I should have known that today was coming. It’s been building and it’s been a week coming, I’ve been “off my game”, more tense, more tired, more irritable: my tell-tale lack of ability to sleep kicked in mid-week followed by irrational anger yesterday. Today the lowness fell.
It’s not a sudden thing, it never is, it’s no punch or slap, it’s a snowdrift, sidling up to me and then continuing until I’m pressed up against the wall with the snow still coming at me, clogging my mouth, nose, ears and weighing down on my chest until I literally cannot breathe.
Today I did what I do when I cannot face what I know is coming. I ignored myself. I had work to do and a baby to look after at 6pm. So I ignored myself. I pretended I wasn’t there, I ignored the cries and I got on with the things that needed to be done.
About 2 hours ago I stood in my shower and I sobbed, choked, turned the water up very, very hot and now have got myself into a place where I can write. I’m much, much better with my low days than I ever used to be. Time was I would not have got up for work, I don’t know for sure whether I would have been able to look after my son and I definitely wouldn’t be writing this.
I do not consider myself depressed, I consider myself a stressed person. Most of the time I am able to cope and I cope well. But sometimes I can’t, sometimes I fall apart. I am sad that I have to ignore myself when this happens, but I’ve come to learn that this is the easiest way for me to get through the lows, everyone who suffers from stress, depression, sadness, low days, loneliness has their own way of coping.
I don’t feel good about telling the woman that is me that she needs to “get it together”, “just get on with it”, but truthfully I don’t know how else to be. I tell her to ignore the tightness in her chest, to swollow back the hotness behind her eyes and in her throat when she really needs to cry rather than take a call with work. I tell her that she’s being absurd, that there’s nothing to be so upset about. It doesn’t help when I can’t even articulate what it is that makes me so sad. I’d never tell a friend who felt this way to “pick her self up and get on with it”. It’s a truism that we’re often our own harshest critics.
But, I know the sacrifice she made today and I will be kind to her tomorrow. I will be gentle with her. Today has been very, very tough for her and she needs some care and attention. I just hope she gets through tonight without too many sleepless hours, tiredness is her worst enemy at these times, so I’ll try and let her mind rest, writing this all down and out of her head will certainly help.
I know she needs the kindness, and I know she deserves it, so tomorrow that’s what I’ll do for her.