The clocks went back yesterday morning and I'm already feeling its full effects.
My depressive episodes, as is the case for many others, deteriorate at this time of year and have done since I was about 18 years old. It usually first starts spiralling after my birthday at the end of September and tends to pick up again nearer Christmas time. This year is no exception to the rule, and I'm scared.
Scared because I feel like I don't have 'time' to get sick. I have a degree to study for and that remains number one priority, always, but it probably doesn't seem that way to my lecturers and University staff when I'm finding it a challenge to leave my house on a Monday morning, being too anxious to face public transport and other people. Even whilst on a nice day out with my boyfriend on Friday, I was having uncontrollable episodes of anxiety, which is unbelievably rare to occur whilst I'm with him as he always makes me feel safe.
I remember being in this position last year, a few months after beginning my degree, and I remember pulling myself out of the rut with aid and support from lecturers, my friends, and Nathan. So I know it is possible, and that I can do it again without turning to some ridiculous coping mechanism such as self-injury, or overdosing to help me do that. Even after 2 years with a BPD diagnosis and almost 4 years since a huge depressive episode, I still tell myself each year that I 'shouldn't' be depressed and I try and convince myself that I'm over-reacting and making a deal out of nothing, but I'm not. I'm trying to diminish something that is real. In a way I am just as bad as the stigmatisers of mental health problems who claim that by not being able to see the illnesses means that they don't exist. Ignoring the illness and pretending it doesn't exist won't make the thoughts go away, unfortunately. Although I'd like to believe that it would!
My degree is my number one priority and I have to create a balance between looking after myself, and striving for the perfect grades, and I'm never sure if that's possible! If I can't be perfect, I'd rather not face anything, is the attitude I've had for years. I haven't been able to read the set text assigned for today's lecture so I'll make myself so anxious over not being perfect enough to others that I'd rather not face it. Running away from the problem solves nothing, I know. I want to juggle everything and be perfect, and sometimes I forget about the amount of balancing acts required of me to perform. Then I do the comparison act - and that's mostly what has led me to the way I'm feeling at the moment. Comparing others lives to mine. I know the only way I can change things for myself is to just get on and do them, but people always talk as if that's so easy. It isn't. As a perfectionist, who wants her life to be perfect, I can tell you it isn't.
So to anyone I've let down over the last few weeks, especially my lecturers at University, I'm sorry. I just need a little more time to get myself back to normal again, whatever that means.