sad girl with wet hair
Mental health, Mental Health & Wellbeing

The Days They Don’t Teach You Words For

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“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” ~ Dory, Finding Nemo

Today is not a good day.

Today I feel bad.

Today hurts.

I speak four and a half different languages but I still don’t know a word to identify the way I feel today.

I know that the clinical label is ‘Depression’ but that doesn’t really begin to do it justice. The closest word I can seem to find is ‘Nothingness’ but even that barely even seems to scratch the surface. It doesn’t convey so much as a semblance of how overwhelming it is, nor how terrifying; or of how much it hurts.

It’s not about feeling hopeless, or that I’m not coping. Or, rather it is, but that’s not it. It’s like the feeling of a giant absence of feeling – only when I look inside myself I can feel it, and poke at it – right in the centre of myself.

I’m at a loss. My hands keep shaking for no reason. I feel vulnerable and yet at the same time completely out of reach.

It scares me.

I want to get away from it. The little piece of ‘Me’ that’s left of me doesn’t want to share the same space as this Feeling.

The Feeling, on the other hand, wants to embrace Me. It wants me to give up. To give in.

They don’t teach you a word for days like these in any language. They don’t teach you that there are days like these. I think it’s because until you experience them it’s impossible to comprehend that they actually exist. And once they’re over your brain won’t let you remember that they happened. To preserve their relationship with you, your brain and your heart wash away all the evidence that only just last week they were in cahoots with The Feeling – trying to destroy you.

In order to not give in you need something to do, or something to take you out of yourself, or something that will do both.

Since The Feeling has sapped all but the dregs of your energy, and is keeping you from seeing the past or envisioning a future, all you have left is what’s next. You just have to make yourself do the thing that comes next.

And so there always needs to be a something next. You need lots of small, manageable next steps.

It helps if some these steps allow you to achieve something, it doesn’t matter how small. Small goals are good. That’s why I’ve baked so many cookies lately. And you need to try to remember to be kind to yourself. Take a warm hot shower, put some clean clothes on, snuggle under a blanket and lose yourself in your televisual equivalent of chicken soup – for me that’s shows like the Gilmore Girls, The West Wing and The Good Wife.

The need for something next also explains the sudden stream of posts on this blog. I apologise for clogging up for your Readers, and if the content in the near future is somewhat divergent from our usual programming. I’ve set myself the goal of finding something to write here every day, for as long as I need to, as one of my ‘nexts’. At some points I may have to sacrifice relevance to my need to tick the day’s post off the list.

And if all else fails I’ve gathered up a stack of beautifully written books that will at least give me an excuse for all the crying.

9 thoughts on “The Days They Don’t Teach You Words For”

  1. So well written – trying to capture the impossible… catching a wave upon the sand etc…. The part about it being so awful that you don’t believe/know it exists until you experience it and then your mind trying to protect you by not letting you remember how awful it was. No wonder people who don’t know, don’t know.
    And what is the word for it – as you say depression absolutely does NOT do it justice. “Total Nothingy Agony” maybe? “Overwhelming Soul Pain”? A competition for the best descriptor?
    Love your work, writing, freshness. It does speak so well. x


  2. Excellently written! Thank you for sharing and putting into words what so many of us feel. I like your ‘nexts’ – I can do small steps when I’m in those mental spaces and want to hide in bed. PTSD is challenging but we can handle it; we’re strong and smart. Keep writing, my new friend.


  3. I’m glad you’re battling The Feeling one small step at a time- cookies, Gilmore Girls, hot showers, and writing: these are what make up (in small ways) a bit of self; a bit of joy; a bit of fighting back.

    I mean this in the best way possible: I always look forward to your next step, to your next post.

    I hope you are warm and enjoying a hot cup of tea to go with your Gilmore Girls marathon. x

    Liked by 1 person

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