Holidays and celebrations are tough. New year is the worst, then birthdays and Christmas. Last new year I wasn’t alone (at last) and I blew it by having a breakdown just before midnight (and at various points during the evening), meaning that the poor friend that had been kind – in hindsight, stupid – enough to invite me to spend the celebrations with her and who had noticed that I had snuck off to hide, was standing outside in the cold with me as the clocks struck midnight. This year I shall be alone again. I’m dreading it but it’s for the best.

But Christmas day itself hasn’t been as bad as I feared. I spent much of Christmas Eve night in tears and so I think I cried myself dry. The day has been quiet but I’ve been thankful of being with my parents and of the food and small gifts received from them. I’ve read a bit, watched a lot of TV and eaten too much and (if you don’t count all the early hours anguish) have not cried all day. I have had cursory replies to messages I sent to people and have tried to be grateful for these rather than bemoan the fact that these days they don’t turn into longer chats. I think I’ve almost managed it.

On days like this it’s hard to remember how terrible the crying, panicking moments are, even though the last one ended less than 24 hours ago. After so many years, I know that they are bad, I remember that I don’t want them to happen again, I recall the anguish and despair and self-loathing that were so acute but still the full extent slowly fades. It’s why it’s so hard for me to get help: when I am bad, there is no way I could summon up the courage, the energy, the get-up-and-go to go to a doctor or to exercise or do any of those things the self-help books and websites and well-meaning friends suggest; when I am OK, I forget how bad it is. I think “maybe this is the start of getting better, maybe now I can start meditating/yoga/jogging/swimming/join a club”. And if I can do those things, why would I need a doctor? So I make plans to make these strides forward, proud of myself. And then the brain comes crashing down again.

Back to square one.


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