It’s never easy living with depression, is it? You battle, you make constant efforts, you listen to your therapists, you take the meds, you do what you can to make yourself better, you think you’re starting to get a grip on your depression. Then bang, it’s in your head, all over your body again.
Yes, I’ve had a bad day. What the therapists call a setback. What I call a horrible, miserable existence. I know what triggered it, too, but I thought I had a handle on this.
On Saturday I received a call from a friend. Another friend was arranging a little coach trip out into the countryside the next day. Nothing special, just somewhere miles from anywhere, a drink and a meal in a nice pub, and enjoying the weather. And didn’t want to take a penny from me for the day. It seemed perfect.
So Sunday comes, and I’m not feeling great physically. No problem though. The weather is quite lovely. A stroll from home to the coach pick-up point was just what my body needed. Still not particularly well but a lot better than an hour ago. I meet and start to have a little gossip with my friends.
It’s so nice they invited me out, I’m sure it’s because they’re aware of the struggles my mind is putting me through. Then I was thunderstruck. As the coach driver had another trip to complete, he was going to drop us off at a country village.
No problem. Except it was the very village where my ex and I had our first moment of intimacy together. Nothing indecent, just holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes under a tree watching the world go by.
Not wanting to create a scene by asking to go somewhere else, I instead sat by the window, being very quiet, nodding in the right places, but not listening to people around me speaking. Thoughts of her again were rushing through my mind.
A lot of it were wonderful memories, and they will stay with me forever. A certain song, like today a place visited. or something said, as well as all the closeness. At the moment, however, thrown into the mix is the unbearable pain of break-up and the bewilderment of not knowing the why or how of it.
I feel like crying and I am inside but that’s where it stays. We arrive at 11am, with the coach picking us up at 6pm. For everyone else, it’s perfect, a wonderful day out in the countryside, soaking up the spring sunshine with seemingly not a care in the world. It’s not fair of me, either, to spoil their day with my own hang-ups.
I therefore resolve to somehow confront this. I take a walk to the tree we sat under holding hands, becoming closer and more intimate by the second there. The memories are good. The heart is still broken though. I keep the tears at bay.
I return to our party, blending in, trying not to be noticed. We walk leisurely from one pub to another with a bigger garden. I’m trying to be anonymous and feel dreadfully lonely as I wander in the crowd.
Eventually, I settle in to what is clearly an anti-social routine. I take a seat next to a pillar, out of almost everyone’s view. I look at a paper. I’m not reading it, only giving the appearance of doing so, as memories of her pour through my head, good and bad, tormenting me.
Then I pretend to pay attention to some ghastly football match that the pub is showing. I’m not staring at the screen. I’m staring right through it. In a way, it helps. People are so open mouthed and mesmerised by it that I’m left unnoticed.
As we eventually wind our way home, for everyone else it’s been a lovely day. For me, as we pass other coaches and lorries on the way home, I’m back into silent mode in my seat while wishing I was underneath the wheels of one of them.
When we eventually arrive at the first stopping off point, I get off, despite it being a lot longer from home. I also don’t say a word as I leave. I’m miserable, I’m anti-social, and I’m rude. Thank you, Ms. Depression, for yet another lovely day ruined.
At the moment, I’m not sure what to do about getting in touch with my friends again, after the way I behaved. I can blame everything on depression, it’d make things very convenient for me. There has to be some personal responsibility though and I didn’t make nearly enough effort to fight my mind and join in the day.
In among all the people, and all those friends who want to help me, I wandered lonely in a crowd. It’s a hard life battling mental illness. And sometimes inexplicably sad. There is a bottom line to this though.
It’s a battle I will win. Kissing under the tree or not.