These past few weeks (or maybe months, I’m unsure. Time passes so quickly lately), I’ve been doing a lot. I have gone from doing maybe a couple of things a week, to doing something nearly every day. I realise this is nothing compared to having a full time job (and maybe doing things on top of it), but after years of doing not very much at all, for me this is a lot.
All the mental health professionals have told me to ‘do things’, to keep busy. That this will help my mood. And I’ve taken them at their word.
I have a weekly routine. I have one MH appointment a week (CPN, psychologist, and – less regularly – psychiatrist), usually on a Monday or a Tuesday. I volunteer for my church youth group on a Sunday evening, and have recently started volunteering for a charity working with young people on a Wednesday evening. I go to Recreational Therapy at the hospital for art group on a Thursday, and writing group on a Friday. I go for coffee with a friend most Tuesdays. Also, my mum and I are going to the gym two or three times a week. These are my ‘regular’ commitments. Individually arguably very good things to be doing, but collectively verging on just too much.
However, in addition, in the past month or two, I have done four training courses, and attended one conference. I have been to a Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) symposium (one full day), done induction and child protection training for the charity I’m volunteering for (one half day, and one full day), Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) Training parts one and two (two full days), and yesterday I did the required face-to-face training for SMHFA-Young People (one full day). Five and a half days may not sound much, but they have come thick and fast, anxiety has been through the roof, and it has taken a huge effort to complete them. And cope with the fallout afterwards.
I have been praised for how much I’m doing and been told I’m looking so much better. But the truth its very different. The truth is coming home and collapsing on the floor for hours, until day turns to night, and I’m sitting in darkness. It is not sleeping, even though I’m physically and mentally exhausted. It is fighting demons, even while busy with ‘good things’. Today, I am done. Those sneaky suicidal thoughts have crept their way into my head again, and I’m struggling to shrug them off.
Luckily, yesterday was my last additional thing, and I have a very good friend coming to visit next week. She is calming, and understanding and the perfect house-guest. In as much as I’m looking forward to anything at the moment, I’m looking forward to that.
In addition, I’m going on a really amazing holiday soon, with some of my favourite people. Depression is telling me that I’m going to ruin it for everyone I’m going with, but I’m trying had not to listen to it. I’m hoping the change of scene and pace will do me some good, and I’ll come home feeling like I’ve had a good break.