One year since I described the challenges I was going through getting past my depression, a lot has changed. Some stuff hasn’t. Again I'm sitting in the Perth Virgin Lounge, tapping away at some black Apple keys. They’ve renovated the lounge, though. Different laptop, too.
Most of the time I no longer want to crawl into a hole and hide. It still happens; at my own birthday party it got to midnight and I just sat in a room in the dark, all social energy dispensed and frittered away. I couldn’t be snapped out of it. I slept, waking energised and ready to do things, but still.
Recovery... It has taken time to regain the trust in many of my relationships, trust which took many years to build and establish and only a few painful months to eradicate. Time to get into a routine which keeps me out of my own head. Time to figure out what worked and what didn't. Running helped a lot until I destroyed my knee. Now it’s riding.
Time, too, was needed to return to work in anything like the capacity I enjoyed previously. It feels a little like rebuilding your life, only instead of hunting for that first job or apartment, you're fighting to keep them. And keep yourself clean, fed, presentable. Present.
I wish my short-term memory would return to its proper function and intensity, but a combination of age and medication is keeping that one well away from me. I write a lot of lists now. I have to look at what day is pressed out of the back of my pills blister pack. Wondered why they'd put it there, at first.
Just remembered that I need to take it today… whoops.
I have a lot of reminders and alerts on my phone. Partially they are there to give me specific clues about what to do, but partially they help to establish a routine. Routine has become important. Changes to it are sometimes difficult for me to bear, but maybe that’s always been the case. I don't honestly recall.
This sounds like a long list of complaints. It isn’t. These are minor grievances in a life otherwise now filled with happiness, laughter, love, and energy. To try and pretend I haven’t been very lucky in my relationships and my support is to deny the reality I encounter every day.
There are times, several times, where a sliver of the prior darkness reaches out and caresses my heart, an icy and hollow touch no matter the season. Where it feels like someone uninstalled my basic interaction programming and I can barely make sense of concerned faces around me through the use of my remaining subroutines.
I talk to people, now, thinking I can bring myself into a different space. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least these are passing phases instead of weeks or months. Or, looking back, perhaps years. There remains The Fear, of course, that I will continue to struggle with my mental health for the remainder of my life. Probably I will.
There will be lapses, setbacks, days where even breathing seems like too much work. Hopefully they are few and far between. The recovery is not done yet; it is a life long project, an intensely real performance piece about being happy and fulfilled, and the struggle to achieve it.
I think, though, that the struggle has become about proving The Fear wrong; proving that I can be happy and fulfilled, that I am stronger than the disease which beat me on points in the last round. I hope so. Time doesn’t feel like an eternity stretching forward, with only different signposts marking the way. Instead it feels like a conveyor, rushing oh so very quickly towards me while I desperately flail to make headway.
There is so little time and just so much to do and see.