Of friendship, writing, life, loss and not quite the end of the world

I wrote this on Thursday, it’s a reflection of exactly how I was feeling at the time…not exactly how I feel right now, things are extremely variable at the moment.
Not a fantasy, unfortunately and not even a musing.  This is really just the outpouring of a few of the many, many things on my mind at the moment. A few people may be interested to read this, but please feel free to stop at any point and find something light-hearted or simply more interesting to read.
Sometimes I write to share my thoughts, sometimes to amuse or entertain, sometimes because I want to capture a moment. Today I’m writing because there are so many things I can’t express out loud which are tumbling chaotically around my head and intruding on any quiet moment.  I think one of the reasons I’m so fond of twitter is that I’ve always found it easier to say things on paper rather than speaking them aloud.
As some of you who kindly follow me on twitter may already know, I haven’t been quite myself recently. Much less tweeting, no blogs to speak of and the tweets have become increasingly despondent as time went on. Behind that of course there is much more going on. Work has become more and more of a struggle. Some days getting out of bed has seemed nigh on impossible, let alone summoning up the energy to enjoy anything. I haven’t been at all nice to live with: and there are only so many mood swings any reasonable person can attribute to hormones.
The glimpses of feeling like a self-assured, professional woman have been getting fewer and fewer over the last couple of months or so, to be replaced with more self-doubt and increasingly frequently self-loathing than I knew I was capable of feeling. I’ve started making mistakes at work: not the kind we all make which can be quietly rectified behind the scenes and put down to experience. Instead, careless and even stupid and high-profile mistakes some of which other people had to put right.
On the personal front, I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to interact with people: I’ve been avoiding returning calls and messages, even from very dear friends. I simply can’t think of anything to say, and don’t have the energy to come up with anything.  On a similar front, I’ve hardly been going out – unless I manage to get myself to the gym I frequently just go home and head to bed. The effort of going out in the evenings has just defeated me of late.  I mean, the sheer effort of working out what to say.
But day-to-day, these things have all been easy to put down to circumstances: the house move, being further from friends, not having built up a new social life locally, the disruption of a re-organisation and takeover at work, trying to buy a house, and trying to get back into good habits like the gym again after so much disruption to the routine.
But then, more and more physical symptoms started to creep in, aches and pains, numb fingers and then (very unusually for me) lack of appetite and a persistently sick feeling. Not to mention headaches and insomnia. Having started seeing a chiropractor for some of the aches, things got a little better, then worse again. So, off I went to the doctor’s to talk about the insomnia, lack of appetite etc. And simply got into the room and burst into tears.
This surprised me, I’ve been really close to tears quite a lot of the time recently, especially at work, but have pretty much managed to hold back (with one notable exception of bursting into floods of tears at a black-tie dinner) unless I’m in the privacy of my own home.
I tried to explain to the doctor that this wasn’t really what I was there for, but he didn’t seem to be listening to that part of what I was saying. “How long have you been depressed? We haven’t seen you in here before”. Then he really listened, then told me it wasn’t silly, it wasn’t trivial, and that he was there to help. In fact, he very firmly told me it’s what he’s there for. And that other people were there to help too. He asked me what I thought would help: now that’s a difficult one. So there will be counselling, and there are plans to make, books to read.
It wasn’t a terribly long appointment, and I wasn’t terribly focused or coherent, even between all the crying. So there is a great deal I haven’t yet told him: particularly the urge to drive off the road into a brick wall, which doesn’t seem to have lessened.  Or to smash every glass and jar in the kitchen. Or take just a few more sleeping tablets than is particularly sensible.
I do wonder if it’s not depression at all, maybe I’m simply losing my mind. I’m definitely finding it quite hard to keep acting “normal”. It’s really hard work to keep a calm, positive mask on and to carry on with day-to-day life. I’m finding it even harder to stay organised, however many to-do lists I write.
In my calmer moments I can’t help fantasising about simply curling up in bed for days on end, sleeping and dozing and then sleeping some more. In between, whilst I am focusing on acting at least normal-ish, it feels exactly as though there’s a huge black cloud just behind me, about to engulf me in cold, damp, gloom. Occasionally it lifts a little but it’s still most certainly there.
What has kept me going so far is the offers of help, a listening ear, a hug – real or virtual, and some very kind and encouraging words. I do have some very wonderful friends. I deeply wish I wasn’t so far from so many of you.
Which brings me to loss: what have I lost recently which might account for this? The company of close friends, most of my social life, some of my spending power, job security, banter at work?  Is any of that enough to account for such deep despair as I feel on a daily basis? Or is it simply that I’ve lost the dream, I’ve realised I’m never going to achieve what I once hoped I would, never going to look better than I do now, never in all probability going to become a better person, never going to end up with that fantasy life I can’t help thinking about from time to time? Does that mean this is in fact simply a mid-life crisis?  (In which case, why haven’t they delivered my sports car yet?)
Anyhow, things look a bit grim from here at the moment, but every so often, someone does something kind, a friendly word, a smile, an offer of help or a shoulder to cry on, (or even the porter at the RAF club greeting me warmly by name) and I’m sure out of the corner of my eye I can see a faint glimmer through the thick black cloud.  So maybe, just maybe it isn’t quite the end of the world just yet.
Thank you


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