Trigger Warning for frank discussion of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
Where to begin? I’m sat here finishing off the last glass remaining in a bottle of ~39 year old calvados I splurged on 6 months ago. Calvados being one of my favourite things, and at the time I had the money to splurge a little. Not that I am impoverished now, but I would not do the same thing. Winning a work related prize (which I did in March) brings out the self indulgent in me! And yes, I realise I am supremely privileged, lucky, and undeservingly so. Such is the legacy of being born to hard working, loving, middle class parents in 20th century southern England. The blessings I had before I was even born do not go unappreciated, intellectually, politically or ethically. Enough further self indulgence. (Because blogging is not so self indulgent I have disappeared up my own backside. That’s right out. Put it out of your mind. The very idea.)
I don’t know what to do. Almost. I realised today that I have been “normal” (whatever that is) for 5 days. Stable, not too happy, not too sad, not dead inside, not self hating, not ruminating over past failures, not self flagellating, not burdened by the fanciful notion that I am some exceptional future secular messiah or some such tomfoolery, not flying, not having thought after thought after thought after thought after idea after idea after idea after idea slamming uncontrollably into the forefront of my mind, not madly hedonistic, not self destructive chemically or sexually, just….calm. Sure, I remember all the wrongs and failures still, and am rightly embarrassed/ashamed about them, but I think I can move forward in life despite them, instead of feeling like I have to apologise to every single person on the planet for being such a total scumbag, waste of life.
Five days. Big deal, right. I’ve been severely, clinically depressed before, every stage between mild and suicidal. Certainly worth hospitalising, no idea how I avoided that. I’ve spent many months at the very nadir of possible mood. Desolate, empty, the only thoughts that flit into my head were self loathing demands for self-annihilation. I’ve been hypomanic (maybe even manic, certainly in mixed states which are the worst), thought myself powerful, efficient, brilliant. Dare I say for fleeting moments I was all three. I actually managed on occasion to be as good as I thought I was. And I thought I was alarmingly good. These periods of exceptionally high or low mood have lasted weeks, sometimes months, even years in the case of consistent, treatment resisting, low mood. Mood so persistently low it nearly destroyed my marriage, career, life.
In nearly 9 years (and that is an underestimate rather than the reverse) I have not had five consecutive days of “normality”. A day here, a day there, maybe even two. No distraction worked, no holiday or pleasure or tragedy. Nothing. And now, suddenly, I can do things. Every single act is not a tooth-pullingly difficult act of pain. Even the simplest things seem simple once more. The humdrum that would be beneath me when high, the mundane that would be beyond me when low are suddenly in focus, achievable.
I fervently hope it can last. Please last.