A few months have gone by since I opened up about Damp Sock Days. I was doing all the right things: self care, self reflection, self talk. I was saying all the right things: I’m getting better, I’m looking after myself, I’m recovering, I’m present, I’m grateful.
And those things were all true, and the worst of the sad days were behind me, but man was I tired. Tired of working on myself. Tired of trying to think differently. Tired of feeling like I had to fix myself. Tired of appearing better. Tired of constantly walking round with Damp Socks.
Tired of being tired.
Eventually, one simple sentence kicked me into action. One simple sentence gave me permission to ask for help. One simple sentence was all I needed to make a change.
“It’s not normal to be that tired”
This was said with no judgement, with no expectation, with no blame, instead with care and support and genuine concern. One simple sentence said as a statement of fact by an amazing human who loves me with all my flaws, with all my weird, with all of me.
So I went to the Doctor. I tearfully explained how I had been feeling. I held my nerve and explained I’d been doing ‘all the things’ and I was just so tired. That I felt anxious and agitated when I was back in the office around people. That it wasn’t right and I didn’t want to keep feeling like this.
She did blood tests – so many blood tests. She asked questions and checked things to rule out anything physically wrong, and she said to come back if everything was clear and we could talk about getting something to help how I was feeling.
I was scared. I still wasn’t quite ready to admit defeat. I wasn’t sure I wanted to acknowledge this was something I couldn’t control. Even as all the tests came back clear, and I made another appointment, I wasn’t sure whether I was prepared to take drugs to feel better. Maybe I just needed to try harder? Even as I got a prescription for Anti-Depressants, I wasn’t sure I would go and get them. Even as I picked them up from the Chemist, I wasn’t sure I would take them.
In the end, I was just so tired.
I had to do something.
I’ve told very few people. I’m not particularly hiding it, but it’s not something that is easy to bring up. You don’t tell people that you had a headache in the morning so you took painkillers to help – you just carry on with your day. As much as I want to believe I am open and vulnerable, there is a still a sliver of judgment in the back of my mind, there is still a voice in my head that is concerned about other people’s opinions of me. There is still a worry that people will treat me differently, that people will look at me with pity rather than empathy, that they won’t understand and think that I just need to ‘think positively’, ‘show gratitude’, ‘be happy’.
That sliver of judgement is getting smaller. That voice is my head is getting quieter. That worry is getting proved wrong. I’ve said “I’ve actually started on Anti-Depressants” a handful of times and every time the response has been supportive, genuine, understanding.
“Gosh – I never realised what you were going through”
“I appreciate you telling me”
“Are they helping?”
Not one sense of judgement. Not one suggestion of failure. Not one indication I’m taking the easy way out. No pity. No negativity. No drama.
And yes – they are helping.
After making it through the initial few weeks of nausea, my brain has now settled into a new normal. One where, not only do I have dry sock days most of the time, I even have dry fluffy sock days. The underlying layer of sad seems to have gone. I feel lighter, and happier, and am regaining my energy.
I’m not suddenly leaping out of bed and running around the world doing things – but I am feeling as though I recover when I rest, that I can contemplate activities, and people, and can enjoy things rather than just surviving. That there is light at the end of the tunnel, that maybe I am not broken – that maybe there was a chemical imbalance that was making life harder than it needed to be.
I’m glad I admitted defeat and started taking ‘anti-sads’
I catch myself when I think this. I am glad, but I did not admit defeat. This was me not admitting defeat. This was me eventually getting to a point where I was determined to not stay in the same place, to give something that seemed a bit scary a go to see if I could move forward. This was me admitting that doing it on my own wasn’t working, and that I deserve to do more than just surviving. This was me admitting that to be who I want to be – someone who takes the world less seriously, someone that is light and engaged, someone who spends energy on the things that are important to me – I needed help. It wasn’t taking the easy way out, it wasn’t being lazy, it was being brave, and sensible, it was the right thing for me, and it is OK.
All of this means I am heading into 2022 with a sense of hope, a sense of excitement. If taking ‘anti-sads’ keeps my brain out of the mud while still allowing me to feel the highs and lows, 2022 is going to be a year of living. It might be a good year where more goes right than wrong, it might suck with more lows than highs, it might be great where I get to grow and and take leaps forward or it might just be another year. But whatever type of year it is, I can see the potential for experiences that I will be able to feel, potential to have energy to put into what I want to, potential to build memories of living not just surviving.
Without constantly damp socks, I can continue on my mission to be Fiercely, Fearlessly Me. To be stubbornly independent. To be kind and curious, light and engaged. To contribute emotionally and physically to an amazing relationship and home, to be a supporter as well as being supported, to have fun, play, laugh and be weird.
Bring it on.