Title: Depression, Anxiety & Mania: Talking Back to the Voice(s)
NB – This is a draft. No edits have been made.
This is the author’s (Imani S. Maxwell) original work and is protected by copyright laws. No duplications shall be done without prior permission by the author.
Section 1: Depression
In this section I will discuss some of the major symptoms of depression and how they may present. I will share my real life experiences that shows these symptoms as well as strategies you can use to navigate your way through the depression; learning to cope by maintaining your relationships, carrying out your responsibilities and living your best life.
Please note, I am not a qualified medical professional. However, I hold a BSc. in Psychology conferred by the University of the West Indies, Mona (2016) and I write mainly from the perspective of someone who has experienced depression, anxiety and mania on a cyclic schedule annually since I was 5 years old. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 in September 2017.
Please discuss with your therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist before trying any of the techniques described in this book. I make no guarantees that they will work for you because despite mental illness we are all unique.
Thank you for reading and do share if it works for you.
~ Bon voyage ❤️
Chapter 1 – Self Care
I usually start feeling less and less happy by the final week in December every year. By the 3rd week of January, depression has fully moved in, set up it’s tent, made it’s bed, put away it’s groceries and has started writing it’s To Do List for the duration of it’s stay.
1. Stop bathing regularly.
2. Stop brushing your teeth.
3. Stop grooming your hair.
4. Stop shaving.
5. Forget deodorant and moisturizers.
6. You no longer know how to cook, not even your favourite recipe.
7. Forget, forget, forget. Do not remember anything; Retrograde and Anterograde Amnesia.
8. Obsess/ Ruminate every second of everyday on all your past mistakes. Do you remember that time when you spilled the bucket of water in the bedroom at Aunty Beebs’?? Clumsy bitch! Jenny never does anything right.
9. You cannot read books anymore. These words do not make sense. It is just a bunch of letters on paper. No coherence.
10. Menstruating? Do not change your sanitary product every 4-8 hours. Wear the same ones all day and maybe even tomorrow too.
11. You smell? Oh well, better stay in your room all day. That way, no one will smell you and it’s your stench after all you can’t possibly have a problem with it.
12. As of today, we only sleep during the daytime. I repeat, we stay up all night and worry and sleep during the days; 6am-6pm.
13. Delete all your social media apps. Don’t you dare tell anyone that I am visiting. Nobody likes me anyway.
14. Here is your script for this season. When anyone asks you if you are ok, say this, “I am ok/alright. How are you?” Deflect, deflect, deflect. Turn all your attention onto the person you are speaking to. Listen, listen, listen. Let them know you understand what they are going through and encourage them to keep pushing on. However, please note that you are doing ok. Never give any clues that I am here or I will kill you and missy that’s no joke.
15. Let’s spend 6-8hrs daily researching and strategizing how we are going to do it this year. Let’s think outside the box. Using rope or belt is too predictable and the failure rate is high. We can’t jump over a bridge, you can swim and someone is very likely to see you. Umm…a waterfall is a pretty good one. Let’s google waterfalls near me…
16. Take down that damn vision board. You and I know you won’t do any of that shit. Stop embarrassing yourself woman.
17. These pictures look to happy and cheerful. It’s annoying me. So fake and idealistic! Please take them down while I am here.
18. And ma’am, you no longer have enough clothes or shoes to wear. Just what the same thing everyday. It’s easier anyway.
19. Don’t bother taking care of your skin nor wear makeup. You are fucking ugly anyway. Let’s just get dressed and go. Stop wasting time.
20. In social settings; smile at least 3 times every 5 minutes, crack jokes, make the occasional eye contact, join in on conversations and pretend I am not here.
21. Greet people in the hallways. Say; “Hiiiiiiii” in your chirpiest pitch ever. Good girl 🙂 Lose the scent.
22. Be a pushover. Just take whatever you get. If you deserved better I’m sure you’d have gotten it.
23. Allow everyone else to define you. If they say you are smart, smile and say “oh yeah?” If they say you are beautiful, say “Is that so? I think we are all beautiful anyway.” You get the gist right? We cannot accept compliments because it is not true.
24. Blow your friends off. Act like you are very busy. “Oh, I’m sorry I missed your call, I was doing a bit of reading and put my phone away.” OR “Sorry I missed our lunch date today, I was in the lab all day working on my research.”
“Good girl. You are doing it right.”