When you get diagnosed with a mental illness, the logical part of your brain, the one that is fighting to stay in the “real” world thinks “huh, I finally have all the time in the world to do the things that I want to do, I can concentrate on me for a change”. What I didn’t know, and what no one told me was that depression likes to sleep. She likes to sleep the days away and re-charge her batteries. Except her batteries don’t hold charge like the Duracell bunny that I used to be. She can sit through a movie and then need a nap to recover. She can put a load of washing on, and the next thing she is flaked out on the sofa, head in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and hardly able to keep her eyes open.
She also likes create mad, hair brain schemes of what she wants to do. If she is feeling awake enough, she will often rope me into some crazy idea and we’ll be off taking over the world. But just as we get going, and our momentum is peaking she looses all interest, and leaves me stranded with her mess. She never likes to finish anything, she starts a book and gives up, she starts a journal, writes one page and thinks “had enough of that”. She loves to start letting me plan my life and what my next steps are, she becomes obsessive about it and just as the pen goes to the paper and we are on a role, guess what? Had enough of that and back to bed she goes.
For someone who likes to sleep, depression also likes to eat. She rarely lets me cook anymore and prefers to hit the take away app. At the moment she has an incredible addiction to pizza and ice cream, and can make any excuse for just “one more pizza and two tubs of ice cream” before agreeing too “the diet starts on Monday”. Just to sabotage it on Monday with “oh I hate the world, I need a day in bed, another pizza and another ice cream”.
Anxiety, now she is a whole different beast, she loves to do things at 100 miles an hour. She loves to create lists that are totally unachievable. She sets herself unachievable time spans and then gets completely beside herself when she doesn’t finish it. She wants everything done, organised and finished, and she wants done yesterday. She wants to know that everything is in its place and everyone is where they should be.
She wants to be a personal trainer, air hostess, corrections officer, yoga teacher and make-up artist all at the same time, whilst having so much self doubt that she will only explore these things in the confines of her safe bubble, her home. Unlike depression, when she is on a role, she will devour anything that she is interested in. Books on a topic, she will order everything she can get her hands on. Yoga, she will try every pose she can, even if it means nearly breaking her neck and everything is namastay. All of a sudden, depression will raise her head and just like that the interest has gone, and the batteries need to be re-charged for another couple of days.
She has no patience, and she certainly hates to let anyone do anything that she knows she can do better. In fact she is doing it now whilst I’m writing this, so many ideas that we are jumping up and down the page, writing a bit here and a bit there and “don’t forget to put that bit in, so jump down the page and make a note of it before your drug riddled brain forgets it Girl”. She wants me to finish these ramblings and wont let me sleep till they are, so she will get her way and keep me up all night. Only because “we all have so much that we want to say”, all three of us chime in.
Anxiety is also full of self doubt, loss of confidence and loves to shut herself away with depression and I when ever she can. She prefers her own company but feels lonely when she is alone, when the phone rings she looks at it but wont answer. Its almost like possession, she loves to give me (the host) physical symptoms, she makes my throat constrict, I shake like a leaf, and feel a knot the size of a bowling ball in my stomach. She makes me worry, where there is no problem, she makes me panic where there is nothing to be scared of. In my opinion, when she lets me speak, she is a contradiction in terms, wants everything perfect and yet she doesn’t want to do it on her own.