The reason I'm saying this, is because my lovely depressive illness is a multi-faceted demon of despair. My general symptoms I learn, trigger secondary behaviours. So if I'm feeling isolated, tearful and forgetful, I'll hide in the house and eat. Or, I'll zone out whilst watching a DVD and procrastinate until it's bedtime. Rumination is another offender - chewing the useless cud of unsolvable problems, over and over and over. The thinking spiral dips and then low self esteem, doubt and fear kick in, and all is lost for another few hours, or days, or weeks.
The enormous universe inside my head is intricately structured and is nicely honed with habitual behaviours that are really quite bad for me. For example, I'll compulsively shop for at least half an hour before I get to group to stem the anxiety. I feel like my mind has been doing this to me whilst my back has been turned and I never even noticed how complex and controlling it had become. Certain types of people can also trip me up. I realise that those persons who are aggressive and dismissive cripple me emotionally and I shrink into my shoes and want to run away. Also, between 2 and 3pm every day, my energy level dips and I cannot concentrate for toffee - my vocabulary chip goes wrong and all my words come out back to front. I'll call a dressing gown a wardrobe, or just go completely blank for minutes at a time. Quite frankly, I am a total shambles!! How the hell I've been functioning in the grown up sane world is beyond me. Oh yeah, I've been off work for 6 months, so I haven't! I have an epiphany, and realise that most people are simple, uncomplicated folk who just turn up on the day, and plod joyously and freely around the world, blissfully unaware of the nightmare some of us live through. Jealously is an ugly character defect although at this point I may nurture it for a while until I feel better. Its fuels my sarcasm, which is another finely tuned coping strategy.
So every week I go into the room full of depressed souls, and share my inner most fears and talk about how my learning journey is impacting on my life. It is like a bad soap opera, and truth is definitely more bizarre than fiction. Our resident CBT cynic is starting to get on everyone's nerves too. "I just don't get it" is the phrase that triggers resentment and rolling eyeballs from all of us. We even try to do intervention and cross examine him as to why he's struggling so much. To be honest, I think its a case of not being willing or able to change. The moaning gets on my nerves so much I actually complain to the therapists who also bemoans the lack of willingness but they don't want to throw them off the course just yet. If I was in charge I'd be more cut throat.
And after the 2 hour soiree into the murky depths of the dysfunctional mind, I actually have to go back to work. I've given up being coy about my whereabouts, and tell them I've been at mental club. I seriously think some people just tolerate me and the rest think humour is definately a good way of dispelling the harsh reality of my situation. Part of me wishes I had a T shirt that I could wear that states, "Menatlly ill and fragile - Handle with care" on it, so I can negotiate around the difficulties. Sadly I'm not allowed to be treated as special and different so I just have to make do. Admitting I'm a bit bonkers isn't so bad and actually I am begining to accept my disability. That in itself is a huge shift in thinking, and maybe one day, I will actually be ok. I won't need to tell you I'm mad because I'll be just like you.