I've not been here for a while for the very simple reason that, I've not been here. I don't know where I went, and trust me, when you finally realise you haven't been there, it's absolutely terrifying.
Hard to admit, but necessary to say
This post is a bit of a gamble, but it's the first real inspiration and drive that I've had to write in over a month. So I think it's not only right that I talk about this, but it's necessary too.
When I say I haven't been here, I mean emotionally; mentally; consciously. It wasn't until this week that I even realised how missing I had been, and now it's crashed over me like a wave. A cold, unexpected and arresting wall of water.
Just to be clear, I have not been to a doctor. None of this is formally diagnosed. But when you've had depression in the past, there are signs that you recognise when you start to emerge on the other side.
Saying that, this was different because, what made no sense this time was that I was fine a matter of weeks ago. January was fabulous, and fun.
Then February happened, but I couldn't swear to it.
Spiralling seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
This is not the first time I've struggled with this time of year, however it is the first time I've noticed a pattern. Somewhere around the first of February I fell off the cliff. Totally.
For the last month I have had irrational, disproportionate thoughts. Disillusionment, lethargy, tears (oh so many tears) and a despondency so encompassing that there was no way for me to recognise I was 'in' anything. It was all I could see or think. I assumed that was it, just me.
Now, I don't want to paint a false picture. I held down my job, worked all the hours, went out, did social things, saw people. I even went to a few events that I reviewed. But ask me to list anything that happened last month. All I can name is Valentine's Day. That's it. I can only say I did other things because they were scheduled in my diary and I can look back and check.
There are plenty of people who suffer much more intensely, I am quite sure. In the scheme of things, I'm lucky. This last week has brought some sunshine and a crack of light and perspective back into my mind. For others, I know it's not that simple.
But, then, it doesn't exactly feel simple for me either.
Ongoing, climbing, crawling
I am writing this as a way to keep that shard of light shining through, and gradually prise it further open. Remember who I am and why I am. To bring me back here. Because it's not a done deal. Coming back is a lot harder than disappearing.
Disappearing happens unconsciously. Combing back is nothing but a conscious effort.
And yes, this is something very personal to talk about on a blog. It's also me. And I think recognising, acknowledging and trying my upmost not to have any shame about it is vital in making sure that in the long run, I'm always there somewhere.
Hopefully this is the start of many more regular posts to come again.