What it's like

On Friday I announced on Facebook that I was having a duvet day but that thankfully, it was for physical, rather than emotional, reasons.

I was telling the truth. Firstly because no-one ever lies on Facebook do they? And secondly, because now that I’ve outed myself, I’d have no need to pretend – if I was feeling down, I’d tell you I was feeling down.

Not quite.

Apart from coming down with a particularly bad case of the lurgy, I was feeling okayish when I updated my status. I’d asked if it was acceptable to have ice-cream for breakfast (and my wonderful friends confirmed that it was.) Admittedly the physical symptoms weren’t exactly pleasant, but a day off work meant that I could catch up with the three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy I’d missed so I was still feeling quite positive.

That didn’t last.

I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that most people tend to feel a bit sorry for themselves when they are unwell. (Except for you men of course – even when you are battling with man-flu you are still brave soldiers.) When you are susceptible to depression though, not only are there the usual emotions going on when you are ill, but there’s also the guilt about even daring to feel sorry for yourself, along with some side orders of anxiety, low self-esteem, perhaps a bit of self-loathing and some tears thrown in for good measure.

Despite the fact I’m quite in touch with my emotions, and have started a blog detailing them, I wasn’t even aware I was developing mental, as well as physical, issues. Or perhaps after having a few weeks of feeling good, when even other people had remarked on my positive mood, I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I was having a low spell.

During a phonecall with my friend Heather, amid some coughing bouts, I told her that I was struggling to finish my next blog post and maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer.

‘It’s cause you are ill. I’m sure you’d struggle to write a shopping list at the moment,’ she said.

I told her that I’d had such a good response to my blog that it was freaking me out and making me wonder whether I should have started it. (Yes, today as I’m feeling stronger, I’m well aware that this makes no sense at all, but yesterday it did. Except, seemingly not to Heather…)

‘It’s cause you are ill. You aren’t thinking straight,’ she said.

I told her that I was worried that I’d somehow brought my ailments on myself.

‘That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!’ she said.

Actually even I realised that was a stupid remark as soon as I’d said it. I know I got ill because a colleague at my current job announced that she was dying, and should be at home in bed, but needed the money so had come to work. Nowt to do with any Uri Geller mind powers I suddenly seemed to think I have.

At the end of my mini freak-out Heather ordered me firstly to stop being so hard on myself cause, ‘That’s my friend you are slagging off.’ She reminded me that I’d given myself a get-out clause on my About page where I had explained that at times I might not always feel like writing, and so not to put myself under any pressure to do so. She also suggested that I just be honest and say how I’m feeling cause, ‘Isn’t that the whole point of your blog to explain what it’s really like having depression?’

It is. So in the spirit of honesty, I haven’t finished the post that was coming next cause I’ve felt a bit crap.

As we said our goodbyes, Heather added, ‘You might think you have things bad, Stacey, but there are always people worse off…a sixty year old guy has just winked at me on’

Don’t get me wrong
If I come and go like fashion
I might be great tomorrow
But hopeless yesterday
The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong