I listen to a lot of Avril Lavigne, from the moody, ‘under my skin’ years, because I know it will make me cry. If I don’t make myself cry every now and then, I’m bound to find myself crying somewhere inappropriate and I fear that I won’t be able to stop.
I’m already depressed. Like, before Jack, I was already diagnosed with moderate clinical depression. I am medicated with a relatively heavy duty anti depressant (which I manage to take most days, I only skip it on days when I’m feeling very sad because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment). I’ve been depressed for nearly 8 years now, but was only diagnosed 4 years ago- so this is nothing new to me.
So when you combine big life depression and big Jack grief depression, you get BIG DEPRESSION.
the sort of big depression that makes you feel like you’re at the bottom of a deep, dark pit and even though there’s a ladder there so that you can literally climb out, you don’t have the energy to put your foot on the first rung. The sort of depression that saps any energy and personality and life out of you, and leaves everyone wondering where you went?
Sometimes I find myself wondering where I went, even though I know I am sitting right here.
I am very very fortunate to have some means of dealing with my big, scary depression though. I am lucky. I have endless supportive friends, who although can’t necessarily understand fully what I’m going through, either because they’ve not experienced depression or they never got to experience Jack, they will do their best to reach down into the deep pit and encourage me to stand up and take the first step towards climbing out. Some of the friends are in real life, some are on the internet. Both are valid, and amazing.
My family are not supportive. My parents have never understood how I could have mental illness, when I have a seemingly happy (read: white, middle class, privately educated) life. My sisters think I should get over jack- after all, I hadn’t seen him in so long, how could I miss him? If I’d really been his friend, I would’ve arranged to see him more often.
My therapist told me I should write a letter to Jack, with all my feelings complied into a sheet of paper, and mail it into the void with no address. I told him that was a stupid idea and that I wasn’t that batshit crazy. But I knew that the day before I saw him, I had set up this blog, which I guess is kind of the same thing? Maybe I am batshit crazy. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. This blog has been helpful, although difficult. Sometimes I want to forget all about Jack but then I come back to write about him, and I’m always glad that I do. I feel closer to him.
I am trying to take my medication regularly. I know I don’t help myself by skipping doses, but I’m notoriously bad with medication compliance and it drives all my doctors bananas. I don’t care though. If I can still function more or less, that’s good enough for me.
I have always been lucky (or maybe very unlucky??) that I am high functioning. Even in the depths of depression and anxiety, I still went to school, work, saw my friends, did everything I would normally do. This may be a bad thing though- every doctor I ever saw about my mental health would remark how great it was that I could still get out of bed and leave the house, and therefore that I couldn’t be that depressed. If I had stayed in bed for a month and not showered or eaten for weeks, maybe I would’ve had an easier time showing my family and my doctors that this was something they should take seriously. Because they didn’t, I didn’t take it seriously either. Instead of insisting on therapy and medications, I just tweeted my way through life with self deprecating anecdotes, and occasional self harm (I am now over 4 years free from self harm, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t tempted throughout this entire period).
I think my outlook on life has changed in recent years. I think seeing how Jack experiences depression has given me a reality check. I don’t want that. I know that a lot of it is chemistry, and I’ll probably always have an element of depression, however strong or weak, but I don’t want to give into this situational depression. Situations change, life changes with it.