Walking along the promenade, seeing people, families, kids running around, they all seem happy. Waves are slowly rolling into the pebble beach. It’s fairly calm, my head as well as ocean. “Go for a walk when you feel down, exercise as well as fresh air will help.” So I’m here, repeating my daily mantra over and over in my head: ‘You will be OK, you are doing just fine. Put a smile on your face and breathe.’ Some days it just doesn’t work, I can feel tears forming in my eyes and that stinging feeling is back. I take another deep breath and push them back.
I force myself to open my eyes properly, look out, it’s sunny. I can see the bright winter sun, blue skies, even ocean has got this beautiful teal colour, very unusual for this time of the year. When I really try, I see it all, I see it clear, I see happy, but only when I really try. Just for a split second I lose focus on all good and beautiful. Fog comes into my view. It’s thick and milky, damp and cold. I don’t like it, I know I can fight it, but there are days I try and fail. Fog is clouding my vision now, ocean is hiding behind it, I can still hear it, its humming and waves softly splashing into the shore. I can hear voices, they are behind the fog too. That happy chatter of people enjoying their Sunday stroll. Kids running around, dogs barking. It’s all there but so is the numbness.
Numbness is not always that bad, maybe slightly terrifying, but not too bad. Sometimes numbness feels comforting. Rather than feel bad, sad, scared or anxious, just feel nothing. And they don’t know, they can’t see behind the fog, where I’m hiding like an empty shell.
I see familiar faces, they walk towards me and smile. I know them, I know how I used to feel about them. They are my friends, or they used to be. I put the smile on my face, I say all the right things. We joke, share some memories and make promises. I became that person they want to see, saying things they want to hear. I perfected my ‘honest laugh’ and genuine smiles. I guess my daily mantra is working after all. We say our goodbyes and I feel relief. I can hide back into my shell.
I’ve seen it before, those clouded eyes I see in the mirror every morning. I’ve seen it on others, but never realized what it means. I never paid too much attention to them, to look behind those clouds, to see the real struggle some people go through on daily basis. I never really truly cared enough. Until those words are spoken, until you hear people say that they are not OK, we are just too busy or preoccupied with our life to care enough. Until you are there, in that dark corner and feeling lost, you can’t really understand. I do now, some days I find it hard to even pretend, that’s when my mask slips for a split second and hint of what is going on inside comes through. Usually it isn’t enough to make anyone feel aware that something is not right.
I keep walking, trying to keep calm, I don’t need happy, calm is enough for now. I can feel my phone buzzing in my pocket. More questions. Are you ok? Where did you go? It’s quite cold out there, don’t be long. He knows, he’s been there. He sees what’s behind those foggy eyes and distant look and still, he can’t help. Tears are pushing their way forward again. I take a deep breath and keep walking, taking narrow streets to avoid Sunday crowds. They don’t need to see, they won’t care. I can feel the first tear rolling down my cheek. It won’t be long and I won’t be able to stop them. I walk faster, just to get behind those doors, just to hide so people don’t see. Just to avoid questions I have no answers for.
Door lock clicks behind me, I can let go. I don’t understand why I cry, why I feel this way and where it came from. I can’t explain it to myself, to others, to him. I see his worried look, I see his guilt, he must think it’s him.
I sit as still as I can, calming down now. I guess walk wasn’t such a great idea after all. It’s easier to hide. Hide behind closed doors where I don’t need to pretend. Take the pressure of myself and just cry.
Tomorrow I will start again:
‘You will be ok, you are doing just fine. Put a smile on your face and breathe.’
Blue Monday is meant to be the most depressing day of the year. I know a lot of people will feel worse today, than any other day. But it’s not the only day of the year that depression can strike. Only recently I started to feel not my best and I get a lot of days, when I feel like I can’t cope. For me personally today, Blue Monday, is actually not that bad. Somehow I am dealing with my worries, my anxiety, my dark moods a lot better today. But yesterday was a different story, yesterday I wasn’t well at all. I had my own Blue Sunday.
I talk about how I feel when I can, some days it’s harder and I close myself up, but on brighter days, I try and share what it feels like. So this is my way to get it out. I wouldn’t be able to write it all down yesterday. I wouldn’t feel it’s important, but I do today. I don’t need anyone to read it, I don’t need solutions, I just need to know for myself that days like yesterday, will come and go and I will wake up another day and it will get better.
Thank you all for reading and hopefully your Blue Monday or any other Blue day goes better than expected. It does get better at times.