There are different ways this story can unfold.
Sometimes A Big Bad Thing happens, and you can’t cope. Mostly, people understand this one, for a while at least. They’re patient, offer sympathy and support, let you cry on their shoulder, and forgive and forget when you let them down, repeatedly.
Then there are the times (late November is good for this one) when you know it’s all going a bit wrong, but you don’t realise how wrong, because the slide down into the darkness is so slow, so gradual that even with hindsight you can’t say when it began, because nobody realised it was happening until you’d gone way past the line, and it was too late.
But other times, life’s been going pretty well, you’re coping, even having some fun, so maybe you choose to ignore a few warning signs. Let your calendar fill up, don’t quite get enough sleep, tell yourself that you thrive on stress anyway…
Then (pow!zap!kerrash!) you wake up one morning (possibly, but not necessarily a Monday) and the black dog’s back with an overwhelming vengeance and you know with a certainty that your day/ week / life is more than you can possibly cope with. So you go through your diary, wondering what you can weed out. Social life goes first, because you just don’t have the energy, and nobody really wants to see you anyway, do they? It’s not enough, so then you wonder which voluntary commitments you can cancel, who you’re going to be letting down this time. Work is always the last thing to go, because you’d rather die than admit how you’re feeling to your colleagues.*
This is how it feels, to live with depression.
Head fecked. Flags waving. Please look out for my children; they could probably do with a little extra love.
*NB. At this point, life (with glorious irony) may opt to throw a little extra crap at you in the form of a boiler gushing water all over your hall, thus wrecking your plans to spend an afternoon hiding under your duvet and leading to unseemly shouting at the British Gas employee who has the misfortune to answer your call.