When I first wrote this I had no intention of publishing it… but then something changed my mind.
It’s a bit of bumpy ride so first, a quick safety message…
Sunday Jan 6, 2019
It’s 5am and I’m out walking. I don’t really know what day it is, it’s just cold, it’s been raining most of the night and here I am, wandering aimlessly through the area I’ve lived in for 20 years with no idea where I am, where I’m going or what the fuck I’m even doing. I just know I have to be out of the house.
I’ve barely left my room for days (don’t even how many?), not raised the blinds or even been out of bed – sleeping, not sleeping, both, neither, dreaming, I don’t know, staring at an apple on my bedside table for an eternity, at cookie monster on my window sill for another, barely existing. I’ve not showered, brushed my teeth, don’t really remember eating.. but do remember dragging a zombie shell through Harris Farm, no idea when though. At some point my new lounge was hoisted into my apartment over my balcony. The shell was there, but I wasn’t, and even that was dead and struggling by the end. It got in, I looked, paid, and went back to bed.
I woke up almost an hour ago and don’t know if this all happened in 10 days or 1, or if it even happened at all.
For what feels like the first time ever I can feel my toes, my touch feels real, I’m not staring blankly into nothing and the Funko toys on my window sill have colour and look like themselves again, not just blobs of plastic. Instead of the sort of numb grey that sounds like silence and feels like a thick foggy limbo, thoughts are beginning to form again.. and all I knew is that I could not stay at home any fucking longer. I had to leave immediately – before that silent grey limbo rolls back in and traps me again.
Before I left I checked the living room. The lounge I so excitedly discovered weeks ago was there. Unlike the moment we finally got it inside, this time I smiled when I saw it. I don’t know how long it had been there, but at least I knew everything that happened, and however many days I just lost, were all real.
This moment is always a conflicting feeling of relief. At least I didn’t dream it all – being trapped alone in a numb, grey, silent, endless, limbo.
This the version of depression that I hate the most, the one that completely shuts me down and takes out every piece of energy, power, control and thought I have. Negative thoughts and inner critics, I can fight and argue with, but there’s no way to fight this one. If I have to be thankful for one thing, is that that critic and its darkness have no power either.
It’s surprisingly easy to forget what silence sounds like.
Welcome to the annual Christmas and New Year Depression Special. It’s not your average holiday break, but more commonly than not, it’s mine. I have versions of this all year round, but it’s particularly festively brutal at this time of year.
I’m just going to get this out, I fucking hate this Christmas, New Year time of year, it twists and knots and turns inside out every part of my mind, body and soul in ways I can’t control. I can’t even say I don’t recognise myself, I do… this time of year always wakes one the darkest beasts in me that I’ve rarely been able to tame. It has been tamed in the past, but with the help of voices I trust more than my own at this time of year ( and there have been very few)… so usually the beast’s bite is festively deep and wild.
I see what this time of year is meant to be in others, and am overjoyed in what I see in them, in you. That happy, carefree, celebratory, friend, family and fun filled thing that “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” are meant be and meant to make us feel… and I’ve felt it once or twice, but never really like others do.
As a general rule I actively avoid Christmas Day celebrations. It’s a day that makes me feel uncomfortable, disconnected, inferior, out of place and empty – infinitely more than any of my darkest days through the year – even when surrounded by friends. I’ve had a few great Christmas’ where I’ve genuinely felt part of it with friends and others, but this year I did what I most commonly do ( and enjoy I might add), scrubbed and cleaned my apartment listening to anything but carols, and ignoring the whole thing.
I tend to avoid discussions of plans and gifts in the days and weeks before and after because, try as hard as people might, and they do try, there’s always a sadness in their eyes, or voice or body language (that you can’t disguise or hide), when I say I have / had no plans or sparkling new presents to speak of…or I can see people feeling bad for jumping in and excitedly sharing theirs when I have nothing but a clean house for Christmas show and tell.
I’m fine and happy with my plans, not grinching on the world feeling lonely. It’s a time that used to destroy me, now I play each year as feels best, so that it doesn’t…. Because going into new year on a handicap is not a wise play.
Then New Years begins and I watch on as people I know party and play…and the beast bites a bit harder…. “I should have gone away, I should have made plans, I should have been more awake, I should have done more, I should have been better prepared instead of letting the moment just drift up and by, I should have more friends, better friends, I should be better, I should have something to celebrate..but with who, and what.. and why…
and the beast plays on, reminding me how little effort I make with people, so of course little effort is returned…and it reminds me of the number of years I’ve not learned,
changed , and the disaster of the last time I had a plan ( albeit unexpected and someone else’s)… and all I see in the and hear in the thick grey in my head are all the failed intentions, should have done’s, could have’s, insecurities, fears, mistakes and bits of me I don’t like, that generally don’t bother me or I’ve come to accept or work with ( although never seem to think to change) … and I don’t have the strength to fight back as the beast burns it’s way through me.
So instead sleep, hide and turn off the light, and the social media. It’s all the energy I have after the fight.
Once again, I’ve had great New Years and holidays around it… but even on the best ones the beast has always been there, growling in the darkness…. it just didn’t have as much fuel to burn with.
Every year it finds ( or I give it) new strength, I intended for or it not to win this year and to plan against it…. but I procrastinated and doubted, and blamed busy and didn’t. It’s dark and impervious voice crept in, and it only takes to two words, repeated and repeated, louder and louder until I believe….
Why even bother to fight me, you know you’re not worth it. You know you’ll never win.
I have a hundred tools and tricks to silence and challenge my inner critic, and I’m learning new ones all the time. It’s always trying ( sometimes succeeding) to take hold of something, and that can be exhausting enough but most of the year, most of the time, for the most part, I can manage and disempower that little inner troll bitch…
This clown who takes over at the end of each year though, it starts to growl around August/ September, and has a wild power all of its own. I really don’t want it to win again this year though.
Maybe some of my goals for the year should be working on strengthening the insecurities that the evil muthafucker of a clown feeds on, and starve it of its power?
Killer Clowns, Limbo Greys, Tired Cycles, Dumbfuckery, Craig Declan Mack… you’re all on notice, and this time Auntie Maxine is watching….
Days lost to the Limbo Greys and Killer Clowns of Depression: 7
DeCredit Limit : 20 days max
Remaining Allowance: 13 days max
I really do hate this time of year, partly because I really don’t want to.
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