I woke up this morning to the feeling of my heart frantically trying to beat its way out of my chest.
Threw the blanket off and let the cool morning air ease the physical aches setting into my bones. Wiped the cold sweat from my forehead with a trembling right hand and tried with all my might to focus on calming the hectic rhythm of my breaths.
Breathe in 1-2-3, breathe out 5-6-7-8.
It isn’t working. It isn’t working and I’m in a hostel and all I can think of is how desperately I need a strong arm to wind its way around my waist and bring me back down to earth, and keep me grounded me in the present.
For a self-labelled strong, independent, single woman it’s shocking how much I crave the intimacy of human touch in my lowest moments.
Yesterday’s views were beautiful and well worth the challenge – up and over the Ballyhoura mountains where Seamus (the name I’ve given to the little yellow man on the signposts) led us in completely unnecessary zigzags up and down the bloody mountains, trees all around us, fresh mountain air to breathe in to my hearts content and the day was finished off with a pint of Guinness and a warm shower. Yet as I crawled into bed I could feel the inner voices creeping out of their cage, wrapping their tendrils around me, pulling me further and further down into the black hole that is my anxiety and depression.
Why? Why must you ruin this for me?
On the worst of the worst days my depression manifests as a physical burden. A combination of an ache deep in my bones (like when you’ve been out in the cold all day and your bones feel as though they may just shatter) and a weight on my chest (like when a child falls asleep on you for an extended period of time) and it makes me feel creaky. It’s as though my body is doing all it can to enforce my minds desire to keep me buried in bed all day is fulfilled.
Today is one of these days.
And while I’m currently out of bed and dressed and interacting with the human race, the ache lingers and I swear I can hear my bed calling my name.
And I’m so ashamed. The guilt is eating away at me – it’s a beautiful clear day, I want to hike on! I want to explore and enjoy but I just CAN’T and I feel pathetic and weak and small and everything that I’m trying to prove to the world is not true about depression but today I am living the stigma and just want to be back in Vancouver wrapped up in my fluffy blanket burrito wallowing in my own shame.
So, today is a rest day. No hiking, maybe a little bit of Netflix and most likely a lot of listening to my favourite music with my arms wrapped tightly around myself in the hopes that if I squeeze hard enough, tomorrow will be infinitely better.
I’m trying not to feel ashamed, but I’m struggling. I want to be stronger than this, but some days I just can’t banish the demons.
So today I surrender. I’ll listen to my mind and take the day off.
But tomorrow, tomorrow I hike 31 to Tipperary Town (wearing my lucky shirt so maybe that will help a bit too!)
(The aforementioned lucky shirt)