I’ll do my best to do both, David, thanks.

2. I forgot how many days were in a year and had to Google it. I then went on with my business (learning the same three lines of script and sleeping) and forgot again, so had to bookmark the tab for the rest of the day. Writing this now, I still think it’s 352. I don’t know why the Prozac is preventing this knowledge sticking in my brain, but it is. Sorry, world.

3. I’ve lost all coordination when crossing roads. Like, they don’t write this on the ‘Side Effects’ bit of the patient information booklet, but it’s a serious side effect. I stand at the side of the road, looked left and right (thanks, Hedgehogs) and instruct my legs it is safe to walk. But nothing computes. And I don’t walk. I panic, I stumble, I try to walk but there’s cars so I jump around a bit like a loon and turn back and go home. It means that I don’t go out much at the moment without another human to push me along.

4. When I do manage to cross roads, I can’t human in supermarkets. I went to Tesco yesterday for milk. I’ve also just come on my period which was a lovely surprise to add to the ailments of life right now. So I needed lady supplies. I managed to not get hit by a car, but I also couldn’t take my eyes off the ground as walking was hard to fathom and I was worried I was going to trip. I went into Tesco, and went to self-service with the following items:
– A reduced pack of chicken
– One avocado
– One large pack of mango
– Fabric softener
– Soya yoghurt
– One pack of Crumpets (despite being Buy One Get One Free)
– One pack of Tena Ladys
– One apple
I had no need for any of the above.
I had my own bag. I didn’t tell the self service till, so I had to pile everything up in a mountain on the bagging area and support the avalanching items with one arm whilst I paid with the other before packing into my own bag.
I then realised, on a whim, that I hadn’t smoked in 3 days. Depression leads you to lose interest in many things, like washing and socialising, and as such I’d lost an interest in smoking, but at that point I decided I’d like a pack of cigarettes.
NB. Don’t make snap decisions on Prozac.
I went to the till and saw that there was an ecigarette on offer for £6. I thought Brill, I’ll have that (?!) and said to the cashier, “That ecigarette, I’ll have that. Is it £6?”
As he brought it over to scan I realised it was normal cigarette flavour and not menthol which I like. Shit, I thought. Do I have to take it now? There was a queue building behind me.
He scanned it. “Oh, it’s £6.30 actually, but it says £6 up there, shall I get a manager?” PANIC NO I DON’T REALLY WANT IT.
“Erm, no, it’s okay now actually, I’ll just take a normal pack of cigarettes”
And he said “No, no I don’t want to encourage you smoking if you’re going to quit, let me get the manager.”
“NO!” I shouted at him as he walked away. I’ve attracted the attention of ALL of Tesco Express at this stage.
“I actually want a menthol one, is there a menthol one?”
He said “Yes actually, here it is, I don’t know how much it is though.”
I said “I DON’T CARE I’LL TAKE IT” and he rung it up for £5.99 and handed it to me.
Now I have an ecigarette I really don’t want.
I have a pack of Tena Ladies when I needed tampons.
I have a pack of crumpets, which Tom has been eating just to justify my purchase but secretly I know he doesn’t really like them.
And I have fabric softener with no washing powder.
I’m a life failure.

5. The more you try and convince your boss you are fit for work, the less you appear fit for work.

6. I have horrible urges that I can’t shake. I’m not going to act on them, but I have an overwhelming urge to stab myself in the stomach. Something is telling me I need to do it. I know it’s just the imbalance of serotonin right now, but I lay in bed until 3am this morning reading stories of people who have done it and what happens to try and tell that voice in my mind that IT’S THE WORST IDEA EVER. My mind is still like, ‘Nah, babe, you should give it a go. I’m curious and LOL.’

7. Buying self help books in public is a huge mistake. I went to Waterstones to pick up some books to try and improve my attention span and ensure I was still able to read and shit in all of this. So I thought I’d look in the self help section too, to see if any books can help me through this period of ill health. I ended up buying a book called ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ (which I would recommend to anyone, it’s great) and a few others, like ‘Everything You Need You Have’ and ‘At Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’. Now, looking back, it probably wasn’t the most optimistic combination of books to set upon the cashier’s desk, but I expected, like when you go to Ann Summers, that people won’t judge you on your purchases. I was mistaken. The gentleman behind the till launched into, what I can only describe as a make-shift therapy session, and led me around the shop for another HALF AN HOUR recommending more books that will make me ‘not want to die.’

8. Losing a sock you just had on can instigate breakdowns. My feet go from being really hot and uncomfortable to being super freezing. So I put socks on and take socks off at least 9 times a day. So, casualties will occur. However last night I just took my socks off, to realise I was too cold and went to put them back on again. And I could only find one. That was it. That was the end. I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t remember how many days were in a year. My Tena Lady was in an awkward position. I hadn’t eaten a real meal in 2 weeks. I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in ages. Over a fucking sock. Tom had to take me to bed to calm down. Then he pretended to be a turtle for a while and things got better.

So, it’s Friday. 2 weeks since I’ve increased my medication, and it’s been really hard. But I’ve learnt some valuable lessons.

  1. Socks should have those strings on them like children’s mittens have to stop you from losing them.
  2. No snap decisions should ever be made on Prozac.
  3. Always say you’ve brought your own bag with you.
  4. You know you’ve got a keeper when your boyfriend eats crumpets to make you feel like a worthwhile human, and turtles around to calm your panic attack.

Tomorrow, I’m hosting a party. Something I don’t even like to really do when normal. However, lots of people have RSVP’d, food has been paid for, and maybe being around humans will help. But I’m concerned at how this will go. If I at least make it there with all the roads I think I will have done okay.

Lots of love,

Depressed and zombied on Prozac. x