Sometimes the big black dog just brushes past my leg, causing a moment of doubt, that familiar knot in my stomach to return, only to keep moving past and letting me return to my normal surrounds, getting on with life.
Then there are the times it is a big boundless drooly puppy that jumps up on me, knocks me for six and smothers me until I can’t breath.
Other times it just shits all over the lawn and scratches at the back door desperate to get in.
These last few weeks I’ve had it do all of the above and so things that should just be a little speed bump in every day life have overwhelmed me and made the looming day seem insurmountable.
I have said it before, that depression makes life look like a long vast beach and one you must walk the whole length of in the softest of sands back and forth back and forth over and over and over again.
I become unproductive at one point and then beyond industrious in an instant. I sit at my desk looking at work on the screen and can only see scrawls of black on white, unable to make out words and unable to even contemplate forming them. I drift along, caught up in thoughts as overwhelming as they are inane.
I can rationalise it all – that this is just the toughest of times, young children in daycare, the costs, the juggle, the treading water at work as I see others catapulted past me in status and earnings, the lack of sleep.
I just say to myself over and over ‘Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Don’t stop, whatever you do, do not stop.’ And all I want to do is stop. Lie down. Stop.
I become erratic and impulsive. Buying clothes I can’t afford, looking at houses we will never be able to buy, contemplating moving overseas, starting forms to emigrate to Canada. Looking at jobs in the UK and working out how much it equates to in Australian dollars. Imagining.
I lose perspective – metaphorically and physically – so I scrape our massive hulk of a van along a sign I could not see due to another barrier in front if it. Another cost we can not afford. It sounds so silly, but driving a battered car makes me feel so cheap. So worthless.
I have a permanent knot in my stomach. A constant sense of foreboding. Not that something bad might happen, but an contraction pain of when? now? is this it? Oh GOD hold on. Only for it to subside until the phone rings, or I have to leave the house, or talk to someone. Or tend to a child.
I have to concentrate so hard at smiling at my kids. Hugging them, being ‘up’, being ‘with’ them, when every grain of my being wants to go, lie down, pull the doona over my head and not come out. Ever.
I have very calm thoughts about ending my life. No actual plans on how I would do it, but simply that it would be over. No waking up every single day in the grip of an anxiety attack as I have done now for months. No festering on how we’re going to pay that bill, buy petrol, afford swimming lessons. It’s just a very calm sensation, that somehow I’m still here but gone. Wafting above the melee of this life, drifting around my children, keeping them safe, but not a part of it. Gone. Sometimes it’s imagining me walking out the front door, around the corner, across the road, down to the beach and into the ocean. ‘Shame I can swim,’ I think to myself, knowing the will to live would far outweigh any attempt at simply slipping beneath the waves. Sometimes its just careering off the Wakehurst Parkway after gradually putting more and more pressure on the accelerator on one of the sweeping corners. ‘I’d probably just cripple myself and then face a life in a wheelchair’ I tell myself. Nothing like depression to talk you out of topping yourself. I know I would never do it. I have seen the damage it does to those left behind. There is no way I could ever leave my boys. I know this time will pass. I know it is my brain not working properly. I know. I know.
Just keep going. Just keep going.
I become so hard. So brittle to the plight of anyone else. So narky at the world. So full of rage at the most incidental of slights or comments or bad driving or mere presence. I feel like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
I’m not hungry due to the permanent state of fear so tend eat badly. Peanut Butter M&Ms are a current fixation.
It’s all just a recipe for disaster really. Like pouring lemon juice into milk.
Everything becomes an if. If we just had more money. If we just didn’t live here. If we could just save this. If I could just do that. If I could just get a new job, closer to home, more interesting, less travel. If, if, if.
It will pass. I know it will pass.