So I was thinking about depression the other day, as in fifteen minutes ago in the bath, and thought about how it’s a set of thought processes determining the worst possible outcome from a situation. And, in the case of depression, the situation involved tends to be Life. So therefore any possible scenario in one’s Life is a bad one. Get out of bed? Bad. You didn’t get enough sleep and the day’s going to be shit anyway. Eat some food? Bad. You are now fat and you didn’t deserve that food anyway. Go to work? Bad. You’re shit at your job. Attempt self-improvement? Bad. Even if you did achieve a momentary boost in fortune, it would only be that - fortune, and you can never really change yourself anyway, can you?
So all of these thought processes go through the mind of someone. A kid at school imagines a world that is shit. School is shit. Everything is shit and pointless and bad and shit. And I got to thinking - I was never able to voice that feeling when I was that age, when things were shit. Depression is something I’ve lived with I guess since I was a kid. Even now, I say I guess because I don’t really know. It’s a weird contradiction - your brain tells you can’t be depressed because your feelings don’t count. Which is a depressed thought process. I suppose. I guess. I suppose. I guess. Ironic that the boy at school always uses ‘I guess’ as part of his answers because nothing he says can ever be certain because nothing he says matters. In his head.
So I’m in the bath thinking about all of this, thinking about whether I could broach the subject of unhelpful (to say the least) thought processes, and then thinking about CBT-type ideas, or at the very least a vague tribute to CBT, and wondered how it would have been for me when I was 13 or so. Because when I was 13 or so, I thought of myself simply as me - sure, I debated for a while if I had depression, but figured because nobody picked anything up (apart from my mum) and said anything (apart from my mum) that I must be ok and just a surly teenager unable to make friendships or see a future beyond a certain age because that was just me and my unique stupid way of thinking. So I got by. I put on a face, and that was my face. “Arrange your face.” And I did. And I kept on doing that. Until whenever. I’m still doing that. Sometimes the face comes off, the mask slips, and the world sees when I’m really thinking about feeling, and I feel fucking stupid for showing people that thought process... like how yesterday I walked out of the class in a strop, all because a thought in my head told me that... anyway, that wasn’t the point of this.
The point was that when I was thirteen I recall a distinct moment in my life that I look back on as a sort of tidy, middle-class, understated psychosis. Of course, psychoses in the medical sense are more like actual hallucinations, prolonged thought processes based on irrationality, and so on. But in its own, understated way, this was a very quick psychosis.
It was Easter, 1998, and me, my mum and my sister were in Germany. My dad, granddad and grandma had gone to bed and we three were playing a game of Ludo. Ludo is a game where you lead pieces around a board, and the first to get to the end wins. It’s a basic game involving luck of a dice throw. So we’re playing it, and I can’t remember anything beforehand, or why I thought this, but my brain went,
“So God hates you.”
And that was the belief.
“God hates you.”
And my brain, the part of me that was vaguely rational, replied,
“No he doesn’t.”
“Yeah he does. You’re winning this game now, but you’ll lose this game, just see.”
“That’s not true. I’m going to win this game and then you’ll see, so ner.”
So I’m winning, and talking to my mum and sister like normal, and all the while this thought process is going through my head. And, I don’t know why, but something inside me decides to take this game really seriously. Really seriously. Like maybe, this really is a moment where God is going to show me his presence? Maybe he always hated me, but is now showing me that life is a test, that he’s really on my side, and that by winning this game, I can feel better about the shittiness of everything just because, by letting me win the game, God has shown me his presence.
These thoughts, in all seriousness, rattle through my brain.
I roll low numbers all of a sudden. And, all of another sudden, my sister and mum roll high numbers and pass over me to the finish line. With literally six spaces to go, in the space of three moves, I end up finishing third place. And the psychosis bubbles over in the cauldron of my brain. My belief system is shattered - or rather, confirmed; in one fell swoop, I realise that the shittiness of my life is because
“God hates me.”
My mum laughs. “Don’t be so silly.”
I go to bed, in a sulk.
Obviously within a day I realise that thought process was irrational. But actually, it was the typical thought process of the depressed mind, and proof that in life, what people see is not really what’s going on inside. What I really wanted to do was grab the game, throw it across the room, and yell and hit things, saying that life was a joke and God was a cunt. But of course I didn’t because that wouldn’t be a very polite thing to do.
Wish I had. Life might have been more interesting as a result.
Speaking of psychosis, the teacher in lesson earlier was talking about a serial killer, and used the word ‘psychotic’. In the middle of lesson, I had to blurt out a correction, saying ‘psychopathic is probably the word you meant.’ That was awkward enough, but later in the staff room, I apologised for interrupting her lesson. Explaining why brought a massive silence in the staff room for about thirty seconds. Fuck.
And, where the ellipsis left off earlier, I came out of the toilet in the morning having left the room in a strop, because I had said something and not had anyone reply to me, and a switch went on in my brain, saying “They hate you. They talk about you behind your back. Everything you say is pointless. Everything you do is pointless. You are shit. They know you are shit.” So I got up to the loo, in a strop, and came back, in a strop.
Helen saw me and stared at me for a long time. I ended up blurting out that I was currently feeling a thought process that I knew was irrational but that I felt it anyway, and I explained to her that that was what I was feeling. Probably because it tumbled out of me in a mumbled torrent, she looked at me like I was nuts and suggested I take a couple of days off “for your own mental health.”
What she could have just said was none of it was true and that I didn’t need to worry. I have told her before I have depression and that actually telling someone to take days off instead of denying what has been said only serves to increase those suspicions...
Come to think of it, maybe I am actually losing it - who knows?