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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Mean Reds

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat, and maybe it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

This morning I had the Mean Reds. I was going to remove the dour, miserable post I wrote earlier but I decided to leave it as I think it might help people to understand a bit more about me and perhaps why the past six months have been such a struggle.

I don't make a secret of the fact I battle with depression. Except to my parents as I don't want them to worry. In fact, in my struggle to understand and accept it, a lot of the time it's all I go on about. I'm part of a pretty cool club of people, such as Stephen Fry, Agatha Christie, Russell Brand and a whole host of others who you can see here:

As is probably to be expected, it's a subject I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand I take comfort from the fact that lots of people who suffer from depression are creative, funny and often highly intelligent, but it is their unique way of looking at the world that causes most of their problems and makes it difficult for others to understand. I too think I should be able to "just snap out of it" sometimes, and feel guilty when I can't.

There are times when I am so crippled with sadness that it makes me unable to see any positives in life. I have to fight a ridiculous level of self doubt and paranoia, and I worry about things that are out of my control to the extent that it makes me physically ill. I have an extremely overactive imagination. I overthink and analyse EVERYTHING. I nit-pick. I always think I'm ill. I can still get upset about things that happened to me years ago, even as a child. I pick up on what I percieve to be the feelings of others, beyond the point of empathy, and can become absorbed in other people's problems. If someone is upset, I will feel their pain as if I am going through it myself. I often think it's quite selfish really. As well as being quite annoying.

On the other hand, I notice things that other people might not. For instance a shopkeeper said "Thank you my sweedeart" to me earlier and it really made me smile. When I come down into my kitchen first thing in the morning to discover a beautiful new bright pink flower on my hibiscus plant, it puts me in a good mood. In the summer when I come home from work and the roses in my front garden are in bloom, I stop for a moment to enjoy their scent and I think of my Nan for whom they were planted, and her funny little way of saying "Allo allo!". When I'm with my friends or family, I think how fortunate I am that I'm not alone. When I walk my dog under the pink evening sky, I sit down for a minute to take it in, and there's nothing quite like the moment the full view of Plymouth Hoe on a cloudless day is revealed after you've been reluctantly runningtowards it for miles at a stupid hour in the morning.

So, what I'm saying is this. Sometimes I find everything amazing. I am a true bohemian, I love everything and everyone. I am poetic. I live in a rose-tinted dream world where the sight of an old lady riding a push bike makes me feel happy.

And sometimes, like this morning, I am a miserable old sod who can't see the wood for the trees and I end up writing really dull, pathetic things like the previous post. That was how I felt at the time and I was genuinely petrified about being offered the job.

Thanks to a bit of a talking to from some of my lovely friends and a very understanding lady at the recruitment agency, today I was able to snap out of it.

Tomorrow I'm having a trial day at my new job. I think my confidence has taken a bit of a bashing over the past 6 months but I've realised I was asked to do it as there is a small chance they thought I was the right person for the job, and it's about time I thought it too.
I did ask fate to show me the way, and just maybe something will come of it, but if I don't try, I won't know.

The small matter of a new outfit has also helped me feel a bit more excited so let's see what happens when I get this show on the road tomorrow...

Over and out.

Is anyone still reading?!!!!


  1. What you write is so true. I also feel that no one understands me, well most of the time. People say that I am a bubbly happy go person. But underneath they don't know me that well. I go through the highs and lows like you mentioned.

    P.S. keep your chin up. Just go and enjoy life the best you can.

  2. You can add me to that list too. I think it's something you can never really explain to someone who has not experienced depression but that was the closest anyone has ever come to explaining my life. I too am moved to the point of tears occasionally by silly things which i think are beautiful but on other days feel that the world is such a dark and horrible place! Congrats on the job, just give it your best shot and you never know, it may be the perfect job for you! xxx

  3. That was awesome Emily, I will be honest in stating that, although you regularly invite your facebook friends to read your blog, I have been lazy and not taken the opportunity. I'm glad, however, that this has now changed. Your words are quite inspiring and could help a lot of people, especially with the way things are in the world currently. Looking forward to the next chapter and hoping it's a happy one for you. Rich L xx

  4. Wow thanks for the feedback everyone! Depression is something that I feel very passionately about educating people about sometimes, but other times even as a sufferer myself I feel that we should all stop making such a big fuss out of it. But that's quite typical apparently.
    I wanted to try writing about something that is a bit more serious than usual but it is definitely out of my comfort zone and I am also conscious of people feeling like I am preaching to them, or being self-obssessed.
    Thank you for taking the time to write about something so personal.

  5. I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog the other day - I love that I have a doppelganger!

    Regarding the depression, I think you are so brave for putting it out there and while I wouldn't wish it on anyone, it is nice to know that there are other people who struggle. I wish you good luck at the new job. I'll be reading!

  6. I read every single one all the way through. Your blog is AMAZING!!! I love it and don't ever want you to stop writing lady. MWAH xxxx

  7. Hey Emily.

    That was a touching and inspiring post and I couldn't have put it better myself.
    Perhaps it'd be cathartic to write more on the subject of depression. It's certainly a topic which touches us all at one point or another.
    God knows I've felt the headily intense highs and crushing despair as much as anyone and just like everyone else suffer in silence for fear of incomprehension or ridicule.
    It means more to me than you'll realise that you rang me today.
    All the billy best with the new job, and keep me posted.
    Spider xxx

  8. Mrs G, you are a strong and beautiful person, and I love you very much. I think that this is your most inspirational post yet, and as others have said above, you give hope and often a smile. Keep going, bird, it's awesome. xx

  9. Emily - this post is brilliant, and is really helpful to someone who doesn't suffer with it, but knows someone who does. Perhaps you could write a blog on how best loved ones can offer support?
    Keep it up girlfriend, and loads of luck with the job!

  10. I wish you luck with your job, and congratulate you for admitting you suffer depression, as your onslaughts against 'skinny' people are probably symptomatic of the illness. I'm sure you don't realise that most of your analysis and life observation is critical and not constructive until you come out of a low. But this is a step forward as will be sharing your feelings with your parents who can support you. Good Luck!