The weirdest little things change the course of your life sometimes. I’ve had three major depressive episodes in my life. The first was after finishing my undergraduate studies. The second was four years or so ago. The last one is happening in real time.
The first depressive episode lasted for about nine months after I had finished my undergrad exams. I remember the day when things changed around in vivid but disjointed pieces. I met with friends, I think we were making sushi. And this one guy, who I would not count as a close friend, somehow said something that got through to me. For the first time in nine months, a feeling got through to me. A human connection was made. I broke down the moment I got back to my dorm room and cried for a long while. After that, it got better. The mist I had been captive in slowly lifted. (Christian, wherever you are, I never told you this, but thank you!)
The second time around, I was already at a stage where I had accepted that I was suffering from PTSD and was getting help for it. That didn’t mean that depression didn’t manage to put its claws into me again, unfortunately. So even while in therapy, I slid back further and further, starting in autumn and again lasting for around nine months. This time, what turned things around was the simple act of going to the doctor. Not to my therapist, though I did that, too, but to my regular GP. Because I had a migraine. And I hadn’t taken a sick day at work for something like ten years, but I had a migraine and I went to the doctor and got a sick note and went home. That simple act of self-care was something I had not done ever before. And it was enough to flip a switch in me. The feeling of greyness slowly vanished over the next few weeks and color returned to the world.
The third time, well, that one isn’t over yet. But in the past few weeks something changed. The heavy mud that I have been wading through for more than a year now seems to be retreating. There are days when I wake up rested and still have energy even after a full day of work. It’s an amazing feeling. One that I had forgotten. So I’m asking myself, how come? What happened this time? And I think the answer is: door repairs. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been doing my work. I’m taking my meds and I’m seeing a therapist. But two weeks ago, our porch door broke. It wasn’t necessarily surprising, there had been signs for a while. But then crckkk. Something inside the locking mechanism had gotten lose.
Now you have to know, the house falling apart around me, my home disappearing and leaving me freezing and defenseless – my anxiety’s worst nightmare and favorite scenario.
But then, the following happened: I didn’t know anything about door repairs, so tried to find out which company had repaired the door before. No luck. Called my parents whether they remembered. No luck. Did some google research – better. Found a company that looked trustworthy, forwarded the info to hubby. Hubby said: just try it. I called them, they took down some notes and said they’d call back. They never called back. I smelled patriarchal bullshit. Wrote an email detailing the problem, asked hubby to send it. Hubby sent it, got a call back within an hour (fuck you, patriarchy) and a repair guy came by the next morning and repaired the door within two hours. Hubby got to work half an hour late, but it was fixed, the bill wasn’t too bad and – things got done. I got things done. We got things done.
Cause here is the other thing about my depression and my anxiety. They tell me that I’m alone. They tell me that I’m responsible for everything and if I can’t get shit done, the world will break apart. But I needed help because some sexist dude only listens to guys (that’s a whole ‘nother topic, not getting into that right now) and hubby helped. I was not alone. We got shit done.
And ever since – upward swing. Now, it’s too early to tell whether this holds. I might crash back down still. But at the very least, I now remember the feeling. That feeling of concentrating without effort. That feeling of being grounded in the moment, your mind alert enough to concentrate on the people around you. That feeling of sitting in the subway on your way home and feeling awake and like the day was good.
Door repairs, people. I tell you.