I Carried a Watermelon

What it's like

So, I have this friend. She was telling me that while everyone else was embracing the arrival of the sunshine on the bank holiday, she spent a few days hiding away in her flat, only getting out of bed to move as far as the couch. She texted her friends to inform them that she was “off radar,” which they know from experience is code for “I’m having a meltdown and don’t want to talk.” (Just to clarify, I mean she was having a meltdown and she didn’t want to talk. I don’t want you thinking it was me that was spending all my time indoors like a teenage gamer. It soooo wasn’t me. Cross my heart and all that.)

She said that the dog had bitten particularly hard this time (she told me via email, before you point out that she wasn’t talking to anyone, so wonder how I know this fact. Jeez, what’s with the interrogation?) and absolutely nothing managed to raise her spirits. Not even watching Dirty Dancing, which I normally love. Sorry, I mean she loves.

Oh alright, alright, I don’t have a friend. I mean I do, of course I do. I’ve got a few in fact. I can give you names if you want proof. Numbers too. Call them. But this friend doesn’t exist. This friend was me.

Why would I want to deny it was me? Admittedly, despite the fact I’ve not had one negative remark since ‘coming out’, I am still embarrassed about the fact that I suffer from depression. It makes me feel weak. I know that’s mad (mentally insane you could even say.) Especially as I don’t think that about anyone else that has had their life blighted by the black dog. On the contrary, they are some of the strongest people I know.

It wasn’t so much for that reason anyway, more because even though I only climbed out of the black hole less than 48 hours ago, it is already hard to believe how bad I felt and that it is actually me that I’m talking about.

Looking back I can see that I’d been slipping downward for a few days. I’d been waking up feeling a bit flat, until one morning I woke up and was absolutely gutted that I had…well, woken up. And there it began.

My spells of depression are thankfully short, but ohmibloodygod they are sharp. I was in my own personal hell. I do tend to avoid speaking to people when I’m depressed, but normally because I don’t want to bring them down and cause I can’t concentrate on the chat. This time I didn’t want to converse though, because talking would mean thinking, and all my thoughts were bad. Every single one of them. It was like a weird version of Babelfish. Need something translated? Pop a positive thought into my head and I’ll tell you how to say it in Negative.

I ate a Magnum ice-cream. Instead of thinking what a nice Magnum ice-cream this is, I thought about when I lived with my Aussie boyfriend in Bondi Beach and he’d painted me a chalk board on the door and had written very artily on it that he loved me more than he loved Magnums (I know that’s actually a really nice thought, but the translator is still translating…) Then I remembered how our flat was broken into and how I was less upset about my video camera being stolen, than I was knowing the burglar would have seen that message and in my mind, would have been laughing at us. Hey presto! Translation complete! My ice-cream suddenly didn’t taste so good.

Then I watched Dirty Dancing, which I have loved, loved, loved every single one of the fifty plus times I’ve seen it. Not this time. This time instead of thinking what a good person Baby is, I noticed what a crap effort she made trying to dissuade her sister to lose her virginity to Robbie The Creep. As you know it turned out ok, (c’mon you’ve all seen it. It’s been out nearly 26 years, you would have found it harder not to) but no thanks to Baby. She was more interested in what was her dance space. I would’ve shouted at the screen if only I’d had the energy.

My mum suggested (by email obv, seeing as I was ignoring calls) that I try out my ‘old favourite’ tactics to feel better, which are going for a walk or going to the Samaritans. (I’m aware what a sad state of affairs it is, when an ‘old favourite’ involves the Samaritans. So what are your top 5 favourite things to do Stacey? 1. Watch Dirty Dancing. 2. Go travelling. 3. Lie on the beach. 4. Go to the Samaritans…)

In the end I didn’t need to. Something changed. I don’t know what, but it did. I’m feeling much better. So much so that if I throw out the crazy positive thought that I might never have a meltdown again, not only will I not translate that, but I may even just believe it.

Nobody puts Stacey in the corner.

I’ve been meaning to tell you
I’ve got this feeling that won’t subside*
Dirty Dancing – Hungry Eyes

*Yes, I’m well aware that I’m taking liberties with the whole lyric thing this time. I was naturally going to opt for a song from Dirty Dancing, but weirdly I couldn’t find any appropriate lines for this post in I’ve Had the Time of my Life.