It is my understanding that very often people with depression, low mood, anxiety or all of the above, can visualise what it looks like to them. A black dog, a dark cloud, a constant shadow..
For me, the ‘shape’ that I dread making an appearance varies. Sometimes it is a huge blanket which smothers me and makes me feel like I can’t breathe. Sometimes, it is the weight of a world on my shoulders, pushing me deeper and deeper into the ground.
Last week, it was a giant hand, its fingers prodding me constantly in the back; every time my kids asked me something, every time I had to drive, every work email I opened, every after school club we went to, every time I looked at myself in the mirror, irritating me with every move I made.
I have had a good few months, although I have struggled with tiredness. Oh how we all had a jolly laugh at the fact I took extra medication on the Sunday of my daughter’s party, to get me through the day, with thirty people in my house. I don’t know if it made a difference, and it certainly wasn’t a responsible thing to do; but psychologically it helped. My husband remarked at how calm and happy I was at an event that in the past would have filled me with a lot of anxiety and worry. We had a really fun time with our best friends and their children.
And then Bam! On the Monday the giant hand appeared, taunting me, poking me, urging me to feel sad and angry about everything. Go on, snap at your children, Go on, call that driver a w***er, Go on, cry in front of work colleagues and lose your shit..you know you want to…
No I don’t! I don’t want to be like this!
I don’t want to spend every day, week, month wondering when my next black dog, dark cloud or smothering blanket is going to make an appearance.
I knew that my medication wouldn’t be a ‘cure-all’ but it really has helped. But there are times when the tablets can’t protect me from some of my more extreme mood fluctuations, which the docs did warn me about. This time, it appeared very suddenly. I don’t really know what the trigger was, and it seemed to go as quickly as it came.
I am getting better at not feeling defeated by these fluctuations, and I accept that they will happen. I just don’t like the ‘not knowing’ and I certainly feel relieved that it didn’t happen on the day of my daughter’s party.
The hands that I see during my good days are protecting and safe. They help me and guide me towards feeling better. Those are the hands of my husband, my daughters, my family and my friends; hugging me, making me cups of tea, messaging me to check I am OK.
Those are the hands that matter.
Those are the hands that I do not fear.