I have been going through a down patch in my anxiety and depression over the last couple of months. The trough began around January. I don’t think it was triggered by anything. I rather think that I’d been so immersed, so busy in studying for and giving my university exams that after they ended in January, my mind chose to fill up the sudden free time with its old enemy. They do say that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. I could feel it coming on slowly, but I couldn’t fight it. The more depressed I got, the less I wanted to talk about it. It became more and more of a struggle to want to get out of my room, to interact with the people around me, to seek help.
I wasn’t severely depressed; I wasn’t suicidal. I got up in the morning every day; I went to college. I talked to my friends and family. I’m a private person anyway, but my depressed self went out of her way to assure people that everything was alright. To stop them from asking too many questions. You guys, it is so easy to smile and lie to your nearest and dearest. It is so easy to maintain a facade of overt contentment. You laugh at a few jokes here and there and you smile widely when someone asks how you’re doing. My introversion and depression were stopping me from talking about my introversion and depression.
When I got up in the morning, I’d already decided that the day wouldn’t be worth it. That I wasn’t worth it. That meant that even though I went about my daily life, I wasn’t engaged in any of it. There were a few small points of joy, sure, but I was approaching everything I did with the belief that I was wasting my time. That obviously meant that I wasn’t doing as good a job as I could be. Especially as a student, I wasn’t learning and absorbing enough because I didn’t think I could ever do it. When I opened a book, I’d already told myself that there was no way I could ever understand or remember any of it. It was all so pointless to me that it became pointless by my apathy and disinvolvement. That, in turn, reinforced and worsened my conviction that what I do day to day is worthless; that there is nothing being gained by me getting out of bed.
Thankfully, even at my lowest point, I don’t go as low as I used to a couple years ago. Nowadays, all it takes is a gentle push to get me on the road to recovery. My mother noticed. It is difficult for her to say the word ‘depression’ when it comes to me, but she noticed that I was having ‘the same old problems’. She gave me a stern talking-to, and it was exactly what I needed. At this stage in my depression cycle, I think handholding and mollycoddling wouldn’t have helped me as much as her “how dare you treat yourself like that” speech. I could feel my psyche being whipped back into shape.
I’m better now, which is why I can write this. But I’m sure that sometime in the future, I will be low again. And I’m writing this so that the future low me can read this and help herself out of it. So that she can tell herself that, even if she doesn’t feel like it at that point, talking freely to people is much easier and more therapeutic than she thinks. This is my catharsis.