Depression, as I had been dreading since the first few days of quarantine, has finally started settling in and it’s just as bad as I wished it wouldn’t be.

Emilie’s #MadCovidDiaries 23.4.2020

TW: Severe Depression

As I write this, we are on day 39 of the quarantine here in France. I’ve started seeing people again, since most of us have been quarantining for over a month now. Pretty much, I’ve only seen my father who came to see me twice in the last couple of weeks. He came during the weekend, and we ate a meal together, spent a few hours together. I had been apprehensive about seeing people again, honestly. I know that my tolerance for social interactions would have been severely affected by the last month of isolation so I had warned my Dad that I had no idea how much I could handle having him over. The first time he came, two weeks ago, felt like a breath of fresh air. He brought food to cook so we could have an actual meal (I make a big effort to eat everyday but it’s hard). Most importantly, we tried to keep it casual, giving each other space. He had brought a book and I had my computer so we could chill after lunch and it would not wear me out so much. It was good. The second time he came was last Sunday, and things were more difficult. I became anxious very quickly, and went into sensory overstimulation almost immediately. Every clink of a glass, or silverware on a plate made me want to jump out of my own skin. I couldn’t maintain a proper conversation for long. I felt guilty about asking him to leave early but I just couldn’t do it. As soon as he left, I crawled back into bed.

That’s where I’ve been spending most of my time the past week. Depression as I had been dreading since the first few days of the quarantine has finally started settling in and it’s just as bad as I wished it wouldn’t be. I don’t have a sleep schedule at all anymore. I sleep mostly in the morning and in the late afternoon but can’t find sleep at all during the night. I haven’t had a proper meal in days. I pretty much don’t leave my bed. I haven’t done anything productive in so long I don’t actually want to check when was the last time I opened a study book. I don’t want to do anything. At all. Even going on my computer feels like too much energy. The first month had been characterized by a wild change in emotions and reactions every few days or so: depression became anxiety, became furious creativity, and then a desperate need for attention from other people, for recognition, to make sure I hadn’t disappeared. In contrast, the void of the past few days is eerily quiet. It hasn’t even started worrying people around me yet because it is defined by its absence more than its presence. It’s not even that I can’t do anything at all: I took a shower today, and I went to the post office to drop off my application for my big exam in August. I just don’t feel like doing anything.  So as soon as possible, I crawl back in bed and stare at the ceiling again. It has come to my attention that there’s nothing particularly interesting about my ceiling, but it’s the least exhausting thing I could come up with.

As for as medical assistance goes, it’s really not that great. I continue to have phone calls with my therapist twice a week (as long as I’m actually awake at the time of the appointment so I remember to call, I missed an appointment that way last Friday), and for that I am eternally grateful because she has become my lifeline. But I haven’t heard from the psychiatrist in weeks. After the fiasco during my insomnia episode, he called back a week later, but I didn’t answer because I was – ironically enough – asleep. I still haven’t found the strength or the motivation to call back to get another appointment because this seems like so much frustration for an appointment with someone who I doubt will help. Still, I know I have to do it, because I’m going to need prescriptions soon. I discovered yesterday when going to the pharmacy that I had managed to lose my social security card so I have to file for another one (because I clearly have the energy for that kind of administrative business right now…), and that, contrarily to what I had been told, I couldn’t get new meds without a new prescription or at least a confirmation from my doctors to my pharmacist that the prescription hadn’t changed. When the pharmacy called, the psychiatrist had already left. I felt like crying in the middle of the pharmacy because this was just too much. They still gave me my anti-depressants for the next few weeks, but I have appointments I need to plan and everything seems absolutely daunting. I don’t want to talk to a psychiatrist, especially one who is not familiar yet with my history or how I react to certain situations.

Honestly, I pretty much don’t want to talk to my therapist, even though I’ve known her for years, because it’s just too exhausting. Everything feels heavy. The air seems more compact around me. It’s more difficult to move and it sits in my lungs like lead. On social media, I see people saying that they start clearly missing social interactions. That they just want to see their friends, or their family, or even go to class again. I don’t. I just want to stay in bed, close my eyes, and make it all stop. It’s not truly suicidal. It’s just all so tiring. There’s a lot of anger sitting inside me that I don’t really know how to address: Some of it is anger at others, for not realizing how bad things have gotten for me; anger at the medical system for failing me; anger at my university for not providing any online class that could help me maintaining a daily schedule; anger at the entire world for putting us all in this situation, for the concerts I won’t be able to go to and I still can’t bring myself to cancel anyway. But most of it is anger at myself for how quickly I came back to my old self, the depressed worm that just wants to bury itself into the dirt and never go out ever again, and maybe hopes that the soil might asphyxiate it somehow. I hate that I’m still there, in the same bed I was depressed in a couple years ago, because I thought I was finally making some progress in the past few months, but even with all the systems I had put in place to be able to ask for help when things get bad, I’m not doing any of it right now. I don’t want to. I don’t have the energy.

I’m sorry. I wish I had advice to give like I did the past few posts. I wish I could end on a positive note. Right now, I can’t bring myself to do it. This is real, this is raw. This is what depression does to you.

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