When Life Gets in the Way and Your Brain Throws Unnecessary Shit at You.

So I haven’t written a blog post in over two weeks. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say you understand but rather that I have been quite busy and have been attempting to sort out a stressful house situation. When I had the time, I didn’t have the energy. When it was a choice between writing a post and slobbing on the couch watching House, I chose the latter. Oh well. I’m here and writing now.

Cherry Blossom TreeHere’s some backstory for the four shitty weeks.

There was a god-awful supervisory issue that I still haven’t decided how to act on. A stressful housing situation – my housemate fucked off to LA from Northern England leaving no way to pay five months’ rent and four months’ bills. An argument with my sweetie about something I did but didn’t really see the issue with, which coupled with worries about being bisexual and probably poly. Finally there was the general lab stress of experiments and writing up. Let it be simply said that I HATE Tissue Culture with all the passion of a thousand fiery suns. It would be understandable then that with all these legitimate stressors going on, I wasn’t feeling my best self. Thing is, I got it in my head to be worried that I might be getting depressed again which was another worry in and of itself!

Why the worry about that? Well, my mood was low, I was tired and not sleeping properly, and I was finding it hard to find the motivation to do things, even those things I wanted to do. Those problems are all symptoms of depression. What worried me more is that last time I was depressed I didn’t realise that was what it was until after I’d started to get better. I spent months crying at the drop of a hat, not sleeping properly at night then falling asleep at my desk and found doing anything work-related to be a real struggle.


I cannot afford to get that ill again, not now, not this close to the end. And I mean afford in the literal sense as well as the metaphorical sense. Come the end of June I will be flat broke and homeless but for the love and support of my Mum and my Sweetie. Knowing that I cannot afford to become depressed again and yet also feeling like I can’t trust my brain, my emotions or my assessment of situations is not conductive to peace and calm.

Why do I feel like I can’t I trust my brain? Because of the thought that if I didn’t know then, how would I know now?

Cue watching myself extra carefully and asking of every sad, down and miserable feeling and day, is this the day I cross over into Depression?

Couple my fear of not knowing in myself if I’m depressed or not, with the thinking that no-one else who might have spotted the issue last time, did. Not my parents, not my boyfriend at the time, not my mates, not my Supervisors, not my work-mates. Hell, even my counsellor didn’t say anything along the lines of “Go see your doctor, get some meds, they might help”. Layer on top of that my skill I didn’t know I had of putting on my calm, competent face and hiding how I’m really feeling because being outwardly emotional and upset is “weakness”?

Yeah, oh shit.

My brain was all “If the people that love me best don’t know what to look for or don’t see me often enough to spot it, what hope have I got?”

So what did I do about it? I wrote down what I considered to be my symptoms of depression from what I could remember of how I felt and acted back then. That list contained the things I mentioned above but also more worrying things like preoccupation with death and suicidal thoughts*. Everything else was a matter of degree, frequency and duration. However that still didn’t help much because it then makes the question “how bad is bad enough to seek help?” How long should I put up with my brain giving me grief and feeling miserable? Is two weeks enough time to say enough? No? A month? Yeah probably that.

As it so happens, deciding on what I was going to count as cause for serious concern and deciding what I’d do about it if that eventuality arose was enough Yellow crocusto life that worry from me, and many of the other situations have improved somewhat. The end is in sight for the lab experiments, for good this time. Hallelujah! I rearranged the writing targets my supervisors and I had agreed to in light of the lab situation which also lifted some of the pressure. My sweetie and I made up after our argument and I resolved some of my struggles with my bisexuality, although the polyamoury thing will need to be revisited at a later date. (If anyone has any good reading recs, they’d be appreciated, but not so much of the “talk about *everything* and google calendars are boss” advice as “this is me reconciling society’s indoctrination about monogamy with how my feelings actually work”.) The housing situation still sucks but I have put things in motion and know where to go for more advice, and even what I’d need to do if I have to go down the Small Claims route to get back the money I’m owed. In other words, I have a plan, and that always makes me feel better.

In other news Spring has well and truly sprung here. Enjoy the photos. 🙂

Orange Daffodil

*I should note that apparently “suicidal thoughts” includes planning how you would kill yourself if that’s what you decided to do, and thinking about how you would just walk away from your life if you could. I convinced myself at the time that thinking about how I’d do it by jumping off a bridge or stepping in front of a train didn’t actually count as suicidal thoughts. It’s not like I was actually going to do it, so why bother mentioning it? It wasn’t until much later that I realised I didn’t have those thoughts at all when I was actually feeling well. Whoops. Boxes I should have ticked on the Counselling Service Screening Questionnaire.

2 thoughts on “When Life Gets in the Way and Your Brain Throws Unnecessary Shit at You.

  1. I have experienced more bouts of stress and depression in recent years than I ever did in the past. What I have noticed helps is to develop a bit of an “eff-it” attitude and sit back and just watch. Unfortunately for me, it gets really easy doing that and I have noticed my motivation to get involved again diminishes. I don’t know that there is ever a “cure-all” for bouts of depression other than to kick yourself in the can and get involved again.

    I know that’s easier said than done, because I deal with that on a regular basis, as well, but I have noticed that when I stop taking responsibility for the things I can not control, then it becomes a little less tedious to manage things.

    I’m not sure if anything I said helps, but I truly hope things look up for you.

    • Hmmm, that is interesting. I don’t know that there’s a “cure” at all, or whether these things just come and go. For me it’s a combination of external situations improving and my internal thoughts about said situations changing. It seems like my depressive tendencies only flare up when external things are really bad, so it’s as much a maladaptive response to emotional stress as anything else. I’ve only been truly depressed three times in the last decade and the longest of them only lasted 9 months so I guess that makes me relatively lucky?

      Things are looking up at the moment and I do feel pretty damn good currently, which makes a change. It’s one of the disadvantages of publishing this type of writing after the crisis has passed. It doesn’t have the immediacy of the “these are the crazy, unhelpful thoughts in my head – here you go”. You’ll notice how a lot of the statements of my thoughts in this piece are “this is what my brain said at the time, and now I can see where the logical fault was”. At least, I hope that comes across?

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