This is what I do now, I drink tea and contemplate life.
I’m finally starting to feel like myself again I’ve had lots of time to be alone, without having to attend to this email and that inbox. In my Buddhist monk moments I’ve sat in my room, in complete silence and just stared at the ceiling.
I’ve thought about the past 6 months, and how difficult they’ve been. The first half of this year, was a battle, everything was falling apart and there wasn’t anything I could do to keep myself or things together. It was a bad time; it was a horrible place to be. It was a place that I myself didn’t understand and I couldn’t make anyone else understand it. All I knew was that I was stuck and my biggest fear was that I was going to be stuck forever.
The beginning was hard. I had a meltdown in my class and I was sent home. A week later I sat in one of “those” couches in complete silence. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be broken and more than anything else, I didn’t want anyone else to tell me that I was broken.
On most days, I would talk about how I feel and how I felt about everything and everyone else around me. For the longest time, I didn’t care. I didn’t care about myself, I didn’t care that I was finally doing what I had been working towards for three years, I didn’t care that I knew nothing of my friends lives and It didn’t bother me that they knew nothing of mine. Indifference is a very overwhelming emotion. It has the ability to take away everything and everyone. I remember sitting on that couch and saying “If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I wouldn’t be bothered, it wouldn’t matter”.
On some mornings, I just wouldn’t make it. I would stroll into class, two hours late without a valid reason. On those days, it was not about getting through the day, it was a fight for every minute. I had to get through every minute and believe you me, 60 seconds is hell of a long time.
I had to find a lot of strength to get me through the days and I realise now that I missed all the days that I fought to get through. I missed the beginning of my dream. I worked my ass off (and bargained with Luck) to get into this journalism course and when I finally made it, I missed it. I don’t even remember the beginning. It’s a wonder I know how to do half the things that I do.
Dealing with depression is a lot of fighting. You are fighting to get up in the morning, you are fighting with the people that you love, and you are fighting with yourself. You are fighting to stay alive and sometimes, you are fighting to die. One thing I have learnt though is that you can’t fight alone, because you won’t make it.
I think of myself as a very resilient person, I’m one those “Just keep swimming, swimming” kids. You can imagine my frustration and disappointment when I realised that I didn’t have enough fight in me to fight this out. I may have thought I was swimming or at the very least doggy paddling, but the truth is, I was sinking and unless I accepted the fact that I needed a life boat, I was going to find myself at the bottom of the ocean forever.
This fight is a long one. And it doesn’t always help to know that there are “many people who suffer from depression” or that “it is treatable” or that “You mustn’t feel bad”. Sometimes you just want that upper cut Jab thing that will knock your opponent out so you can just get out of the damn ring. Just because you’ve had enough.
I had my day. When I’d had enough, when I wanted my upper cut jab in whatever form it could come in. I sat on the couch and said “Fix me, Just fix me. Give me the pills, tell me what to do and I’ll do it, I want to be fixed now”. I never wanted those pills, from the very get go I had said that I know something is wrong with me, but I am not going to take happy pills. I didn’t want to discuss any possibilities and I didn’t even want them mentioned in my presence. But here I was in a moment of pure desperation. I would have taken those pills in truck loads, and I would have taken them every minute of every day if I had too.
I never got those pills. Instead, I had to stay in the ring; I was very far from an upper cut jab. So far. In retrospect. That moment of desperation was the point where “something ends and something begins”. I was at the end- I was ready to take anything that could make me better, and I guess that’s how I ended up on that couch every week, even when I didn’t want to say a word.
I had to learn to be kind to myself and one of the most important things I also had to learn was not to see myself as broken. I’ve had to make a concerted effort to stop referring to myself as broken and as a psycho, while I’m unlearning all these nasty things about myself; I’ve also had to start learning nice things about myself. I’m quite sure there is no correlation between self-esteem and confidence and anybody who knows me will know exactly what I mean.
Although I am still very much in this fight, the blows are not so hard anymore. Everything that was once grey, is slowly becoming a little more colourful and a little brighter. As exciting as this is, it’s also a little bit scary. I feel like I’ve been a swamp girl for so long, howling at the moon and clawing at people that it’s scary not having a moon to howl at or people to claw at. Sometimes it’s a little too colourful and little too bright. Sometimes when I’m with my friends, I often find myself asking if I still have a place there, I wonder if I am there and if they can actually see me. I know I’m on the right track though, couple of months of ago, I didn’t want to see anybody and I really didn’t care, what was going on in who’s life. I never even saw my best friend off when she when she left for Grahams town, but now I can’t wait for her to come home, so we can sit on her bed, share sferb stories and laugh about everything in this world and I want to do it. I want to be blinded by that colourfulness, and I want it to be so bright, I’ll have to start wearing sunglasses…
Like I said, It’s not over. I still have to sit on that couch. I have to catch myself when the slightest bit of indifference sneaks up on me and I often have to stop ,breathe and just remember that I’m doing my best and that I’m okay.
I feel like there is a little Oprah in my soul, who is jumpstarting it and patching it up every day. There are also lots of special people who are holding a little banner with my name on it in my soul, and although I’m not sitting on their couch, they’re there every day helping me put my boxing gloves on. Gearing me up for another round of fight.
I have so much to catch up on; I have about 4 months to be the journalist that I always dreamed I would be. There are some friends that I have to go find again, I’ve missed out on so much and lost a very special person too, but that’s okay there is always something to lose in every fight that’s worth fighting for.
Depression is not easy to deal with, it chips away at every fibre of your being, but you can get fixed.
You will sit on (surprisingly comfortable) couches for hours, and probably hate it. But if you stick it out, you often come out a little more sane, at the end of it all.
While I’m here, I’d like to apologise to all the people, who never knew what was going on and tried to deal with my shit anyway, I know It wasn’t easy, but it means the world to me that you put up a fight for as long as you could.
To all the people whose lives, I just disappeared from without any explanations. I’m sorry, it was a tough time. But thank you for always calling anyway!
Sue, I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you left. It doesn’t matter where In this world you will go, I will be there when you leave… with some spaarcezs!!
Vee, for being my shoulder to cry on, even after I promise you that I am done crying and for always telling me “Matte, one slab of chocolate is enough”
And to a very special someone, who’s been patiently waiting for her mention in my blog.
Thank you for always reminding me, of who and what I am when I forget.
“Most inspiring person you have ever met”? – I can dig that!