Yesterday I sold a book and today I decided I want to die.
Bit of a blunt way of putting it, but that’s how things worked out.
Okay, so what happened was, I had word from my Totally Bound editor that she’d love to contract Bring Me to Life (now rewritten so it’s a sequel to A Little Death, with some of the characters from ALD making guest appearances). I’d been fighting a bit of a headache all day and thought I’d be okay, but later in the evening it became a migraine and I retired to bed around half eight. Super early even on a work night, but I took some painkillers and thought I’d be able to sleep it off.
Not so. I was up through the night with the pain. Every so often I’d drift off into a brief painkiller-induced sleep, to be woken up less than half an hour later with the pain. Again and again and again. Every few hours I’d take more painkillers, but they never worked. Not totally.
And at 6am I started throwing up. Bear in mind 6am is when I normally get up, but when my alarm went off this morning I was already in, on, around the toilet, barfing my guts up and spraying from every orifice.
I dithered about calling in sick, but instead of a sickie pulled a ‘latey’. Shut up; that’s a word. Anyway, I took some time having a bath because if I go near hot water too soon after throwing up, the steam makes me feel sick again. How do I know this? Because during a migraine, I feel dirty. I puke, I soil myself, I sweat, I pee myself…so I feel dirty. I smell dirty. And I want to be clean again. I run a bath, strip, try to get into the bath and…nope. The puking starts again. For some reason, the steam in my face turns my stomach.
Eventually I managed to have a bath and get clean clothes on. That was all I could manage. I went into work with unwashed hair, and without bothering to take sammiches with me. I knew I wouldn’t eat them. For days after a puke sesh, I can’t manage solid food. I’ve just had a bowl of watery chicken soup, as it happens, and that’s about all I can handle. Such will be the case ’til the weekend, possibly.
All of the above is, I think, relevant to how I ended up feeling later on in the morning. It was certainly a contributory factor.
I left for work later than I normally do, so it was properly daylight by then. Or…as daylighty as it could get, because the day was overcast and cloudy and threatening rain. Depressing, huh?
Within a couple of hours, something happened. My low physical state, empty stomach, completely dehydrated body and the fact I’d had little to no sleep, conspired to convince me that every piece of work I did would prove to be a massive, liable-to-get-me-fired mistake. In fact, I was going to be fired. Probably before the week was out.
I want to make something absolutely clear here – the migraine did not cause the moodsink. It never has done. Or at least, it’s not the sole factor. And not every migraine (or other physical illness) causes a panic attack. But it makes it harder to fight when the panic does hit. This anxiety has bothered me on and off for around three years now. I call it anxiety because it’s louder than depression. For me, anxiety has triggers. A focus. A start point. Depression just is. Depression makes me sleep. Makes me tired. Makes me slooooow. (I was – am – tired, but there’s a difference between lack of sleep tired and mood-related tired.) Anxiety, on the other hand – it makes me panic. It doesn’t say “You should be dead.” It’s more active than that. It says “Go kill yourself. Go on, just do it. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about X, Y and Z any more. God, imagine how peaceful that’d be. Then I’d shut up and you wouldn’t have to listen to me any more.”
It’s much more intense. And it’s exhausting. Oh, I don’t hear voices. But it’s as if there’s something inside my head putting these thoughts there for me to contemplate. Whereas depression tells me what an unutterable cunt I am, anxiety tells me to do something about it, and offers suicide as a marvellous solution for every problem.
I just didn’t want to have to deal with it all, and I guess overwhelmed is the best word for it. Everything I have to deal with (even selling a book!) was suddenly too much for me to even think about, and I cried, and panicked, and worried. What about? God knows; after a while my thoughts didn’t make any sense at all.
In this sort of state, I have a tendency to catastrophise. Every teeny weeny slightly negative thing that happens is the end of the world, it’s all my fault, everyone hates me, I’ll never be successful. And if there’s no teeny weeny slightly negative thing to obsess over? Well, I just imagine something. That’ll do.
From anxiety to depreession. The intensity of the mental panic attack rarely lasts longer than a few hours, a day or two at most, before it segues into something that puts a fog over my entire being. I don’t think anyone could keep up that level of mental energy for long without flopping. And that’s what happens – I flop. I sleep more than usual, or at least ‘lie in bed wishing I could sleep, because I don’t have the energy for anything else’. I eat less. I conserve my energy for simply getting through the day and don’t waste it on non-essentials like socialising or even speaking to people if I can help it.
Sometimes depression creeps up on you. At other times, as today, it announces its arrival with a bang.