When I was three or four, my mum had a minor operation and had to stay in hospital overnight. I was fuzzy on the details, scared she wouldn’t come back, and afraid to tell my dad how much I missed her in case it hurt his feelings. So I ran upstairs and squeezed myself into the space underneath my chest of drawers so I could cry without him knowing.
I was always dysthymic growing up. Then, in 1999, when I was 20, I really fell into an abyss and was diagnosed with clinical depression. Since then, I’ve had all kinds of therapy.
I’ve seen psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, life coaches, and NLP practitioners and done everything from hypnosis to CBT to dredging up sad memories and crying a lot. (A lot.) I’ve also tried herbs, relaxation, dietary changes, nine different anti-depressants, and acupuncture, among other things.
One night a few years ago, a friend called to invite me to her birthday party. She was gathering a large group of people, none of whom I knew, and going for a meal. She wanted to book a table the next day so she needed me to tell her right there, right then, if I was in.
Was I in?
A while ago one of my friends tweeted that she’d woken up feeling full of dread and had been anxious all day for no apparent reason. I sympathised, of course, but my initial reaction was, You mean… you don’t feel like that every day? ‘Cos I sure do.