Since about the second week of January, I’ve been fighting on and off again with the lowest of moods. A lot of days, insomnia consumed my nights, and fear and anxiety fuelled me during the day. Suicidal thoughts began to creep into my head again, voices whispering that everyone I cared for was better off without me. That I was better off without the world. I’d like to say it’s been a while since my last ‘crash’ but that would be a lie. What I can say though, is that these crashes are further and further apart, and my ability to see them and acknowledge them for what they are is getting far better than it was when I was sixteen.
And so, I began to make adjustments to my routine. Instead of working alone upstairs, I set myself up on the dining room table where I had people to keep an eye on me. There was nothing untrusting in their demeanour, they simply were there when I needed someone to snap me out of my own head and back to the task at hand. Instead of going days without talking to people, I had a small group of people I trusted with the waves of emotion and thoughts, and they made it their job to check in on me. To listen to me vent, to distract me when needed, to remind me that my state of mind at the time does not define me and, perhaps the most important of all, that I am loved and needed and wanted.
When the last week of January arrived and I got on my flight to Germany (a trip that had been planned since last October), I was sure I was fine. This was the break I needed. I wobbled on that first day. I wobbled a little more on the second day. But on the third day, I was settling. I stayed away from technology, work and social media, spending my time reading books and watching Grace and Frankie and exploring the country with a friend that wanted me there with her.
By the time I was ready to come home, I was sure that Germany had been my saving grace. But it wasn’t. It was just a lid on a container that was overflowing. I hadn’t solved the problem; I had simply put it on hold a moment. And, as soon as I was back to reality, the voices returned, the anxiety attacked full throttle, and the fear was suffocating.
Back I went to working on the dining table. To the daily check ins. To the journaling and the dreaded tablets I’d given up in 2019. I stopped working past 6pm. I lessened my caffeine and dairy intake. I threw myself into reading. I stopped answering my phone unless it was to clients or people I genuinely wanted to talk to. I made lists. I asked for help.
It’s almost been two weeks since I returned from Germany, and already I’m feeling the pressure on my chest lessening. The voices that tell me I’m useless and unwanted aren’t so loud today. They’re joined by other voices, more important voices, telling me that I am loved and wanted and needed. Sleep still won’t come easily, but I’m getting eight hours again. My to do lists are getting longer, but my productivity is increasing, too. I’m missing my lattes, but the one cup of coffee that I start the day with and the countless bottles of water I drink throughout are keeping me going. Work is finished by 6pm. Weekends are spent reading and catching up on TV. Maybe I’ll even finally get to watch The Witcher this week! Or that new Dev Patel movie I still haven’t gotten around to seeing.
What I do know is that the only way I can get better is by making a conscious effort to. What I do know is that this isn’t going to be the last crash I have, but the next will be better. Easier. What I do know is that I have people in my life who want me around for a very long time, regardless of the head I’m so sure is messed up. What I do know is that I’m okay with the voices. A lot of the time, they’re actually great company and every writer, every creative person on this planet, really needs them. What I do know, is that I’m going to be okay.
I got this.
To everyone out there fighting, you’re not alone. I got you. Your loved ones have you. And, most importantly, you’ve got you!