A blip. Such an innocent word. In the world of depression aka ‘bad day’ or ‘everything has gone tits up’ usually includes something a bit more dramatic than just someone cutting in front of you in a queue or that you forgot your umbrella.
“Had a bit of a blip, I cut myself again.”
“Had a blip, took too many painkillers.”
“Had a blip, kept hitting my forehead into a wall.”
“Had a blip and got drunk.”
And so on and so on.
Getting ill has completely changed my level of alarm about things, even things that you probably should be alarmed about. That’s because of my care-coordinator, who always manages to put a sensible spin on things.
“I cut myself again.”
“It’s understandable, you were under a lot of pressure.”
“I took pills to make me fall asleep instead of cutting myself!”
“Oh that’s brilliant, well done!”
This is what my life has come to. I get praised for preventing self-harm with excessive usage of sedatives. Well done Ida, have a gold medal! Then I have to remind myself that I’m unwell and that the set of expectations posed on me are a bit different.
When I have a blip day, I’ll become completely lethargic. I don’t have the energy to do anything. Which is unfortunate since I live alone. Sometimes I can afford to have a day or two of not leaving the house. If I’m out of food or household essentials, tough tits. Either I get up and do the grocery shopping or starve.
My family is on the other side of Europe, so they can’t exactly pop over and do a big shop for me. Luckily enough I have very kind friends. When I have a blip day, I also apparently lose the few brain cells I still have left. This was from an actual phone conversation I had with one my friends yesterday.
“Do you need anything from the shop?”
“Have you got dinner?”
“So you DO need something from the shop.”
“I’ll bring you something. What do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know.”
All the power to her for not suffocating me with a shopping bag.
That’s depression for you though. You have your good days and you have your bad days. If you’ve had a few good days in a row, one bad day might be an absolute catastrophe that makes you forget all the good days and nice things you had before that in a millisecond. That’s it, I’ll never get better!
Usually it requires someone other than you saying that you’ve had good days before this bad one, so what stops you from having good days again after this? Simple thought process, impossible to carry out when you’re feeling shit.
Also you might think that the blip undermines all the progress that you have made before it. That’s it, I’m back to square one. The feeling of disappointment and guilt has always been worse for me than the actual self-harming. I had a period of time when I didn’t do it for months but despite all that, off to the knife drawer I go once I’m upset enough.
It’s not like I don’t know better ways to deal with my emotions but sometimes the smarter things just don’t help. I’d imagine this to be a similar feeling to someone with a drinking problem having a relapse. It’s a funny thing, cutting. You’d think that it’s an easy habit to kick but it really isn’t.
It’s important to remember that depression works on its own schedule, and it’s so fucking slow. It’s really understandable to get frustrated at times. If you had a broken leg, at least you’d be given a time frame of six weeks in a cast.
Now there’s no time frame, only everyone and their mum telling you to take each day as it comes. Easy to say when you don’t live it! Nobody wants to be ill, and nobody wants to feel like a corpse that has been eaten from within into a hollow core like depression tends to do.
So what can you do when you have a blip? Not much to be honest. The simple answer is to be kind to yourself. Simple advice, difficult to follow. Especially when during off-days I don’t include myself among my favourite people. Why the hell would I do anything nice to that dickhead?
Because that’s all that I can do, really.
It’s not like I asked to be ill. And you’ve got setbacks with every illness. The treatment isn’t working so you have to start a new one, you’re feeling really rotten or you suffer from bad side-effects. You get frustrated with being ill because you’d like to be well again and you might feel angry, sad or sorry for yourself.
You haven’t asked for any of those things. It’s not your fault. And it is incredibly unfair when it happens but one thing that sure as shit isn’t going to help is beating yourself up about it to boot.
So what’s my advice? Just make yourself as comfortable as possible. Wear comfortable clothes. Some people insist that you should change into day clothes even if you’re staying at home all day but I don’t believe in it. If that makes you feel better, brilliant. But if pyjamas are more comfortable, just wear them. Who is going to punish you, the clothing police?
Also do gentle activities. Think of something that might make you feel slightly more tolerable at this exact moment in time. Is it watching a show? Is it a nap? Some colouring, reading, playing a game or stretching? There isn’t a wrong answer here, the point is to kill some time so that you get past this horrible bit and start over tomorrow because that tends to be better.
Also, it’s ok to admit that you feel pathetic. We’ve all been there. If you can’t bring yourself to go to the shops, ask a friend if they could do it for you or order the groceries online. If you have no clean clothes, hang the least gross ones to airwash so they don’t smell as bad. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
This post was written in bed at around 1pm. There are probably things that I could be doing such as going for a walk but I just don’t feel like it. Instead I’m going to watch an episode of ‘Escape to the country.’ For whatever reason I’ve started enjoying estate programmes. This day can be probably written off in terms of accomplishments.
But I made through it. That’s enough.