Before I get rolling on this next blog post, don’t be fooled by the title. This blog is not about a dog or any animal of that kind.
Depression is sometimes referred to as ‘The black dog’ – and this is something I’ve always been confused about.
Why name depression after a dog? Dogs are happy, excitable, loving and loyal. All things that depression is not.
I visualise depression as a dementor from Harry Potter (if you haven’t watched harry potter get off this blog right now and go and download it) In the film dementors suck the life out of you, stealing every happy memory, with no hope, happiness or ambition left. That’s what depression is!
I know I have always tried to be positive in my blog posts, about turning a corner and not letting depression over take your life – but as this blog is an honest account I too have to admit the times I’m feeling defeated by it all.
This week for example my mind has been overshadowed by a dementor. And I know full well that one of the reasons is because I had a bit too much to drink at the weekend.
Yes, i know i shouldn’t drink in excess – but i was a bit of a prick this weekend thinking i can drink more than usual and live to tell a happy tale.
You fucking idiot Soph.
As I’ve always mentioned – I am not perfect, in fact being the family fuck up is my full time occupation.
But we all do it, we’ve all had that bit too much to drink and ended up going overboard. Being sick in your own hair, having a full blown heart to heart with a complete stranger in the toilet and ending up crying over absolutely fuck all.
Oh the joys of alcohol.
As well as being hung-over were then hit with the anxiety of it all or as I like to call it BEER FEAR.
What did I say? What did I do? Did I fall over? Where the fuck has all my money gone? How did I get that bruise on my leg?
I went out on Saturday and I can honestly say I’ve only just recovered today – and today is fucking Friday!
The stupid thing is I know I was absolutely fine on Saturday – I behaved extraordinarily well, but my brain fails to recognize it. It likes to trick me into thinking that I’ve done something awful, so I will then sit and worry about it for days – not being able to eat or sleep.
This brings me along to my next topic.
During our mental mates meet up last week, this was a topic that came up in conversation.
We all know that OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and now with thanks to TV shows like Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, we generally associate it with the need for cleanliness and a fear of germs.
But there is so much more to this disorder than meets the eye.
Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges. The illness affects as many as 12 in every 1000 people.
It has traditionally been considered that there are four main categories of OCD. Although there are numerous forms of the illness within each category, typically a person’s OCD will fall into one of the four main categories:
• Contamination / Mental Contamination
• Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts
We than have ‘Pure O’
Commonly referred to as ‘Pure O’ by the OCD community, ‘Pure O’ is a form of OCD where people mistakenly believe that it differs from traditional OCD, in that it features no outward compulsive manifestations; instead, the anxiety-inducing obsessions take place only in the mind.
However, a person with ‘Pure O’ will still have compulsions which mainly manifest as unseen mental rituals, and they will usually also engage in compulsive behaviours like seeking reassurance from loved ones, and avoidance of particular objects, places or people.
In fact, the ‘O’ in ‘OCD’ (the obsessive part), involves unrelenting, unwanted thoughts that result in anxiety.
Sadly and often, with any form of OCD, these thoughts also result in low self-esteem and depression, which can even lead to self-harm.
‘Pure O’ is mentally exhausting, because you are constantly at war with your mind. It disregards the facts and fails to see what’s in front of you and plants seeds of doubt in your brain. Seeds that then grow into mighty fucking oaks, which then bring on anxiety and depression.
My ‘Pure O’ is always, ALWAYS triggered by alcohol. If I have a bit of a black out on a night out, it creeps its way in and plants ideas in my head that something terrible has happened. Which I then have to try and fight off by getting reassurance from my friends who I was out with.
Getting reassured once isn’t good enough for me; I will keep going and going until my brain settles. And I’m pretty sure my friends look at me and think what a fucking weirdo we have here.
So my obsessions are the terrible thoughts, and my compulsions turned into a bit of a ritual for me and that would be having to take a bath at least 6 times during the day, walking my dog, deleting all social media apps, and avoiding seeing or talking to people for a few days.
And i know, i sound like someone who has completely lost my mind – but that’s what I had to do. That’s how I had to fix it.
Fruitcake i know – but it’s honest.
This would be a regular occurrence for me, and it was at a time when anxiety and stress were very present in my life.
Thankfully – I haven’t actually had 6 baths or walked my dog for 9 months (yes I walk my dog, but now it’s out of enjoyment and not OCD) – and I know that because my mum would actually track it on her calendar at home.
Drinking to a somewhat heavy extent now makes me ill for over a week. And not just in a hungover way. In a crippling way that anxiety will leave a shell like version of me behind for a couple of days, because I’ve completely checked out.
But silly me thought I knew better, maybe I thought I was cured – but Saturday just proved me wrong.
We all divert down the wrong roads sometimes – it teaches us life lessons and makes us all round better people.
But no matter how many times we stumble on uneven ground or fall to the floor, it’s getting back up that truly defines who we are.
This week has been a stumble. But I have learnt my lesson, in the fact that I am not yet cured when it comes to alcohol.
I am not yet cured when it comes to anxiety. And I am not yet cured when it comes to depression.
But one day I will be – and I will stumble and fall and get back up every time because I believe my best is yet to come – and so is yours.
Until next time – Soph x