Before I took a week off from writing to concentrate on some non-sex-blogging deadlines, I wrote about my depression – specifically by exploring my mental health through a slightly-strained metaphor. Having submitted my projects and survived that thunderstorm, I realised that I haven’t yet said everything I want to yet. This post talks about my depression and suicidal ideation, but the tone is less dark: today I’m thinking about April showers, not thunderstorms.
Drip, drip, drop, little April showers.
I’ve been really strong this month. I am proud of what I have achieved. I’ve taken care of myself when I needed to, forced myself to keep going when I had to, and I did it. I fucking did it.
I can’t trust myself quite yet though. Even as I’m reaching out to friends to thank them for supporting me through the last few weeks – you know who you are, and I am so incredibly grateful for everything you’ve done – I am still scared. I know how easy it is for a bad depression day to overwhelm me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I am scared of my mind going back to the dark places it has only just escaped. Even though I am doing my best to practice self-care and look after my mental health, there will still be days when I feel like crap. Even though I’m working my ass off, there will be more thunderstorms.
Sometimes, even when there isn’t thunder and lightning splitting the sky, I count. I count until I am certain the storm is far enough away that I can breathe. I list things too, knowing it will be easier to think about my reasons to stay alive in the next thunderstorm if I practice remembering them now. Even when my head is quiet, when my body is calm, I wonder if I am watching it too closely. Too self-critical, too quick to condemn my own actions, too bitchy about the girl I used to be even when I’m working so hard on making the woman I am today a better person.
So I take off my jumper. I’m wearing a t-shirt, and revel in every moment when it’s not too cold to feel the air against my skin. I like being outside, and while it’s not especially warm it is bright. I untangle my headphones and try to ground myself. What are the things that make me me? I want to feel like myself again, after struggling for so long under the weight of heavy, wet clothing that I haven’t been able to shed – metaphorically – since the last thunderstorm. I want that weight to wash away – which is where the April showers come into it.
Drip, drip, drop, little April showers.
One. Dancing in the rain, because it’s a cliche but I don’t care. It feels reckless and freeing – saying ‘I don’t give a fuck if I get wet’ is incredibly liberating. The sensation of the raindrops against my skin makes me feel alive. I like feeling alive.
Two. Being brave enough to put myself out there. To share my words, to pitch my ideas, and to tell the cute humans who I’m flirting with that I maybe have a crush on them. Leaping into new adventures, even though I’m terrified.
Three. Writing when my fingers can’t go fast enough to keep up with the words in my mind. Grinning like a mad person – which I technically am – as the words fly out of my on to the page, and something real begins to take shape beneath my fingers. It feels like magic.
Four. Singing, because like dancing in the rain it feels like something I should have grown out of.
Five. Waking up in the middle of the night and groping for my phone. Checking the time and realising that I still have hours and hours before I have to get up. Burrowing back into my pillows and pulling the duvet around me, allowing my eyes to shut and sleep to consume me. I feel naughty, as though I’m being self-indulgent by falling asleep again.
Six. Walking down the street, or up a mountain, in my boots. My boots, which are strong and well-fitting and laced up with rainbow laces. I feel powerful, as though no one can stand in my way, and I love it.
Seven. Flirting – or attempting to flirt – with cute humans who make me squirm with their words, and hiding my face in my hands or in a pillow when I blush, even though we’re talking through Twitter DMs and they can’t see my red face. They can’t see my embarrassment and they can’t see my grin – I could technically hide both, but I tell them nevertheless. I want them to know how happy these conversations make me.
Eight. Crying at the end of a film or book because I am moved by the characters and blown away by the storytelling. I did this earlier today and it was so deliciously therapeutic, releasing the tension I was holding in my body through tears. Feeling better after I’ve cried – feeling lighter, and looking at the world with slightly more awe for its bright, brilliant colours.
Nine. Kissing. I think about kissing a lot.
Ten. Knowing that Quinn Rhodes is a bad-ass sex blogger who has so much to say, so much to write, so much determination to change the world. Knowing that she is me.
There are fat raindrops falling from the sky, but the air is warm. The wind is blowing cherry blossom of the trees, and the tiny flowers twirl and dance like snow. This isn’t a thunderstorm; this is an April shower.
Drip, drip, drop.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, please know you’re not alone. Reach out to someone. You do matter to the people in your life, even if it doesn’t feel like it – even if learning that feels like the hardest thing you ever have to do. Please don’t give me unsolicited advice about how to deal with my depression. If you’re tempted to do so, please read this post by GOTN first, and if you want to do something helpful then offer support in a solicited way: namely by tagging me in a tweet with a cute kitten gif.