Last week, a good friend of mine came to visit for the day. We have known each other since grade 3, which will be 19 years ago, this September. We grew up around the corner from each other and were always hanging out at each other’s houses or riding our bikes around the neighbourhood.
We used to play Mary-Kate and Ashley, singing along to songs from their movies and dancing on my bed in front of the mirror, taking turns as to who was MK and who was Ashley. (Wow that makes me feel super old!) Sometimes we even coordinated our Northern Getaway (remember that store? lol) outfits so we would match and could pretend to be twins.
Ahhh. Those were the days… The days of discovering the world and not caring what other people thought of you.
The majority of our friendship has been over the internet, since my family and I moved 3000km away during the summer after grade 7. We talked on MSN (another thing that makes me feel old) a lot and as we got older we both found an interest in graphic and web design, which kept us close.
We had a bit of a falling out in 2006. I don’t even remember why it happened, probably something dumb. I’m not sure how much time passed, but we did eventually reconnect and became close again (still via the internet). Then when I was back in Ontario for college a couple years later we hung out a bunch of times over the two years I was here.
We didn’t lose touch completely after I went back to Alberta, but we sort of had text chats in spurts for a while. It’s hard to maintain a connection with people when you live so far away.
We started chatting more frequently after I moved back to Ontario a few months ago, and last week, we finally hung out again for the first time in probably a year.
We talked about a lot of stuff while sight seeing around Niagara. She is also battling mental health issues as well, although we had never really talked about it in person before. We had talked a bit about it, sharing stories and experiences over text message, but this was the first time I’d had the chance to talk to someone, in person, especially a close friend, where we could both relate to each other’s struggles. That’s not to say we are going through the exact same things, because mental illness is different for everyone, but once you’ve experienced it in some way or another, it becomes much easier to be open minded to others with mental illness.
It’s definitely not the only thing we talked about, but man it felt so good to be able to talk openly about this stuff with an actual person. I mean, yeah I see a therapist (or councillor, the titles are confusing lol) every two weeks, but we’re mainly focussing on CBT right now, and I talk about some personal stuff with my family doctor (since hes the one actually treating me, medically) and talking to a stranger in a formal setting is way different that talking to a friend in a relaxed setting where it isn’t really the main focus of the situation. I hide so much from the people around me on a daily basis, simply out of fear that they won’t understand and they’ll judge me, so being able to not hide anything, even for a few hours, felt so good!
Over the days following the visit I suddenly realized that after the “high” of having a good day, I come crashing back down. It’s not the first time its happened, but its the first time I’ve actually made the connection. I went back into the darkness of not wanting to live. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to go out anywhere. I didn’t want to do anything. I was completely unhappy.
Gradually it got better. It’s still kind of up and down, but I think I’m almost back to where I was before last Tuesday.
But something changed this morning.
I tend to wake up around 7:30-8:00, even if I don’t want to (the disadvantage of having 3 dogs in the house) and then usually stay in bed for a while. Often I’ll fall back to sleep for a couple hours. Then when I get up I just sit on the couch watching TV because I have zero ambition to do anything else. Eventually I’ll shower, most days, because I’m tired of touching my face or hair and it feeling gross. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t bother showering at all.
This morning, like always, I just wanted to stay in bed forever. Then, suddenly I decided I wasn’t going to do that. So I got up, put on some clothes, threw my hair up in a ponytail, and took my dog for a long walk. When I got back, I was all sweaty (its been quite humid today) so I jumped in the shower. I had breakfast in front of the TV and coloured for a little bit (if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some of the pictures I posted a couple weeks ago) until the show I was watching ended, and then went upstairs to my computer to work on a website I am currently doing some volunteer work for.
For the morning, I felt pretty good. As the afternoon rolled around I started to feel sleepy, as I often do, and then started to feel a little depressed again. It sort of levelled out for a while, until about 4:30, and I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore. I was going to go down to my room to watch TV, but then decided to run to the store to pick up a few things. Although I’m not feeling as good as I did after my walk this morning, I’m still feeling better than I did yesterday.
Overall, I think today was a pretty decent day, at least compared to the past 6 months. I hope I can make tomorrow just as good, if not better.