Once more into the breach


After over four years of doing battle with depression and anxiety, punctuated with dizzying peaks and catastrophic troughs, I was just starting to feel like I was figuring it out. Back in stable employment, taking a few holidays here and there and even considering dating again, I couldn’t believe my luck. Could the black dog actually be retreating from my world once and for all?

Then spring arrived and with the change of season came a change in mood. For no apparent reason my hormones went beserk, hypomania and anxiety set in and now I find myself, once again, crushed by the weight of my failing nervous system and left cowering under a frightening black cloud. Feeling like there’s an axe wedged in my chest and that the sky is literally pressing down on my head. That creeping chill and a sense of impending doom wherever I turn. Dread. Feeling nervous before doing something as simple as doing the food shopping, or going to the dentist. I even find trees scary. TREES.

It’s disappointing, to say the least. But I’ve done it before and I shall endure it again.

I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than feeling like your life is passing you by. Seeing all the possibilities before you, trying to grasp at the tendrils of something real but having it escape you. Depression truly is a cage. Your 20s should be a time for fun, frivolity and exploration but unfortunately for many it’s also a very confusing, high pressured and anxiety inducing stage of life. But it’s also a time for growth and if there’s one thing that grappling with mental illness gifts you with, it’s strength of mind as well as a space to grow as a person.

Little comfort to someone in the midst of a black fog, I know. But to anyone else experiencing the quarter-life-crisis, as I like to call it, I’d wager that it really is more common than you think…and if others can crawl their way to the other side, seeing in their 30s with a renewed sense of wellbeing and inner strength, then so can you. And so can I.


2 thoughts on “Once more into the breach

  1. I loved the line about “seeing in their 30s with a renewed sense of wellbeing and inner strength”. When I turned 30, I remember (and I was in hospital at the time, a 10-week stay with a difficult pregnancy) for the first time deciding that yes, I was a grown up, and yes, I liked the woman I was becoming. Up until that moment I had been redefining what it meant to be “grown up” with every milestone I passed – it’s owning a handbag (and then I got a handbag), no it’s being married (I got married at 20), no it’s owning a car (and then we bought a car), no it’s having kids (definitely not!), no it’s owning a house …

    Now I’m 35 and so far I think this has been the best year of my life. I have been through a year of debilitating but invisible illness and come out the other side. I now know what I am capable of and not capable of, what brings me joy to include in my life and what I can let go without much regret. Pretty much everything I do (except spending hours a day doing puzzles on my iPhone) makes my life better in one way or another.

    I’m enjoying reading back through your blog from your Freshly Pressed article and seeing the sense of hope that is growing in you. The rain has stopped and the first sunbeams are struggling through to light up the hills in the distance. You’ll get there!

  2. I think that now more than ever, going through your 20s is so hard! There’s so much pressure and expectation to achieve, combine this with rapidly slimming opportunities and it’s a breakdown waiting to happen for most people. Glad you’ve had such a good year, and thanks for reading!

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