You don’t realise how ill you are, when you’re really ill; it’s the trick the devil pulls to convince you he doesn’t exist. You don’t realise how ill you are when you’re really ill, but at first…
At first you feel the ground slip, tremors. A low, low rumbling , a trembling. At first you know the world is lurching.
C- asking me if I was up for a trip to Dennis Servers House and me hesitating; maybe. I’m feeling… I think I’m getting ill again. I’ll see. And stood outside waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive, stomach poised mid-lurch. Evening Standard full of photos of Lehman bankers carrying boxes, the world starting to crash. Blue sky, first fallen leaves on the wind.
The year to then had swerved joyfully and harum scarum through lectures, dancefloors and casual shags – who on occasion turned into rough and tumble fuckbuddies. A brief unexpected boyfriend, a heart-shattering few weeks of bliss; a crap breakup and a few awkward dates. Christmas had been hilarious, and the less said about my birthday the better. I was living in a great flat with wonderful friends and really I guess I was as happy and at home as ever I’d been.
But now autumn was falling; the sun was still bright but the sunlight thick, the bliss a glittering memory and the brief relationship ended – awkwardly; I felt bad about that. After the summer break lectures started again and I just… I just didn’t feel like it. Skulked off sometimes to Barcode instead, sometimes to The Eagle. I met another guy – sweet, good looking, ravenous. We had a few weekends and a few evenings, I had a few walks to work with a post-orgasmic spring in my step as autumn as autumn fell. But the relationship died before it was ever born; I retreated, wary. Tremors.
Everyone needs time, from time to time, to step back from their life; needs space to gather themselves. My desire to hibernate grew alongside the fear a storm was coming, the feeling I should seek shelter and warmth and hide, and hide. And that’s healthy I think. But most people who’ve experienced depression and experienced it again, and again, know that there’s a treacherous slide from self-care to self-destruction.
I hid in my room some evenings, some weekends. The world too sharp, too brittle, too much. Once or twice, maybe, I could just about hear my flatmates talking about me meanly, words I couldn’t quite make out. But I got out some evenings, some weekends. Sometimes made it to lectures, always made it to work. I started seeing my counsellor again, just in case – just in case. To be safe. It was the final year of my BSc and I really couldn’t afford to fuck this up so it was best to just be safe.
I can’t pin when it happened, I don’t think anyone ever can; when the ground finally cracked and I stopped starting to fall and just fell, just fell.