Things I’ve learnt from depression

It’s been over 3 and a half years since I’ve been on antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. I take that as a win. I’ve been pretty well, really. Being in full time employment has helped heaps with that. On days when I’ve woken up and felt like crap and felt like hurting myself (old habits die hard), I’ve just forced myself to go to work and by the end of the day the feeling has gone because I’ve been hanging with funny people and had my mind focused on others instead of myself. I’ve had a reason to get up in the morning, so it has gotten easier and easier. Trust me. I’ve had fewer and fewer of those days as the years have gone by.

I also try to be mindful of what I’m thinking. If I’ve had a weird day, I often find myself pulling it apart at the end of the day. What was I thinking about? What did I tell myself at the time? What triggered that response? How could I have responded better to that? Sometimes I will have the littlest social gaffe, and I find myself in the bathroom crying, telling myself I’m useless and broken. That’s always a bad idea. It takes me ages to calm back down again from an incident like that.

But I always make sure I try and learn something from the experience. I think that’s just my personality. I’m always trying to better myself. That can be a curse too, because I don’t stop to celebrate the little victories. I know I’m getting better though. It is possible to change those little negative inner voices. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of practice, but it can be done. For me, I had to start identifying the lies that I believed about myself. Obviously, I had the help of a counselor to identify these things, otherwise how would I know? Then I had to write down the truth about myself. I believed I was ugly, so I had to write the truth, which is that I am actually beautiful. God doesn’t make ugly things. It’s just insulting otherwise. So, I would write these truths down in a notebook, and every day I read them out loud to myself. When I first started, I would roll my eyes at reading them, because I didn’t believe them yet. After a while of doing this, speaking out the words started to take hold in my mind. I actually started to live out these truths. This is when I started taking selfies for the first time ever. I started celebrating me. Because I had learnt that it didn’t mean I was up myself.

It meant I appreciated someone else’s art.

Welcome to my world

So this blog is called ‘No Cupcakes and Curtains’ because of a conversation I had with my old therapist a few years ago. I told him I hated small talk. Can’t stand it. I can do it, but I prefer to skip it. I don’t get it. He referred to small talk as ‘Cupcakes and Curtains’. I’m not sure if this is an established saying, or whether he was just putting together random words. I tried to Google it, but there was no urban dictionary meaning for it, so I don’t know. Hence I decided this blog was definitely not about the small talk, so NoCupcakesAndCurtains was born.

I love to write. I have been spinning stories since I was about six years old. I used to think it was since I was 10 years old, but then I found my first ever diary in a box the other day, which was just a hard bound notebook and found the words ‘I am 7 years old. I like writing books.’ So I figure it’s meant to be. Even in that diary I was creating an imaginary family around me, and living in weird and wonderful imaginary houses. They were usually underground or floating in the sky. Never just an ordinary house. I seemed to have a fascination with underground things. Not sure why.

I also had a fascination with secret things. It was my favourite word. I had secrets. Secrets I kept, even from myself until I was 18 years old. Those secrets were the ones that would fuck me up. You know the ones. The ones that strange adults told you were secret from everyone else. And I believed them. Even my brain believed them, and in the end, not knowing what to do with that secret, hid it from my own consciousness. That dissociation kept me slightly saner for those formative years, although I still had a lot of the side effects.

When it all came back to me in my later teen years, my mind broke a little. A little bit more, anyway. I went off the deep end. My brain now wanted to kill me. It told me to walk in front of cars, take pills, walk off high things, etc. I only partially listened to it. Eventually, after wanting to shut it up, I decided downing some sleeping pills with vodka was a good idea. Not so much. A stay in the hospital overnight was the result of that. The funny thing is, I was released the next morning with no more than a “don’t do it again” and a see ya later. No follow up. Interesting.

The next few years were a rinse, repeat of that episode. I’m sure my long suffering family were getting pretty sick of it. I was self-harming on a daily basis, and also a work-aholic. I tried to stay as busy as possible. I didn’t sleep much, so I just used to go to work instead. Eventually, I ended up signing myself into a full-time rehabilitation unit to try and get myself well. I knew I was fucked, and if I carried on the way I was going, I would be dead in a couple of years. So I gave it all I had.

I came out 15 months later a very different person. I now wore colours. I smiled. I took selfies. I dressed girly. Ish. People didn’t recognise me. I was happy. I had found who I was, I had learnt to love myself, despite my quirks. It had been a hard journey, but well-won. I was 22 years old.

This post has been long enough and sobering enough. I’ll let you go. We can pick this up next time.

Because kittens
Because kittens