waving, not drowning

On top of Mam Tor about an hour ago, watching the sun go down.

One of the hardest things about depression is its invisibility. I had days when I was completely and utterly crippled by it. I knew things were going downhill when I wasn’t able to write coherent prose any more. At my worst, I couldn’t even read. I couldn’t hold the words in my head long enough to extract any meaning, even with books I practically knew by heart. By the time I’d reached the end of the sentence, the beginning had vanished back into the fog. At that point I’d lost both my identity, and my coping mechanism. Sculpting words into sentences, playing around with their sounds and meanings, is what makes my world go round.

But nobody noticed. I truly believed I was screaming out for help. I assumed that everybody knew quite well just how mad and sad I was, but were too politely British to say anything. Just occasionally, I even got a bit angry and weepy, because Here I Was In The Depths Of Despair But Nobody Acknowledged It. Anger takes energy though, and mostly I couldn’t summon it up.

I think there’s little chance of me voicing, face to face, how I’m feeling on a bad day. The strong woman act, the brightly coping face are too deeply entrenched. I’m my own worst enemy. That’s why I’m contemplating a system of signal flags instead. For the next time (and there will inevitably be a next time, I know that now), so that I can at least let people know. Some people. The people who matter. I’m just wondering whether the flags would look better knitted or quilted…

And the pretty blog photos? They kind of distract me enough that I can get the words out there too. Like when you walk for long enough, side by side, looking at the view, but tuning into one another, eventually you find yourself pouring your heart out to the rhythm of each other’s footsteps.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “waving, not drowning

  1. Let me know your flags, or devise a codeword, you could be ‘not knitting’. That would set of alarm bells for all of us.

  2. dawn

    agreeing with Carolyn

  3. As do I.

    But you may find “the next time” doesn’t materialise, or isn’t as bad as you fear. Oddly, although it’s far from universal, many people seem to “grow out of it” as they reach their 40s – I know I did, and have. I do occasionally get a bad day, but it doesn’t last, thankfully.

  4. Liz

    I suggest a combination of knitted and quilted flags. Quilted knitting? Knitted quilts?

  5. Can we have a community flag system please!

    The only one I remember is help my flags are on fire – lol

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