Weekends – the best part of the week, right? And even better when you’ve an extra day off work to make for a long weekend, surely? Maybe not….
During my recent bad patch, I’ve rather taken against the idea of weekends and time to myself. Time to myself has been about introspection, impotence and crippling sadness. Weekends have been about giving in, and accepting that if you don’t want to get out of bed and face the day, not having to get out of bed provides the perfect reason not to. If you see what I mean.
This weekend was always going to be interesting – it was the first one since I took some positive steps towards climbing out of my pit and the first since the medication I’m taking started to kick in. Those things together meant I was in a slightly better place and wasn’t approaching the break with the usual sense of panic and dread. At the same time I was aware that taking an extra day off, so early in the process, could well be a challenge too far for someone, who although a little braver, was still ultimately fragile.
My challenges for the weekend were mostly administrative. Things have gone to rack and ruin so there’s a lot to put back together. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a plan for getting through Friday, just a vague sense of some of the things I wanted to get done and, because of this, the day descended, quite quickly into me variously curled up in a ball or pacing around the flat telling myself I was going to be okay. Somehow though I found myself again and achieved two small things (ordering some shopping and making a phone call) which were enough to restore a sense of calm – a sense that I’d had a setback but that I was still, nevertheless, moving forward.
By the time I went to bed on Friday I had a good list ready for Saturday and alongside this my plan was to change the routine by simply approaching it in a different order and in a different way.
Saturday came and went. I stuck to my plan and followed my list. I had a few wobbly moments but nevertheless almost everything on my list was achieved; not just the administrative and functional things I felt I needed to, or should do, but some of my ideas of things I could do (or things that I wanted to do) as well. By the time the evening came around I’d done some reading, taken a nice hot bath and gone for a walk, albeit in the rain. And here’s the thing. I spent the whole day without retreating from myself at all, in fact, the only thing I was retreating from on Saturday was the weather. I went to bed with the feeling that I had enjoyed (yes enjoyed) a comparatively productive day and perfectly pleasant cosy evening to myself.
I woke up on Sunday with a certain sense of determination. I had proven to myself that I was capable of spending a day alone without leading myself to the cliff edge and thinking about jumping off. Moreover, the chaos that had backed up in the practical areas of life was beginning to return to some semblance of order. I had another list and another plan (well, actually it was the same plan, but you know what I mean).
Again I followed my list a stuck to my plan and with a few more wobbles along the way, primarily because I particularly hate Sundays, I managed to achieve every single thing on my list. In the end the day was spent getting things done, taking care of myself and diverting myself away from the cliff. By the time I was done I felt a lot more settled and less anxious for it. Sunday evening was spent in much the same way as Saturday evening, feeling safe and comfortable without my dark passenger getting in the way too much.
Refusing to accept the behaviours associated with depression and where they put you sometimes isn’t enough, I know that and I need to start working on the strategies for the next time that huge and resounding ‘no’ begins again. Still, for the time being it is enough and things are kinda working out okay.