That’s what’s in my head the past 20 days.
Three weeks of nothing.
I rarely have visits from the Bogeyman for that long. The longest used to be 2 days.
From 2 days to 3 weeks. Impressive performance, dear Bogeyman.
For 20 days, I woke up every morning to a dark, suffocating cloud.
I open my eyes and didn’t have the strength to get up, so I had to almost literally crawl out of bed in stages. Stages that last 2 hours before I can make my way to the bathroom, because even the act of sitting up in bed is exhausting.
I try to get myself hopped up on really strong coffee just to get through the work day. Sometimes it took 3 cups just to get me to lunchtime.
I force myself to work, frantically trying to get in as much as I can once I get started because I know that if I stop I will just drop off to sleep for several hours.
I try to drag myself out of my flat to work at a cafe because I thought it would help me get out of that cloud quicker. I don’t usually make it because just taking a shower is too tiring.
In the one time I was able to go out, I had to lie to the Starbucks barista and say that I’m having an asthma attack when it really was a panic attack because it felt like the person behind me in line was standing too close (she wasn’t).
I had to pretend I’m fine when I see and talk to my family. The effort to maintain conversations left me with a headache every single time.
I had to rely on medicines to get me through outside events where I had to talk to new people. My meds allowed me to engage with new people without a repeat of that Starbucks incident. They didn’t do anything for the finger marks in my palms, though. Plus they make everything hazy and leave me even groggier.
I didn’t even have the strength to get angry at what’s happening. Because, really, do you know how frustrating it is for a writer to need to power through not just a block but emptiness?
I wanted to say it was a hellish 3 weeks, but it’s not. Because there’s just nothing.
And that’s so much worse.
The first thing I felt when I surfaced was overwhelming frustration and grief. I lost 20 days of my life, just this month, to nothingness. I didn’t feel anything but exhaustion and occasional bouts of apprehension in those 20 days. My work suffered. My relationships stalled. I was hidden from the world behind a wall of indifference.
So, for those saying that depression is not real, or that the complex PTSD that caused it is something that you just have to get over, fuck you very much.
This is the third of a series of posts where I talk about my experience dealing with mental illness.