This is not going to be a nice update – if you are looking for my normal sarcastic or jovial self deprecating life updates, then go further back or sit on your laurels – because this is not one of them and they may be vacant for some time.
This is going to be the most honest I’ve been, probably with myself as well as anyone else in a long time.
And as it’s going to be honest, I’m going to start by saying that I am an incredibly accomplished and proficient liar. In fact if there was a degree in emotional espionage I would have a masters degree, in fact, I’d probably be involved in writing the course material by this stage.
When I say lying, I mean in an emotional sense, my name really is Chris, I am a 31 year old writer/dreamer/card player and musician. I am quite funny, relatively handsome and can solve a rubix cube in under two minutes.
So what do I mean I’m an emotional liar? Well let me explain...
Firstly I’ve been lying to myself since the start of the year that I am no longer suffering from depression – that, was and is a total fallacy. I am in fact currently at the lowest point I have ever been in my life.
Several weeks ago I hit absolute rock bottom one day in work and just couldn’t cope anymore, I couldn’t keep up the facade.
See because I’ve not only been lying to myself, I’ve lying to everyone that I am happy, that I’m good, that I care. I am fantastic at feigning empathy – it’s like I’ve been wearing this ‘mask’ of the person that everyone thinks I ‘am’ – and that mask is made up of the person ‘I’ think I should be – but it’s not who I am.
Wearing the mask I’ve learned the expected response to situations and I give these responses without much conscious thought. The problem with this is that often, these responses are at my own detriment, and are not actually how I feel. Think about it yourself, how often on a daily basis does someone say “Hi, how are you?” with a smile as they pass and you respond saying something like “Good!” or “Fine yeah, you?”
Are you really fine? Are things really good at that very moment? Sure sometimes they will be, a lot of the time though the honest answer is “Well to be honest they’re not fucking great. I had an argument with the Mrs last night, got next to no sleep, the dog shit in my slippers, I poured orange juice in my cornflakes, the toaster blew up, the car wouldn’t start, the trains were cancelled, I got stuck in the lift, my system won’t load and I’ve got an absolute nutter of a client that I need to speak to that I’ve been putting off...oh, and I’ve got this weird rash appearing on the inside of my leg – how is your day going?”
And while we’re talking about this, do you actually give a fuck how the other persons day is going, like really? Or is it just another one of those people that you've got on facebook because they added you after a 3 sentence exchange at an office party six years ago? Do me a favour then, see if you don’t care, change your greeting. It’s one of the most hollow statements in the English language, right up there with the McDonalds staff saying “Have a nice day” in the same dulcet tones to customers one after the other minute after minute for their entirety of their shift not evening bothering to muster the energy to pretend they give a fuck whether you have a nice day or a crap one - just pay and piss off.
Why have we as a society developed this habit of fallacy, why do we need to hide how we really feel and plaster this fake “perfect life” all over social media? And why is everything in life geared towards telling me I have to improve or should be aiming for some perceived pedestal of perfection? Why can’t I just be me? What’s the problem with that? I do not need to be bombarded with adverts that show drop dead gorgeous woman falling over themselves to get close to the guy who's got the Lynx effect - even on a subliminal level, that's not how it works so why are you pretending it does? What's wrong with the tag line - "Lynx - it smells better than B.O" - my brain understands that! That makes sense to me!
I do not need to be shown image after image of food that will make me healthier or regulate my bowel movements while there is a woman who in the prime of her life, tip top shape, smiling and jumping around being happy in the sunshine. What does she have to do with that advert? Seriously? Ok ladies, when was you last time you ate something that was sooooo good, that you just had to go outside in the garden, through your hands in the air and dance around with a stupid grin plastering your face? It's never happened? Oh right ok then. What a bowel movement, ever make you feel that happy? No? Then why the hell are these adverts done like this? Like there is some sort of tangible bridge from the product the advert is pimping to the person and people that are in it.
Nor do I not need to see the perfectly physiqued male, driving his ferrari, next to his super model wife up the driveway of their suburban mansion - then be shown a link to Indeed.com like that is what will turn me in to that guy. I don't want to be that guy. He works too hard for his body, the running costs on a ferrari are unreal, his house is excessive for two people (and there is a gated community charge that they never tell you about) and with a body like that his wife has no doubt had more one ups than Mario - why is that the perfect life we're all encouraged to shoot for?
...a bit like that rant, I don’t know where this depression has come from, and trust me I’ve tried to work it out. My family and home life is fantastic, I have great friends who despite my constant failings and long absences have never turned me away. My colleagues and work are hands down, fantastic. Honestly the support I have had through this experience, while I’ve been wallowing in a mire of self pity and lethargy, has been far more than I would ever expected from an employer. Financially I am more sound than I have ever been, romantically I am so much ‘happier’ to be out of the long term relationship I was in and thoroughly enjoy the advantages and freedom that being single allows. I can talk to who I like, go for dinner with who I like, flirt like I'm a teenager again and and yet every morning I wake up - and wish I hadn’t.
I wish I could sleep until this depression has passed. I wish I could sleep period. It’s currently 3am, I’ve slept for about 4 hours in the last 48 and thats been my sleeping routine for the last 6 weeks since I started on these happy pills.
I have no motivation, no energy. So many people have offered to help me, but I don’t know what help I need – so no, I’m afraid you can’t.
So why am I writing this? Because for a long time I’ve ignored the problem, lied to myself that it wasn’t a problem. By acknowledging it I hope to finally start to work towards resolving it. I’m writing this because I want to start being emotionally honest with people, and let them know that right now, when they ask me “How are you?”. The honest answer is “I’m not ok.”
And that’s ok, it’s ok not to be ok sometimes.
But I will be. I won’t be in the bad place forever, but I’m there now.
So what am I doing? Well I’ve been prescribed different anti-depressants, which I can’t start until I’ve come off of the other ones. Apparently I have to wean myself off of them because there are withdrawal symptoms otherwise. Those start next Wednesday, so maybe that’ll work.
If it doesn’t I have some 1 to 1 counselling sessions which might help.
I’m exercising a lot – ironically I am physically fitter now than I have been since leaving the Merchant Navy. I cycle about 100 miles a week currently.
I’m playing a lot of poker, and studying a lot of poker. These activities help my brain to get engrossed in something. I’ve also started to write a kind of ‘how to’ manual on Poker which combines my love for writing with my love of the game, but I’m even struggling to find passion in them.
There is nothing funny about depression, it’s not kid on, it’s not fake, it’s a real legitimate illness, and like a broken leg or a flu, it needs to be treated.
So bare with me folks, I’m not ok – but I will be.
Thanks for reading,
And thanks for all those who have supported me as I try and deal with this, thank you so much.
Dare to Dream,