It started when he died. The all-consuming black feeling came over me, like I sucked in blackness with the news. Grief they called it, and for several years it bared that name. A normal part of someone dying they said, it will get better with time they said. But then time happened, and the feelings didn’t come back, but the black remained. It felt like a cap had been placed on my soul with the ability to only get so happy, like a glass only allowed just past half full.
On the darkest of black weeks, I stopped everything. I could certainly see that my hair was lank with grease, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I could smell myself, it wasn’t a good smell, sweaty and rotting, but it some ways I liked it, it was a physical manifestation of the feelings inside.
She picked me up. She washed me. She fed me. And she took me to the doctors.
I remember sobbing through the first consultation, nodding when I was asked questions about had I thought about hurting myself, did I have a plan of how I would and so on. I walked out of that room with a green piece of paper. In some way it felt heavy in my hand knowing that it had the potential to be a streak of light in the black.
Sadly, it was the first of many times I’ve sat and cried my way through the set of questions the doctors are obliged to ask, waiting for a new slip of green paper, a therapist to talk to and ultimately to receive a new sliver of hope.
I’m off all the meds for now, but history tells me it probably won’t be the last time I ever take them, however for me acknowledging that takes the fear and shame out of it. The intrusive thoughts still occasionally bother my happy days popping in when I’m driving along pondering where best to crash so it looks like an accident. But right now, I can recognise the thoughts for what they are and carry on with my happy days.
There have been some challenges between the last blackness and now- more death, breakup, abortion, unemployment. But still, it hasn’t claimed me back into it, perhaps just because I’ve got better at recognising the start and fighting like hell to stay in the light. I’m proud of myself for that. We need to make sure we keep fighting the fight.