I have taken to moving house every few months. I figure two to three months of “I’ve got a lot of work on” and fake migraines is about as far I can stretch it before it becomes obvious that I am, in fact, simply a nutjob.
It’s not easy being a new housemate with depression. I hide away because conversation is tiring and because I’ve often been crying. I now make sure I only take rooms near a bathroom. I once put sunglasses on and walked a nearly two mile round trip to some public toilets because my housemates were camped out in the kitchen and I had to walk past them to get to the bathroom. While staying with my boss, I genuinely considered pissing in a plant pot for similar reasons. Luckily, they went to bed before I had to put theory into practice! No one, not even a depressive wishing they were dead, should have to piss on their boss’ spider plant.
As well as being near a bathroom, I have also learnt from experience to keep a variety of snacks in my bedroom, again for those moments (hours, days…) when the tears won’t stop and walking in the kitchen with the risk of bumping into someone is impossible. I have bottles of water, fruit, nuts and often less healthy options all stocked away ready for the bad times. One thing I no longer have is wine. It took a while to recognise the truth and a little longer to accept it, but drinking alone helps no one. The most exciting beverage I have now is maybe a Diet Coke.
Sometimes, flatmates don’t seem to care that they never see me. I always inform them, with some carefully-selected excuses, that they won’t see me much. I pretend to have to work in the evenings, I make up or exaggerate studies I am undertaking, I tell them I write. My default answer when asked how I am is “busy”. But that can only take me so far and for those who do care, for those who clearly start to notice the oddness or take offence at it (or even worry that I don’t feel at home), it gradually grows into a problem. I do my bit to make it easier. I pay my rent on time, I am quiet and keep everything clean. I tidy up after myself. I don’t invite people back or throw impromptu parties. Sometimes, they like the fact that I cause no trouble and they don’t see me. They are the ones like me, I suspect, who really want to live alone but can’t afford to. But from most I get the vibe that I make them uncomfortable.
So then I move. I move before the gradual growth of the discomfort becomes a monster. I’ve been here a month now. I reckon I can drag it out another two and then it’s time to start looking again.
At least it gives me something to do.