A Day in the Life of alicemcalicepants
Published on the day .
Found in Things we doPositive
Wednesday 26th August, for me, was a mixture of great activity and unusual amounts of rest. I went to the gym at 8:30 in the morning, as is my routine – as a PhD student, it means I get up at a regular early-ish time, get some exercise and leave the house at least once a day! Alas, I never actually lose any weight, and I’m fairly convinced that’s something to do with my Citalopram – how can I go to the gym 5-6 times a week, eat the same as I did before the medication, and just maintain? But I suppose I’d rather be a bit plump and happyish than thin and suicidal!
After the gym, as I knew I was going to be sitting in a summer school class for four hours in the afternoon, I decided to read for a bit, and that ended up turning into a nap until lunchtime! The class was at my university, and it was about data analysis. Although it was quite interesting, there was a lot of talking and ‘death by PowerPoint’ instead of hands-on activities which would have helped keep me alert. I’m not a computer science person (I’m VERY humanities-oriented, in fact), but I’m due to finish my PhD next year and I’m terrified that I’ll have no job and therefore no purpose, so I thought I’d find out about things I might be able to do. The class, coupled with an hour-long keynote a bit later on, pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the evening. I could only be bothered to make peanut butter on toast for dinner, and then I went on Twitter and read for a bit, but ended up going to bed at about half-past nine because I was so tired and had a headache. Normally I stay up until around midnight reading, colouring (people sneer at it but it’s really relaxing, and it’s also been a gateway to me making my own art for the first time since school!) and going online, but on Wednesday I was just too wiped out.
I’d probably say my mood on Wednesday was 3/5 – I didn’t feel massively depressed, but I didn’t have a lot of energy and wasn’t bouncing-off-the-walls-happy either. I’ve been scoring surprisingly low on depression scales recently as I’ve had some good luck and nothing has been going particularly badly, but I still regard myself as a depressed person and I worry about the future a lot – not just getting a job, but getting a house too. My boyfriend and I have been trying to find somewhere to rent for three years now, but letting agents are so busy they don’t even call us back. I feel like a weird child-adult hybrid living with my parents at 26. I actually prioritise having a settled home of my own over having a career in academia, so after my PhD I will most likely get a ‘civilian’ job – I don’t think I could mentally handle all the uncertainly and moving-around of short-term contracts.
Depression is very much a part of my identity as I’ve felt like it my whole life, and besides, the test mostly concentrates on demonstrable signs of depression – I’m privileged in that even when I’m beating myself up in my head, I can still function enough to pass as ‘normal’. I’ve been in contact with mental health services recently, but I can’t say they’ve been much help – I originally went to them for PTSD, but by the time they phoned me again, the date-related triggers had passed and I was feeling better, so it instead became about my anxiety, which comes up in such specific situations that the exposure therapy computer program they put me on is a fat lot of good really. I think I might just discharge myself when they call again.