It’s been a whopping four years since I first penned a post on depression. Four years!!! Do you know how much has been achieved in four years?! A LOT! None of it by me, I hasten to add. But still. A lot has happened.
Alas, in the absence of having anything incisive to say about the global happenings of the past 1460 days (other than “EJECT ME FROM THIS SIMULATION IMMEDIATELY!”), I will instead be recounting a smattering of personal happenings.
- After 10+ years of harrowing wax jobs, my vulva and I finally took the plunge and coughed up for laser hair removal. Exactly how much dollar did you cough up Daisy, I hear you ask? £600, to be precise. Was it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutey. Was it painful? Less so than a wax. Can you pay in monthly installments? YES! YES YOU CAN!
- I have started accruing disco balls in the same manner that some people accrue cats. Am I filling a void in my life? In my heart? In my head? Potentially. At this point I’m almost certain that I will die in a disco ball pit of my own making. I sort of welcome my inevitable disco denouement.
- My wonderful (albeit slightly reluctant) mum and I have launched Ploom! It’s a one-stop shop for handmade feather treasures. The more cynical among you might suggest that it’s just a way of legitimising my extravagant fluff habit. To that I say: you’re not wrong.
- After yeeeears spent dilly dallying, hoping I could politely bargain with my brain to give our immovable lodger the boot, I finally went back to the doctors and asked for help. That’s right: I’m talking depression, bay-beh!
Four years ago, I shared a post detailing the experience of my very first depression-based doctors visit (you can read it here) and since that time I have:
- had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (the NHS is a life-saver and life-giver, let’s protect it at all costs plz!)
- felt a little better
- felt okay
- felt good-ish
- felt as though I had sort-of-a-grip on things
- been suicidal
- spent an ear-warmingly long time on the phone to the beautiful souls working the Samaritan helpline (a resource I can’t recommend enough if you want or need to talk to someone; you can find their details here)
- revisited the doctors and walked out of the surgery with a prescription for 50mg of Sertraline (to be taken once daily, FYI)
Why am I sharing my mental minutiae in this manner, you ask? I begrudge using the word ‘journey’ (because: corny) but mental health really is a journey. Whether you’re skipping down a yellow brick road or dodging potholes on a dirt track, we each experience roadblocks and traffic jams, hoping that it’s just a matter of time before the cars part – a la Moses crossing the Red Sea – and we soar down a glorious stretch of open road, completely unencumbered (I can’t drive, can you tell?).
Terrible transport analogies aside, mental health is not linear. I’ve spent the better part of the last four years fluctuating somewhere between ‘meh’ and ‘welcoming a bolt of lightning’. I’d been reluctant to take anti-depressants for a long time (I was prescribed Prozac four years ago but decided I’d like to explore therapy options before starting medication) but after a prolonged period of suicidal thoughts, I made another doctors appointment.
I’ve been taking Sertraline since August 2018 and, initially, a small part of me thought it would be transformative. My imagination ran wild cooking up the versions of me that laid beneath the cloak of depression invisibility I’d been donning for 10 years. Who was I when I was happy? What did that girl look like? What did she sound like? How much energy did she have? What hijinks did she get up to? HOW SOON COULD I MEET HER?!
Spoiler alert: I knew her all along! She was me! Me was she! I was no different! I was just less… debilitatingly depressed. Still depressed, mind you – just less so. When my friend asked me to describe how I felt having been on anti-depressants for months, I pulled another Hazza P reference out of my sorting hat:
“It’s like the scene in the Deathly Hallows where Harry, Ron and Hermione are on that wild rollercoaster situation in the vaults of Gringotts. Thieve’s Downfall washes away their Polyjuice Potion and they are ejected from the cart and sent hurtling through the air. Hermione, being the exhaustingly consistent life-saver that she is, hollers “Arresto Momentum!” and they’re all suspended just before they hit the ground.
“For me, being on Sertraline feels a bit like that. It’s my own Arresto Momentum. It cushions the blow. Takes the edge off. If I start to spiral – if my mind hits that eject button and I feel myself hurtling downwards – I know that I’ll end up suspended, hovering just above the worst of it. The lows don’t hit as hard as before. They’re not as piercing. That’s the only way I can describe it.”
And that’s that on that, mon amis! Do I know when I’ll stop taking anti-depressants? Nope. Will I ever stop? Who’s to say! Do I plan on saving up for therapy? Yes, yes I do. Would I recommend therapy through the NHS? Totally. Is the NHS severely underfunded? Totally. Must we fight to protect it? Totally. Did I recently go blonder? Why yes, thank you for noticing. Will you stop incessantly quizzing me now? Yes? Thank fuck! I’ve had Real Housewives on pause for ages.
It is a *drum roll, please!* journey. Destination unknown.
If you’re having suicidal thoughts or experiencing depression and want to talk to someone, please call Samaritans on 116 123. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.